Including events in your marketing plan is more than just a good idea. These days, it’s necessary. Recent studies have shown that events and other experiential marketing improve brand perception, create repeat customers, and are more effective than TV commercials. In-store events are even much more likely to be shared on social media by event attendees, but how do you get people to come to your in-store event?
With the big investment of time and money that goes into putting on the perfect in-store event, you want to make sure that you’re getting the right ROI by driving business to your store and increasing revenue. You can’t do that without customers attending your in-store event, so below we’ve compiled tips and tricks to help you create a perfect in-store event marketing plan to make sure your event is not only well-attended, but also organized and cost-effective.
Don’t Leave In-Store Event Planning to the Last Minute
In-store events must be planned well in advance. Leaving critical planning to the last minute will make for a hectic, disorganized event. Make sure you’re planning your in-store events at least 4 months in advance and give even more lead time for larger events. This will provide you with plenty of time to determine your guest list and create a detailed marketing plan for the event.
Use Data to Drive Your Guest List & Marketing Strategy
Look to the data you have about your current customers to figure out who to invite to your upcoming in-store event. If you’ve hosted events before, you probably captured attendee information at some point. That data, coupled with the insights you can gain through your CRM and social media analytics, will help determine who your best customers are and how they can be reached.
These customers are your VIPs. They’re the ones who have already shown an interest in your company and your past events, which means they’re much more likely to attend future events. They’re repeat customers and have shown brand loyalty to your brand. Events are not only a way to bring in new customers, but to connect your VIPs to your brand all over again.
Send Handwritten Event Invitations
Instead of sending digital invitations, if you have your potential attendees’ addresses, send a handwritten note. Handwritten notes show off a level of personalization that surprises and delights your customers — and they’re super-easy to send at scale with Bond. Click the button below to learn more.
You should still send emails and continue to advertise your event in all the traditional ways, but when it comes to your VIP customers, be sure to go the extra mile and invite them to your upcoming event with a handwritten note. Personalized messages will make those customers feel appreciated, and the invitations will stand out as something unique.
Promote Your In-Store Event Online
Make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the available social media tools that are available to you when promoting your in-store event. Between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you’re sure to find additional attendees if you promote this event by thoughtfully targeting users who match your ideal customer profile. Don’t forget to target audiences near your store!
In addition to posting on social media, another strategy for promoting an event is to run a short-term Google Pay-Per-Click campaign encouraging registration for your event and to generate even more leads.
Finally, have a media plan and reach out to local influencers and the media with press releases (or, even better, a personalized, hand-written note) and invitations to your events. Give plenty of lead time and include all of the important information about your event so that the event can be covered in upcoming blog posts, local newspapers, and more.
Don’t Ignore Print Advertising Altogether
While digital can seem to be the primary strategy for marketing, don’t ignore print marketing altogether for your upcoming event. Be sure to create event flyers and promote them locally, whether it’s in your own store or neighboring businesses that have agreed to display your materials.
Think about the design of your flyer and how it relates to your event and be sure to create a clean, pleasing design, include a call to action on the flyer, and use the same design in your online marketing as well to create cohesiveness.
After Your Event, Measure Success
Hopefully, with all the planning and promotion you have done, your event is well-attended and goes off without a hitch. Once the store is cleaned up, and the guests have gone home, your work isn’t done. You now have new data that can help with planning future events. Track what marketing ideas worked by surveying attendees and analyzing of how attendees learned about the event.
Hone in on the marketing ideas that work best for your audience and focus on those strategies during future event planning. While you’re at it, don’t forget to send handwritten thank-you notes to everyone who attended your in-store event!