An Eventful Connection: How to Use Event Marketing to Build Relationships

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President of Albers Communications Group Tom Albers shares tips for making offline and online events part of your overall communications and marketing strategy in 2014.

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  • Good morning everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar. My name is Tom Albers… and I will be presenting today’s content. Before we get started, I’d like to cover a few administrative details.  If you experience any technical problems on the call, please contact ReadyTalk customer service at (800) 843-9166.  The presentation will take approximately 25 minutes – depending on the number of questions.The lines on today’s call have been muted to avoid any background noise… but youcan use the chat function in the lower left side of your screen to chat in your questions throughout the webinar, and I will answer them at the end. I will be recording today’s webinar and sharing the link with you via email, in case you’d like to review it again or share it with others in your office. Now, I’m going to set up the webinar recording and then we’ll get started. Welcome to today’s webinar titled An Eventful Connection: Using Event Marketing to Build Relationships. My name is Tom Albers, and I’m the presidentof Albers Communications Group.
  • First, let me tell you a bit about Albers Communications Group. We are a full-service PR and digital marketing agency headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. We strongly believe that PR and digital marketing go hand-in-hand and work best when used as part of an integrated communications strategy.  We represent clients in all 50 states and Canada – where our PR and social media specialists help our clients achieve positive exposure nationally and locally in their operating markets. We have specialized expertise working with companies that have franchises, offices or branch locations in multiple cities.
  • I am Tom Albers, president of Albers Communications Group. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to speak in more detail about your company’s communications goals. It is my pleasure to speak with you about special events because I have always enjoyed event planning. In my public relations career, I have helped manage hundreds of events of all shapes and sizes including outdoor concerts attended by 40,000 people; briefings on Capitol Hill; press conference at the National Press Club; highway dedication ceremonies; grand openings of new businesses and multiple web events. I was even fortunate enough to help stage the country’s largest year-long celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II that consisted of troop train rides, concerts, parades and mess hall dinners.
  • Here’s a snapshot of what we’ll be covering today.First, we will take a look at the different business objectives you might be able to achieve through your special events. Next, we’ll examine the variety of events that you can use in your business throughout the year in your communications and PR efforts. Successful events come down to having a solid plan in place, so we will dissect the elements of an event plan. Finally, we will address the issue of evaluation and how to measure the success of your events. If you have any questions today, please feel free to chat them in using the chat function located in the lower left-hand portion of your screen. I will address these questions at the end of the presentation.
  • Special events are just like any other communications or public relations activity. Before you jump head first into an event, you should take step back and identify your objectives. In other words, start with the end in mind and identify specifically what you are trying to achieve with your event. You might have just one overriding reason or objective for your event. For example, if your business is celebrating a key anniversary – such as your 10th year in business – and you are hosting a celebration, your one key objective might be to strengthen relationships with clients and referral sources. It is very likely that your events could hit on several objectives and those could include helping you:Increase your company’s brand awareness or visibility Along those lines, you might have a specific goal to achieve positive news media exposure. For several years, I helped manage a community concert and fireworks show that was sponsored by a large bank that was a client of mine. Every year, we used the concert to achieve positive headlines for the bank through outreach to radio stations, TV stations and the local daily newspaper. You might use educational events, such as today’s webinar, to reinforce your expertise by sharing information with your clients and prospective clients. We’ve had clients use events, such as hiring days and job fairs to attract prospective employees Events can also be great ways to encourage positive behaviors that reinforce your brand. For example, Hidden Valley – the company that makes salad dressing – staged an event to encourage school children to eat healthy school lunches. This is positive for the brand because Hidden Valley salad dressings were positioned as a healthy lunch item. For many of our clients, special events often help them create goodwill in their communities. My main point is that it is important to start your event planning by identifying your objectives.
  • Now let’s take a look at some of the types of events you might consider as part of your PR plan. If you are expanding your business or opening a new location, certainly you might consider recognizing that achievement with an event such as a ribbon cutting or open house. Even before you begin construction, you might consider holding a ground-breaking ceremony. Any of these types of events present you with opportunities to involve the local Chamber of Commerce and local elected officials. We’ve had clients hold events for occurrences such as: Expanding to new geographic service territories such as new countriesMarking a significant milestone in business such as 10 years or 25 years in business Celebrating the career of a long-time employee who is retiring And some of our clients hold annual celebrations such as holiday open houses
  • You might consider hosting an educational event in your community to share your expertise. Verizon Wireless is a client of ours and they’ve had a lot of success hosting what they call “Wireless Workshops.” These are workshops for Verizon customers to introduce them to their new smartphones and tablets. Another client of ours – P&L Technology who provides B2B technology services – offers an ongoing series of web-based educational events on topics such as Cloud computing and maximizing the capabilities of Microsoft 2013. You don’t have to be a technology company to host educational events. Home Depot, who employs a lot of military veterans, has great success with its educational workshops for veterans about preparing them for the civilian job market.
  • An event can be more than a one-day occurrence. Sometimes, it can be possible to buildmomentum around an observance that lasts for several weeks or even longer. Our client – Merry Maids – is getting ready to kick-off their Heart Month observance in February. This is a collaboration between Merry Maids and the American Heart Association to raise funds and awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. This is an important cause for Merry Maids because their core customer audience is women between the ages of 35 and 64. Some of the things they are doing to commemorate the month include: encouraging their team members to “go red” by wearing red shirts and pins during heart month, and by leaving red coin banks in their customers’ homes for spare change to be donated to the American Heart Association. They’re also doing a “red out” on social media by changing their Facebook cover images to red and turning their website from corporate green to red.Our client Home Instead Senior Care had a very success campaign in 2013 in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month. During the month, Home Instead franchises all around the world hosted workshops for families who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's.
  • Your events don’t have to stretch over days or weeks to make an impact for your business. One of our clients – Farmers National Company – recently incorporated a community service project into its annual meeting. All of the employees took part in a teambuilding activity where they assembled stuffed bears that were then given to local first responders to hand out to children. This event took part of a day, but led to great positive exposure for the company. You might consider similar cause marketing or community service events for your business.
  • Awards ceremonies or events can be great ways to recognize your employees or even individuals in the community. This photo is from an event we held for one of our clients to recognize the Outstanding Oldest Worker in America. This particular story attracted the attention of elected officials who attended the event as well as the Today Show. This was great exposure for our client who provides jobs training for older workers. You might want to give some thought to awards that your company could bestow.
  • Earlier I mentioned that events can serve as a motivation to encourage positive actions. You can do this through events that engage the community. The upper left photo represents an event that some Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners have done in collaboration with local law enforcement called Mission Medicine. This event encourages seniors and their families to clean out their medicine cabinets because many seniors have expired medications on-hand that can pose safety problems. The lower right hand photo is from an event done by a Merry Maids franchise called Give with a Merry Heart. This Merry Maids office encourages their clients to spring clean by clearing out their closets of unneeded clothing items. The clothing is then donated to a local homeless shelter.
  • Now let’s shift gears and look at the key elements of a successful event plan. I believe that a solid event checklist serves as the foundation for any great event. On-screen is an example checklist. The event checklist should include: Your event objectives Along with Key Activities and Corresponding Responsibilities and Completion Deadlines. The checklist is a great event management tool to make sure all of your bases are covered.
  • Other elements of your event plan include: The budget. While you are creating the event checklist,create a budget that includes every item in your checklist I suggest creating a contingency for about 5 to 10% of your overall budget to cover unforeseen costs that will no doubt arise. When determining the timing of your event consider what else is going on in your community in order to avoid major conflicts. Also if you are having an event that takes place on one day, consider holding it between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to increase chances that the news media will cover it. Make sure and cast a wide net when developing your list of audiences that you can reach with your event. Consider internal audiences such as staff members, your clients, and suppliers, and external audiences such as referral sources, prospective clients, elected officials and the community at large.
  • Give ample thought to your event registration strategy. You may want to use your event as a way to build your email marketing database. If this is the case, then build your registration platform to accommodate this. Don’t forget to plan for professional photography and videography. Your guests will appreciate seeing photos from the event. The agenda is an important aspect of an event that often is overlooked. For an event that take places on one day, such as a grand opening, your agenda should take into consideration who will be speaking at the event and when, will you have entertainment such as live music, what kind of AV equipment do you need, and what kind of food and refreshments will you serve. If your event is an observance that stretches over several days or weeks, your agenda should map out the timing of each of the individual elements of your event. Leave nothing to chance. Commit it to paper.
  • In your event plan, you need to include how you will promote your event before, during and after the event. Utilize all available channels to promote the event including all four types of media: earned, owned, shared and paid media. With earned media, this means letting the news outlets in your community – such as radio stations, TV stations and newspapers -- know about the event details. They will often provide coverage after the event too. There are several different types of communications tools you can use to keep the media informed. A community calendar announcement is brief and contains the facts about your event. You usually want to send this to media at least two to three weeks before your event. The media advisory serves as an invitation for the media to attend and cover the event. A press release is similar to the community calendar announcement and can be used to provide media with the important details before the event and press releases can also be used after events to summarize your success. We also use media pitches. They are usually short emails directed at TV producers to schedule media interviews before the event such as the example shown on screen. You want to pitch TV shows about four weeks in advance. No matter what tool you use to contact the media, be sure and follow up with them by telephone to make sure they have all the details they need. Don’t forget your owned media channels during the promotion including your email newsletters, hard copy mailings and your website.There are several ways to use shared or social media to promote events. These include creating a Facebook event that serves a social media invitation, you can post about the event before it happens; you can tweet about the event in real time as it is happening; and you post photos and videos after the event. Paid advertising may or may not be necessary depending on the nature of the event.
  • At the beginning of today’s webinar, I mentioned the importance of setting objectives. Where possible set actual measurable goals. These goals could include metrics such as:AttendanceThe amount of media impressions that you are able to create Website trafficHow many people opted-in to your email database With some events, you are trying to encourage certain actions. You’ll want to measure these actions. For example, I mentioned the event where our client collects expired medications. In this case, we measure the weight of medications that are disposed of. If hiring is a goal of the event, you might want to measure the number of job applications that are completed. If it’s an annual event, you should try to improve your performance year over year.
  • Before we get to your questions I wanted to spend a couple minutes talking about how I have seen technology effectively used with events. Some examples of this include:-- Using QR codes on printed invitations to lead people to register on the web -- If you have a large crowd attending and you need to expedite the on-site registration process, using several iPads for registration can speed things up -- You might consider designing a smartphone app for your event. This can encourage attendees to engage with one another. -- If you have a main stage and want to run contests or quizzes in real time with your audience you can do so through text messaging or private social networks such as Yammer. -- Consider assigning a hash tag to your event; this will encourage attendees to tweet about the event and potentially reach people who aren’t in attendance
  • Before I get to your questions. I have a favor to ask you. When this presentation ends, a questionnaire will appear on your screen. Please take a few minutes to provide your comments about today’s webinar or share topic suggestions you’d like us to address in future webinars, we would value the feedback.  And now I’d like to answer any questions you have. If you haven’t done so already, please feel free to chat in your questions.
  • An Eventful Connection: How to Use Event Marketing to Build Relationships

    1. 1. An Eventful Connection: Using Event Marketing to Build Relationships To access the audio for today’s event, dial 1-866-740-1260 and enter code 2925553#.
    2. 2. About Albers Communications Group • Full-service PR, digital marketing and communications agency • Specialize in integrated strategies • Represent clients in all 50 states and Canada • Create national and local market exposure
    3. 3. Today’s Presenter Tom Albers, President • Tom@AlbersCommunications.com • 888.296.2411 x.1
    4. 4. Today’s Topics • • • • • Event objectives Types of events Key elements to an event plan Evaluating your events Questions and discussion
    5. 5. Event Objectives • • • • • • • Increase brand awareness Generate news media exposure Educate/reinforce your expertise Strengthen relationships Attract prospective employees Encourage certain behaviors Create goodwill
    6. 6. Types of Events • Grand openings/business milestones
    7. 7. Types of Events • Educational events/workshops/webinars
    8. 8. Types of Events • Observances
    9. 9. Types of Events • Cause marketing/community service
    10. 10. Types of Events • Awards/recognition
    11. 11. Types of Events • Community engagement
    12. 12. Key Elements of Event Plan • Event Checklist
    13. 13. Key Elements of Event Plan • Budget • Timing • Research other events in your community • Pick best time for media • Audiences • Internal • External
    14. 14. Key Elements of Event Plan • Registration • Photography/videography • Event agenda • • • • Speakers Entertainment AV equipment Food/refreshments
    15. 15. Key Elements of Event Plan • Promotion (before, during and after) • • • • Earned: News media Owned: Email marketing, mailing, website Shared: Social media Paid: Advertising
    16. 16. Evaluating Your Events • • • • • • Attendance Media exposure Website traffic Opt-in database Actions completed Job applications received
    17. 17. Incorporating Technology • • • • • Include QR code on invitations Facilitate on-site registration using iPads Design a smartphone app for your event Use text messaging to interact at event Assign a hash tag (#) to your event
    18. 18. Questions and Discussion

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