Successful Event Promotions Utilize Every Tool in the Box
Construction equipment dealers embrace events. By all accounts, open houses, rodeos, seminars, barbecues, and charitable events appear to be bigger than ever. Consider Kirby Smith Machinery’s Paving Seminar for more than 500 attendees held at the Arlington Convention Center, in Arlington, Texas, for the past two years; or Western States’ Dump Hunger campaign that last year raised more than 700,000 pounds of food for local food banks.
These dealers realize that it takes more than a free BBQ sandwich for a successful event. There must be a draw, such as an educational component or equipment demo; as well as alignment with the company’s objectives. Promotions must break through the clutter to get customers and prospects to not only attend but engage. Evaluate your pre-, during- and post-event promotional activity to meet specific measurable objectives.
Try Something New
It’s important to keep things fresh, so even if last year’s event was terrific don’t let it get stale. Do something different. If your objective is for every attendee to see a demo of a new product, give them an incentive for participating. Don’t let prospects leave the event without capturing information on their business. Offer a maintenance discount for anyone who connects with you on social media. Give them something to share on social media by offering interesting and exciting food and entertainment options. It’s all about engagement.
Avoid a One-Size-Fits-All Promotional Strategy
When deciding who you are targeting with your event, avoid a promotional strategy that treats everyone the same. Segment VIPS and past attendees to deliver personalized phone invitations and special incentives. Make current customers feel appreciated with personalized promotions and email communication.
Events also offer a good opportunity to engage with people whose business you want, but don’t get. Attending an event may be less threatening to a prospect than a sales call. Use the time to build a relationship and listen. Use fleet size and equipment insight from EDA to identify prospects. Promotions should outline the business benefits of attendance. Highlight equipment experts who will be on hand, as well as interesting demos.
Use All the Channels
Increase reach and effectiveness by utilizing a variety of marketing channels including PR, advertising, social media, email marketing, telemarketing and your company website. Look for manufacturer and community partnerships to help grow your audience and resources. In the examples above, Kirby Smith partners with Wirtgen, while Western States partners with grocery chain Albertson and finance partner Wells Fargo.
Host an Event within an Event
Provide a new experience that will engage attendees during your event. Host a contest. Allow attendees to take a photo with your machine that can be immediately shared online. Bring in entertainment or move the event off-site to a memorable location. After the event, share information online.
Incorporate Social Media
Reward those who follow your company on social media or sign up for your email. Incentives can include a free t-shirt or a complimentary equipment inspection. Create a hashtag on Twitter to make your event easy to follow. Populate your Facebook page with exclusive, sharable event content. Post event updates in real time. Highlight the event online with good use of video, photos and commentary.
Make the Most of Your Investment
It’s easy to just breathe a sigh of relief when an event is over, but instead look for ways to stay connected with attendees. Share photos and presentations with attendees. Send a post-event press release announcing contest winners.
Remember, there is no one tool or tactic that will make your event a success. Instead it’s a lot of little things. Tell us what promotions have worked for you.