It’s Show Time! How to Make Your Next Event More Memorable

It's Show Time! How to Make Your Next Event More Memorable

What a start to the year! CCC kicked off 2020 on the road at client events, and we feel like we’ve been recovering ever since. Whether you’re hosting an event or exhibiting at one, we picked up some important tips to make sure attendees remember you—in a good way.

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Create an Immersive Experience

Experiential marketing is hot, because it invites your customers or attendees to become part of your brand experience. Instead of just telling attendees about your products or services, show how they can be used. Then, your customers or attendees will be able to picture themselves using your products or services—and understand why they need to buy. In today’s connected world, experiential spaces also provide a backdrop for selfies and Stories that will spread your brand’s message across social media.

The immersive experience you create will depend on your products and services, your budget and your brand’s story. What type of experience do customers expect from your brand? What benefits do your products and services deliver? How does your brand improve your customers’ lives?

Once you create a strategy, think about your budget. If budget isn’t an issue, go crazy! If you’re trying to operate on a smaller scale, think big in more creative ways. Instead of building a structure, create a space like basecamp did (pictured above) to showcase its outdoor and lifestyle products. Don’t be afraid to get creative! It’s amazing how you can transform a space when you think outside of the box (or booth or room).

3 Big (Affordable) Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

Hosting an event? Seek sponsors to help with costs of experiential spaces. How can you incorporate the sponsor’s company or brand, so they see a return on their investment? Or partner with fellow companies or brands that make sense, so you can dream bigger together.

Always Be Educating

Explain how attendees can use your product or service in terms your audience understands. Perhaps you’ve come up with novel product applications someone wouldn’t think of from looking at your product, or there’s more than meets the eye. Demonstrations help showcase hidden or overlooked features, novel uses or complex services.

Can your products or services be bundled with others to create a more complete user experience? Show the finished kits or bundles to your attendees, so they can see it for themselves instead of trying to picture it. If your service is frequently used with other services, demo them together to show a more extensive solution to your guests. This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with companies that sell products and services that enhance yours to split costs and pursue larger opportunities.

Selling a complex solution to a business market where buyer’s journeys tend to be more complex? Events are the perfect opportunity to talk to buyers face-to-face or answer targeted follow-up questions after attendees watch a video or live demonstration. Drum up interest by scheduling appointments or meetings ahead of your event and offer incentives to do so. You’ll be assured a steady stream of prospective buyers instead of hoping that attendees will stop by. If possible, offer walk-in demos in order to take advantage of floor traffic. You could leave some time towards the end of the event for attendees who expressed interest onsite, even offering a last call group demonstration before answering questions one-on-one.

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Offer Unexpected Value

Make your event memorable by offering value at every turn. Set the tone by welcoming attendees with a special surprise in their room or an event survival kit when they check in. Set up a relaxation station or recharge zone with a coffee bar, free WiFi, quick massages, seating areas, phone chargers, nature scenes/sounds and/or animals to play with. It’s amazing how puppies or llamas can lower your stress level!

4 Ways to Add More Fun (& Productivity) To Your Events

Sound out of your budget? Talk to a local animal shelter about bringing adoptable dogs to your event. The dogs will receive some love and attention, and the shelter will be able to show some of its animals, pass out its information and possibly even find some forever homes for its furry guests. Can’t build a Starbucks? Rent some Keurig machines so attendees can brew their own coffee. Look for a local massage school to work your event. The students will gain experience while they’re working toward their certifications, and schools are typically less expensive to work with than experienced professionals.

End your event with a celebration to remember, and tie it into your event theme. Sure, first impressions are important, but make sure attendees leave your event (or booth) on a good note. When attendees are enjoying themselves, they’ll get more out of your event—and spread the word about the wonderful experience they had. After all, what happens in Vegas now ends up all over social media!

Looking for help planning your next event? We can create a plan that works for you.

Event Feedback

What feature or amenity have you loved at an event?
How have you created an immersive experience for your guests or customers?
What tips would you add to make your event experience more memorable?

On the road again,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about your event needs, marketing ideas or when spring is coming):

 

Vlog: Showcase Your Event in a Show Daily

Last week, CCC was in Indianapolis creating content and getting social with over 34,000 firefighters from around the world at FDIC International 2018. In addition to impressive signage and booth displays, we picked up another cool idea — a Show Daily.

This tabloid-sized publication shared highlights from the previous day’s events. It’s also a great way to feature sponsors, hot/new products and actionable takeaways for attendees to follow up on during or after the show.

A practical piece that also serves as a memento from your event! How can you utilize a Show Daily?

#Hashtags: Big Business or Bust?

Hashtags

Hashtags — love them or hate them? Are they good or bad for business? Photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan via Creative Commons License

Let’s take a closer look at the world of hashtags…

On the positive side, hashtags open up your social media updates to a whole new world: non-subscribers, non-fans and non-followers. Searching hashtags brings potential fans, followers, subscribers — and customers — to your doorstep. Whenever I use hashtags, I always receive more traffic from those outside of my network. I’ve also come across brands — both personal and corporate — on Instagram and Twitter that I probably never would have found otherwise.

Hashtags are also a wonderful way to have a conversation online. Stay up to date with webinars, events, ad campaigns, sporting events, etc. by searching for the hashtag and participating in the conversation. As a marketer (or event professional), designating hashtags for your campaigns and events is a great way to invite attendees to join the conversation, build momentum pre- and post-event, involve those unable to attend and integrate your online and offline marketing efforts.

#Olympics hashtag search

The #Olympics hashtag: insight and insanity

For example, Twitter noted that the #SuperBowl hashtag was used 3 million times over an approximate 5-hour time period. As a marketing professional, you’re probably excited to jump in! But slow down — and do the math. That breaks down to an average of 167 tweets per second. And remember, anyone can use a hashtag — not only brands, companies or excited fans talking positively about your product or service. Someone complaining about a sideline reporter’s outfit or a celebrity that’s spotted in the crowd will show up in that hashtag search as well. As Oreo showed us, hashtags don’t make the tweet.

Power outage? No problem says Oreo.

Oreo stole the show on Super Bowl Sunday. No hashtag needed.

Another negative aspect is what I like to call ‘overhashtagging.’ I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but it is in my dictionary. #Have #you #ever #read #a #tweet #like #this? #Probably #not #because #its #so #annoying. I’ve spoken to Twitter users regarding hashtag use and come across research that noted readership (and engagement) drops after 2 – 3 hashtags. Of course, it’s not just on Twitter; we’ve all seen photos maxing out the 30 hashtag limit on Instagram. As my mom always says, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. #justsaying

In summary, hashtags have good and bad qualities like most things in life. They can be used correctly or abused as some of the pros and cons below show.

Pros

  • gain new followers, fans, subscribers and possibly customers
  • have a conversation online
  • bring event attendees into the conversation, including pre- and post-event
  • integrate online and offline marketing efforts
  • help a campaign go viral

Cons

  • new followers may be temporary or fake
  • aesthetically unpleasing
  • overuse is distracting / hard to read
  • overuse lowers readership / engagement
  • get lost in the sea of popular hashtags

I came across an insightful comment by Daniel Victor, social media staff editor at The New York Times, which sums up my opinion of hashtags well.

“Here’s where I’ll join the rest in unquantifiable hoodoo: I believe hashtags are aesthetically damaging. I believe a tweet free of hashtags is more pleasing to the eye, more easily consumed, and thus more likely to be retweeted (which is a proven way of growing your audience). I believe for every person who stumbles upon your tweet via hashtag, you’re likely turning off many more who are put off by hashtag overuse. We need not banish the hashtag, but let’s start putting more thought into when we’re using it.”

Your Thoughts

What do you think? Are you a hashtag user or recovering abuser? Refuse to use them?

Have hashtags been beneficial to your business? Or hurt your online brand?

Please chime in with your thoughts on the wonderful, wacky world of hashtags! Feel free to link to articles, blog posts, studies, etc. (including your own) on the subject in the comments as well.

Additional Reading

#EnjoytheWeekend!

Jaime

p.s. Sunday, June 30th, is Social Media Day 2013! Join CCC as we celebrate (virtually) the power of social media in our lives. View the event invite for details and social media resources.

Join the conversation: 
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“We’re getting the band back together.”

Just think how much easier it would have been for Jake and Elwood Blues if they had social media to help their cause. Of course, it wouldn’t have been nearly entertaining for us if they did.

Blues Brothers car

The getaway mobile that got the band back together!
Photo courtesy of Stig Nygaard via Flickr

Are you getting the band back together? Here’s four ways social media can help:

  1. Create an event on Facebook. This works for a public event or one where you’d only like to invite your friends or specific individuals. Get a head count and discuss details to make sure your event is a big hit. Post highlights and pictures/videos during and after the event to continue the momentum. Encourage attendees to snap their own pictures and shoot videos while tagging your company’s or brand’s page to spread the word.
  2. Google+ Events is a helpful planning tool for in-person or virtual get together’s (Google+ Hangouts). You can even invite people not yet on this social media platform via email, so check it out for your next party. Create a ‘circle’ of attendees to easily disseminate information to them.
  3. Finalize details and locate attendees as they arrive on Twitter. No, there’s not a specific ‘events’ function, but this micro-blogging platform is perfect for promoting your event, asking others if they’re attending or to find out if someone your meeting for lunch is already at the restaurant. You can also ‘live tweet’ an event by tweeting updates while they’re happening. Create a hashtag (#myevent) for your event so virtual (and even in-person) attendees can easily follow.
  4. Blog about your event to raise awareness and create excitement. Ask others to guest blog so attendees can get multiple viewpoints and learn more about specific activities, panels, etc. Engage attendees by asking for their feedback via comments and polls. Your event’s story can be continued during the festivities to update those who couldn’t make it or fill in the blanks for attendees who missed a specific session or interesting point. Add pictures, videos and links to follow-up content to pique interest and continue the conversation.

How have you used social media to plan, promote or follow up for your events? I’d love to hear about your ideas below. Feel free to ask questions you may have about upcoming events on your schedule.

Enjoy today!
Jaime