We all hear the word “engagement” tossed around often. And for good reason. It is an essential part of establishing that great first impression when it comes to courting new customers. As a result, it is also a critical aspect of any experiential marketing event. Engagement can take place before, during, and after the event, using multiple channels and strategies.
Ensuring you have a cohesive engagement strategy allows you to foster a customer connection and engage with your audience on a deeper level. Let’s take a look at some high-impact, yet easy, engagement strategies that surround experiential marketing events.
Speak to your ideal customer.
When you are creating content, advertising materials, and branding for your event, it is important to consider the first customer connection. What is their need? How can you help them? Why should they come to you? Also, consider the ways in which they prefer to communicate. Social media? Email? Both? Whenever possible, personalize your content so you are speaking to each individual as if they are the only person who matters.
Always stay true to your brand.
It’s perfectly fine, even encouraged, to share a variety of content with your audience before, during, and after the event. But it’s also essential to stay true to your brand and mission. You can easily lose loyalty and trust if you speak to something that doesn’t fall in line with your brand values or area of expertise. Rather than try to be everything to everyone, hyper-focus on what you are the best at and speak to that.
Keep communication channels open.
Ongoing engagement is critical in maintaining relationships with current and prospective customers. Utilize social media, email marketing, or even newsletters get people to engage with your brand. Keep in mind that to send an email or newsletter consumers need to opt in, so woo them with an authentic event experience and enticing incentives. Provide an SMS code to help them register, or arm brand ambassadors with tablets at your event to make gathering consumer info quick and easy.
Encourage engagement at your event by offering incentives. These can come in many varieties. Incentives could be giveaways, samples, or a free copy of your new eBook right to their inbox if they sign up on the spot. You can also provide digital coupons and offers in exchange for a customer’s email address.
People love videos, especially when it is focused on their favorite brands or causes. Videos are a great way to invite your audience in to get to know you better. At most events you are reaching out to a large group, but in a video, you are speaking to each person individually. When you are at an event, you can utilize video to draw people into your space. You can also record video during your event and distribute it online through email, social media, your website and more. People also love to see themselves in action, so providing them with a video that includes their own image will help develop a customer connection, encourage social sharing, and build a brand relationship.
Incorporate a call-to-action (CTA).
This is important in all aspects of consumer engagement. When someone visits your event, website, or engages with your brand in any way, they need to know clear next steps. Use signage and/or have brand ambassadors help them in entering a contest, signing up for a free consultation, or whatever your event goal is. Showing them what to do and how to follow your CTA will increase your chances of executing a successful event.
Create a sense of urgency.
Establish FOMO (fear of missing out) around both your event and its subsequent CTA. Provide event-only offers, and then deadlines for taking advantage of it. Give discounts for a limited time on valuable services. Offer an e-book or free consultation if they sign up within 24 hours. People don’t like to miss out, and you can use that fact to your advantage.
Remember their name.
People love to hear their own names – that is Sales and Marketing 101. When your brand ambassadors engage with someone at an event, it is of great benefit that they remember their name. Too often names are the first thing spoken and the first thing forgotten. Remembering and using someone’s name will go a long way to creating a customer connection.
This one seems simple, but is sometimes overlooked. Proofread your materials very carefully. Edit them. Read them. Show them to someone else. Make sure that everything you produce is grammatically correct, aligned with your brand, and contains accurate information. You will have a greater impact if your messaging at the event and online is error-free.
Keep it short, sweet, and interesting.
People are constantly bombarded with massive amounts of information. When you are at an event, capture your audiences attention with quick, intelligent, and enticing bits of information. Once you have their attention (and hopefully contact information), then you can have deeper and more meaningful interactions.
A customer connection starts with a smile.
This seems obvious, but can be overlooked in the chaos of a busy event. Smile at everyone. You never know who your next customer or mentor will be.
This is a critical concept for any marketing strategy. If people are taking the time to engage with your brand in any way, whether it is positive or negative feedback, always respond. Respond to every single person that engages on any platform. Even if their feedback is negative, always stay professional and provide them with a reply (however be careful with providing an excuse). Running a business is about how your customers respond to your product or service, and feedback is valuable and should be respected.
People love to share information that is relevant to them, and is shareable. They also love to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Live tweeting from your event is a great way to reach the people that aren’t able to attend the event, while including the people that are there. You can also encourage attendees to live tweet on their own by providing them with an event hashtag.
Hire a professional engagement team.
An event staffing company can provide you with the highest quality brand ambassadors to meet the needs of your event attendees. These professional event staff are dedicated to making a customer connection and are charismatic, passionate, and knowledgeable about your brand.
Make people laugh.
A super practical way to connect with any audience is to make them laugh. Humor can come in many forms. Use your discretion based on your specific audience and brand personality. But for many brands, a little humor can break the ice and kick start a great relationship.
Incorporate digital into in person events.
Providing consumers with an opportunity to create event content is a tremendous way to earn word-of-mouth marketing power. At the event, promote an event hashtag, provide a photo booth or other area to encourage content creation, or incorporate a social wall. After the event, promote discounts, offers, and continue the conversation using all forms of digital media.
Provide a glimpse behind the scenes.
It’s exciting to see behind the scenes of companies that you love. It makes them real and relatable. People want to support people, and in sharing the excitement behind the brand’s “mask,” you gain the trust of your audience. Create a digital slideshow of your team in their daily work life, and even upload images from the event itself.[Tweet “People equate consistent with dependable and trustworthy. #brandtrust”]
Listening is a crucial skill, especially when it pertains to the success of your business. Listen to your audience. Follow them. As you listen, you will establish a customer connection. Through that insight you can refine your offerings, evolve your target audience, and grow your business. And thank consumers for their feedback! When people feel heard and validated they will be more inclined to support your brand.
Put on some tunes.
Music is a great way to connect with people on a deeper level. It’s entertaining and pulls people into the excitement of the experience. If appropriate for your type of event, create a playlist of music that is upbeat and represents your brand. Even consider offering your “event soundtrack” as a free download online for a boost in post-event engagement.
People equate consistent with dependable and trustworthy. You can bring consistency to your brand at an event by making sure your entire team, from onsite managers to brand ambassadors, are fully briefed on everything they need to know about the event. Ensure that the entire event experience for your guests is in line with your brand’s mission and event goals.
These 20 practical tips are simple and effective ways to connect with your audience. Utilize one or all and watch your brand’s impact grow in an authentic way. And that authenticity will result in people who truly believe in your brand and mission.
Building a great customer connection with your brand is critical in fostering short and long-term sales. And experiential marketing events are one of the best ways to get there. Download our free Experiential Marketing Event Staffing Guide and Checklist for insight and tips on all things staffing and execution.