9 Steps To an Event Strategy Framework
1. Identify Broken Bridges of the 6 Foundations & Event Clarity
It all begins with understanding the 6 stages that connect the event campaign together: strategy, logistics, outreach, nurturing, sales, and metrics. Take a look at the objectives within the checklist and start with this exercise:
Download the Full 6 Foundations to Optimize Event Results Checklist: http://bit.ly/30OIxyQ
In the learning column, mark each segment either as a #1, #2, or #3:
Label Items with #1: You DON'T have a clear understanding or access to proper resources, action steps and connections to execute - let's get some clarity
Label Items with #2: You HAVE a clear understanding and have access to proper resources, action steps and connections to execute - may have future questions, but not an immediate need
Label Items with #3: You understand 100% and also have a working process set up for your event(s) that doesn't need optimization - no help needed
2. Identify Your 6 W's of Event Worthiness
I hear it all the time... "Events are so much work and we spend more time, money and energy than they're worth". I help client's convert events from a marketing expense into a profitable investment to maximize their event results.
Events are one of the MOST effective ways to connect and impact your audience. When it comes to maximizing event results it all begins with determining if it's worth while in the first place - not matter if you're the host, attendee, or participating in event sponsorship. Here are my 6 W's of Event Worthiness Before Committing to Participating:
1. Why should I go to this event or host this event?
Is there any opportunity that your seeing about going to this event or hosting this event?
2. Who is your target audience?
Define your target audience. Will they be at this event? What is their intention of attending the event?
3. Who is needed to put on a successful event?
If you’re the host, your team requirements is going to be different than if you’re a sponsor, an exhibitor, or an attendee. Either way, you need to know who is needed to put on a successful event and if you have these people in house or if you need to hire them.
4. What are your objectives and goals?
Knowing what your objectives and goals ahead of time will help you determine what logistically needs to happen for success.
5. What logistically needs to happen for success?
Identify the logistical tasks that need to happen based on each goal and objectives.
6. What is your pre-, during, and post-event strategy?
Define you pre-, during, and post event strategy before you dive into logistics.
3. Rank 7 C's of Event ROI
In this step, what we’re looking to identify are the objectives of why you’re doing the event. The 7C’s are your objectives: cash flow, convert to conversation, community connection, credibility, customer journey, criteria of contributors and supporters, and to create buzz.
Ranking the 7 C’s will give you a more clear direction and priorities for your marketing strategy. You’re ranking should align with your 6W’s. We can prioritize our marketing efforts towards building credibility and community connection with specific goals vs. executing different resources, time and energy if you rank increasing cash flow and convert more leads from outreach into sales.
Refer to the 8 Fundamentals Page for the Full Chapter and Video
✨ Customer Experience & Journey
4. Map out the customer journey
Another critical thing that adds up to your event success is your customer journey. One of the quickest ways to optimize event ROI is to use events at the right part of your customer journey.
Hosting an event for cold leads that aren’t even pre-qualified with the expectation of them to convert into a sell typically ends up in no shows, not qualified to buy, confused audience or maybe even worse… a dent in your event credibility making it 3x harder to relaunch the next one.
Exhibiting or sponsoring an event without a pre, during, or post event plan can leave a lot of opportunity and potential connections left on the table.
There are ways we can optimize event results by tweaking when and how the event is utilized in the customer journey - if that’s even the intention.
You’re marketing strategy gets extremely messy without clear messaging, and if you’re not clear what you want your audience to do or what happens next, then how are you able to communicate and encourage them to stick along for the journey?
So... let's map out the pre-, during-, and post-event customer journey and be able to visualize what it looks like for your customer. Remember, when you’re mapping out your customer journey, make sure that every block leads to your event objectives and goals.
1. Attract Ideal Target Market
2. Clear Call to Action
4. Provide Value & Resources
5. Segment Audience & Campaigns
6. Engage & Custom Touch Points
7. Invitation & RSVP - "The Ask"
8. What to Expect & Attend
9. Follow Up, Missed You & Qualify
10. Screening & Discovery
11. New Business & Retain
12. Analyze & Adjust
5. Set Specific Goals
Sometimes teams brainstorm the goals without clear objectives and customer journey. As a result, people may have unrealistic or unattainable goals. This is why I recommend you to go through the steps in order that I go in.
We want to create goals based on Step 1 through 4 to help create a strong foundation. And when you create your event goals, it has to be specific. If you’re not specific, how can you tell if you’re event is successful?
Create specific goals that are specific not only for during the event but also for pre- and post- event and categorize each of your goal by strategy, logistics, outreach, nurture, sales, and metrics. You want to have goals for each of this chapter that link to your other event goals.
6. Determine How You'll Measure Success and Define KPIs
Now that you know what your goals are, how are you going to keep yourself accountable with those goals? How would you know if you are on-track to reach your goals? This is what a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is.
Define how you are going to track your progress so you can assess and analyze how close you are to your goals. For instance, if your objective is credibility and your pre-event goal is to get on four different credible podcasts that will help you get in front of your target audience, your KPI is the number of times you got on podcasts.
So, if you got on two podcasts, then this means you're halfway to reaching this goal. This is why setting goals that are specific is critical. You can’t really get to create your tracking system, your KPI, if you don’t know what your goals are or if your goals are too general.
7. Define your messaging and marketing collateral strategy
What happens, a lot of times, people dive into creating their marketing collateral without a clear messaging. Think of the event as a specific campaign. What do you want people to learn about you at the event? You don’t necessarily need to revisit your entire business strategy or your brand messaging.
What you want to consider though is how you want to be seen at the event? How do you want to be heard or acknowledged? So defining your messaging based on what you want to be said and again it should link back to your objectives, goals, and customer journey. Also, your messaging should speak to your target audience and the segments within that target audience.
8. Develop the outreach & nurturing foundation strategies
Outreach is where most marketing experts may begin but we really want to set up a strong foundation so that you know how you are going to outreach, what platforms you need to get in front of your target audience.
Are they on LinkedIn, Facebook, MeetUp, or library? Your platform can be online or physical location.
Nurturing is the process we continue to communicate with our target audience that has already been outreached to, but is not yet ready to move forward. For instance, if you are and event planner, exhibitor, or event organizers, your outreach is when you invite them to come to your event - the nurturing is continuing to educate them on why they should come to your event and what to expect.
Why should they spend their money, resources, and energy to come to your event? Know what tools you want to use in your for nurturing your target audience. You can use a bunch of marketing tools like E-Mail, Facebook messenger, Instagram, chatbots, or phone calls, whichever works for your target audience.
Also know the sequence of your outreach and nurturing. Your outreach and nurturing sequences are different depending on who you are trying to attract. For instance, if you are a host and you’re trying to attract exhibitors, the sequence is much different if you’re trying to bring in sponsors.
9. Define your logistics management plan - This includes event planning & marketing
This is where we can now map out the logistical tasks that need to happen to complete your strategy blueprint.
For instance, if your goal is to get on four credible podcasts, what needs to happen to achieve this goal? What needs to be where and how does it get there? So event planners and the whole team must be in sync in making sure that the WHAT gets WHERE it needs to be.
Now is the time to make sure that everyone in the marketing team is aligned and knows what content needs to be created like email campaigns, social media campaigns, landing pages, or blogs.
Logistical tasks also means who needs to be where and when? What team is needed to be created to organize an event campaign and deliver results. This may mean delegating and assigning tasks to make sure the event timeline is on track. Who will do what and when so they know their accountable and you know who to follow up on each assignment.