Marketing tips for event suppliers: Time to review your marketing mix

February is the perfect time to assess your marketing mix and to firm up a plan for the rest of the financial year. You need a broad range of both sales and marketing activities that will all work in harmony together to ensure qualified leads come through consistently. Historically, winter is a quiet time for our industry so act now with these simple tips and avoid being reactive when Winter strikes.

Directory listings; get bang for your buck!

Directory listings are a great way to promote what you do to a wide range of potential buyers. There are many online directories these days so it’s helpful to look at who you are listed with and the level of qualified enquiry that you are generating as a result – you may be listed with some directories that are generating a high level of enquiry that never convert so now is a good time to assess the value of these listings if they are only serving to create pointless activity for your busy team. 
 
Ask the question – what other avenues do they have for promoting your business? Often, there will be opportunities to beef up your listing with banner ads, social media promotions or with features in EDM’s so make sure you are using every opportunity. Ensure your listings are up to date with new products or feature packages, as well as ensuring the images are excellent and that your details are accurate. 
 
It is good practice to update your listings regularly with any special offers you may have (for example you might want to start promoting your winter incentives from around March – April). You will only get out of your directory listings and memberships what you put in to them and they should be a focus area through February and ongoing.

Perform a midyear marketing review & map out the coming months

Post event season is a great time to review your marketing and to make any necessary adjustments to ensure a strategic approach for the rest of the financial year. 
 
Before allocating further marketing spend for the year – work out where your enquiries are coming from and from which market segments. Are there any trends or patterns as to what people are enquiring about and why they are or are not going ahead with your services? If you are spending money in a particular area, e.g. print advertising, and are receiving little or no qualified enquiry, it is time to consider the effectiveness of this.
 
Winter is historically a quieter time in events, so prepare now by putting together any necessary incentives or winter packages – some common ones are winter weddings, winter conferences or end of financial year packages, all of which should have collateral created shortly and be taken to market by March or April. End of season sporting events, university events and company AGM’s will occur through July and August so plan how you are going to approach them now. Create a timeline (use Excel or Project if you have access) of how you are going to take these products to market – e.g. March, update directory listings, April send out solus EDM etc.

Set your process in stone

Are you missing out on some brilliant business because leads are not being responded to quick enough or followed up on correctly? 
 
Set in stone who does what and what the expectations are around sales process – for example, clients should be responded to with a detailed proposal within the industry standard 24 hour time frame. Ensure that your team understands that follow up on this proposal is a critical part of the sales process (this is where the real selling begins) and this should occur within 48 hours via phone, or for larger or new events, a face to face appointment to go through the quote is always appreciated by client. This could be a good time to identify any issues with your sales process or to identify any development needs for your team - perhaps they require some training on the negotiation side of things? 
 
Check what enquiries you are currently holding for the rest of the year, there could be some golden opportunities in there that just need some attention.  It is easier to confirm a client that has found their way to you already than prospecting for new business – so treat each inbound enquiry, no matter what their size, as a hot lead and a relationship to be nurtured. Who knows, that client that has enquired about a small meeting could also be in charge of booking the company Christmas party for 1000 guests?

Get social

It is time to get on board the social media revolution if you haven’t already.
 
Whether you specialise in food, venues or entertainment – all facets of the events industry provide unlimited content that is perfect for social media. Use your February downtime to review your existing social media – check out the free Insights data from your facebook page to see who your market is and what they like and use this to your advantage.
 
Events is a creative industry so look at prioritising the visual social medias such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. During your planning time, review your image gallery and decide what your aim is for each social media account. For example, are you going to use Instagram to showcase your own inspirations or to showcase your product? Get to know the scheduling tools available such as Schedule Post on Facebook, Latergramme and Hoote Suite – all of which allow you to pre-schedule your social media posts in advance, which is a great help to busy events business operators.  Remember that social media is not a hobby or an admin task and should be used strategically and consistently throughout the year. Map out a calendar of what you are going to say on which days, this will help you avoid missing days or posting up content that is poorly thought out.
 
Now is the time to act to ensure your events business is at Max Capacity for the remainder of the financial year and beyond.



P.S Interested in publishing your experience, ideas and wisdom on Event Birdie too? We would LOVE to hear from you if you do! Drop us a line and we'll tell you how you can get involved! (info@eventbirdie.com)

Guest post by Lauren Lacava | Black & White Marketing

Lauren Lacava has over 18 years’ experience in sales, marketing and management and is the Fearless Leader of Black & White Marketing, a Melbourne-based consultancy and marketing agency that provides real advice and effective marketing solutions to help events businesses grow.