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How to Identify your Target Audience for an Event

©2020 Guest Post: Donald Fomby

In the age of digital media, one can be forgiven for considering live events as outdated. After all, it’s more affordable and straightforward to simply deliver content marketing materials to your target audience through social media, email and blog posts and call it a day. However, live events are still considered highly effective in terms of lead conversion, brand positioning and raising public awareness.

According to data published by Factory 360, 95% of business owners consider live events the best way to engage consumers despite available digital technologies, with 91% of consumers admitting that the experience of a live event has left them with a highly positive impression of a brand. While features such as live streaming and 24/7 customer servicing do exist via digital platforms, it seems that they have inevitably facilitated a renaissance of live events, encouraging both brands and consumers to yearn for such happenings.

However, identifying the right target audience for an event can be tricky, especially if you operate as an international company with a rich portfolio of products and services with no clear customer profile to speak of. That being said, let’s take a look at several ways in which you can successfully identify the right audience for your upcoming event in order to maximize its ROI and impact on your brand reputation in the eyes of relevant stakeholders across the globe.

The Benefits of Successfully Identifying your Target Audience

Before we get into the “how”, it’s worth discussing the “why” behind identifying your target audience. While it is true that you could simply aim to attract as many leads as possible to your event, the logistics of such an approach are not feasible. Live events typically take place in controlled venues with a limited number of attendees which adds to the event’s exclusivity, especially when it comes to international events.

Furthermore, leads which are not primarily relevant to your brand will only serve to take precious seats from those who are more likely to become your brand advocates and are intimately familiar with your business’ portfolio. As such, there are several concrete reasons for aiming to identify and attract the right attendee profile to your event, including but not limited to:

  • Filtering relevant leads from irrelevant for your specific event
  • Ability to focus and cater your messaging to the right audience
  • More referral, conversion and sales opportunities during and post event
  • Lucrative B2B networking and sponsorship opportunities due to smart lead targeting
  • Higher ROI from your event advertisement efforts

Identifying your Target Audience for an Event

1. Define why your Event is Important

The first order of business in terms of identifying and attracting the right audience for your event should be focused on internal planning. Namely, what is it that makes your event important enough for people to attend?

Do you play on unveiling new product or service lineups with complimentary demonstrations? Is your event centered on networking, professional development or B2B sales and partnerships? Defining the main purpose of your event will determine the approach you will take in the future steps of ensuring that the right attendees find their way to your venue more successfully.

2. Create an Attendee Persona

Once you have outlined your event, you should create a fictional persona of your perfect attendee. This figurative stakeholder should be defined in broad strokes but include details such as age, background and lifestyle to narrow the attendee profile down to its specifics. Likewise, it’s worth determining whether you intend to attract an international audience to your event or focus on a local market due to logistical or resource limitations.

For example, the Cannes Film Festival is an event created exclusively for filmmakers and industry professionals and isn’t available for occasional third-party attendees. The persona you create will help your marketing efforts by painting a clear picture of how the ideal target audience should look like once the applications start coming in. While you shouldn’t turn your back on an attendee solely because of their professional background, use the created persona as a reference point throughout your lead generation efforts.

3. Reach out to your Network

Your existing B2C and B2B networks should receive first notice of an upcoming event as a professional courtesy. Whether you operate as an international company or a local business, live events are always useful for reestablishing your networking efforts and allowing for new projects and investments to take place.

Approach your existing network with an invitation to the live event, explaining its purpose, logistics and benefits for their company or livelihood. If the event is international in nature, professional localization of your invitation is a must, making platforms such as Pick Writers more than a welcome addition to your writing efforts. Presenting your existing (and cold) leads with localized content in their own languages will add another layer of professional courtesy on your part, ensuring that their presence during the event is all but assured.

4. Marketing through Testimonials

One of the best ways to attract the right audience to your event is to use testimonials from past events, projects and collaborations as marketing materials. Social proof content for event marketing can be created on-demand as well by interviewing your B2B networking partners, event speakers or satisfied customers or clients. The World Allergy Organization and their upcoming 2020 event in Rome is also a great example of how presenting your partners and sponsors up front can be beneficial for letting future attendees know what to expect from the venue.

Testimonials allow for likeminded individuals to identify with your brand, your network and your value proposition in a straightforward manner, quickly determining whether or not an event is suitable for their tastes. At the same time, those stakeholders who don’t find these testimonials attractive will pass on the event by their own volition, helping you filter out relevant attendees by default.

5. Promote on Social Media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all have built-in user bases which are ripe for picking when it comes to generating attendees for your live event. Thus, B2B events can be promoted on LinkedIn while B2C promotion can take place on Facebook groups or your Instagram page with hashtags to boot.

Most importantly, you can narrow your social media search down to those platforms, groups and pages which would generally be used by your target audience. Social media platforms also allow for public communication, Q&A and networking via your event pages or published content, facilitating a higher degree of interactivity with future attendees or those who are on the fence about whether or not your event is the right choice for them.

6. Utilize Email Marketing

Lastly, email marketing is still a very relevant communication channel, especially when it comes to marketing your live event. One of the benefits of email marketing is that you can create a value proposition for the event and ship it to your mailing list with the attendance form attached below.

Those uninterested in your event will be able to say “no” without harm or foul given the delayed response times typically associated with email marketing. That way, any stakeholder who is interested in your event goals, program, scheduling and pricing will be able to quickly check in and let you know that they are up for attending.

In Summary

While it may seem counterintuitive to “pick and choose” your event’s audience, creating a pool of relevant leads for its attendance will help both you and your present attendees. Don’t be afraid to create strict attendee filtering rules for your live event – after all, the costs and logistics involved in organizing such an event demand high performing results to come out of the initiative.

It’s good practice to re-check your event’s attendance prior to the set date to determine whether or not all of your target audience will be accounted for. This is especially true for international events which also include travel logistics and attendees from across the globe, allowing you as the host to facilitate a lucrative critical mass of like-minded individuals all gathered around your brand.

Donald Fomby is a communications professional with more than five years of experience. Donald runs a blog at BestWritersOnline and is proud of his uncanny ability to explain the most complex subject in simple terms.

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