Are you considering adding promotional events to your marketing mix? Remember that promotional events are one of six overall marketing strategies (more on that below), and can be a great way to garner visibility and gather leads to fill your marketing pipeline.
If you’re not sure what promotional events are, here are some examples:
- Exhibiting at a trade show
- Holding a free demonstration
- Hosting your own webinar or workshop
- Co-sponsoring an event or fundraiser
- Holding an open house or reception
- Inviting colleagues and referral partners to a mixer or luncheon
Promotional events can be a bit of a tricky strategy to use, and here’s why: on the surface, they seem like they’re a great way to let people know about your business and services. And, in fact, they are. The tricky part is looking at the effectiveness and return on your investment, and this is where all the stars need to be aligned.
Some things to consider:
- Is the promotional event aimed at your ideal client?
- How much visibility will you really get at the event, i.e., how many people will be there?
- How much will it cost to participate (rent the booth or room, provide beverages and name tags, print materials to hand out, etc.)?
- How much time will it take?
- How many leads will you gather?
- How far do you have to travel?
- How much work will you need to do to promote the event?
- Will you need to coordinate with others, as in the case of a co-sponsored event, and do you have a good working relationship with them?
- Will you get a return on your investment that makes the event feel worthwhile?
If you’re interacting with your ideal client, the cost of the event seems reasonable, and you feel like your time is well invested for the return you’ll get — this is the ideal scenario under which to use promotional events.
Promotional events can be amazing at generating leads — it all depends on you, and how you like to market. If promotional events match up with your Super Powers and marketing mojo, then you should absolutely be doing them! If not, you’ll likely be more successful with one of the other five strategies (direct contact & follow-up, networking & referral-building, public speaking, writing & publicity, or advertising.
Let me give you an example of how a promotional strategy might look like if it’s working well: I have a colleague who owns a company that regularly makes multiple six figures. She loves to speak and host, so she’s used that to create a sales funnel, the bottom of which is entirely built on promotional events. Her main marketing activity is to have an evening in someone’s home, hosted by one of her business champions, someone who knows her work and is eager to share it with others. This evening is free and lasts about an hour and a half. The first part of the evening involves people meeting each other, having an appetizer, and sipping tea; the second part of the evening is her making a 20-30 minute presentation that’s valuable to the group; the last part of the evening is her letting people know how she’d love to continue to work with them, and inviting them to a low-cost two-day seminar she puts on, where she sells higher ticket offerings.
This simple strategy works very well, and she’s been using it for years: a simple evening in someone’s home, a valuable presentation of a reasonable length, and an invitation to spend more time and a tiny bit of money with her. This is one promotional strategy that’s built to be effective for her business, and fun for her.
As an attraction strategy, promotional events can be great. If you’re curious, give them a try and see how well they can work for you!