Let’s talk about why your guests are your best advocates.
You wear many, many hats as an event organiser. Not only do you have to put everything together, but you also have to make sure that people show up.
That means you have to spend a lot (if not most) of your efforts on marketing. PPC ads, social media, blog posts, email campaigns, flyers, and so on.
It gets exhausting.
So much so that we often forget about the oldest marketing technique in the world: word of mouth.
This article is going to focus on how to activate the people around you to make them your best advocates.
Read on to find out why:
- Friends are more influential than “actual” influencers
- It’s a good idea to narrow down your target audience
- Exclusive events get people talking
- Memorable events are important
- Social media shares still matter
- It’s crucial to follow up after an event
- It should be easy to review you
- Loyalty programmes are golden
These tips will help you understand why your guests are your best advocates (and how to activate them).
1. Friends are better than influencers
The rise of influencer marketing on social media has definitely shown us that people buy from people—not from corporations.
Those same corporations have, of course, managed to leverage that fact by paying the influencers to market on their behalf.
That can make social media influencers little more than mouthpieces for big businesses.
You know who won’t prioritise corporate money over your well-being? Your friends, your family, your partner, and your neighbour.
In fact, research has shown that people in our close networks are up to five times more influential than social media influencers.
It ultimately comes down to trust.
Nothing beats the recommendation of your close friends or family. They’re people that you can go back and yell at if they turned out to be wrong.
What to do now: Ask your friends to think of two people they think would be interested in your event. Then see if they can slip it into their next conversation.
2. Keep your target audience narrow
This seems like strange advice. Surely you’d want to attract as many different people as possible?
The reason why small businesses and events keep having success is that they target a niche.
Unless you’re a corporate behemoth, you’re unlikely to have the marketing budget to invite the world anyway.
The advantage of aiming for a narrow audience is that they’re more likely to have something in common.
And that leads to brand advocacy.
What to do now: Create a buyer persona. Write down who they are, what they like, how old they are, where they work, etc. Use that as a guide to focus your marketing efforts.
3. Host an exclusive event
A bit of exclusivity goes a long way. It makes people feel like more than just another number on your list of attendees.
Exclusive events get people talking, which in turn gets your name mentioned. It’s like being part of a special club.
It’s an effective strategy because of the perceived social status of exclusivity. Exclusive events are where you can spot a billionaire or a celebrity.
What to do now: Decide what will make your event exclusive. Is it a limited number of tickets? Do they have to register within a certain time frame? Do people have to know someone who knows someone?
4. Create a memorable event
It should go without saying, but the proof is in the pudding. A great event is the first step towards turning your guests into your advocates.
If there’s an event or venue you frequent, think about why you keep going there.
What makes you a loyal customer? Is it the entertainment? Is it the surroundings? Or is it because you’ve developed a personal relationship with the staff?
There is usually an x-factor (not the TV show) that makes you come back to that place, rather than find another one down the street.
What to do now: Find a way to make people think back on your event. It could be a group photo where everyone is tagged on social media, for example.
5. Make your event shareable on social media
You’ve gone the extra mile to make sure your guests feel special and love the event. Now make sure they tell their close network about it too.
Social media posts (like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram) are often a spur-of-the-moment thing.
When people see an impressive meal or venue, they immediately take a picture of it and share it online.
Make sure that your social media accounts can easily be tagged. It’s invaluable to be included in their posts because then others know where to find you.
What to do now: Put your social media accounts and hashtags everywhere. Your business card, your t-shirt, the wallpaper… you get the idea. Make it impossible to miss.
6. Don’t let your event be forgotten
It’s good practice to follow up after a successful event. Whether it’s an email or social media post, always let people know how much you appreciate their attendance.
It doesn’t cost you anything and can ensure you stay at the top of their mind for a little while longer. Long enough for them to remember you and tell their friends about you.
It’s even better if you follow up with a discount for their next visit or an invite to an exclusive event.
If you have partnerships with other event organisers, now is a good time to recommend them as well — they might return the favour.
What to do now: Draft a follow-up message for your guests. When the event is over, be sure to include a specific reference to something that happened. Then send it out along with an incentive to come again.
7. Make it easy to review your event
When you use apps like Instagram, you’ll often get a pop-up that asks you to give a review.
You’re immediately presented with the five stars, and it only takes you two seconds to rate them. No need to open up a separate app, wait for it to load, and then hunt through several menus.
That’s how easy it should be to review your event. The more hoops your guests have to jump through, the less likely they are to actually do it.
Another way to increase the likelihood of good reviews is to offer an incentive (a coupon, for example). Just remember: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
What to do now: Ask your event attendees to review your event. Don’t ask too much. It could be as simple as giving you five stars on Facebook.
8. Use a loyalty programme
A good way to make people keep coming back is to use a loyalty programme.
You’ve probably bought a latte at a coffee shop and received a card with a stamp on it.
The tenth coffee is on the house.
Where are you more likely to buy your next coffee? At that coffee shop. You’ll get your free cuppa even faster if you bring a friend or two and get them a coffee as well.
This is a perfect example of how loyalty programmes can activate your customers as advocates.
What to do now: Offer your guests specific incentives to come again and bring a friend. A free drink next time they come or a 2-for-1 ticket to your next live show.
Advocates are the best kind of marketing you can get.
Not only will they be repeat customers themselves, but they’ll want their friends in on the action as well.
They’ll be more than happy to spread the word about you because it reflects well on them too.
- Target a niche audience
- Make it exclusive
- Organise the best event you can
- Make it shareable on the socials
- Follow up after the event
- Make it easy to review
- Reward loyal customers
Good luck on your next event. Make your guests as excited about it as you are!