The Right Marketing Company Can Make All The Difference
Holding an event can cost you a lot of money, so the last thing you want to happen is low ticket sales. Whether you’re holding an event with a goal to entertain people, educate people, or something else entirely, one of two things is true: you want to make money on the event or you want to break even.
In order to reach either of those goals, you need to make sure people are aware of your event and motivated enough to buy tickets. Often, you need to hire an event marketing company to make it happen, but first, you have to ask yourself two questions:
- Should you hire an event marketing company?
- How do you choose the right event marketing company?
Keep reading to learn how to answer both of those questions to ensure your ticket sales and your events are successful.
Should You Hire an Event Marketing Company?
To determine if you should hire an event marketing company to help you promote your event, ask yourself the following five questions and answer as honestly as possible. Your answers will help you decide whether or not you should pay professionals or do it yourself. In other words, you’re only doing yourself a disservice if you don’t answer these questions honestly.
1. Do you or does someone on your team truly know how to promote your event?
Are you a marketing expert? I’m not talking about whether or not you think you understand advertising because you’ve seen a lot of ads in your life or have a friend or relative who has done some marketing work in the past. I’m talking about whether or not you understand marketing theory, strategy, and tactical execution. The truth is if you’re not an experienced marketing professional, then you will waste money by handling your own marketing. It’s as simple as that.
Would you handle your own heart surgery because you’ve read a lot about it or watched a lot of documentaries about it? I hope not! The same thing is true of any specialty, including marketing. Invest your time and energy into what you do best, and invest your money into hiring professionals so your monetary investments aren’t wasted.
2. Do you have the time and/or desire to promote your event yourself?
Most event organizers are extremely busy, and many plan events in addition to their full time jobs! If you don’t have enough hours per week to devote to promoting your event effectively, then you’ll end up wasting both time and money on efforts that won’t deliver adequate returns. As you learned in question #1 above, use your time to do what you do best and use your money to pay other people to do what they do best.
Months before your event, it might seem like you have plenty of time to handle your own marketing, but a few weeks before your event, you won’t feel the same way. In other words, when you need to be focused on marketing your event, you’ll be too busy handling logistics and operations to think about marketing. By hiring an event marketing company early, you’ll have peace-of-mind that event promotion will continue when you’re too busy to think about it.
3. Are you already promoting your own event but spending so much time on event marketing that other things aren’t getting done?
If marketing is taking time away from other necessary event planning tasks that you really need to get done, then you need to hire an event marketing company to help you. For example, you need to hire professional marketers if you’re spending hours per day on digital advertising, search engine optimization, and social media marketing only to discover that you don’t have time left in the day to confirm the venue set up time, close sponsorship deals, discuss parking and traffic with local police, train volunteers, hire event staff, and so on.
The truth is there are only so many hours in a day and only so many hats that you can wear at the same time. Pick and choose your personal areas of focus and your team members’ responsibilities based on their areas of experience and knowledge, and work with third party professionals, including event marketers, to get everything else done in time and on budget.
4. If you’re already promoting your own event, do you know which of your efforts are working and which are not?
Once you start promoting an event, it’s critical that you track the results of every marketing investment to ensure that each is delivering an adequate return on your investment (ROI). If you’re not tracking the performance of every marketing investment, you’re probably wasting money on underperforming initiatives that could be better spent on other tactics.
When you work with an event marketing company, the team of marketing professionals assigned to your account will understand how to set up your marketing analytics, so they can track and report on every marketing investment for you. You’ll feel confident that you’re not wasting money, because you’ll be able to see the exact results every investment delivers to you and make changes whenever necessary to boost your ROI.
5. Are you selling enough tickets?
Take a look at your ticket sales. Are you on track to sell enough tickets to break even? Will you generate a profit from ticket sales? Are you going to lose money? If you’re not on a path to sell out or break even at a minimum, then you need help from an event marketing company.
An experienced event marketing company knows how to jumpstart ticket sales months, weeks, or days before your event. They know what works and can help you identify opportunities to reach your ticket sales goals so you don’t have to worry about breaking even. Instead, you’ll know they’re leveraging the budget you’ve allocated to marketing your event using tactics that will ensure ticket sales are successful.
How Do You Choose the Right Event Marketing Company?
Now that you know you need to hire an event marketing company to help you promote your event, it’s time to choose the right event marketing company. This choice is so important because all marketing companies are not the same. They have different areas of expertise and experience.
You need to do some research, ask a lot of questions, and listen carefully to choose the best company for your event. Follow the tips below to choose who to work with to promote your event.
1. Define Your SMART Goals
SMART goals are traditionally used in employee performance planning, but they apply for many types of goal setting, including setting event marketing goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In simplest terms, you need to set goals for your marketing investments that:
- Are extremely specific
- Can be measured to determine whether or not you reach them
- Are realistic for you to attain
- Are highly-relevant to your event
- Can (and should) be completed within a specific amount of time
For example, a SMART goal might be to generate 500 ticket buyer leads from a Facebook ad investment within four weeks. This goal is specific (to generate 500 ticket buyer leads), attainable (you’re not trying to get 500,000 leads in four weeks), relevant (ticket buyers could lead to sales which will make your event successful), and time-bound (four weeks).
Beware of companies that promise they can deliver huge results that aren’t realistic, and steer clear of companies that promise to deliver more than their prices would have you believe. You get what you pay for, so if the price seems low for to-good-to-be-true results, raise a red flag and stay away!
2. Research Competencies
What services does each agency you’re considering offer? Do they have specialties? Are their services in line with the types of promotion you want to invest in for your event? For example, an event marketing company that doesn’t offer social media marketing services is probably not a good choice to help you promote an online event or a concert where so much word-of-mouth marketing happens on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites.
You should review each agency’s portfolio and ask to see results from previous events they’ve promoted. It’s important that they have processes in place to promote events like yours. You don’t want them to have to start from scratch with your event. Instead, look for a company that already knows what works.
3. Research Experience
In addition to researching competencies, you should research each agency’s experience. How many events like yours have they handled the marketing for? Make sure other events are like yours or you can’t compare apples to apples. Marketing a corporate conference is much different from marketing an air show or renaissance fair! You need to feel confident that the agency you work with understands what you do and what you need because they’ve done it before.
Furthermore, research the experience of the team members who will work on your marketing initiatives. Often, an agency will send a sales representative to pitch new clients, but you won’t actually work with that sales person if you choose the agency. Instead, you’ll work with a team of people you’ve never met before. With that in mind, ask to meet or talk to every person who will work on your project, and ask to see their resumes, bios, or write-ups describing their skills and experience.
4. Request Proof
Event marketing companies could make you believe they’ll sell every ticket to your event without any challenges at all. That’s not usually the case. Therefore, always ask for references, but not just any reference will do. Ask to speak directly with references and insist that those references be current and the work completed was similar to what you need to promote your event.
When you speak with references provided by agencies, ask about the results the agency achieved as well as any challenges they faced while working on the event. Ask who they worked with on the agency’s team to learn if they worked with the same people who will be on your own team, and ask what communication with those team members was like. Were the agency’s team members accessible and responsive? Did they proactively detect problems or opportunities? Use this conversation as a chance to envision what your daily experience with each agency will be like if you select them.
5. Evaluate Costs
Of course, you need to understand the fees and other costs that each agency will charge you. Some might work on a retainer basis while others might charge by the hour or based on a percentage of your advertising budget.
Be sure to ask if there are any third-party fees that could bring the cost up. For example, some agencies include advertising fees charged by pay-per-click networks and channels (such as Google AdWords and Facebook) in their rates while others charge these third party fees separately.
Compare the prices you get from your top three agencies. If a company’s fee seems excessively low, you should probably avoid it. The same is true for a company with an exorbitant fee. However, you can ask more questions for further clarification of any fees you’re unsure of, and you can always negotiate fees. Most agencies have some wiggle room in their initial estimates that they can use to extend a discount, particularly if they want to win your business for future projects, too.
Your Next Steps
Before you decide if you need to hire an event marketing company to help you promote your next event and before you start researching agencies to choose from, take a moment to download a PDF version of this article so you have all of the information you need at your fingertips! Answer each of the five questions and follow each of the five tips to ensure you always make the best decisions so your events can be as successful as possible.