8 Strategies to Turn Event Attendees into Brand Advocates

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Posted on March 31, 2023

Event marketing is one of the best ways of attracting new customers. It helps brands raise awareness and engage with an array of audiences. 

But most organizations leave one element of their event marketing untapped — the event attendees. 

Clever marketers leverage guests as brand advocates. They act as a reliable source of social proof for your new customers and boost your brand image organically.

Through a well-executed event, you don’t need to chase customers for testimonials. Instead, you let them experience what your brand offers. This gives you an excellent chance to get ample UGC and showcase brand advocacy. 

But that requires proper and meticulous strategy. Today’s article will show the eight best ways to turn event attendees into passionate brand advocates. 

Why you need to turn event attendees into brand advocates

No matter how much traction you get from paid advertisements, nothing beats the authenticity of genuine testimonials from loyal customers. Creating and retaining customer loyalty can take time and effort in a fast-paced market. The key to that is building meaningful and engaging relationships with your consumers. 

Organizing brand events is a great way to do that. This way, companies can curate an experience that makes their brand memorable for the customers. Attendees get to have an immersive experience of your brand message. 

When the attendees talk about their positive experiences at your event, it creates a word-of-mouth effect and boosts brand awareness. Brand advocates also add credibility and help potential customers trust your services. More people get interested in your brand, bringing you better leads and increased sales. 

Eight Strategies to turn event attendees into brand advocates

Here is how you can get your event attendees to endorse your brand:

  1. Offer incentives 

Planning and organizing an event will be futile if enough people don’t turn up on D-Day. So first, you need to think of ways to maximize participation. 

Give your audience incentives appealing enough to nudge them to take out the time and participate. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Pre-event

While promoting your event, use your email outreach program to share incentives. You can send your customer, and potential leads an email with the event registration links and sweeten the deal with a personalized voucher or discount code. You can also share a free PDF with engaging content as a pre-event incentive. Make it more extraordinary by enabling a PDF to JPG converter to convert them into images people can download.  

Everybody likes gifts. When you offer one upon registration, the prospects will like you better and be more inclined to join. 

  1. During and post-event 

Keep the event engaging by welcoming your guests with small goodie bags or welcome snacks. Keep refreshments ready during the event. 

Consider arranging tokens of appreciation for bidding your guests adieu. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Brand swag like caps, stationery, or t-shirts is popular post-event incentives. 

  1. Create social media campaigns.  

Social media is the best channel to promote your event. Spending no significant amount, you can spread the word among large audiences and boost attendance. 

Plan a social media promotion strategy applicable across different content forms to get the best results. Create an event page on LinkedIn or other channels and include all the details in the description, like SaaStr. Include ticket links and mention the date and time. If it’s a virtual event and you are targeting a global audience, include different time zones in the description.

Plan a social media promotion strategy applicable across different content forms to get the best results. Create an event page on LinkedIn or other channels and include all the details in the description, like SaaStr. Include ticket links and mention the date and time. If it’s a virtual event and you are targeting a global audience, include different time zones in the description.

Posting countdown stories is an effective way to create urgency around your event. Share behind-the-scenes photos of your venue and other arrangements to build anticipation. Consider designing a dedicated hashtag to produce buzz across all your social media channels. 

If you plan to have guests or event speakers, feature them in your event’s promotion campaign. Also, get attendees to market the event to create a buzz.

  1. Personalize their experience

The success of your event lies in its relevancy. Plan everything around your target audience, from the theme to the agenda. 

  1. Understand the target audience.

Your event will fall flat if you don’t know your audience inside and out. Depending on your industry, develop your ideal attendee’s profile. Elements you need to consider here are: 

  • Age
  •  Gender
  •  Ethnicity and religion
  •  Income and education
  •  Geographic location
  •  Hobbies

Analyze attendees of your past events and examine your customers’ interests. This will give you a general direction to move forward with your event. 

  1. Create a personalized agenda.

Based on the data you find, create an agenda that accommodates the interests of your target audience. 

For example, if your target audience is Gen Z, you want to create an event with activities like gaming consoles, hip music, etc. An exclusive meet-up or inviting niche influencers may help. 

  1. Personalize communication

Effective communication during an event is accessible, transparent, and personalized. Keeping communication channels accessible is crucial while planning a brand event. To maximize personalization, you can go one step further and create dedicated communication channels for your event on social media, WhatsApp, and emails. 

This will help you keep track of audience interest in the event. It will also allow you to deliver a personalized service to each interested lead. 

  1. Meet and greet with the panel.

Keep a segment of your event open for a meet and greet with the panel and communicate it during event promotions. This will maximize participation and keep the energy and engagement high during your event.

Meeting their favorite influencer or asking questions to industry leaders will create memories your attendees will cherish. They will feel valued and associate positive memories with your brand. This way, attendees might boast about their experience, advocating for your brand to peers. 

  1. Encourage attendees to engage with the brand. 

Since you have brought attendees to the event, promote engagement with your brand. 

To make attendees feel heard, start your event with a Q&A session. Your audience will feel valued and pay more attention to other activities. 

Sampling is another splendid way to engage attendees with your product. Give your audience a chance to try your product out live.

For example, mattress company Casper disrupted the market with their unique take on experience marketing. The brand arranged a 15-city Nap Tour, displaying traveling Napmobiles and inviting the audience to try out their mattress. 

  1. Create shareable experiences

To turn attendees into brand advocates, try delivering memorable experiences they can share. Tailor experiential tactics to connect with your audience through engaging activities. 

Arrange contests like scavenger hunts, quizzes on your industry, live karaoke, etc. Make sure the activities are on the brand. 

For example, Travel South Dakota arranged an event in Chicago’s Millenium Park. They included activities like rock climbing to communicate the essence of the state’s tourism. They also built a replica of Mount Rushmore and arranged free barbeque food for the attendees. 

  1. Promote networking 

More than fun activities is needed to give your attendees a satisfying experience. They will deem your event successful if they can connect with like-minded people and network. 

So, while arranging the event, create an environment that facilitates interaction. The venue you choose and the layout you plan should be conducive to mingling.

Use multiple seating configurations so that you can accommodate different seating requests. The space should have two separate segments — a quieter area for one-on-one conversations and a more casual space for general networking. For example, the Bloomberg Breakaway CEO Summit hosts an opening night dinner for guests before their 1-day event.

Rectangular tables isolate people. To make the space more interaction-friendly, use round tables for lunchtime instead. 

Provide your attendees with clear name tags. You can also promote interactions through group activities.

Darshan Somashekar, the founder of Hearts.land, explains that companies can facilitate networking. “I once attended an event where you had to be in teams to play a trivia game. I ended up staying in touch with many people who were on my trivia team. It was a great way to facilitate connections.”

  1. Share user-generated content after the event.

Use the hashtag you created while promoting your event and look for user-generated content. However, ask for permission before using the content. You can also run a social media wall where the attendees can submit the pictures and videos they took during the event. 

For example, Epic Events NY, an event management company, collaborated with Taggbox for a corporate event. They stationed photo booths across the venue to provide attendees with an interactive photo and video experience. This generated a massive number of UGC for the brand. 

Make sure you send a follow-up email to your attendees after the event. Add a redirect link to your feedback page or any other channel where they can share their experiences. 

  1. Stay in touch

Brand events are a great way to establish a firm foundation of brand advocacy. But to solidify your efforts, you must keep in touch with your attendees after the event. 

Use this opportunity to convey more information about your brand. This will help you form long-term relationships with your existing customers and turn attendees into effective brand advocates. 

Conclusion

Successful companies create deep connections with their customers. Here, strategic event marketing can be a big help. 

Make sure your efforts seem genuine and not solely transactional. Promote your events through social media and email marketing. Create dedicated hashtags and allow attendees to create user-generated content. 

Lastly, focus on offering a memorable and shareable experience and making event participants relate to your brand. 

With a proper understanding of your target audience and a dash of creative approach, you can get your event attendees to endorse your brand better than any paid campaigns. 

The author Mehdi Hussen is a SaaS marketing and organic growth consultant. He helps SaaS businesses drive organic growth and customer acquisition through SEO and data-driven content marketing strategies. Mehdi spends his spare time musing about startup growth strategies, personal productivity, and remote work. Connect with him through Twitter or LinkedIn.

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