We are all looking for some “precedented times” and no one more than those in the event planning and event marketing industry. Everything from tradeshows and meetings to concerts to Las Vegas residencies to Broadway shows has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The events industry was hit harder than most. When there are no events, what do those whose job involves event promotion do? Most likely, to keep up with cancellations and changes to new ways of doing things, there is a mind shift that takes place. There are adjustments to how you approach planning and marketing an event.
Event marketing is always changing, but what can you expect in the future in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Keep reading to learn what the future of event marketing may look like.
Virtual Events Going Forward
In-person events will return but virtual events will be a big part of the events market in the future. Why not? We have the technology and companies have seen it work well for them out of necessity over the past 14 or so months.
Webinars, live streams, virtual reality events, and webcasts make virtual attendance possible and have over the years. Now it’s more mainstream to do things that way. It saves money and travel time too.
Venues may have drastically different rules regarding capacity. More space is needed to keep people separated so that will mean having fewer people attend events.
The event planner will have to pay attention to regional regulations. Rules differ from state to state and country to country. Can you host indoor events? Is there only a certain number of people allowed? What are the space requirements?
Insure Your Event
Putting on an event is a huge investment. People are hesitant and moving cautiously about scheduling meetings and events. When at one time insurance protected you in the event of an earthquake, hurricane, flooding, or cancellation, now you have to worry about an unpredictable global pandemic. A discussion with the venue should take place before making any commitments.
More for Your Money
In order to bounce back, venues must realize that following the lockdowns, businesses may not have the budgets they used to have to put on events. Tight budgets mean planning carefully and trying to get more for your money and not spending frivolously.
The Future of Event Marketing
Now that you know what the future of event marketing may look like, what are your thoughts? Will things ever be the same or will virtual and digital events be the new norm? Let’s wait and see how new regulations will impact the industry.
Are you looking for marketing services that work and will take your business to the next level? We at CommCore Marketing are here for you. Whether you need assistance with project and brand management, online and social media marketing, offline marketing, graphic design, or website maintenance, the CommCore Marketing team is here to help! Contact us today.
Building a brand is tricky. You want people to think of your business uniquely. Ideally, you want to create a “vibe” that not only connects you with your market but associates a specific meaning within the mind of the consumer. In order to establish such a position, this requires a synchronicity between your brand strategy, brand message, and brand appearance. In other words, you need consistency.
Once you have established an idea for your brand, you begin to actualize this by putting out a message. Who are you? What do you offer? How are you different from the competition? These are the questions your message will answer. And once you have your message — stick with it. The longer you continue to put out your unique message, the more familiar it will become to people. And the more familiar it becomes, the more you build credibility. When it comes down to it, the consumer will seek out people and services that they recognize. So it’s important to be persistent with the same message — branding doesn’t happen overnight!
Your brand appearance should be consistent with the brand message. Think about it this way — the brand message is the meaning that you desire people to associate with your brand, whereas the brand appearance is how your message is actually perceived. You want to always be working toward closing the gap between your desired perception of your brand and the consumer’s perception of your brand.
Be aware that even the subtleties of your brand have an effect on the perception of your brand! If you’re a spa business and you want to brand your business with the colors black and red, your message may not be consistent with your appearance. Black is a very mysterious color often associated with fear and insecurity and red is often associated with high energy and sometimes aggression or anger. The associations that people have with black and red are not ones that would communicate a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation — the feelings you seek from a spa. So this would be an example of a lack of consistency between brand message and brand appearance.
Matching your brand message to your brand appearance is achieved through a brand strategy. Not all methods work the same for every message. If you are going to claim to be a “local” expert, then you need to do something truly local with your look and feel. If you’re a St. Louis local for example, one strategy to accomplish this might be to associate yourself with St. Louis sports teams like the Cardinals, the Blues, or the Rams. But this particular strategy may not work if you’re claiming local expertise as a bar owner, because most bars in St. Louis already associate themselves with the St. Louis teams. So another strategy to establish your brand message of “local expertise” may be in order.
When building a brand, cohesion is also key. However it should be noted that cohesion and consistency are not the same thing. By definition, consistency is doing the same thing predictably, whereas cohesion is doing things in a way that create unity. You can be successful in positioning your brand, having cohesion between your message and your appearance, but if you aren’t consistent your brand won’t last. Cohesion establishes your brand, but consistency builds it up. If you keep changing your message, people won’t be able to keep up with who you are and they will lose interest or forget about you.
Therefore it is important to find a look and feel and stick with it. Because the more you repeat a message, the more space it takes up in a person’s mind. Consistency is key!
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked on. This method of advertising is essentially a way to buy visits to your site rather than to generate traffic organically.
Some of the most common PPC ads show up on search engine results pages. You can probably recall Googling something and the first couple of results that show up are labeled as sponsored ads. Those are PPC ads.
You might be thinking that there’s not much point in paying for ads when you can use SEO and drive substantial traffic organically. But research shows that people click on Google ads over organic search results at a ratio of nearly 2 to 1 (WordStream Research, 2019).
Advertisers will bid on ad placement within a search engine’s sponsored links so that when someone searches a particular keyword relating to their business, that advertiser’s sponsored ad will pop up as one of the first results. The number one search engine in the world runs its own ad business to manage bids. You may have heard of it…
Google Adwords runs a PPC advertising system and it has almost become an art. Adwords select “winners” of these ad bids to get the top spots on search results based not only on the highest bidder but the quality and relevance of keywords and ad campaigns.
Google Adwords determines the quality of keywords with a Quality Score. With Google, the Quality Score actually matters more than your bid, because Google is more concerned about user experience than maximizing profit. A Quality Score is calculated by the relevance of your keywords and the quality of your landing page.
Keywords must be well-researched so that bids on ad placement are worthwhile. It’s best to create lists of keywords, and then group these keywords based on what the goal of an ad is on said keywords.
Google will look at your keyword lists and determine how relevant they are based on the content of your ads and your site. So your research has to be exhaustive. Don’t think about just the common search terms people may use relevant to your products or services, but also very specific, less searched phrases particular to your niche.
Keep in mind that more commonly search terms will be more expensive to bid on, while specific, long-tail searches will be less expensive. Don’t rule out bidding on those either. And don’t just do your keyword research once. People and searches are always changing, so your keyword lists need to be continuously refined.
Landing Page Quality
A landing page is simply the page a user ends up on after clicking your ad. This is the final step in generating a lead from a search engine, so the content of your landing page must be specifically tailored to the search query that leads the user to click on your ad.
The content of this page must have a persuasive call-to-action. Landing pages should make the user feel like it was worthwhile to click on your ad. Google takes this into account when calculating your Quality Score.
…and whoever gets the highest Ad Rank wins the ad auction!
PPC for You
So, now you understand a little more about how PPC ads work, and how Google determines who gets the best ad placement on search pages. Consider maximizing your web traffic by bidding on PPC ads. The keywords you choose and your landing page content are the most important factors in getting the best ad placement, even if you’re not the highest bidder!
To say the last few weeks haven’t affected all of us both personally and professionally would be a disservice to our families and businesses. We want to reassure you that we are here for you and remind you of the importance to stay engaged with your clients – even online.
It may be your gut instinct to preserve your business by making cuts to your budget – particularly in marketing. However, studies of recent recessions have shown that businesses that refocus spending outperformed businesses that made sweeping cuts. Businesses that take a more progressive approach to spend during recessions have higher profitability and come out of recessions ahead of their competition.
That’s why it’s so critical to not direct funds away from marketing, but instead, reallocate funding into marketing. When we work together we can ensure that your sales and marketing efforts will not only continue but potentially thrive and lead to a greater chance of success when this time of crisis passes.
Here are some suggestions we have for continuing to reach your customers during the pandemic:
1. Be Easy to Find Online
There are currently more people online than there are people in their cars or walking around outside. Eyeballs are on screens. It’s never been more important to be searchable online.
Now is not the time to be hidden online. You should have:
An updated websitewith information about how your business is handling COVID-19
It’s not just to remind your customers that your business is still here and needs support, it’s an opportunity to show your audience real empathy. Never has been there a more ideal time to stand out in the marketplace by showing sensitivity and consideration toward people.
Show the people behind the business – staying at home, managing social isolation just like everyone else. Show how you care and how you’re helping – maybe by doing charitable acts or
fundraising. You can promote these good deeds on social media to build your brand. This will resonate with people and they will remember when this pandemic passes and money can flow more freely again.
3. Focus on SEO & Online Reviews
During the very few times many of us leave our homes, we want to stay close by to get food and supplies. Using SEO strategies to optimize your website can help put you closer to the top of the list of search results when people are making location-based searches.
Additionally, now is a great time to accumulate positive online reviews. If you can provide great service during a time of crisis, you can prove the best of your business’s reputation. Ask past customers and, especially, customers you serve during this time to leave you a review either on Google or Facebook.
4. Be Flexible & Connect in Uncertain Times
Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with how COVID-19 plays out and how much it will affect the economy so it’s imperative to remain flexible and fluid with your business during these times. Stay in touch with your customers – via email, social media, snail mail, website, or otherwise – and let them know how you’re adapting your business during these times. For example, if you’re a restaurant – delivery or curbside pick-up. Or if you’re a consultation-based buisness– online meetings only. Let your network know how you’re handling the changes as they come.
5. Use the Downtime to Finish To-Do Lists
Now that we’re restricted to working from home and have reclaimed some time from daily commutes back and forth to the office, it’s likely you have some extra time. Now is a great time to address those marketing to-do list items that have been sitting on the backburner.
We need to stay relevant and top of mind with our clients, especially when the dust settles from this coronavirus pandemic. This disruption will not last forever and we can still reach clients via email, social media, website, and snail-mail. Simply stated virtual is now our reality, but content is still king! As you know, the content that you present becomes your voice. Please reach out to CommCore Marketing if you need assistance with marketing during these uncertain times. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this crisis, please take good care of yourself and your family.
Back when ranking on search engines was the main motivator for content marketing, marketers were all about written content.
Now it’s all about video. In fact, almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. So there’s a reason that every single major media platform is becoming video focused…
Facebook users consume 100 million hours of video every day (TechCrunch, 2016)
82% of Twitter users watch video content on the platform (Twitter, 2015)
45% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy into the next year (HubSpot, 2018)
45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. (HubSpot, 2016)
When Instagram introduced videos, more than 5 million were shared in 24 hours (AdWeek, 2013)
Video will represent 82% of all IP traffic in 2021. (Business Insider, 2017)
When it comes down to it, video just offers a whole different level of connection to your audience. But there are deeper reasons beyond just jumping on the video marketing trend that are of benefit to businesses.
If you haven’t started using video as a part of your marketing strategy yet, here are four reasons why you should.
1. Video Educates
Here’s the thing about inbound marketing: it all starts with awareness and education.
After the awareness stage of the A.C.E. funnel, buyers want to learn more. And what do you typically do when you want to learn more? You hit up Google. But are most people more likely to read an article about it or watch a video?
According to Pearson Prentice Hall, 65% of the population consists of visual learners.
The overwhelming majority actively seek out video visuals to educate themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about creating an awesome blog, but the statistics speak for themselves. The video format is simply where most people seek value.
So it’s really silly not to give the people what they want— which is videos. I talk a lot about social distribution and how to get your value out there. Video is indisputably pertinent to distributing value.
If you want people to be educated by what you have to offer, then put it in a video.
2. Video Earns and Retains Audience Attention
55% of people consume video content thoroughly (HubSpot, 2016).
We at The Modern Marketer have discussed how short the average attention span when it comes to reading articles. Most people only read about 1/5 to 1/3 of an article. So that being said, and considering the statistic above, you would think capturing attention with video marketing is a breeze, right?
Just because you create videos doesn’t mean people will pay attention. Just like with written content, it doesn’t mean you can simply create it and people will flock to engage with it. Millions of videos are being uploaded every day, so there’s a lot of competition to consider.
Content is still king. You have to go deeper to provide value that’s worth people’s attention. You have to earn that attention still.
The best strategy for grabbing that attention through video is to create it consistently. You still want to be providing value that your audience wants to see, but by keeping it up consistently you can engage people at different angles and perspectives and effectively cut through the competition.
Consistency will always be key with the content you put out in any context. But video is especially crucial to invest in consistently because of the ROI. 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI (Adobe, 2015).
So the benefits of video really do pay off. You just have to be able to consistently deliver that value.
3. The Most Intimate Form of Marketing
Video is by far the most intimate of all contextual formats. Through what other medium do you have the opportunity to be as raw, transparent, and upfront as you can be with video (particularly live video)? Certainly not through written content.
Marketing is all about storytelling. Video goes beyond just the intimacy of showing an audience your body language and the way you speak. It teaches people how you think.
That aspect of video is perhaps the most significant benefit of all. If you’re on the path of thought leadership, this is the best format to really put your brain on display and show people some of the deepest value you have to offer.
And over time as your thoughts change and evolve, this will reflect in your videos. People get to see your story play out in front of them.
Your growth as a brand and as a person is so well documented in video that if you lost everything tomorrow— your audience, your clients, your advocates —you have an entire archive of your digital assets there to provide value.
Video truly personifies who you are as a brand and documents your story well beyond any other format.
4. Video Gives You a Reputation for Wisdom
No matter where you are in business, whether you’re just starting up, you’ve been in business for years, or maybe you haven’t even started yet— you have an idea.
Putting that idea out there is an integral step to brand awareness, right? So when you put that idea out there through video format, you’re presenting an opportunity to demonstrate to an audience a type of value that is very seldom replicated: wisdom.
But it doesn’t come right away, and it doesn’t come to everyone. Everyone can talk a big game. Everyone can call shots and miss. But if you really, truly know what you’re talking about you can amaze people by speaking your vision into existence.
Value can also be heightened in videos when you speak about a trend. People always want to hear about the latest thing and what it will do for them. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. People always want the latest information.
That relevant value does wonders for your reputation and adds value to your brand as a whole through wisdom.
If you haven’t been convinced yet that video marketing is for you, then you’re making a big mistake. Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Aberdeen, 2015).
Don’t hesitate to include video into your marketing strategy: no matter your industry, video has the opportunity to impart value and heighten your marketing game like nothing else.
When it comes to branding, it’s critical to be consistent wherever you promote your brand. Both online and offline, your promotional efforts have to align with each other to be effective. Wherever your business has a presence, your brand identity needs to be clear.
When searching on the internet, people are not thinking of going offline to discover more about your brand, so neither should you. Your website is the ideal platform online to create a brand image with continuity so that any user who comes across it knows exactly who you are.
But how exactly does one create a lasting brand identity on a website that can also be leveraged offline? Here are five tips that will guide you in unifying your branding identity.
1. Branding Identity Basics: Your Logo, Typography, & Colors
If you haven’t already branded your business with a set of colors to use and a brand logo, this is the first thing you should do. You may not think it’s a priority, but these visual factors play a strong role in keeping your brand lodged in the minds of viewers.
First things first: your logo. If you haven’t already, get a logo designed ASAP. There is no shortage of graphic designers who are willing to help you design a logo. Then be sure your logo is on every material you put out as a business– your website pages, business cards, letterheads, etc. When you pick your brand colors, you need to consider that each color has psychological impacts. Red tends to convey feelings of excitement or intensity while gray gives off feelings of balance and calm. Do some research into the meanings of each color and decide from there which colors communicate the feelings you want to be associated with your brand.
Then– stick with the colors you pick. This will help reinforce your brand in a potential buyer’s mind. When you’re not consistent with color schemes, your brand becomes less memorable.
2. Use Language that Aligns with Your Brand
Your brand voice is incredibly important. Just like with your brand colors, you need to use language that speaks to your ideal buyer and client base. If you’re not sure what
language to use with the people you want to reach, start by considering how you want your brand to feel to your audience.
Write down a list of words and pick just three that you want to use for the base of your brand in the form of text. Here are just a few ideas:
What words jump out as ones that would work with your brand? If you’re a lawyer, you probably wouldn’t want to choose “fun, trendy, and laid-back.” These words might fit with a bowling alley brand, but a law office might be better off using words like “formal, informative, and dedicated.”
Brainstorm your list using words that could apply to your brand. You can find a list of more brand voice descriptors here. Then consider the tone and description of your voice. Will you use slang or formal language? Will you use long-winded sentences or short, pithy sentences?
These are all things to consider before writing content for your brand. Language is important in conveying your identity.
3. Use Relevant Imagery
Images you use on your website or any other materials your business puts out there must be high-resolution and quality, however, these are not the only factors you need to consider when selecting images for your website.
A picture really is worth a thousand words (or more). With that consideration, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Someone viewing your website, social media profiles, or brick-and-mortar business wants a real glimpse into the brand that they’re researching.
Many brands choose imagery as if it’s just a checkbox on a list of how to create a good brand. These images are often stock images that are vaguely related to the brand. But
why would you use imagery that’s open for public use to describe your brand– a brand that you want to position as unique?
You need to use original imagery that truly describes your brand and gives viewers an idea of what you’re like. Include images of your staff, your products, and services, your office. All of these original and unique images communicate a sense of trustworthiness to viewers because it’s more transparent and authentic.
4. The Essential Branding Info
Many businesses neglect to make use of this opportunity to distinguish themselves from others in their industry. No matter what your brand does, you should always have a page on your website describing who you are and what your brand values are. This is the chance to get explicit about your brand mission and vision and drive home what makes your brand unique as compared to your competitors.
Once you have that information on your site, you can use the same verbiage on social media, at networking events, and on marketing materials to uniquely position your brand.
This may not seem like it belongs in a discussion about branding, but it’s imperative to connect the dots between branding and business. If a person who wants to reach out to your business cannot find contact information, your brand is in serious trouble. You’re a business; you want people contacting you! Make sure anyone who goes out of their way to find how to contact you can do so easily. Include as many contact methods as possible: phone, email, physical address, hours of operation, etc.
5. Get Social
Many brands think of social media as a to-do item on a list to be a successful business. But social media is not just a nice addition to your brand– it’s an extension of your brand.
Think of it this way: there are more eyes on social media sites than there are on your website or inside your store. Instead of leveraging people off of social media, engage them directly where their attention is. Your social accounts should be just as active as you are in your business.
Be sure to link all of your social accounts to your site and make it easy for people to find your various social channels when they’re on your website. Social media should be a big part of your branding strategy.
The key to brand unity is to be sure to be consistent with your logo, brand colors, language, and imagery you use. Make it as easy as possible for people to learn about who you are, and make it easy for them to engage you where they’re already giving their attention. Want more guidance on unifying your brand’s identity? Reach out to CommCore Marketing today!
Twitter is a great marketing tool when used with the right techniques. Some struggle to understand the benefits of Twitter, saying 140 character isn’t enough to get your message across. But the truth is there are 304 million monthly active Twitter users and you can directly interact with your marketing audience on this platform. For those of you who aren’t so keen on the Twitter lingo, use this for reference:
@handle – the @ symbol followed by a Twitter handle is used when mentioning or “Tweeting at” somebody.
DM – short for direct message. This allows you to send a private message to a person you’re following.
Following/Follower – someone who subscribes to receive your updates.
Hashtags – the # symbol followed by a word or phrase which organizes your updates for Twitter search engines.
Retweet – abbreviated RT, is the equivalent of sharing. You’re tweeting a Tweet already posted by another user.
Tweet – the updates you post to Twitter in 140 characters or less.
Now with these terms in mind, here are some tips to help up your Tweeting game:
Follow and regularly interact with your industry experts and influencers. Just as you do in face-to-face networking, you want to build relationships with those important names in your industry. When you follow these people and businesses on Twitter, you are establishing your brand. Interacting with them on Twitter by Retweeting, mentioning, “favoriting” Tweets, or sending them a direct message builds important relationships. Better yet, you’re helping them and they’re more inclined to help you.
Tweet regularly. Staying relevant and at the top of mind as a business on Twitter means maintaining an active and breathing profile. Tweeting just once a week or once a month isn’t going to cut it. This platform moves so quickly that what is trending changes from day to day. So in order for you to not only be remembered but grow your following, make it a habit to Tweet daily. Not only do you want to Tweet daily, but you also want to Retweet and Favorite tweets so that you’re getting noticed and being a part of the relevant activity.
Use images and videos. Visuals increase clicks on Twitter. Including images and videos also makes your Twitter more interesting and people will more likely keep you in mind, and get you more Retweets and favorites.
Offer special deals and discounts to your Twitter followers. Promoting offers such as “the next 25 followers to retweet this will receive a 25% off coupon” will get your Twitter abuzz. This sort of strategy can be used in tandem with other social media sites, having those sites direct more traffic to your Twitter page.
Track your mentions and respond when appropriate. Twitter is a great way to bring customer service to the forefront of marketing. When people mention your business on Twitter, be sure that you’re keeping tabs on what’s being said about you. If someone mentions you with a compliment, you can thank them and engage with them further. If someone mentions with a complaint, you can address their complaint and see if you can resolve their issue. If people see that you handle customers on Twitter well, they’re more likely to keep up with you.
These are just a few suggestions to improve your marketing on Twitter. As your following grows, these tactics will continue to facilitate good marketing techniques. Remember that while a good Twitter presence is important, you ultimately want your Twitter to direct people to original content on your website. Posting teasers and links to entice people to read your content is the means to the ends of increasing your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ratings.
What is a value statement? A value statement is a declaration of a business’s top priorities and beliefs. These are used not only to remind employees of what a business’s goals are, but to connect with targeted consumers.
Your value statement, like your brand, will set you apart from other businesses. When it comes down to it, what do you really want to accomplish with your business? What do you really want to engage in your potential customers to make them identify with you? Remember, your business isn’t just about what you want, it’s also about what your customers want.
With so much media clutter out there, it’s important to be unique. If you look and sound like everyone else, then you are just going to blend into the clutter — and that’s not what great brands do. How can you set yourself apart? Think about it from a consumer’s point of view. If you were a consumer looking for the services your kind of business offers, what would you want that business to look and feel like in order for you to trust it? What kind of priorities would you want that business to have to earn your business?
Answering these questions will not only help you determine what your values are, but they will help you determine your target market as well. People don’t want just a service or product — a service or product is the bare minimum. People want a service or product that they can relate to and makes them feel something. A value statement brings in those feelings that help people connect a service or product to their business needs. So decide what it is you value, and what you think it is that your customers value, and create a statement that cultivates those feelings.