Most companies who approach me regarding digital marketing want to jump right into social media. It's sexy, it's fun and it's the best way to reach your customers...or so they assume. Fun fact: email marketing is still the most effective tool we have in the digital marketing space. Why do you think J.Crew sends you an email every single day? They risk being highly annoying (and having you remove yourself from the list) because they know that statistics don't lie. For every person who unsubscribes there is another who appreciated the gentle reminder about a bold print cardigan and places an order.
We could talk about the email marketing all day long, but my point here is that often the most effective strategy isn't what you might first hold true. Email marketing is a surefire way to increase traffic to your website and keep a steady stream of repeat customers. But have you ever thought about event marketing to steadying increase a new following?
While the majority of us interact on the daily in the inter-webs, there is nothing quite like an exchange that happens in person. Tone of voice is often lost in an electronic exchange, so is attitude, body language, familiarity and warmth. Events are a great way to support your online efforts.
Case in point, one of my clients owns a popular bead shop in Downtown Boulder, Nomad Bead Merchants. While there is never a lack of interest in art and craft, hosting classes let's this local business showcase their talents, teach something new and get to know their community on a deeper level. Nomad had been hosting classes long before they hired me to help, however I noticed they weren't using this strategy to it's ultimate potential. We started listing several classes on Facebook which made a huge difference. Every time you post a new event on Facebook everyone in your audience receives a notification. Not the case when you are posting something more generic to your wall.
Additionally we set-up their Meet-up Account, Boulder Jewelry Making. This community, now 466 strong, can now peruse the monthly class offering and sign-up easily online. They also receive an email whenever a new class is posted. Event marketing combined with emails? Does it get any better? You are actually feeding your tribe content that is relevant to their interests. Instead of groaning when a note is delivered to their inbox, they are likely to open it as you are providing a service or product that interests them immensely.
Since we started implementing these processes Nomad has seen a huge increase in class attendance. So much so that their renown Mala Necklace class sells out every time it's posted!
Perhaps you don't have classes. How does this relate to you? Think about your target audience and what is the best way to interact with them offline. Is that a happy hour? Holiday trunk show? Christmas party? Educational talk on a topic where you just so happen to be an expert? For example, did you know I teach Digital Marketing 101 at the Boulder Metalsmithing Association? While I truly enjoy teaching, this also helps me expand knowledge of my business to a larger audience and discover new marketing needs. The questions brought up in class are often what I need to address with my clients.
Not ready to start a class or host an event? As an introvert I truly understand the hesitation. If you aren't interested in employing event marketing tactics perhaps networking is a better fit. I strongly suggest you start looking in your community for events that interest you. By attending a few of these a month you get an opportunity to meet an entirely new group of people and perhaps, actually almost always, you'll be asked about what you do. It's a great way to let more people get to know you personally and learn more about your local business.