It’s a phrase I’m sure you’re getting overly familiar with…
“We’re living in a digital age”
As more and more people are putting time, effort and investment into online marketing strategies, not enough people are giving the same attention to offline strategies.
In reality, offline marketing and live events can perform as well if not even better than online marketing. And in this article, I want to explore one offline marketing strategy in particular… live events.
And there are numerous forms and types of live event to explore:
- Face to face seminars
- Pop-in sessions
Now I’m not saying you should try all these at once. Live events can take months of effort, planning and can often become quite costly.
But they’re a worthwhile investment.
So, here are 7 reasons why live events should be part of your practice marketing strategy…
1. You can add huge value
Perhaps the biggest benefit of running live events is the opportunity to add and offer massive value.
At a face-to-face live event you can tailor content specifically to a group or individual, dive much deeper in to topics and provide far more detail than an email or online article would.
And depending on how your event is structured you’ll encourage conversations, questions and debate all of which will lead to prospects developing stronger relationships with you and a deeper understanding of what you’re offering.
It’s simple, the more value you provide and the stronger your relationship with prospects is, the more likely it is that they will become clients.
2. You can qualify your prospects
For some there is lack, or perceived lack of prospects or businesses to work with.
In reality, there is plenty of business to be had and clients to be won so it’s important to target the right prospects or the specific businesses we personally want to work with.
Attending or running a live event is a great way of qualifying prospects and building connections with people who you genuinely want to work and do business with.
This qualification process can be done in a number of ways:
- You can set specific criteria to be eligible to attend your event,
- Converse and question prospects at events,
- Engage at seminars and networking events to figure out if you’re a good fit for each other,
- Exchange data for value goods, content and support
If these individuals have given up their time and effort to come and listen to you speak or see what you have to offer then there’s a strong chance they have a pain point or need you can help with.
3. You can increase your service offering
Live events are a great opportunity to sell and promote more specialised services such as tax planning, business advisory or even coaching services.
Let’s look at a seminar for example.
You could offer a half or full day seminar (or however long you want) offering incredible value and content to a room of pre-qualified prospects.
Charging for attendance ensures you’re either covering your costs or profiting from the time and effort of running the event.
But during this face-to-face experience you’re offering, you have a prime opportunity to present additional services aside from the usual accounts and tax compliance work.
If they are getting value from the seminar then they will naturally want to find out what else you have to offer.
The more specialised services you offer, the greater the level of trust your clients and prospects will have in your knowledge and value.
4. You’ll strengthen your brand
Way before we landed in the digital world we now live in, people used to sell their product or business offering through offline channels such as television or print.
Nowadays we have so many different ways to market our business that we have an opportunity to create a modern and consistent brand that can be shared across all manner of platforms.
Me and my team call this “creating an omnipresence”.
If you’re already taking content marketing, email marketing and your online persona seriously then you should put the same effort into face-to-face offerings.
This way across your entire online and offline brand you are sending a clear message of who you are, what your brand is and what you offer.
5. Build relationships and stand out from the noise
According to the Content Marketing Institute 93% of Business to business marketers use email to distribute content and engage with their prospects.
Which means there’s a high chance that you’re competing with countless other email campaigns and messages on a daily basis.
And it also means prospects could be missing more personal and friendly touch points.
Now that’s not me saying that you shouldn’t use email marketing… because you should.
But to stand out from the noise, you should put a face to your name and brand by offering opportunities to add value and build a relationship on a more human level.
Running a live event encourages prospects to think of you as an approachable person to trust and build a relationship with rather than being just an ‘online persona’.
It’s a good idea to invite your current clients to attend events with you, this way they can provide additional proof and obvious evidence that the relationships you build are valuable and lasting.
6. You will reach a secondary audience
One of the huge plus notes to live events is that that you have the potential to reach some pretty large audiences.
Even if your seminar has 20-30 attendees, this can create a ripple effect and lead to many more prospects and leads.
From one simple session, if you provide enough value you can potentially:
- Receive word of mouth referrals,
- Get testimonials, great feedback and reviews,
- Gain recommendations of other potential prospects,
- Use the recordings/snippets to share to a broader audience (email or social media)
And even if you sell out your limited spaces, or some people don’t attend, your efforts in marketing and advertising the event will have reached more people be waiting for any future events you organise.
7. You can position yourself as an expert or thought-leader
Live events are a great way of establishing yourself as a forward-thinking authority figure in your field.
By putting yourself out there and stepping forward to offer face-to-face value to prospects you can help establish yourself as an expert and someone with the potential to provide real value.
It could be something as simple as running drop-in troubleshooting sessions or attending some business seminars or SME shows.
By emphasising and promoting your position as a trusted adviser you’re sending a message to potential clients that you have greater expertise than anyone else.
If you’re planning on running and attending live events and other accountants aren’t, then for prospects you’ll stand out from the crowd and be far more desirable to work with.
So how do you get started?
Live events should be an important part of your marketing strategy, so how do you get started?
Well a good place to start would be by doing some research and attending some events.
Exploring some smaller business events and checking out what other practices are offering is a good opportunity to get a feel for how they run and what events you want to run yourself.
When you feel ready to start planning an event there are four main things to consider:
Content & Value – What do you want to provide? Brainstorm with your team what content you want to present, specifically identify what you want to help prospects with.
Location, Location, Location – What’s your ideal audience size? Do you want a small intimate affair or would you like to speak to the masses? Choosing the right venue and place is important
Get bums on seats – How are you going to market the event? It’s important that you plan how you are going to drive interest and encourage participation.
Measure success – With each event you run, tweak and learn from it to improve your next one. Seek feedback and continually develop to offer prospects more.
To help you organise and promote your event, there are lots of tools available to help you. Eventbrite is just one platform which helps you create a custom events page and organise ticketing.
Do you currently run live events for your practice? Let me know in the comments below…