4 Ways to Build Your Event's Brand Loyalty
Turning attendees into fans
Building brand loyalty for your event takes time and, like all good relationships, it’s built on trust. When an army of people love and trust your message and event you’ve not only captured repeat business, you’ve built a living, breathing evangelization team. Event brand loyalty isn’t built over night, however, and is something that takes time and nurturing. People doing it well are doing it purposefully – so how can you start building brand loyalty at this year’s event?
To find the answers, we talked to two event experts who have had success with creating engaging events that continually boost brand loyalty. Shelly Taggar is the owner of The Makeup Show and VP of Sales & Creative Services for Metropolitan West & Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. The Makeup show holds six events in the U.S. and Europe and is the largest pro-only makeup event in the United States. Meredith Lasher is the CEO and President of Bombshell Productions in Fort Lauderdale, FL – an experiential marketing, custom event production and global branding firm that has worked with the likes of Citi, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Consider these 4 things as you look to evolve your attendees into fans.
1. Make an event of ticket sales
Get demand going early by hyping when your tickets go on sale. An onsale can be as much of an event as the event itself.
Shelly Taggar put it this way, “For The Makeup Show, since it’s a yearly event, we get people waiting for sales to open each year. A lot of this can be attributed to us announcing it on our social media platforms and encouraging people to start purchasing their tickets early while they are still available.”
You can boost a brand loyalty-building onsale with a kick-off party (send out a press release and generate buzz and early social sharing), or by strategically turning on your session registrations within your mobile app at a specific time. Nothing builds buzz like anticipation.
To cultivate a true fan mentality among your attendees, consider a pre-sale with perks for loyal repeat attendees.
2. Offer unique experiences
Wouldn’t you feel special if you were whisked away to VIP seats or had special access to intimate, VIP-only Q&A sessions with speakers?
“Touches that feel personal and direct can be a game-changer. After all, fans remember how you make them feel and the cooler the experience, the more organic their evangelizing can be,” says Meredith Lasher.
You can even bring new folks into the fold who haven’t been attending long enough to be at VIP status. Surprise gifts and giveaways immediately create good will and are sure to hit Instagram and Twitter feeds.
3. Introduce a little friendly competition
Social media giveaways leading up to your event will not only extend the conversation beyond the days of your event, but will increase participation – and participation builds loyalty.
Shelly Taggar says, “We do a lot of social media competitions and contests. When we share news we ask them to like and share it with their friends. Our attendees always respond to winning something, this is a big thing for them.”
Don’t underestimate the power of a personal connection. Try calling winners yourself or – even better – record it on a Google Hangout and post to your YouTube channel. Making someone genuinely happy spreads quick – and it will make you feel good too!
4. Boost your brand with piggybacking
You’re as good as the company you keep. Consider thought leaders and brands in your industry that already incite feelings of loyalty among your attendees – then attach them to your event.
Shelly Taggar relies on the brands of her presenters. “We have such a strong name for our education and the artists we bring in, as well as the brands that participate. Many of the brands will also announce new products that are only available at the show. All these things push attendees to become a fan of The Makeup Show, and in return share info with others and making our brand stronger.”
Meredith Lasher feels that attendees’ interaction with your showcasing brands is key. “At our events, the attendee experience is our primary focus. We showcase brands through guest interaction and this almost always involves a hands-on activity, take-away or a component that can be shared on social media. Giving guests the tools to evangelize (and even some friendly tech support to help those who might not be social media savvy) should always be part of the strategy.”
How do you build brand loyalty at your event? What are the ways you turn your attendees into fans?