2020 rocked the catering and event industry, leaving business owners to prioritize recovery, rebuilding, and resurgence this year. With the industry standstill behind us, we still have a long road ahead on our journey back to “normal.”
But, the thought of 2021 and beyond inspires hope and optimism. At long last, many event pros can begin executing client events again. We anticipate a significant uptick in business across the industry. The future feels bright.
Yet, many event professionals must dust the cobwebs off their marketing strategy before engaging with their audience. The industry looks and feels different, but that’s not to say you cannot achieve (or exceed your goals). Set yourself up for success in the second half of 2021 by kicking your marketing approach into high gear.
It’s not too late to make marketing magic in 2021. Follow these simple yet effective steps to position yourself front and center of your target audience.
Revisit your ideal client’s needs.
Some companies pivoted their business models in 2020 to meet new demands, reevaluating audiences and adjusting tactics to better serve the market. Yet, post-pandemic shifts in the industry warrant an ideal client review even for those that stayed on course.
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The pandemic has indelibly changed the market at every level. The priorities of 2019 have fallen down the ladder of importance. Today, health and safety measures sit at the top of people’s must-have lists.
Additionally, several trends rose out of COVID that we expect to stick around into 2022. Micro-celebrations, virtual components, and socially distanced floor plans have become part of the industry’s fabric, cementing their role in events for the near future.
Review your offerings to ensure you remain relevant in today’s marketplace. If your products and services are stuck in early 2020 and before, adjust your offerings to meet your ideal client’s new set of needs.
Realign your goals.
Many event pros saw their well-established goals go out the window in March 2020. For months, we adjusted, refined, and reduced our goals as business opportunities tanked alongside our revenue.
Yet, here we are in 2021 with a bright future ahead of us. Are you seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Good. Now, take this opportunity to create a plan for late 2021 and 2022.
The pandemic pushed many businesses off-course from their goals. You’re not alone! Stop worrying about the accomplishments and failures of 2020. Event professionals are resilient and built to find solutions to the trickiest of problems.
Get clear on your goals and how your business would grow in a perfect world, accommodating for a post-pandemic context. Do you want to see your pivot become a flagship service? Would you like to rehire the team you laid off in 2020? Did you realize the value in diversifying revenue streams? If you have a team, invite them into the conversation to determine how you can transform your business together.
Dig into your analytics.
Here’s the fun part. You can’t move forward in business without knowing the marketing tactics that bring the most return and those that aren’t worth your time. Review your website analytics to gather insights about your visitors’ behavior. Use these questions to tease out the key performance indicators (KPIs) that show you what works best (and what doesn’t):
- Is your website traffic growing or declining?
- Do the demographics of your traffic align with your ideal client?
- What are the top referral sources for your website traffic?
- How is your inquiry page performing? Is it converting at a high rate?
- Which blog post topics receive the most attention? The least?
Next, turn your attention to social media. These platforms drive traffic to your website, so the strength of your social media marketing directly impacts the number of inquiries that land in your inbox. Every platform features a built-in analytics dashboard, so get comfortable with the metrics provided by each. Then, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your engagement growing or declining?
- Are the users engaging with your content likely to book with you? Are they your ideal clients?
- Which topics receive the most attention? The least?
- Do you get a lot of inquiries through DMs? How many of these convert to booked clients?
- At what rate does your social media drive traffic to your website?
Put this information down in writing, whether it’s in your go-to notebook or an organized spreadsheet. This information serves two purposes. First, you get immediate insight into the marketing tactics that create a return and those you can leave out of your strategy. Divert your time, energy, and resources to the techniques proven to work. Second, you now have baseline data to compare all future metrics to evaluate performance and optimize for greater success.
Marketing is an ongoing journey of listening, learning, implementing, and refining; make it a habit to assess your strategies regularly. The market is constantly evolving, so you must be agile and prepared to change with it to remain relevant to your ideal clients.