Why is Pre-Event Engagement Essential?

Hamilton Hamilton

A point-in-time event often receives tremendous focus and energy, with every detail of the exhibit's layout and the programming of activities being perfected. While an emphasis on the event itself is warranted, the secret to a truly successful event lies not just in the execution but, perhaps more importantly, in what happens before the event: pre-event engagement. This blog explores the importance of pre-event engagement and provides tips to maximize your event marketing opportunity. 

What is pre-event engagement?

Pre-event engagement consists of strategic interactions with the target audience before the point-in-time event. The strategies may include various activities that keep the audience informed, interested, and excited about the upcoming event. Brands can leverage social media campaigns, email marketing, microsites, digital ads, and other avenues to generate interest, create a buzz, and jumpstart the connection. The success of pre-event engagement relies heavily on timely communication, marketing efforts that build momentum, and the right tools and technology to reach the audience effectively. 

To generate high attendance and ROI for our exhibit at EXHIBITORLIVE, we leveraged pre-show marketing to tell the story of GoBoldly. This event marketing campaign inspires customers to defy convention and raise expectations in their event marketing initiatives. Through organized social media, paid digital ads, an event microsite, and email marketing, we exceeded our engagement benchmarks by 120%. 

Why Pre-Event Engagement is Critical

Pre-event engagement will largely determine the results and impact of your event. Here's what a comprehensive strategy can do for your brand: 

  • Increase Brand Awareness: Pre-event activities and messaging spread the word about your event and brand, reaching potential attendees and amplifying your campaign. 
  • Generate Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Generating excitement among attendees creates a powerful buzz around your event, encouraging them to share their enthusiasm with friends and colleagues.
  • Increase Event Attendance: Pre-event engagement strategies initiate anticipation, inspiring more people to register and attend the event. 
  • Jumpstart Relationship-Building: Engaging with attendees before the event establishes the beginning of a relationship, making them feel valued and connected to your brand. 
  • Enhance Personalization: Learning about your audience before an event can help personalize the experience, leading to more engagement and a deeper impact.

7 Innovative Pre-Event Engagement Ideas to Consider

Here are some ideas to inspire your pre-event engagement efforts: 

  1. Registration Promotions: Offer incentives for early registration, such as ticket discounts, exclusive merchandise, or VIP experiences. 
  2. Active Time Pressure: In your marketing communications, highlight ticket availability and registration deadlines to create a sense of urgency. 
  3. Set a Countdown Timer: Develop a countdown timer and share engaging content daily to maintain interest and cultivate a sense of anticipation. 
  4. Go Behind the Scenes: Offer glimpses behind the curtain, teasing what's to come, building excitement and connection at every turn. 
  5. Introduce a Hashtag: Don't wait until the event to share your hashtag. Launch your hashtag during pre-event marketing and encourage registrants to use it. This will build a community, increase the event's visibility, and help you measure online buzz.  
  6. Create an Email Campaign: Send relevant information and reminders to keep your event at the forefront of your audiences' minds in the lead-up to it. 
  7. Foster Networking: Help attendees connect and schedule meetings in advance, adding value and enhancing the event experience. 

How To Measure Pre-Event Engagement

Creating pre-event engagement involves establishing a meaningful connection with your audience before the event, which sets the stage for a memorable experience. By leveraging the right strategies and measuring their impact, you can ensure your event reaches and exceeds your goals. Follow the steps below to gauge the effectiveness of your pre-event engagement strategies: 

  1. Set SMART Goals: Clearly define what success looks like for your event and pre-event engagement efforts. Confirm that each goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound for best results. 
  2. Establish Metrics: Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) such as registration numbers, email open rates, website traffic, and social media engagement. 
  3. Measure and Analyze: Track the data to gain insight into the impact of your efforts. Gather feedback by surveying your target audience and monitoring online buzz to understand perceptions and desires. 
  4. Apply the Insights: Use the data collected to make informed decisions and refine your engagement strategies for current and future events. 

Optimize Pre-Event Engagement with Hamilton

If you are looking for a partner to help you maximize your pre-event engagement, we are here to help. 

Hamilton is a full-service event marketing agency with a 75-year legacy creating immersive brand experiences for companies throughout North America and around the world. We design, produce, and execute integrated experiences – events, exhibits, environments, and digital solutions – that drive meaningful connections between your brand and your audience.

To learn more, contact Hamilton today!