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Attendee Experience
20 April 2016 

What Every Event Planner Can Learn From The Ecommerce Industry

JJ Bennett
What Every Event Planner Can Learn From The Ecommerce Industry


Most event planners have a unique desire to continually learn about their chosen profession and to consistently improve as a professional. While this takes a lifelong commitment to ongoing education, there are fortunately many ways in which a planner can do this.

One way that is not often talked about is by learning from professionals in other industries. The ecommerce industry, for example, is ripe with several lessons that, when understood and implemented by event planners, can propel them to significant improvements in their field.

Let’s take a look at what some of those lessons are:

Focus On the Target Audience Above All Else

In the ecommerce industry, focusing on a specific target audience is imperative to success. Without an identity and clear market to serve, ecommerce businesses set themselves up to get lost in the shuffle among thousands of competitors.

As Riches in Niches author Susan Friedmann points out:

“The big danger is that without a target market, it’s like standing in a park shouting in the wind. When you have a target market, it’s like standing in a park and talking to a specific group of people.”

Not only does targeting a specific audience set the stage for the marketing strategies that will be used, but it also serves as the basis for how new product and/or service offerings are formed. This is not so dissimilar to what happens in the event planning industry.

As an event planner, your marketing plan needs to put you in a position where you are ‘standing in a park and talking to a specific group of people.

Identifying your target audience and understanding their wants, desires, needs, goals, and pain points will play an integral role in how you market your event. It gives you a clear understanding of who you need to market to, which therefore gives you clarity as to where and how you should be marketing.

Similar to the ecommerce industry, event planners are also able to use the knowledge of their target market to develop a better plan for the current event and those being planned for the future. In the end, there are few things more important than this focus for planners that want to ensure their event goals are met.

Read: Proven Tactics To Increase Event Registrations

Content Marketing is Essential for Building Trust

Content marketing plays a major role in the way just about every modern ecommerce business markets. It not only serves as a way to show your expertise surrounding a certain topic, but also gives you the opportunity to build trust with your target audience.

As an event planner, you are generally going to be dealing with three different types of potential attendees. These include:

  • People who have already made their mind up and want to attend
  • People who are intrigued but want to know more
  • People who know very little about your event or brand

The last two types of potential customers will almost always need to be persuaded as to why they should attend your event. In order to convince them, it will have to be proven to them that the event they will be attending will benefit them in a variety of different ways.

In the ecommerce industry, businesses use content marketing as a way to gain the trust of consumers and to show them why their business can be relied upon. This strategy should also be employed by event planners.

By creating content related to the topics of the event, you are able to show potential attendees the possibilities of what can be gained from attending your event.

It should be noted that there is a wide array of different types of content that can be created, each serving different purposes. Videos, images, infographics, comparison charts, expert reviews, and blog posts are some of the more popular options.  

The great thing about content marketing for event planners is that it can serve a variety of purposes. For one, promoting your content provides you with an opportunity to gain the trust of potential attendees. This, in turn, can result in them making the decision to attend your event.

In addition, content can be used to market and promote your event. When shared with your audience, or the audience of influencers within your niche, it can be extremely effective as a method for creating buzz around your upcoming event.

Providing Access to Users Across All Devices

Modern day consumers are using mobile devices at an increasing rate. In fact, according to Smart Insights, time spent on mobile (51%) has risen to surpass time spent on desktop computers(49%).Smart Insights CEO Dave Chaffey has tried to help businesses better understand this shift. He says, about the implications of not focusing on mobile devices in ecommerce:“If you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience, you will miss out compared to competitors who are.”A few other convincing statistics, provided by Outer Box, about the connection between ecommerce and mobile users include:

  • There are over 125 million consumers in the US alone that own smartphones
  • Over 60% of these users have made some type of purchase online using their mobile device in the past 6 months
  • It is estimated that there are over 10 billion mobile devices in use throughout the world today

With this information in mind, there is little doubt that today’s consumers want to be able to make decisions and purchases via their mobile devices.As an event planner, this can create a bit of a dilemma. You certainly do not have the time, budget, or resources to create a personalized mobile website for every single event that you plan.

So, what are you to do? Well, one option is to utilize one of the different types of event software out there that allows you build a customized website that can be viewed clearly on any device. Some require absolutely no technical experience and can be put together in just a few short minutes.

No matter how you do it, the lesson to be learned is clear; providing access to users across all devices is essential if you want to reach the largest possible audience.

Engage with Your Audience Through Social Media

As Magicdust CEO Ian Mills says:

“Social media is now an integral part of almost every consumer’s online habits. Statistics abound about its popularity and its potential as a means of driving new visitors to your website”

Ecommerce businesses have quickly caught onto this trend and have begun to see the potential that social media provides when it comes to engaging with their audience. In fact, over 90% of the US’s fasting-growing companies utilize social media marketing in some form.

While we could spend hours talking about how social media impacts ecommerce success, the fact of the matter is that it is and will continue to play a role in how businesses engage with and sell to consumers. Many of the same opportunities that social media provides to ecommerce businesses can be utilized by event planners as well.

Being able to engage with attendees and potential attendees is a great way to provide them with news related to your event. It can also serve as a platform for creating and promoting content related to the types of things that will be presented and talked about during the event.

But not only does social media provide you with the opportunity to engage with your target audience, it also enables you to create buzz and excitement around your event.

The Final Word

In the end, the lessons listed above are only a portion of the things that event planners can learn from the ecommerce industry. The important thing for you, as an event planner, is that you make the commitment to a lifetime of learning and improvements as a professional involved in online selling.

There are lessons to be learned from just about every type of industry and the influencers that make that industry work. Analyzing what can be brought over to your own profession is something that can lead to creativeness and innovation that will continue to catapult your career and your event success.

Want to more successfully market an event? Download a free eBook on event marketing by clicking the button below!


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