Learning with TBOE

How to market to a niche audience

Niche events have huge power, says marketing expert

Posted on May 30th, 2019 in Event News, Marketing for Events

It doesn’t matter if you’re a venue owner or you work in marketing, there will come a time when you struggle to fill your events calendar. Eugene Went, director of Merge Digital, spoke at TBOE 2019 conference about ways that event organisers can make sure they succeed, talking about examples from his experience and highlighting the success he had transforming a venue in Brisbane.

Events venue success in Brisbane

Eugene started his talk by sharing details of a venue that he and his team successfully transformed. When they started, there were major obstacles to consider: the venue was not in a great area for events and the previous brand had been ruined, however the new owners wanted four levels of rooms filled every Friday and Saturday night of the year.

With plenty of challenges ahead of him, Eugene came up with a five-step strategy. He said, “The blueprint we came up with was very simple, and you’ve probably seen similar models in the past. What’s important here is the creative approach that’s applied along the way.”

“We begin our campaign by finding niche events that suit the venue and we work out what audiences match up with those event types. We then make sure they have powerful content that captures the attention of our audience, and we amplify that to tens of thousands of people who are in the market for an event venue.”

“We then have key landing pages and we optimise those to make sure we get as many enquiries as possible. And we use retargeting to re-engage with anybody who’s been looking at our website so we can bring them back so they can finish that enquiry process.”

Looking for niche events

In a crowded market space like Brisbane, Eugene and his colleagues needed to do something a bit different. Their initial approach to target four key event types – conferences, weddings, birthdays and cocktail parties – didn’t bear fruit, so they looked at more specific event types.

The first breakthrough came when a colleague complained about the average cost of a wedding in Australia as she planned her own nuptials. She’d googled ‘affordable wedding package’ and found nothing – except a space in the market for the venue to take advantage of, which quickly led to other opportunities.

Eugene said, “At the time, we thought we’d discovered a gap in the market. So, we decided to set up a campaign to target affordable weddings and it didn’t take long until we had a steady stream of brides flowing in the door.”

“The campaign was working and we decided to look for other gaps in the market. We hunted down different event types, like engagement parties, and then we honed in on specific milestone events (21st birthdays, 30th birthdays and 50ths). It didn’t take long before we had a steady stream of new enquiries coming in from people hunting for those niche event types, and we witnessed tremendous year-on-year growth.”

Target your marketing

It’s one thing identifying gaps in the market, but it’s another entirely to take advantage of them. However, with such powerful tools available in digital marketing, you can tailor the audiences of your ads to make sure the right people are seeing them and improving your chances of success.

Eugene said, “We matched these event types with relevant audiences. We used five major demographic filters to get in front of these people.”

“The first of these demographics includes their age. We discovered that we were mainly dealing with millennials aged between 25 and 35. The gender was really key to the success of this campaign, as we were mostly targeting females who were the primary decision-makers in these event types. ”

“The location played a key role, we did the local area, and the relationship status of the people we were targeting was also a key role for our engagement parties and our weddings.”

“The employment industry that people had – this included people such as bankers, real estate agents, IT consultants – and, in the lead up to the festive season, these audiences played a key role in generating our Christmas parties.”

The targeted marketing went further too, with 29-year-olds specifically shown ads for their 30th birthday parties and so on. First they were shown an article giving ideas for their celebration and, if they read that, they were later shown an ad suggesting they have their party at Eugene’s venue.

Consider the fundamentals

Eugene ended his talk by encouraging event organisers and venue owners to go back to the fundamentals when they’re struggling with a plan: think about what your audience wants, think about how to gain an edge on your competition and ,when you’re pushing content online, try to think of original ways to grab attention.

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