By Li Hayes
This two-part article presents the strategy and tactics of creating and reaping the benefits of Red Carpet entrances at events.
Part I: Red Carpet Strategy, the Why.
THE EVENT ENTRANCE HAS PURPOSE. It controls the event experience right from the start. Your entrance is the very first thing your attendees encounter and the ONLY part of the event the general public may ever get to see. It is one of the only aspects that you can almost guarantee every attendee will pass by. They might skip sessions and miss lunch. They might exit through a side door…but they all start at registration. The entrance offers value that many events miss. Take advantage!
- Give every attendee a WOW! when they arrive: Quality is subjective, but how it makes you feel is not. A red carpet experience will make attendees, sponsors, and VIPs feel significant. The attendee that spent $500 to attend your event, the sponsor, and the VIP all come from different places and are there for different reasons – but you can make them all feel special. Make the first few moments of your event experience be all about them. Give them a Wow!
- The cover sells the book: Your entrance sells your event. For events that encourage walk-in attendees, it will draw people in. Your entrance is a selling tool. Entice prospective attendees!
- Mobile content generation studio: People on the red carpet feel good! Ask on camera why they are there and why others should attend. Post pictures, quotes, and video on social media. Create a buzz! Get testimonials for later, build content for your website.
- Timing is Everything: People are at their best when they arrive. Makeup is fresh, clothes are crisp, and they are sipping coffee instead of sloshing cocktails. Arrival is the best time to get sharp content.
- Encourage Donations: Interviewing donors on the red carpet validates them and encourages others. Take video. Say a public thank-you and ask the donors why they contributed and why they feel others should. Current donors are your best advocates. Studies have shown that encouraging donations at the entrance can increase overall success by 10-15%.
- Market Event Features: Market to your attendees and guide them to where you want them to go. "Make sure to visit the Product Demo at 10:00 AM and get your free trial code while you are there."
- Put Your Logo, or sponsors logos, on every image: Take images for your website and other marketing material and encourage attendees to get images on their own phones. With a well-designed backdrop, your logo will be everywhere!
- Focus on the WHY: Red carpet interaction at events is about how the attendees feel and what they are experiencing. It is a way to encourage engagement and allows marketers to guide behavior. It is not about what they are wearing – focus on the why they attend.
- Sponsor Swag Delivery: Assure that sponsor giveaways and material get into attendees’ hands by distributing Hollywood style swag bags as they step off the red carpet. Receiving it as a gift adds psychological value.
The cost of a Red Carpet Entrance should generate more value than it costs to create and man. Strategically plan digital content creation, marketing tactics, and sales opportunities to utilize every aspect of the entrance display.
Part II, which will be a follow-up in the next InView issue, will provide the tactical how to set up and create the value. Red Carpet Entrance Part II
Li Hayes is founder and CEO of GoLeeward LLC, an organization whose mission is to connect top business speakers with event planners.