In a world driven by social media, you could be forgiven for overlooking the importance of face-to-face meetings. The way we form relationships, of any kind, has changed – that is undeniable – but the trick to maintaining such relationships hasn’t…
To thrive as a business in this day and age, you must find a way of shifting your online audience offline. This applies to all sectors, including online-only retailers. Consumers, followers and subscribers all want the opportunity to connect on a personal level.
Business events have been and always will be an integral way to increase visibility, improve professional connections, maintain customer relationships and put clients in front of industry innovators.
They bring like-minded people together and can pose many mutually beneficial prospects. Hosting an event is no walk in the park, but with the following marketing tips we hope you’ll find getting bums on seats that little bit easier!
Throughout the marketing process, you’ll want to be able to direct potential attendees to a place in which they can find all the necessary information about your event. Although social media allows you to communicate the details, it’ll look more professional to have a dedicated landing page complete with a sign up form to drive ticket purchases or secure bookings.
This won’t just be useful for attendees – it should also be a great help in terms of your own organisation – having a digital log and automated system is always reassuring! Our advice is to include relevant keywords to attract your target audience. Consider the search terms your audience would enter into Google and incorporate them into your description. For example, if you were hosting a technology conference in Shropshire, you would simply incorporate the search term: “technology conference in Shropshire” into a sentence, or two within the page.
The proof is in the pudding! Or in this case, the pictures, testimonials and videos combined into an event highlight reel to showcase the success of previous events. The best way to encourage a particular audience to attend your event is not to tell them how good it is, but to show them what there is to be excited about.
Visuals, supported by endorsements, have the ability to make a real impact. It can remove reservations and provide a sense of security, as those looking to register feel more knowledgeable in terms of what to expect.
Host the highlight reel on both YouTube and Vimeo, as each has different advantages and strengths. Why limit yourself to the benefits of one when you can have both?
There are an abundance of event-specialised tools online that you can utilise. Like a proper sign up system, these tools don’t just help to promote your event but can also help with the management and organisation of event details and bookings. The most popular is Eventbrite, which offers free sign up and is used by individuals and commercial companies alike.
Of course, social media has event-specialised tools that allow you to go beyond the traditional date, time and place announcement, like the ability to create your own Facebook event. But there’s also a wide variety of independent apps, such as Whova, which can be integrated with your social media platforms as well as cover other aspects such as live polling and surveys, well worth exploring!
Obvious as it may seem (even more so because we’ve already briefly touched on it), it has to be said that social media is one of the most effective ways to announce and market your event. By using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, you are able to reach audiences in real time, for free, with the option to advertise according to your budget.
Facebook makes it real easy for you to direct potential event attendees to the right place with clever built in CTA buttons and is a prime place to share your highlight reel.
Twitter and Instagram are also video/visual orientated, so you’ll want to accompany your event information with eye-grabbing aesthetics. A dedicated hashtag is another great accompaniment, helping people follow the lead-up, during and aftermath of the event as it unfolds.
Whatever platform you’re using, be sure to tag and mention event partners and speakers. They’re likely to re-tweet, interact or return the favour, heightening exposure!
Chances are, not everyone will see your social media posts. Be sure that no one slips through the net by covering all avenues, including email subscribers. You may want to develop an auto-responder series or at least put a multi-faceted strategy in place to ensure your communications are seamless. One invite/announcement email simply won’t suffice – but equally you don’t want to overload anyone’s inbox…
You’ll want to send confirmations, reminders, round-ups, surveys and so on. The process will be different for different sectors but should always be spread out evenly. Frequent updates maintain a buzz, while an excess of information will be more of an annoyance.
It’s a good idea to add the event banner to your email signature, as it’ll act as a constant prompt without you actually needing to push it too much.
And if you’ve got the address of your consumers and contacts, post or even hand-deliver them an invite – traditional touches don’t go unnoticed!
Blogs are an incredible way to draw attention to your event while providing real value at the same time. Cater a blog post, or maybe even a few, to help promote your event by interviewing speakers involved, offering an introductory insight to subjects that will be covered on the day or simply spotlight the partners and sponsors you’re working with to make it happen. You shouldn’t be short of things to say about your event, and again, supporting images are bound to help with engagement.
Include links to these blog posts in your newsletter and distribute them across social media using your unique hashtag.
Press Releases should be sent out to both digital and physical newspapers, industry-relevant magazines and business bulletin boards. You can download Press Release templates to customise yourself or hire a writer to put one together for you.
If you’re a larger company, you may have a PR team to drive awareness to the event for you. Whatever route you take, the goal is to spread the word in as many relevant places as possible, so don’t limit yourself to only one event-listing site…. Unless you’re unable to manage it!
Partners and speakers also want exposure – it’s one of the reasons they’ve agreed to be part of your event. Encourage them to let their followers and subscribers know about the event and ask that they tag or mention you wherever they can. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to actually make the effort, so try to provide personalised marketing materials they can use to promote themselves for the event.
Let them know that you’re open to ideas on how to create a buzz collectively, and don’t be shy of sharing your marketing plans so that they are aware and can prepare in advance. The last thing you want is to host an online conversation, suggesting that expert Lizzie will answer all of your questions in real time, when Lizzie is in fact away for the weekend on holiday and hasn’t the slightest idea!
Are you holding for an event? Tell us if you found this article useful joining the conversation on our social media @shropsConf and please feel free to sharing your own marketing tips with us.