Our Top Tips on Marketing Your Next Event
The date is in the diary and the venue is booked; now how do you go about getting those proverbial bums on seats?
Event marketing is all about creating a buzz. Your event marketing strategy should focus on getting people talking about your event and sharing content about it – before it, during it and for a long time after it.
Pre-Event Marketing Activity
There’s a huge amount of work to do pre-event to make sure you fill that room with the right people. Getting the word out there early is key. Here are a few things to consider when planning your pre-event marketing activity:
Create an Excellent Event Website or Page
Your event page or website will be critical to your event success. If you don’t have the funds or resources to set up an event website or webpage then a page on a site like eventbrite is a must.
When developing your event page, make sure you consider the following:
- Your event page should include your event mission statement and clearly indicate who what where why and when it’s happening, focusing all the time on the benefits attendees will get out of the experience.
- Your event page is your opportunity to really sell the benefits of attending your event, so include things like speaker biographies, third party endorsements and statistics about previous attendee numbers throughout the copy if you can.
- Make sure your event site is easily navigable with clear calls to action and a REALLY EASY customer journey and registration process.
- Include a blog if time and resources allow.
- Make sure your page looks great on any device and that it is search engine optimised.
Events are social experiences so clearly social media is going to play a big part in your event marketing strategy. You should develop a separate social media plan if time and resources allow and consider the following when putting it together:
- Create a great event hashtag – ideally one that nobody else is using or has used.
- Work out what the best channels are. Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are still key to good event marketing, but don’t forget to consider instagram, snapchat, pinterest and others too, depending on your audience.
- Keep generating that buzz around your event by investing time and effort in developing really great sharable content. Video content is ideal for social sharing. Creating simple video interviews with keynote speakers or asking them to produce clips for you is a great idea.
- Always keep the customer journey in mind when you’re developing your social content plan, this will help you to develop relevant and timely content, about all aspects of the event whether it be updates about the venue, news on speakers and exhibitors or detail about social events and even the weather!
- Make use of tools like twitter lists will allow you to target people who are more likely to share your events. And when they do, don’t forget to thank them and invite them along too.
If you have any kind of database or mailing list then email marketing will be an important feature of your strategy. Your email strategy will work together with social to help develop and maintain that excitement around the event. When developing your campaigns consider the following:
- Plan your email communications far in advance and schedule in regular updates from launch right through to registration closing and post event analysis.
- Just like your webpage and other event marketing materials, your email communications can allow you to generate and build excitement
- Your emails are another opportunity to communicate to your target audience that your event is the place to be. Don’t just focus on the key details. Use email to sell the benefits of attending.
- Your email content should include all those important features to help you build excitement, allow sharing and get people clicking that register button. At every opportunity include things like third party endorsements, links to blogs and news pages, clear and visible calls to action and share buttons.
Work with Partners & Sponsors
There are so many things you can do yourself to effectively market your event and get people hitting that register now button. But don’t forget about what others can do for you! Your partners and sponsors have their own networks throughout which they can share information about your event. Get them on board early and include them as a key component of your strategy.
In and Post Event Marketing
Hopefully if you’ve put together a really great event marketing strategy, your event will be a sell out; but of course the work does not stop there!
There’s lots more you can do to ensure people keep talking about your event for weeks and even months afterwards and this way you can be certain your audience will come back for more next time and hopefully bring a few new attendees with them!
During the event, social media will be key so a content plan and scheduled posts produced in advance will free your time up on the day to make sure you’re able to capture (through images, video and words) all that exciting content being generated in talks, breakout sessions and during networking moments.
And once the event is over there’s still work to do to ensure the ideas generated during the day and outcomes of the event are communicated far and wide.
Here are some great ways to keep that buzz going long after the event has ended:
- Use your thank you emails to speakers, exhibitors and delegates to share content and get people enthused about the next one.
- Keep blogging.
- Share speaker presentations using tools such as slideshare.
- Create an event photo gallery.
- Create a list of top tweets from the day.
- Don’t forget to keep your ear to the ground for tweets, mentions and blog posts from others about your event and share them amongst all your networks.
Post Event Evaluation
Event evaluation should form an integral part of your event marketing. You won’t know if your event marketing has worked or if your event has achieved what it set out to unless you build in evaluation tools to evaluate and record feedback and success.
Event evaluation shouldn’t be a bolt on activity. You need to devote sufficient time and attention to it, so we’ll come back to this and give it a little more of ours next time!