A successful event requires footfall and for most event teams this means it needs to be heavily promoted. Even for those more established industry events, which have a loyal list of regular attendees, there will be a certain amount of customer churn, and a need to remind people to book the date in their diary.
There is nothing more frustrating for the event organiser than to hear ‘we forgot it was on’, and this quite rightly should lead to an investigation into why promotional efforts failed to engage key attendees.
There are a wealth of different platforms you can promote your event through, from social media advertising to full-page spreads in industry magazines, so where should you start?
Know Your Perfect Event Delegate
Before you embark on any marketing activity you really must understand your event attendee. Without a well-defined customer avatar you will inevitably find yourself promoting your event to a broad audience, rather than a targeted audience. The more targeted you can be, the easier it will be to convert prospects into delegates and keep your marketing costs within budget.
Your customer avatar will help you identify where that perfect event delegate hangs out and what types of communications they’re receptive to. Once you’ve created an event customer avatar, here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Hopefully, if you’ve held your event before you’ll have a segmented list of attendees with some useful insights to help promote your next event. If, for example, you have data on individual attendees such as their sector, job title or interests you’ll be able to create even more targeted campaigns to promote your up-and-coming conference or show.
‘Targeted communications’ are the key, so make sure you don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to any of your event marketing. Make communications relevant to each segment of your email list so they receive good reasons and incentives for signing up and attending. Also, move individuals on to the correct list throughout your campaign, so that they continue to receive appropriate communications. If they have signed up and received their delegates pack you’ll want to target them with content that builds on their interest, reminding them of why they want to attend. Those individuals who are still considering signing up will need to be nurtured in a different way.
There are lots of opportunities to promote your event on social media such as advertising or posting regular updates designed to drive traffic to your event website or page. With your customer avatar in hand you should have a good idea of where your targets hang out: are they Facebook users or do they prefer Twitter? While you may think LinkedIn is the perfect platform for a B2B event remember that many people use other ‘less professional’ channels as well that could provide excellent opportunities to promote your event.
Do you need a dedicated social media profile for your event? It can be advantageous to create event-specific social media profiles especially if your current social media audience is broader than your event customer avatar. For example, if your organisation’s LinkedIn account is predominately followed by potential employees it may be a good idea to set up a different profile for an event targeted at suppliers or customers.
Forums And Social Media Groups
Niche groups are a valuable way of reaching your perfect delegate. Try to identify the types of places your customer avatar frequents, such as an industry or job specific LinkedIn group or online forum. While blatantly advertising your event in these groups would be frowned on, you can use them to convert members by engaging with them on the issues they discuss and building your authority in their area of interest. This can then present you with opportunities to more subtly promote your event, in the interests of helping them further.
Remarketing is an extremely effective way of promoting your event to people who are already ‘warm’. This involves using Google Adwords or Facebook advertising to target individuals who have already visited your event website with ads for the event while they’re browsing the Internet. These campaigns can be highly customised so that your ad only goes in front of people who have visited specific pages on your website, so you create very relevant campaigns for those individuals.
Not everything is digital and in many cases there are still good reasons to invest in traditional advertising methods such as taking ads in trade or business magazines. Billboard ads, posters and flyers all have their place depending on the type of event you’re organising. As with digital marketing it’s all about finding your niche audience and creating communications that resonate with them.
Don’t Forget YouTube!
YouTube is an excellent platform to not only share your event and related video content, but also to help you rank highly in Google SERPs. You can read more on this in our post How To Upload Your Video Comms To YouTube – Properly
Got a question about any of the above? Leave a comment below and we will endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible.