The date is set. The venue is finalised. Now you just need to get people to show up. Worried? Don’t be.
If you’re not sure how to market an event, here’s a list of 50 event marketing tips.You don’t need a big advertising budget or celebrity endorsements to make this work. Just use this checklist as your event marketing plan.
The Event Page (or Website)
The cornerstone of all the promotion efforts is the event page or website. This could be a page or website specific to the event and make it compelling by including ALL of these elements:
Clearly indicate the topic, time, place and who should attend. Make it brief and scan-able. Use third-party endorsements when possible, such as a quote from a previous event. Curation of tangible content leading up to and/or during the event for event attendees to take away from the event (this could be videos, photos, t-shirts or just about anything.)
Speaker pictures and bios: Great speakers draw crowds like a magnet. The event page should show their faces and list their credentials.
Event image: The image will appear when the page is shared in the social networks. It could be the event logo, a picture of a room full of people, or just a genuine smiling face.
Event-related videos: Create simple video interviews of the speakers and post them here. These can be produced quickly using Google Hangouts or Skype.
If you have a list, email marketing may be your best channel. If you don’t, you may ask partners, speakers, or friends to mention the event in their emails. Consider sending an email on the weekend. Since few companies do it, open and clickthrough rates may be higher. And when possible attendees see it on a weekend, they may feel less stressed for time and more willing to commit a few hours to your event.
Pre-event social activity
Events are social occasions. So of course, your event marketing should use social media. Pick an event hashtag that’s short, and ideally, unique to your event.Usually, your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn bios will link to your website. But when you’re promoting a big event, consider changing these links so they send visitors directly to the event page.Unlike email, most tweets are missed as they flow through the social streams of your audience. So tweet early and often.If you find that you’re getting traction on one social network, but not others, move the conversation around. If someone shares something on Facebook, thank them on Twitter. If someone mentions the event on Google+, say hi to them on LinkedIn.
Write a pre-event blog post. A week in advance. Like the videos, this could be an interview with one or more of the speakers.Invite speakers to write guest posts.Speakers will recognise that although this takes a bit of time, there are SEO and social media benefits to guest blogging.
Target a keyword. First, we need to choose a relevant a keyword. The target keyword should combine the event topic, the word “event,” and the name of your city.Use a title tag and header that include your target keyword. The event page should have a nice, detailed event description, which includes the keyword several times. If it’s long, break up the text into short, concise paragraphs.Links are important for search engine rankings, so make sure to link to the event page from other pages on your site including older blog posts.
During the Event
Listen for juicy nuggets in conversations and in presentations. Mention the person who said it and uses the hashtag.
Make sure to take pictures of people, speakers and attendees, as things are happening and share them on Twitter. Smartphones make this easy. Mention people and use the hashtag.
Use this as an opportunity to gather email addresses (with permission of course) and then share a picture of the winner holding the gift on the social networks.
Event recap blog posts are often easy and fun to write. Post them on the event site or submit them as a guest post to a relevant blog or local or industry / association website.
The email follow-up to registrants is a way to thank you, share important links and keep a bit of buzz going… Get feedback from attendees and ask them what could have been better and try to implement the same the next time and thank them for their time and feedback. Invite registrants to be notified of the next event – Some of your registrants may not be subscribed yet.
Now it’s time to share stories, say thank you and stay connected.Post thank you tweets. Take feedbacks. Post pictures of the event.Be sure to tag and mention people.In the days after the event, listen for tweets, mentions and blog posts from others.
If this seemed overwhelming, don’t worry. You don’t need to do them all. But the more you do, the fewer hiccups you’ll face. So start marketing! Those seats aren’t going to fill themselves.