- by Alyson Shane
Do you use Attendee Personas when developing your event marketing plan?
If not, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to understand your attendees’ wants, needs, and what to say to get them excited about registering for your event.
By creating Attendee Personas to represent different types of people who would benefit from attending your event, you can clarify your event marketing messaging so that your readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Attendee Personas are event-specific versions of the Buyer Personas marketers use to understand their target audiences. They’re called “personas” because they’re intended to represent an individual within a larger group.
In order to do this effectively, we need to dig deep into who these people are and identify their industry, job title, network and/or trade show membership, and other professional details. Other helpful elements include pain points, wants, needs, likes, where they get their news and consume media, and who their influencers are.
A buyer persona is a persona (fake person) businesses create as representations of their ideal customers. They use these personas for market research so they can craft marketing copy that speaks to their customer’s needs.
Attendee personas are similar in the sense that they also create semi-fictional representations of your ideal attendee, but they focus on different areas that help us understand their needs in relation to our event.
Creating an Attendee Persona is easy, just make a list of your attendee’s characteristics, including:
Start building your Attendee Personas by identifying the types of people you want to connect with to promote your event. It’s likely that your event will appeal to more than one individual type of person, so it’s likely you’ll need to develop several Attendee Personas
If you aren’t sure where to start, try these research tips:
Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of attendee personas you’ll be building, it’s time to loop in other sources of attendee information, like:
They interact with your attendees on a daily basis and will have valuable insights into the details that are important to your target audience. Ask about areas like:
If you have a sales team, tap into their customer relationship management (CRM) data to identify new event audiences, learn which types of attendees come back every year, and more.
If you can, arrange a video or in-person interview with past attendees. Gathering information from them directly allows you to ask specific questions about their needs, wants, and pain points.
Other ways to learn more about your attendees is to follow blogs from industry influencers, follow conversations around industry hashtags, and using social listening tools to stay on top of emerging trends and topics.
Building Attendee Personas is the fastest way to gain an in-depth understanding of your attendee’s wants, needs, and pain points.
By doing the work of developing these personas in advance, you can write marketing copy that speaks to their needs and gets them excited about registering for your event.
Do you have any tips for building great attendee personas? Tweet them at us and we’ll update this post with your suggestions!
Are you feeling overwhelmed with your event’s social media marketing? Let HeyAlfa generate complete a social media marketing campaign for your next event! Join our private beta and save 5 — 10 hours of event marketing per month per event.
- by Alyson Shane
Event social media automation is the process of using software to automate specific tasks like writing, scheduling, and publishing event-related content.
Automating your event's social media allows you to deliver a continuous stream of high-quality content without needing to make sure you manually log in and post something every day. Social media automation also saves you time — up to six hours a week in some cases.
Social media automation is popular because it lets you schedule posts in advance. This guarantees your event's social media posts will be published if you're too busy to do it manually.
Automating part of your social media gives you more time to focus on growing your community, which helps "humanize" your event and builds excitement about attending.
Social media automation also streamlines your workflow by taking care of repetitive tasks that you would otherwise have to do by hand. This lets you focus on details like securing vendors, managing registrants, and improving the attendee experience.
There are two ways you can automate your event's social media:
One way to automate your event's social media is to use a scheduling tool like Buffer, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial.
These tools allow you to write social media posts and schedule them as far in advance as you want.
HeyAlfa automates social media campaigns for events.
We use your event's unique information, like the name, date, venue, speakers, and more, and generate posts about those topics. This allows you to can focus on that community engagement and growth we talked about earlier.
Whether you use Buffer, Hootsuite, HeyAlfa, or a combination, there are still some basic rules to follow to be successful when automating your event's social media.
How would you describe someone who would benefit from your event? Which industry do they work in? What's their job title? What are they looking to get out of an event like yours?
Understanding these aspects of your ideal attendee profile helps identify where they're spending time online.
Here's a quick breakdown:
Depending on your attendee's demographics, they may be active on all of these social networks or just a few.
Knowing which they use should inform where you share your automated social media content.
If you're using a scheduling tool and writing your posts by hand, it may be tempting to re-use the same posts over and over again. Resist the temptation!
Your followers will notice if they see the same post multiple times, which can cause them to lose interest in your event and what you have to say. If you add more speakers, sponsors, or other exciting details, add in additional posts to let your attendees know what they can expect.
Luckily if you're automating your event's social media using HeyAlfa, we do this for you.
The 5-3-2 content rule is a social media marketing principle that dictates that out of every ten social media posts you write:
If the idea of sharing other people's content seems counter-intuitive, consider this:
Events are about creating a community for attendees, and curating content from influencers in your industry establishes your social media profiles as a go-to place for news and information.
Even better: curating content from your speakers, sponsors, partners allows you to cross-promote one another on your social channels for free.
This rule keeps you from sounding pushy with your posts, and dictates that of every six posts you write:
Here's an example of what this might look like:
Users on different social media networks are active during different days and times throughout the week. Posting during the most popular times by each network increases the chances that your audience will see your posts.
Here are the ideal days and times to publish your social media posts:
Content moves quickly on Twitter, so you may want to tweet similar content multiple times to get the most engagement.
Most people using LinkedIn are busy during work hours, so schedule your posts during times when they'll be free to read it. Avoid Mondays and Fridays, as well, since those workdays tend to be the busiest.
The days and times listed above may need to be adjusted depending on the time zone where the majority of your potential attendees live.
If you're promoting locally, use the time zone for your area. If you're promoting nationally, or internationally, keep local time zones in mind to reach the maximum number of possible attendees.
It might seem like a good idea to schedule as much of your event's social media content as far out as possible, but you might run into problems.
For example, if your event sells out you don't want to keep promoting registration, so you'll need to delete all future posts promoting ticket sales by hand.
Usually this isn't a problem, but if you've scheduled months in advance the removal process can be time-consuming and doesn't guarantee that all posts mentioning tickets have been removed.
(If you use HeyAlfa you don't need to worry about promoting the wrong thing at the wrong time. We update your campaign the minute you turn ticket sales' off' on your dashboard.)
Every social media network is different, so you'll need to tailor your posts to have a tone that matches how other users are talking to one another.
For example, Twitter's layout allows you to play with spaces in your tweets to help them stand out, like this:
The same tactic on other social networks doesn't yield the same result:
As we can see, on other social networks the post gets cut off and we lose the call-to-action, so beware.
Automating your event's social media doesn't mean you can ignore your community!
In fact, social media automation should have the opposite effect: it should give you more time to engage with your followers and build a community around your event.
We recommend taking an hour a day to check your profiles, respond to any comments or direct messages, and participate in conversations related to your event and your industry.
Remember: events are about community-building, so use the time you save by automating your event's social media on nurturing that community.
Just because you're automating part of your event's social media marketing doesn't mean you should stop paying attention to how it's performing. Some things to monitor could be:
Use this information to evaluate your existing posts, and to make improvements on any future posts in your campaign.
If you're automating your event marketing campaign using HeyAlfa, you can simply update them instead of re-writing them from scratch.
We've talked about why social media automation is popular, different ways to automate your event marketing campaign, and 10 of the most important rules to follow.
By now you might be thinking "wow, this could save me a lot of time," which is true, but remember: the key to a successful event is spending that extra time building a community around it.
Social media is a powerful tool for event promotion because it allows you to engage with your target audience on a consistent basis. A strong social media presence helps potential attendees learn the value of attending and helps them get excited about joining you.
This is why we created HeyAlfa. We take care of the repetitive parts of event social media marketing, so you have more time to focus on building excitement and community around your event.
- by Alyson Shane
Are you looking for new ways to reach new attendees and grow your following on social media?
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to turn your attendees into social media followers who engage with, promote, and stay excited about your event all year, keep reading:
Often, annual or recurring events will “go silent” for months at a time in-between events. This is a mistake, because it means you’re missing out on months of opportunities to remind attendees about how much fun they had, and promote the value of attending.
The easiest way to post new content is to blog regularly.
Regular blogging isn’t just a great way to keep your website updated with fresh content (which search engines like Google love and helps with search engine optimization) but it also gives you multiple chances to send traffic back to your website, and promote your event year-round.
Some things you can publish on your blog include:
Make sure to make use of your social media channels and well as your mailing list to stay connected with attendees, as well.
The key to successfully building an online following is to engage with the people who follow you regularly.
Not just be replying to them, but by asking their feedback and thoughts, too. Some great ways to do this include voting, polls, or the “ask me anything” option available through Instagram Stories.
Make sure to include a clear call-to-action that tells people what you want them to do; if your followers don’t know what to say, they may not say anything at all!
To really boost engagement with your posts, try using incentives.
Make sure to choose prizes that are appropriate for your event’s brand, like “bring a guest for free” or free entry into a door prize.
Even better: if you have sponsors, discuss partnering with them to provide gifts, coupons, or free services as part of your incentive campaign.
Many event planners will spend time describing how great their events are, but fail to include testimonials from real-life attendees as part of their marketing.
Take a lesson from the business community and start including attendee testimonials in your marketing.
88% percent of consumers polled by Vendasta stated that they trusted these reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
This stat tells us that testimonials can play a vital role in showcasing the value of attending our events. After all, if people are more likely to buy something after reading a testimonial, it’s safe to assume that they’re just as likely to register to attend your event based on a recommendation.
What makes your event different? If you don’t know, now’s the time to dig in and find out!
The easiest way to do this research is to compare your event against other, similar events, and determine what makes yours unique. Some ideas include:
Make sure to @ mention any speakers, venue accounts, or other relevant accounts as part of your social media promotion.
Cross-promoting with event partners typically means you’re reaching an audience of people who will be interested in what your event has to offer, abd is an easy (and free) way to reach more attendees and grow your following.
Don’t leave your attendees hanging after a successful event! Make them feel appreciated and included by following up with them after the event has ended.
The easiest way to follow up with everyone who attended is to send an email to the list of people who were registered, but the trick is to send more than one follow-up email.
This is your chance to thank them for attending, showcase any highlights, and ask for their feedback on how to make the next event even better. But here’s the catch: instead of jamming all three of these topics into a single email, send three separate emails over time.
Sending emails with only one ask is the easiest way to get readers to take the action you want them to take, so consider a follow-up strategy that looks like this:
This strategy has the added bonus of keeping your event top-of-mind for attendees, even after the event has ended.
Do you have any event marketing strategies that have helped you reach new attendees and grow your following? Tweet them at us.
Want to save time promoting your event by generating a complete social media marketing campaign for your next event? Join our private beta.
- by Alyson Shane
Do you know how to create pre-event hype that excites and engages your audience?
Creating pre-event hype isn’t something that happens by accident. It takes planning and organization to keep your audience’s attention until the big day.
The most important part of your plan is your content strategy. The content you share as part of your pre-event hype needs to be connective and memorable.
Below are three ideas to get you started:
Consider everything you need to do to keep your messaging consistent across your website, social media, email, and paid ads.
Update all your social media profiles with the same (or similar) bios, profile pictures, and header images promoting the event.
Use branded hashtags like #MyGreatEvent2019 whenever you post about your event on social media.
This helps you keep track of all the conversations happening around your event, and gives attendees a way to see what everyone is saying, too!
Don’t just post about ticket sales on social media.
Spacing out your sales content with blog posts, interviews, industry news, and other announcements helps your content feel conversational and helpful.
An easy way to connect with your audience and get your attendees excited about attending your event is to share videos that help them get to know you.
Events are chances for us to make real, human connections, and there’s no better way too be “human” online than through fun and entertaining videos.
Even better: using the word ‘video’ in your email subject line can increase open rates by 19%!
If you’re not sure what to share, think about the kinds of questions your audience might want to know about the event you’re promoting, such as:
Still not sure what they want to know? Ask them.
Instagram Stories, Facebook Polls, and Twitter Polls are all great ways to engage with your audience and find out more about the kind of content they want to see.
Email marketing is an important way for event creators to connect with their audiences and help get them excited about attending.
Use your event promotional calendar to pre-plan out when you’ll send out emails to your mailing list, and write as many of them in advance as you can. You’ll thank yourself later - trust us.
You should aim to send an email at least once a week, maybe more if you’re counting down to a special event like when early bird ticket sales end and prices go up.
Spend your creative time planning exciting pre-hype campaigns for your event and leave the social media promotion to us. Fill out the box below to join the waitlist:
- by Alyson Shane
Event marketing can be one of the most time-consuming parts of event planning. Luckily, by breaking down your process into simple steps you can create a plan that saves time, sells tickets, and gets your attendees excited and talking about your event.
Even better: creating an event marketing plan means you have a repeatable process that saves time on future events.
Below are 5 easy steps you can take to start building your event marketing plan today:
The first step to promoting event on social media is to build a website or landing page dedicated to your event. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, but should focus exclusively on your event, what it’s about, who’s involved, and what attendees can expect.
A website or landing page also gives you a place to brand your event, optimize for SEO, and send visitors who may not have found the website if it were only listed as a footnote on your business’ website.
Link to your event page from your corporate website, since this will organically improve their search engine page rankings, and to ask anyone involved with planning and promoting the event to share the URL on their own blogs and social media accounts as well.
If the event is recurring, create a blog section on the website and post regular updates to build anticipation as you release the names of your speakers, talk times, session topics, activities, and more.
Each new post on your blog gives readers a new reason to visit your website, so don’t miss out on this valuable marketing opportunity!
Once these pages are complete, link them to your social media accounts and run your registration through them to create a seamless attendee experience from start to finish.
One of the easiest ways to ensure commitment from attendees early on is to incentivize them with early bird discounts and packages.
Not only does offering early bird discounts help you sell more tickets, but it also gives those early bird attendees time to contact their friends, family, and colleagues to encourage them to attend as well.
You can also consider using marketing tactics like referral incentives, where an attendee earns a reward or deeper discount on their ticket if they refer a certain amount of people who also register to attend.
One of the easiest ways to promote your event is to lean on your speakers and their ability to promote it to their audience.
One of our favorite ways to leverage your speakers’ knowledge and skills is to invite them to publish guest posts on your blog, or to participate in an interview leading up to the event.
This will help position your speakers as thought leaders in their respective industries, and it will motivate other industry leaders to attend your event.
For example, most digital marketers would jump at the chance to hear Ann Handley talk about content marketing, just like most VR developers would bend over backwards to hear John Carmack talk about what Oculus is up to.
By empowering your speakers to promote their upcoming appearance at your event on their own blogs, social media channels, and newsletters, you can encourage their audience to register to attend your event and connect with an industry expert they love.
Give your attendees even more reason to be excited about your event by hosting contests and giveaways on social media.
Contests can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like, but they should all share these basic qualities:
For example, you could host an Instagram contest where users submit entries by Liking, sharing the post on their own feeds, and commenting by @ mentioning someone they want to bring to the event as their guest.
A prize pack could include free registration for two, meal vouchers, and any other items or experiences you can spare to make the contest as appealing and exciting as possible.
The people you partner with can make - or break - your event, so take care to choose relationships that compliment your event and attendees.
For example, choose to have your startup-focused event catered by a local restaurant instead of choosing a corporate catering company; or partner with local hotels to secure discounts on rooms for out-of-town attendees.
Include your partners and sponsors in your content marketing plan, and partner with them on contests and giveaways, if possible. Feature them on your blog, @ mention them on social media, and ask them to do the same in return.
By taking the time to develop your social media event marketing plan you can develop a repeatable and well-tuned process that saves time, sells tickets, and helps attendees feel excited and inspired to attend your event - and tell their friends to attend, too!
- by Alyson Shane
The secret to selling out your event isn't just about having the best speakers or the hottest venue (though those don't hurt.)
The secret to selling out your event is being organized.
Unfortunately that can be hard to do with so many deadlines, dates, and details to manage at once - especially in the months and weeks leading right up to your event.
That's where your promotional calendar comes in.
By organizing your event's significant dates into a campaign-style calendar, you can have a better understanding of what to say, and when.
To get started, download this free event promotional calendar template and follow along as we walk you through how to use it:
Sit down and make a list of all the important dates between now and your event, such as:
Identifying these dates in advance means you always have something to build towards in your promotional content.
Countdowns and posts highlighting that there's only a few days left to save on early bird tickets, for example, is a great way to incentive people to register early.
If you'd like some help generating and scheduling that content, fill out the box below:
There's a lot to do in the weeks before tickets go on sale, but now is the time to start promoting your event to your community.
First, announce to your followers on social media that tickets will be on sale soon. This will start to generate some initial buzz that you can build on later.
Second, if you have a list of attendees from previous events, send them an email letting them know when they'll be able to register.
Start working with sponsors, speakers, volunteers, and other partners to coordinate a promotional strategy for the day tickets go on sale, and make sure your website is created (or updated) to start promoting the event.
Tickets should now be on sale.
Send out an email to your mailing list to let everyone know registration has opened, and publish updates to your social media profiles and event blog (if you have one.)
Make sure your sponsors, speakers, and other partners are in lockstep and ready to start promoting ticket sales on the same day. Provide them with tracking links and any special codes they can distribute to attendees, and plan to check up on them every 3-4 weeks.
Roll out any social media or search ads announcing that tickets are now available. Make sure to highlight early bird pricing if you're offering it.
Start heavily promoting your event and the benefits of attending.
If you've been selling early bird tickets, now's the time to end the sale and introduce regular registration pricing.
Start sending your attendees more personalized emails by segmenting them into categories based on why they're attending.
Use these emails to highlight the benefits of attending that are unique to each group and their needs, and that encourage them to share the event with their colleagues and friends.
Use your mailing list and social media to highlight speakers and topics, give shout-outs to sponsors, and testimonials from past events if you have any.
If you have a blog, ask speakers and sponsors to write guest blogs and share with their communities.
Keep track of your email open rates and click-through-rates (CTRs) to see how different messaging resonates with different categories of attendees. Now is also the time to end any unsuccessful ad campaigns, and to reallocate their budget into new ads, or ads that have been performing.
Now is the time to add a sense of urgency to your promotional content.
Your social media, blog posts, ads, and emails should all be notifying interested attendees that time is running out.
Use this time as an opportunity to "dig deep" into your event and highlight different or unique ways to be prepared to attend. If attendees have to travel to attend, highlight interesting or unique things about the city you're in, or the venue where the event is being held.
Blog posts with subjects like "everything you need to know about XYZ event" and "everything you need for a successful XYZ event" can also be great ways to help attendees get excited about attending.
If you've been running ads, retarget users who have visited your event website and started the process of registering, but didn't finish.
Now is a great time to run a contest to keep the momentum going. There are lots of contests and giveaways you can choose to do, but the key is that contests should encourage your community to share something and, ideally, post about why they want to attend.
Send an email to everyone who hasn't registered yet and remind them that there's barely any time left, so they should act now.
Your social media and blog content should also be sales-focused, with lots of calls to register worked into your copy.
If you were running a contest, it should have ended by now.
Take the guesswork out of promoting your next event and download our free event promotional calendar template.
We've created it in a spreadsheet so you can modify it to your needs, after all, some events need more than 4 months' of promotion - some get promoted all year!
If you're not excited by the idea of writing 4+ months of social media content to promote your event (we get it) sign up to be in our closed beta and start saving time on your event marketing: