Tagged: Event marketing

Event Marketing Strategies to Reach New Attendees and Grow Your Following

- 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:

Always be posting

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:

  • Speaker or keynote highlights
  • Industry news and updates
  • Updates to the next event
  • Thought leadership articles
  • Interviews

Make sure to make use of your social media channels and well as your mailing list to stay connected with attendees, as well.

Create campaigns centered around your events

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.

Include testimonials in your marketing

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.

Highlight what makes your event unique 

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:

  • The unique experience you and/or your team bring to organizing
  • Unique topics, themes, or perspectives
  • Milestones (largest, first, location-specific, etc.)
  • Venue details and features

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.

Follow up after your event

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:

  • Day after the event: thank you email
  • Four days after the event: event highlights email
  • One week after the event: feedback survey email

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.


 

3 Pre-Event Hype Ideas to Increase Attendance

- 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:

1. Plan a branded event campaign

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.

2. Share behind-the-scenes videos

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:

  • What’s the event all about?
  • What kinds of topics, ideas, or sessions will be covered?
  • Who are some of the speakers, presenters, or performers?
  • Who are some of the people involved in planning?
  • What are some details about the venue?

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.

3. Start sending out emails ASAP

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.

Start planning your pre-event hype now

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:

Let’s be internet friends! Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


 

Your Social Media Event Marketing Plan in 5 Easy Steps

- 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:

1. Create a Website or Landing Page

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.

2. Promote Early Bird Discounts 

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.

3. Develop a Content Strategy for Your Event

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.

4. Use Social Media Contests to Build Excitement

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:

  • Has clear rules for entry. By specific!
  • Encourages engagement (Liking, commenting, @ mentioning, sharing) in some way.
  • Has clear start and end dates.
  • Clearly states what the contest winner will receive. 

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.

5. Find the Right Partners and Sponsors 

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.

Event Marketing Made Easy

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!

Let's be friends! Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


 

How to Sell Out Your Event Using a Promotional Calendar

- 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:

Identify your event milestones

Sit down and make a list of all the important dates between now and your event, such as:

  • The day you announce calls for speakers
  • The day the event schedule is released
  • The day early bird tickets go on sale
  • The day early bird ticket pricing ends

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:

16 weeks before your event

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.

13 weeks before your 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.

10 weeks before your event

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.

6 weeks before your event

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.

2 weeks before your event

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.

Download the free template

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:


 

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