However, running a successful event is no easy task, and the biggest obstacle is getting people to attend. I’ve compiled a list of my top five tips to help you market your event online and build a community of highly engaged attendees to ensure your event is a memorable one.
1. Research your audience
The most important aspect of organising any event is gaining an understanding of your audience. This will inform everything from your marketing strategy to the choice of food you serve.
Fortunately, this is easy to do. If you’re running a marketing conference for example, then you should research and engage with marketing professionals on social media sites, blogs and forums.
What do you need to know?
Basic demographics (age, gender, location)
What are they interested in? (both professionally and personally)
What other events do they attend?
What social networks are they most active on?
2. Create an event plan?
Getting people to register for your event is only part of the problem. You need to drive consistent engagement up until, during and after your event.
So, what’s the best way to promote your event and keep your attendees engaged? Content.
With a clear picture of your audience and their interests, you can devise a plan for delivering relevant content to engage them. This doesn’t mean you bombard people with updates about your event. You should deliver content they find valuable.
What type of content should you share?
Industry blog posts, white-papers and eBooks
Interviews with speakers or videos of past talks
Videos and photographs from previous events
Content that’s relevant to their personal interests
Event updates (new speakers, and tips, like the best local restaurants)
Build a mailing list for your audience using a tool like Mailchimp and send regular content via email in addition to sharing it on your social media profiles.
Your ultimate goal here is to create content that people will share, enabling you to reach a wider audience and ultimately sell more tickets.
What tactics can you use to engage your attendees?
Run competitions: free ticket giveaways or a chance to meet with a speaker. Ask people to share posts for a chance to win, or ask them to submit their own content. You could offer spot prizes for the most entertaining photo taken at your event and posted to Twitter.
Offer discounts and incentives – like Earlybird tickets for your followers.
Ask questions about what they’d like to see at your event.
Respond to updates your attendees post on their own profiles
Managing social media is time-consuming. Set aside time each day to respond to comments and engage with people. Use a tool like Buffer to schedule posts in advance and save time.
Focus on establishing a highly engaged presence on the networks your audience are most active on, rather than spreading yourself too thin and trying to use them all.
Use the free analytics tools with each social network to measure engagement (which posts get the most link clicks, shares or replies) and also which posts are driving ticket sales. Figure out what’s creating the best results and do more of it.
4. Build Relationships with Key Influencers
One of the most powerful ways to market your event is to leverage influencers in your industry and market to their network.
This requires that you build these relationships in advance. You shouldn’t be reaching out to people you don’t know and asking them to share a link to your event.
Instead, provide value to them and make yourself visible. Respond to their tweets, post comments on their blog and share their content.
Build the relationship, then let them know about your event and you’ll have a much higher chance of them helping you. Don’t forget to ask your speakers and sponsors for help too.
“Don’t leave promoting your event until after its launch, instead get the story started in advance. Building a relationship with key influencers – by sharing sneak previews – is not only a great way to gather useful feedback, but helps to raise awareness and build buzz.”
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