“Our registration numbers are too low”
“What was the RoI of the event?”
Does this sound familiar?
You spend so much time and money to conduct an event. It boils down to nothing if you are not able to gather attendance for the event. Even if you gather people in a hall, you need to make sure these people get associated with you in the future.
In this post, you will find actionable event promotion ideas you can follow before the event, during the event and after it to maximize returns from your efforts.
Why would someone attend your attend?
It is always a good idea to start with this question to nail down how to go about promoting it.
What’s in it for the attendees?
- Do they get to hear from industry experts, who otherwise are difficult to approach?
- Do they get to network with other like-minded professionals in the community?
- Do they get to stay updated on the latest technologies and techniques from their field?
- Do they get access to a valuable offer which would have cost them money later?
Event promotion, just like any other promotional activity is simple – Understand the why and build hype around it.
Pre-event Promotion – How to build hype around your event?
Here are some event promotion ideas you can follow before the event to generate maximum audience participation:
E-mail and Tele-calling
First things first. These are the most common channels of promotion which you might be already using.
However, there are 2 ways in which you can improve your existing efforts.
- Don’t Over-promote
What happens during your relentless pursuit of generating maximum participation is you start over-promoting.
I want 20 more registrations – Let’s send another e-mail blast. Let’s have another round of tele-calling
This way, you end up annoying your audience who would unsubscribe to your e-mails or block your number. More than anything, it would tarnish your company’s reputation.
Hence, you need to find the right number and times for your e-mail and call promotions.
Give yourself and the attendees some time to plan their schedule – If it is a 3-4-hour event, it is best to start your promotions 2 weeks from the event. If it is a larger trade show which would take an entire day or two, it is best to start promotions at least a month before the event.
Here is an event promotion template, which you could replicate for your events.
People are busy. Their days are filled with reviews, meetings, business pressures etc.
They can forget about your event even after registering for them.
You need to be more relentless in your follow-ups than what you are in generating more attendance.
These are people who have shown interest. It would be a pity if they do not come to your event.
Message from the Speaker
This method works best if you have a speaker(s) of great repute in your event.
Have them record a 1-2-minute video or send in a quote in which they tell what they are planning to speak about in the event.
Larry Kim, CEO of Mobile Monkey did this before the Hubspot Inbound Conference:
This way, your audience starts feeling that the speaker is approachable. It helps you develop a personal connection between them.
Also, once you do this, the speaker shares it with his audience, which means you get to reach a wider audience base.
Behind the Scenes
This method works best if your event is around bringing the community together.
Since the people in the community are already well connected with each other or with your company’s purpose, they want to be a part of everything that you do: Be it planning the event, preparing for it and finally attending it.
This way, you are giving them a chance to be a part of the whole experience.
Salesforce uses this technique extremely well for Dreamforce – Well, they do everything well when it comes to Dreamforce
Check their Twitter Handle for some solid event promotion inspiration.
I saw this technique being used by the Content Marketing Summit team (Asia edition).
They collaborated with many of the speakers and published a guide on content marketing before the event.
This guide was then shared through social media and e-mail. This helped them generate a lot of buzz around the event – It provided a great reason to everyone to be a part of the event and learn from the speakers.
You can take a lesson from this approach and publish an article/ whitepaper guide before the event. This helps you showcase your knowledge and tell people what they would learn if they are there at the event.
During the Event Promotion
So, now you have brought in a lot of attendees to your event.
Is your work done? No.
The next step is leveraging all these attendees and speakers to have the maximum impact. The non-attendees should feel that they have missed something big and crucial.
You can do that by generating event buzz while the event is on.
For this, you need to use social media to good effect. A good start is to have a dedicated hashtag – Ask all the attendees regularly to tweet about the event using this hashtag. This spreads the message far and wide.
Sometimes, attendees can be harsh. They don’t share anything on social media despite you repeating it over and over again.
In this case, you need to take that mantle of doing it yourself.
Tweet and share a lot of snippets, videos, speaker quotes and attendee engagements during the event.
The team at Drift used this technique to great effect during their Hypergrowth conference.
Check out their twitter handle: #Hypergrowth18
You can also do a live video session on Facebook or a live podcast with one of the speakers.
This helps you to draw-in even the non-attendees.
So, now you are done with your event.
No, your work is still not over. This is the time to prove the ROI of your efforts – how many leads, customers and revenue did you generate?
One way is to follow-up with e-mail and tele-calling on the attendee list and set-up meetings. Most of the companies already do it.
While this is a must-to-do, it shouldn’t stop there.
You need to keep the conversation going.
You can only do that by using social media to your full advantage
- Upload event photos and tag the people in those photos
- Write a summary post, tagging all the speakers
- Sum up the best tweets in a collage
Here is a sample social media plan by Marketo, which you can follow. Looks complex, but it is a worthwhile exercise if you start following it. The results and engagement would be disproportionately high.
Events are a critical part of your B2B marketing mix. However, the challenge is to get people in the hall and build a continuous conversation with them not only during the event but also before and after it.
The above event promotion ideas can be tasking but are sure to maximize the returns on your event investments.