Online marketing has changed the event landscape, making it possible for you to reach potential attendees on the other side of the world.
Get Other People To Market Your Event Online
Run a ContestEncourage potential attendees to share a picture or comment on a status for a chance to win a prize.you can offer free tickets, VIP experiences, or anything else you imagine; just remember that the better the prize, the more willing people will be to share your event. You can run a contest on one or multiple social networks or do it directly on your site.
Reach out to Influencers – CorrectlyWe all know that influencer marketing is a great way to drum up publicity. Instead of sending a generic request to 100 influencers, send personalized requests to the 20 influencers who are the best fit. Be sure to research their following and their content. Then, provide them with content that is relevant to their audience. If you want them to write a post, give them a unique angle that fits their style. If you want them to post a tweet, send a few pre-written options. The less work they have to do, the better.
Pay Affiliates to Promote Your EventAnother great way to reach out to influencers is to give them a reason to care. Not only can you offer them complimentary tickets for promoting your event, but you can also pay them to be affiliates. You set up a special URL for each affiliate to use in his or her promotion. Then, your affiliates earn a portion of each ticket sale they refer. People are much more willing to share your event when they have the opportunity to earn money.
Add Social Share After Sale ButtonsWhen someone buys a ticket to your event, he or she is already excited. Turn that excitement into referrals by including social sharing on the last page of your sales channel.Be sure to include pre-populated social media actions that require minimal work to get the most shares.
Offer Discounts When Attendees Refer FriendsLike influencers, attendees are more willing to share when you give them something in return. Consider setting up a refer-a-friend promotion where an attendee has the opportunity to earn back a portion of his or her ticket cost by getting friends to register for the event. If you would rather not offer money back on tickets, you could always offer a VIP experience or swag bag for groups of 2 or more who register together.
Use Social Media to Market Your Event Online
Target More than Just Facebook and Twitter
Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and live streaming sites like Periscope and Blab provide active communities with less competition. Optimizing your content so that it can be shared across multiple social media networks means you’ll reach more people. In addition to making sure your content translates well across mediums, tailor your approach to each site’s strengths in order to maximize your return.
Host a Pre-Event Event on Social Media
The best way to give people a taste of your event is to host a pre-event event. Whether this is a Twitter party, a behind-the-scenes Periscope broadcast, or a Blab with some of your key speakers, be sure to advertise it across as many platforms as possible. Don’t forget to send a special link to everyone who abandoned the registration process without purchasing a ticket, encouraging them to attend your pre-event event for free to see what you are all about. Of course, the more exciting your pre-event event, the more hyped people will be to attend your live event. You could always combine your event with a contest for an experience that will really get guests (and potential guests) talking.
Private Facebook Group Exclusive to Attendees
A great way to add value to your event experience with almost no work on your part is to create a private Facebook group for attendees. After someone registers, send them the link to the group in a follow-up email. Verify registrations before approving requests to join the group to keep it exclusive. Schedule periodic posts to the group to keep people engaged and create documents where people can request ride or room shares if that is relevant to your audience.
Do your research because your hashtag is a huge part of your online marketing. Once you identify your hashtag, use it in social media post where hashtags are appropriate. Encourage attendees to use the hashtag, and repost some of their content – with permission, of course. Be sure to incorporate the hashtag into your social media bios and all branded materials so that it becomes embedded into your attendees’ minds.
Create An Awesome Video
Video dominates social media, especially on Facebook. Create a professional video about your event. Make it fun, rather than overly promotional. The goal here is to garner attention, to make people FEEL something that will make them want to learn more. Upload the video directly to Facebook for increased views and virality. Also, upload to Vimeo and Youtube so that you can maximize your reach. You can also embed the video into the relevant section(s) of your website.
Follow Relevant People After You Post
You just posted the best tweet in the history of hashtags. Now is the perfect time to follow relevant people because when they click on your profile, they will see your brilliant (and targeted) tweet at the very top of your profile. Find people to follow by looking for influencers in your event’s niche and following their followers. These people are already following someone in the right niche, so they are more likely to follow you and be interested in your event. Don’t forget to use the Twitter ‘Pin’ button too.
Schedule Social MediaUse scheduling tools such as Buffer, Tailwind, and Hootsuite to save yourself some time. Schedule your social media… but remember that it is still SOCIAL media. While scheduling social media is a great timesaver, don’t become too distant. You still need to take time each day (perhaps multiple times each day) to respond to questions and post timely updates. You’ve got to be a part of the conversation or people will stop talking about you.
Leverage Your Network To Market Your Event Online
Promote Your Speakers
Your speakers are a huge part of your event, and their names and stories will sell tickets. Interview them on your podcast, allow them to guest post on the site, or create a round-up post featuring all of your speakers’ opinions on a topic. Be sure to link to your speakers’ websites and/or social media. Your speakers get exposure; your readers get pumped; you get sales. Win-win-win.
Help Your Speakers Promote Themselves
Create images that combine your event branding with your speaker’s name and photo. Send these images (in multiple sizes) to your speakers for them to use in their own social media posts or websites. You can also create a quote image featuring their face and one of their best quotes along with your event hashtag. Share it on your social media networks, and then share it with your speakers in case they would like to use it on their own social media networks.
Exchange Tickets for Services
For events that don’t have budgets for videographers and professional photographers offer free tickets to your event in exchange for online marketing necessities. Having great photos and video will do wonders for your online marketing, and unless you can do them yourself, you need to find a professional. If you don’t have the money to invest, try to find someone willing to exchange services for event tickets.
Ask Your Email Contacts To PromoteAnnounce your event to your email contacts and ask them to forward your message to people who might find it useful or tweet a pre-written tweet included within the email. Be sure to thank your contacts in advance for their support in helping you launch the event, and remember to help them out when you receive similar emails in the future.
Market Your Event Online During & After The Event
Be Social During the Event
Your smartphone is your best friend during an event. Take pictures, tweet quotes, live stream impromptu interviews between sessions, and interact with your attendees who will all be doing the same. Encourage attendees to be social at the event by providing Twitter and Instagram handles for all vendors and speakers on a cheat sheet or in your event app. Follow your hashtag and like, retweet, or share user-generated content to increase buzz. Attendees will keep posting if they get a lot of engagement on their posts.
Monitor Mentions After the Event
If this is an annual event, you will want to keep working after the event is over. Follow mentions of your event on blogs and social media over the following weeks, and save them for future reference. Contact writers now to ask if you can use their quotes and/or images in future promotion since they are currently excited about the event. You’re much more likely to get a response two weeks after the event when they just posted a recap blog than in 10 months when you are looking for material for your marketing campaign.
Have Attendees Fill Out A Survey
Offer your guests the opportunity to fill out a survey and be sure to include a way for them to opt-in to emails in case they haven’t already. Also, give them a place to write their thoughts so that you can collect them for future testimonials. At the end of each survey, provide a check box asking if you can share their comments in your promotions. Then, if they check it, ask them to provide social media handles so you can tag them for increased visibility.