Community Management Series You Should Be Reading
Hosting an event is a big friggin’ deal. Your event has the potential to create buzz about your company, improve your reputation within the community, raise funding for causes or projects, and improve relationships with both new and existing customers. Basically, it could be really, really good for business.
Of course, any kick ass event requires a whole lot of planning. No doubt, you and your team have put a ton of thought into the affair from the concept or theme behind the event to the venue to the entertainment, and even the color of the napkins you plan to use. After all that hard work, the last think you want is for your event to come and go largely unnoticed by your target audience.
So how do you make people aware of your event and get them excited enough to actually suit up and how up? Well, that’s exactly what this series is all about. Over the course of the next several weeks, our goal is to break down the process of marketing your upcoming event successfully. Basically, there are four ways to promote your function: 1 – Email, 2 – Social Media, 3 – SEO, and 4 – Mobile. By the end of this four-part blog series, you’ll be an expert on them all.
So without any further ado, let’s dive right into our first method of marketing your event:
Email has been around for quite awhile now (remember back when AOL began to announce, ‘You’ve Got Mail!’?) and it’s still very popular and extremely effective. Why? Well, mostly because it’s fast, punchy, and direct. It gets the message out to the largest number of prospective attendees and will inspire a large response. Best of all, it’s free!
In effective event marketing, an email’s headlines and sub-headers will make it very clear to the reader what it is that they’re being invited to, what benefits there are to attending, when and where the event is being held, and how to go about RSVPing/purchasing tickets. When this is done, you can expect the very best results possible.
Research has indicated that 98-99% of all emails are delivered successfully (talk about reliability!), and that of those opened (25-40%), you can expect a click-through rate of 25-40%. The more scannable and direct your marketing email is, the higher that percentage will be. You’ll get an even better response if you punch things up with visuals, like pictures or infographics. In fact, 65% of people prefer to look at emails with images rather than those with just text.
You can turn the odds even further in your favor by making sure that your email is mobile friendly. After all, a pretty big chunk of your target audience will probably be accessing their emails on-the-go via smartphone, tablet, or other device. Optimizing your email will ensure that no one clicks away from your invite without getting all the details. Finally, bring things home by strategically placing links throughout the promotional email. The more links there are, the more likely you’ll get readers to click through and, of course, attend.
The Importance of Mobile Event Marketing
Okay, why such a big focus on mobile marketing, anyway? Well, take a look around you. After turning your head left and right, chances are that you caught a glimpse of people tapping and swiping away on their cellphones, tablets, smart watches, iPods, or other mobile devices. Good or bad, we’re smack dab in the center of a mobile epidemic, and everyone is attached to their mobile devices — all the time.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Research has shown that as many as 25 percent of your event registration submissions will come from mobile users. This means that if you hope to attract interest and attention, you need to have the ability to meet the people where they are. In other words, your event pages absolutely must be mobile-friendly. Businesses who take the time to ensure that their event pages have been optimized for mobile devices will see an increase in conversion rates by an incredible 60 percent. Those are numbers that you can’t afford to lose.
It’s so important that your pages be mobile-friendly that you shouldn’t just take your web developer’s word for it. After the page has been completed, we strongly recommend that you, your colleagues, and your friends or family spend a little time testing the site out. Try accessing your event information and registration pages via different types of devices and different operating systems. You want to make sure that people can access your information regardless of whether they’re on an iPad or an Android phone.
Using Mobile Event Apps
These days, there’s an app for everything — including event hosting. Mobile event apps help transform ordinary, run-of-the-mill business events into dynamic, interactive experiences. When used and executed properly, attendees can use your event app to learn, share, connect, and participate with more ease and simplicity than ever before. Depending on the type of app you use, you could also use the app to generate more buzz about your event beforehand, to provide data and analytical insights for event organizers before, during, and after the event, and get the very most out of the entire experience. Here are a few amazing mobile apps that can be used throughout your event:
Eventbrite — Promote your event on the social app that allows local users to find events that interest them — and to see which events their friends are attending. The app can also be used to check registration stats and check attendees in on-site.
Bizzabo — Use this app to create pre-event social media hype and then follow-up by using it as a tool to share announcements throughout the event and interact with attendees.
Atendy — Promote your event across all mobile devices and manage registrants/attendees from the app. It can also be used to build live polls and surveys and to provide users with information throughout the event.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
Here’s a fact that every event marketer needs to know: It can take anywhere between 4 days and 4 weeks for Google to crawl your website and index it. That means that you can’t wait until the last minute to create an event website! Your event website will act as the foundation upon which you can build up content and keywords that surround your event, thereby boosting SEO. The earlier you can set up your website, the better. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of your event information together – you can always add to your page as you go along. The point is that the site exists so that you can start promoting right away. All you need to get started is a little content (even if it’s just a basic description of the event) and a link for Google to follow to the website.
Content, Content, and More Content!
Don’t just let your event page sit there – keep it active by routinely creating new content. Center that content around key words and phrases that will attract attention. Of course, don’t go overboard and “stuff” your content with a high volume of keywords and a lot of fluff. Keep it interesting and engaging, even if the content needs to be short. The point is to keep your event fresh in search engines and to keep pulling more traffic to your event site with the goal of inspiring new attendees to register!
In addition to creating your own content, be sure to reach out to others to speak on your behalf. Here’s where it’s really helpful to take full advantage of your existing social network. Connect with brands and individuals that can act as sponsors and representatives of your brand, and ask them to create content such as press releases, blogs, social media posts, etc. in order to get the word out. The more content that’s generated, the more buzz you’ll get as consumers start discussing your event and sharing event information.
Use an Event Tag
Any media that gets published to your event website or even any media that gets published to the web ABOUT your event should be captured with an event tag. This will encourage conversations about the event across numerous platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more. It will also make it easier for people to find your event in order to publish content, learn more, register, or make a purchase – before, during, or after the event.
Promoting Your Event On Social Media
Regardless of the platform, social media sites are really good about making it simple for users to create and share events. It only takes a few moments for you to set up an entire event page that describes what’s going on, when it’s happening, and where to go. It can be used to direct readers back to your event website, and it can introduce them to a unique event hashtag. A single click will allow you to invite all of your followers, friends, or contacts and make it possible for them to RSVP, share the event, and invite others. It’s a snowball effect.
From here, you can use social media to build hype about the event. The platform will consistently remind users to respond to the event, and those who have indicated that they may be or will be attending will receive regular notices and updates from you. Keep them interested and excited by offering sneak peaks into what’s coming, providing promotional codes, and sharing countdowns. This will rev up your attendees and inspire them to share the event with their circles. It’s been found that, on average, social media event shares peak at 17 days before the event, so take advantage of that sweet spot!
Don’t stop engaging with your event followers after the 17 day mark passes by, though! Keeping your attendees connected and interested is essential all the way through the event. Studies have shown that 65% of event-goers will post about your event while it’s going on. This is free advertising for your brand and will help you to start building up hype for your next event before the first one has even concluded. You’ll also attract more people to what’s going on with your business and increase sales even among those who didn’t actually attend. Pretty cool, huh?
And don’t forget to really push that unique event hashtag. This amps up buzz about your event, and when the hashtag is related to your keywords or URL, you’ll find that your search engine rankings get a serious boost.
Putting It All Together
Email. Mobile. SEO. Social Media.
All of these marketing tactics are strong, but when you put them all together at once for the greater good of your event, you’ll find that you’re unstoppable. These four methods of event promotion will touch nearly every client who would benefit from attending your event and will ensure the highest attendance rate possible, while also improving your brand image across the web.
What are you waiting for? It’s best to start promoting your event as early as you can. Join up with Madison Taylor Marketing to make sure yours is a hit!