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Whether you are a startup or a rapidly growing business, planning and promoting in-person events for your company can be a great way to grow your audience and your bottom line. Some people may feel that in-person events don’t matter anymore because of our digitally-focused world, but 75% of B2B marketers still use in-person events because they are an effective marketing strategy.
However, planning an event is no small feat. There are many details and vendors to keep track of to make it a successful and enjoyable experience for your attendees. Since you’ve put so much work into planning your event, the best way to make sure it surpasses your goals is to develop a smart and effective event marketing plan.
The most effective way to supercharge your event promotion plan is to focus on important, targeted keywords, craft a compelling event page, harness the power of email marketing, and tap into your existing audience and social media following. The best part is that most of these strategies are low or no cost to your company!
Before you can create compelling content that will engage your target audience, use Google’s Keyword Planner, a free tool that helps you discover, test, and compare keywords. By understanding the more powerful phrases that people search for when they want to find events related to your business and products, you can create targeted and compelling content to support your marketing and promotion efforts.
If you’re ready to take your SEO efforts to new levels, consider investing in paid tools that will help you understand keywords to target and which ones you rank for. Two of the most recommended tools are SEMRush and Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool.
Now that you have a better understanding of how people are searching for events like yours, create content about your event and the benefits someone will gain by attending. When you’re writing and sharing, focus on what your event means for the attendee instead of focusing on all of the planning and details you’ve put into the event. Instead of simply listing the names of speakers and guests, add some color to each name and group by highlighting what they plan to teach or talk about. This will give a potential attendee more of an idea of what the event is about. This message will be more compelling and allow someone to picture themselves at your event.
Not sure how to write more than one blog post about your event? There are many ways you can fill your content calendar with ideas for one event. If speakers or guests are a part of your event, consider interviewing them. This could be a blog post, a video, or both! Choose one specific aspect of your event and have it be the focus of the article. Are you partnered with sponsors? Do a highlight on your sponsors and interview someone from their office. It’s great PR for them and you can ask that they share your article on their channels – a win-win for both parties!
Make your event details and content go further by pitching your event to other publications and listings who will care. Contact your local media companies – TV, websites, newspapers, etc. Other media companies and websites want to report on interesting events and content relevant to their readers, so send an email or pick up the phone and share your event details with others. A simple interview plus the content from your event page and blog will provide a great story for others to share with their readers.
Creating and promoting content is an art by itself - check out this post to see how you can get started with promoting your content effectively.
Research from Eventbrite, an event marketing company, shows that event-related emails are opened and engaged with at levels above email marketing standards – both with rates between 25-40%. When you’re developing your email marketing campaigns, take care of the message you send to your list. Just like the content you create for blogs and videos, you want your email content to make the event about the attendees and the benefits it will bring them. You don’t want to focus solely on your business. Sarah from Sarah Goliger Marketing and Business Consulting recently told us to focus on your language. She shares,
“As humans, we're naturally focused on ourselves -- our own needs, interests, and goals (especially when we have a metric we're trying to hit with this email send!) -- but the way you frame your email will make all the difference. For example, how easy would it be to write:
"We just launched our brand new product, and we're so excited for you to try it out!"
But if you look again, you'll notice 3 company-focused pronouns and only 1 reader-focused pronoun. Even though this sentence sounds like it's about the reader, it's really more about you, the marketer.”
Additionally, get creative with your subject lines. Remember, a lot of people are reading emails on their phones these days, so make sure your subject line and first sentence (what someone will see in the email preview) is engaging to encourage them to open it.
When you’re ready to press send on your emails, use an email marketing platform like MailChimp to help organize and report on your campaigns. The best part is that MailChimp has a free service-level for smaller companies.
Social media isn’t only about memes. When you’re promoting your event, create a single event hashtag to use on each platform. Using the hashtag, people can search for more information about your company and your event no matter which platform they prefer. Social media is also powerful because it offers social proof to people who are considering attending but haven’t made a decision yet. If potential attendees can see others who have RSVP'd on Facebook or see people discussing the event with the hashtag on Twitter, it can be encouraging for others to follow through and purchase tickets or also RSVP – that is the power of social proof.
Social media is intended to be social, so interact with people who post questions, say they’re coming, or offer feedback. Comment and share attendees images and testimonials during and after your event too.
Make your message more compelling by creating different forms of content too. Content doesn’t just mean your event page or blog posts. In fact, many people prefer visual elements that are easy to scan and understand and will remember your message more with interesting images, infographics, and videos.
If you don’t have the creative talent in-house, check out a list of over 165 content marketing platforms and tools that can help boost your content marketing efforts for your event. For example, they can help you create custom graphics for your pages and social media accounts, while Renderforest can help you create a video with free video toolkits. Compelling content doesn’t have to be limited to big companies with large marketing and event budgets!
After your event is finished, send out a survey asking for comments to help improve the event for next year. Don’t forget to thank the event attendees and other key partners and sponsors too!
To make your marketing as effective as possible, you might even want to check out more extensive event marketing courses and trainings to ensure your event is a big hit.
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