Are you feeling inspired by all the talk of digital marketing events in 2016? Do you now want to organise your own? If you’re about to launch your first big event, or thinking of arranging a meet-up in your area for like-minded marketers, pay attention.
We’ve put together some tips from the experts for how to promote your event.
Know Your Audience
“We think the trick to a successful event, like with most forms of marketing, is targeting. There aren’t many agencies in South West London, but as most of us live nearby we don’t get to as many events as those living or working in Central London or the East End. This presented a gap in the market for all digital folk living in the South West of the city, so we just needed to get the word out.
We utilised our own social media community and reached out to people we have met in the industry, building a website for the event and integrating Eventbrite to make it easy to sign up. Our events are all about people being people, no agendas or note-taking, and that’s been crucial to our growth so far. We had about 30 people at our first event but from that moment on, it became all about word of mouth”
Dom Moriarty, Swindig
Knowing your audience is not just about understanding the things they like and are interested in, though that helps. Instead, also think about the types of area they want to travel to. Frequently I see events that look interesting but if it’s not easy for me to travel from office to event and then home, the likelihood of me making that extra effort to attend is pretty slim. For Swindig, they identified an audience group of potential attendees who just lived a little too far out to travel to the big central events, but who still had a lot of interest in the digital marketing sector. The result is a busy, popular event, in an otherwise fairly quiet networking area.
“Team up with other industry groups that complement the content you are promoting. Partnerships or joint events can benefit both parties as they are a quick and easy way to access a large number of like-minded people”
Tim Sheed, SearchLondon
If you’re a new event, or targeting a small niche then it can be difficult to gain immediate attention for the event you’re hosting. The likelihood is you’ve been inspired by your attendance at other similar events, so why not utilise those relationships to help promote your own event? For example, if you’re launching an event focused on Analytics, then attendees of an SEO event are likely to be interested so you could work together to help promote your events together. Supporting other events is also a way to pick up more tips for running yours, and meet people to collaborate with if you choose to grow your event bigger and bigger each year.
Understand the Competition
“The most important point is to emphasise the potential benefits to busy people giving up their precious spare time. As Digital Hampshire is a free mini-conference, based in the evenings, rather than competing with other conferences in the region, we’re competing with friends and family time. In our messaging we make sure to stress the quality of the content, speaker and learning outcomes, plus the additional benefits of networking and socialising with industry peers at the drinks afterwards.”
Nichola Stott, Digital Hampshire
By working out the opportunity cost of someone attending your event, you can determine the best way to explain it to your audience. It would be easy to assume that people choosing your event are turning down multiple other events or work in order to attend, but in reality it’s likely they’re giving up their free time.
This means you need to demonstrate that your event is adding enough value for someone to put it above an evening of Netflix and pizza. It’s crucial that the messages you use on your event information, email marketing and social media all reflect the benefits of the event. For example, the networking element means your attendees will still get the opportunity to relax and unwind after a busy day of work.
Make the Most of the Resources You Have
“Take advantage of local contacts. Your event is likely based in a geographical area, so especially for your first events, make the most of those in your local area to help build a following, & become evangelists who will do some of the promotion lifting for you. Buy people coffees, ask them for advise on what they’d like to see at a local event or give them free tickets – just find reasons to talk to your local community.
Also, make sure you ask your speakers for a preview of their talk. Not only can you add a synopsis in your event’s home, you can take the key ideas the audience will learn as teaser-text in your promotional material to entice a potential audience.”
Charlie Williams, Optimise Oxford
When you’re initially promoting your event, you may find that there are budget and time limitations that will appear daunting at first. Instead of being blinded by the ‘where do I begin’ panic, start by focusing on the resources you already have. Investing the time in your local contacts and making a personal connection with some influential attendees will help the popularity of your event grow organically, meanwhile an experienced and knowledgeable speaker will give you a wealth of information to start your promotion with. By giving teasers of the type of insight attendees may get if you have an expert presenting, you’ll be able to encourage people to sign up and spike interest in the event. These simple methods utilise information you should already have to hand and will help you to make the most out of the time you have to work on promotion.
And finally, make sure your event is awesome…
“I’ll open my thoughts by being the Grinch in the article. Before you start promoting your event, look at what you are organising and figure out what makes it unique?
Think clearly about what you and your audience will get out of the event and what will attract them (and if the event is during the work day, what will convince their employer to let them have the day off)
Once you’ve decided that your event is amazing and people are going to come, do what you would for any campaign. Get a domain, get the twitter and facebook account, start collecting email addresses as soon as possible (people hate launchrock but bloody hell it works) and start interacting with your audience,hire an amateur comedian to MC the event , make some moo cards and give them out whenever you go to a relevant social event (you are going to those alright right?) do guest posts on relevant blogs, ask your speakers to do a blog post or give them a badge to put on the website (but don’t hassle them).
And never stop talking about it, you don’t know who knows someone who knows someone that might be interested.”
Dom Hodgson, Amateur Comedian (and organiser of Think Visibility, and does something at Kerboo)
This really sums it up, alongside all of the different ways you may choose to promote your event, fundamentally you need to believe that it is awesome. Once you have that faith in your event, and so do all your organiser helpers, then you’ll really be able to sell the idea of attending to anyone. It’s important that your enthusiasm for your own event is what makes it stand out and gets people excited about attending.
Every digital marketing event is different. Make sure yours is awesome, and suits the audience you’re targeting. Invest time into promoting it and building relationships to help gain attention, but also keep in mind what it is you are trying to get out of it as the organiser.
Digital Marketing Events should be fun, for both the attendees and those in charge, so keep it light-hearted and if all else fails, ask your sponsors for a bigger bar tab.