Written on the 31 August 2009 by Altitude Communications
Use these social media, email marketing and other online tools to boost attendance at your next event...
Seminars, webinars, teleseminars, lectures and conferences - if your aim is to get a group of people together, then you need to know how to market an event. Traditionally event marketing involved a lot of advertisements, often a Public Relations Campaign and a fair bit of telephone time direct calling and telemarketing. And while these methods can produce amazing sold-out results, it can also require a bucket load of cash and a massive amount of your resources to "make it happen." But fear not, technology has come of age, and the wonders of social media and online marketing tools can now be used for the power of "good" by putting bums on seats at your next event.
Here are 7 Strategies for Success to show you how to use social media, online tools and email marketing to promote your event.
Social Media Groups - Social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter allow you to create groups and pages surrounding your event. Effectively this is "word of mouth" marketing online and it's a great way to spread the word about your event without blatant promotion. If someone "subscribes" to your group, you can guarantee an interest in your topic, which may correlate to attendance at an event. There's also the FREE online/offline site called Meetup which allows people to create online groups of people who meet offline. It is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. Check it out for events or groups that may include potential customers for your business. The bonus with Meetup is that by creating groups you're effectively creating a local community within a network of people who share your interests.
Public Event Calendars - Publish your event on Public Calendars. Sites like Upcoming - Yahoo's local event calendar, When.Com, Event Watch and Eventful allow you to submit your event and publicise it. Costs vary, so it's important to test and measure before committing your budget to a site like these. The most important thing to remember, is to make sure that the sites you choose to fit within your budget and attract your target market. Special note: Eventful publishes an eNewsletter which allows you to geographically target your market through advertising.
Video and Podcasts - Create video and audio interviews on your topic (with a plug for your event) and upload them to YouTube, Flickr, Viddlerand SlideShare. The aim with this strategy is to create promo clips - like mini movie trailers or news grabs, that will grab people's attention and encourage them to find out more. To fully utilise this strategy remember to also post the videos and pod casts on your website, and alert your contact database by sending out email campaigns that link to the video. To reach a broader audience and upload your videos to multiple social media video applications we suggest using a online tool called Tubemogul. TubeMogul is a free service that provides a single point for deploying uploads to the top video sharing sites with powerful analytics on who, what, and how videos are being viewed.
Smart PR Strategies - So you can't afford a specialised Public Relations Consultant? Consider instead a Public Relations Distribution Portal such as Get2Press. A pay per release system, Get2Press allows you to electronically send press releases to over 8,000 media outlets. You still need to write the press release yourself, but Distribution Portals can help you to simply and easily get your Press Release into the hands of the publication's decision maker. Getting noticed is the key to Public Relations marketing success. Ask yourself these questions... What am I doing differently that will grab the attention of the media and What makes my event newsworthy?
Generating new leads for your event - We always recommend building your database to include "fresh leads" and new prospects. By generating new leads you can automate the process of inviting them to your event after they have opted-in to your database. There are many methods of automating this process that can convert a lead into an immediate event attendee. If you want to add hot, new targeted leads into your database who are ready to attend your event and buy your products, click here to find out more about our My Lead Generator Program.
Email Marketing - Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and quickest ways to promote your event to your existing contact database. If you've got a FastTrack eMarketing System, you're already one step ahead of anyone else who's marketing an event. It allows you to link your event booking, and administration system with your contact database and preset email campaigns. Remember to utilise the send to a friend function so that your subscribers can invite other people from their group of contacts to come to your event.
Automate the process - remember, that the more functions you can automate the easier it will be to manage the lead-up to your event. To help you, FastTrack eMarketing's built-in Event Manager Software allows you to create targeted promotions that talk to your subscribers AND take bookings and payments online - all in one seamless automated process. Plus because you're able to customise the audience for your event promotion, you can easily create a series of follow-up and reminder campaigns that are sent to your pre-specified group of contacts - except for those who have already registered. This makes your campaigns seem much more personalised, as people who have booked will not receive follow-up invitations or promotional material. In addition, the system also allows you to specifically target just the people who have registered for your event with both email and SMS reminder campaigns. These "countdown to the event" campaigns can dramatically decrease the attrition rate of attendees - a must if you're running any event.
These are just some of the tools and strategies that you can use to promote your next event. Remember, while technology is constantly changing and it's important to use the tools that are current and up-to-date, it is more important to test and measure each strategy over time.
As new technology evolves its level of effectiveness or relevance to businesses also changes - a current example of this is Twitter and Facebook, twelve months ago you wouldn't even consider using these mediums to promote anything related to business, now however it's a different story. Keep testing and trying different approaches and creative executions with these new mediums. Keep in mind however, that what works for one product may not work for another, and while these strategies are new and exciting, at the end of the day, it's about getting bums on seats.
Copyright Altitude Communications 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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