Hosting a company event is an exciting way to build awareness for your brand and engage with your target audience outside of your typical communications; however, putting together a successful event can be time-consuming, mentally draining and costly. And once you hash out the details and logistics of the event itself, you still have to find the resources to market your event to get butts in those seats.
The good news is that many tools allow you to cost-effectively and painlessly market your event, and, to make it easier for you, we’ve compiled eight of our favorite tactics that have worked for our clients:
- Social Advertising
It’s safe to assume you leverage some sort of social media platform to educate your followers regularly about upcoming company events, company news, industry trends, etc. And, as I’m sure you’ve heard, social media has transitioned into a pay-to-play environment, meaning you have to pay to get more visibility on your posts, which is not always ideal when you’re trying to get eyeballs on content and butts in seats.
Don’t fret — social advertising is an inexpensive option for you to target your messages to a very specific audience with effective conversion rates. You can set a budget cap and select your target audience with specifications around age, gender, job titles, industry, location, interests, etc. Many of our clients see tremendous increases in impressions, clicks and a low cost-per-result compared to their organic results.
- Email Marketing
I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no – email marketing is NOT dying. In fact, I recently claimed it’s back in style. Email marketing is still one of the most effective business-to-business communication methods out there, and it’s pretty reasonably priced for reaching your contact list, assuming you have a strong list of individuals who have expressed relevant interest in your company, your market or your topic.
We recommend that our clients send one to two event emails per month to make sure potential attendees stay in the loop on important details. One of our clients sends a “save the date” introductory email six to eight months before the event date followed by an official invitation a month or two later with some kind of early bird special for registration. After that, we send frequent emails with additional information such as speakers, sessions, travel/hotel options, etc.
- Event page
Developing a landing page on your website allows users to easily find all the necessary information about your event. It can also help sell the event. Be sure to include registration info, logistics, agenda, speaker bios, travel/hotel info, etc. To make it even more appealing, consider adding videos and photos, so potential attendees can get an idea of the venue, atmosphere and dress code for the event.
- Email signature
Think about how frequently you email clients, prospects or others who may come to your event. It might seem silly, but when designed tastefully, an email signature specific to your company’s event can pique your audience’s interest and drive them to your website to learn more and potentially commit to attending.
You know when you visit a site and then start seeing ads for that company or product as you navigate other websites? Well in case you didn’t know, that technology is called retargeting. Retargeting is a fairly cheap way to continue nurturing your web visitors and drive them to an action, such as “learn more” or “register.” Retargeting costs less than traditional digital advertising efforts, giving you more bang for your buck. We recommend creating a retargeting display campaign to nurture those who viewed your event page but didn’t register. This will continue to remind them to register. Learn more about retargeting in our previous MCC blog here.
- Pop-up and/or call-out on website
Disrupting your site visitors with a pop-up message about your event is a great way to catch their attention and lead them back to your event page. If you choose not to add a pop-up to your site, or, if you’re concerned about pop-up blockers, you could always add a callout on your homepage that links directly to the event page. Consider calling attention to your event page in your top-line navigation too for added exposure.
- Leverage sponsor and speaker audiences
Your event’s sponsors and speakers may promote your event for you. Chances are if they’re willing to sponsor or speak at your event, they’d be happy to share information about your event on their social channels, via email or even via word-of-mouth. Many of our clients have done this to supplement their own event marketing, and it’s a great opportunity to advertise your event to a relevant audience without cost.
- Giveaways and sales promotions
Giveaways and sales promotions are simple ways to get lots of online registrations. Generate buzz and excitement around your event by holding a contest or drawing for free tickets to the event. Leverage social media platforms to spread the word! Sales promotions are also a great way to get registrations! One of our clients offers a $50 off early bird special during the first month of registration, which is when most of their attendees register. They also offer group discounts to boost registration totals. If your event occurs more than once, it’s a good idea to give past attendees a discount. Even if the discount isn’t huge, it still offers an incentive for attendees to sign up again, especially if your event was successful the last time they attended.
Overall, hosting an event can be a fantastic and exciting opportunity to expand your business’ reach. There’s no doubt that putting it together takes hard work and energy, but isn’t it comforting to know there are a variety of inexpensive, easy-to-use tools at your disposal to get butts in seats? With proper planning and a little bit of help from expert marketers, you’re sure to have one successful event!