Top tips for marketing an event
You’ve booked the venue, planned the menu, chosen speakers and finalised the programme. Next on the checklist is to begin the task of promoting and marketing your event. Before you start, it will help if you have a clear communications plan. It might take a bit of time to get everything down on paper but in the long run, it will definitely save you time and resource. Judith Sloane from Meet Cambridge, the conference and events bureau for Cambridge and the wider region, shares a few tips to bear in mind…
- Rules of engagement - decide on your target audience, but when gathering contact details, remember, new GDPR regulations mean that you cannot send unsolicited communications, in any format. Everyone you reach out to must have given you permission to contact them so don’t be tempted to use old data, you probably shouldn’t have it!
- Get savvy on social - think about the social networks that your target audience might use. At the time of writing you can still promote your event to prospects on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn; Eventbrite etc. although the rules are changing daily so always check the latest updates to make sure you’re compliant.
- Create a buzz – use social media to promote the event through an event hashtag and encourage those who register to share the event within their own networks, and then reward them. Offer early bird rates, exclusive access to white papers, 2 for 1 tickets or discount vouchers for restaurants, coffee shops and activities, or keep it simple with a voucher for a free drink at the event.
- Think ahead – when people register for your event, give them the chance to opt into further communication from you. This way you can build up a contact list to help you promote the event in future.
- Piggyback – are there other events happening close to your event that might appeal to your audience and vice versa? Consider working alongside another organiser to cross-promote your event with theirs, maybe offering a discounted rate if delegates register for both.
- Keep it simple – make it easy to register. If you have a web site or events page, make sure the registration form is prominent and easy to use on both mobile and desktop and keep it short so that people can sign up quickly. You can always contact them for further information afterwards as long as they opt in.
- Word of mouth – ask speakers, exhibitors and suppliers to help you spread the word about the event to their networks. A referral from a trusted source can go a long way.
- A picture paints a thousand words – pictures and video can be so powerful, so make sure you include funds for both in your marketing budget. Ask your speakers to record short snippets of their talks so that people will be curious to know more. Interview exhibitors and delegates who have attended in the past and always make the event web site/page engaging with great photography.
- Testimonials and legacy – if your event has been held previously, share testimonials and feedback from delegates about what they gained from the event. If it’s a new event, make sure you have a plan to gather this information for future use.
- Make friends with the media – having a media partner for your event can really help with promotion, but it may mean that you aren’t able to engage with other publications. If you don’t want or need exclusivity, make sure you keep journalists informed about the event, host a reception to promote the event to the press, or circulate a press release. Consider using a PR professional to take on the job. You'll have to pay but it doesn't have to be expensive and it will save you lots of time and resource!