With so many tools available, deciding where and how to market your event can be daunting. Which channels will see the most return? What tactics will bring in the most new registrations?Event marketing doesn’t have to be so difficult. One often overlooked tool that makes things easier is your online community. Your community has already gathered a group of people who are interested in your organization and will likely get value from your event, so it’s the perfect place to start your marketing.
Here are five tools and tactics already available in your community that you can use to market your event and increase registrations.
1. Banner Advertising
You can place banner advertisements on your community homepage and in its daily, weekly, or monthly digests to inform people about your event and help them register. The best banner ads will be attractive and easy to read, with compelling imagery and action-oriented copy like “Register Now!” or “Don’t Miss Out!” to motivate people to register.When you’re just starting your marketing, make these banners informational, then update them with details and special promotions like early bird registration and flash sales as they become available.
2. Event Communities
Build buzz about your event months before it starts by creating an event community. This community will be a space that’s wholly dedicated to engaging attendees and prospects, drumming up enthusiasm and encouraging more registrations. Use your event community to:
- Start conversations with past, current, and prospective attendees about event topics, sessions, and networking
- Post event teasers like images of meals, keynote speakers, and quotes from past attendees
Publish event content such as agendas, handouts, videos, and venue maps
The more members engage with your event before it starts, the more invested they will be and the more likely they are to register.
3. Attendee Matching
Events can be more fun and useful when attendees have someone to spend time with, so use the tools in your online community to match solo attendees with conference buddies. You can start this informally, by letting solo attendees chat with one another online before the event. They can plan to meet up in person if they want, or experience sessions on their own. There’s no pressure.You can also create a more formal program matching solo attendees who want to do room-sharing, ride-sharing, or attend sessions together based on their interests and what they want to get out of the conference. A more formal program provides more guidance, which can be reassuring and helpful to first-time attendees and those who want to ensure they have a buddy.
Expert Tip: Don’t just provide these tools – market them. Prospective attendees may not register because they don’t want to attend on their own. They’ll feel more comfortable knowing that you’ll help them meet people, which could be the push they need to register.
4. Event Calendars
Use community event calendars to ensure that attendees stay up to date on conference plans. Calendars can include event title, event type, time, location, description, logo, and a way for interested prospects to register, making it easy for prospects to get all the information they need quickly.A must for larger events that attendees need to register and plan for in advance, event calendars are also helpful for smaller events put on by local groups or association chapters. They make it easy for prospects to browse events by date, choosing what to attend based on their interests.
5. Volunteering, Advocacy, and Gamification
Want to get attendees involved in event marketing? Use volunteer or advocacy tools to create referral opportunities. Give points to advocates who refers people to your event, awarding them badges and ribbons based on how many referrals they do. To make this even more enticing, you could also create a contest that awards a free event ticket or gift card to the person with the most referrals.
Use Your Community Before, During, and After Events
Your online community can not only help you market your event, it can also serve as a gathering place for attendees during and after the event. You can post photos, pull in social media streams, and encourage your attendees to make networking opportunities last by connecting in your online community.After the event, post session recordings, slides, and new discussions about the most valuable takeaways from the event. That can extend event engagement for months after the conference is over, creating a memorable experience that people will want to repeat, which is also a great foundation on which to market your next event.
We want to thank our partner, Higher Logic, for contributing this article.
About Higher Logic
Higher Logic is an industry leader in cloud-based community platforms. Organizations worldwide use Higher Logic to bring people together by giving their community a home where they can interact, share ideas, answer questions and stay connected.