Thu, Apr 30, 2015

How to Promote Events using Inbound Marketing


Using Inbound Marketing to Promote Your Event

With thousands of events and conferences taking place every day all over the world it has become essential for event organisers to stand out. The Inbound Marketing methodology can be integrated with your outbound marketing to form a strategic approach that promotes your event, and increase the hype surrounding it to attract more attendees and larger media coverage.

  

In today’s buyer-empowered world, a digital marketing strategy is crucial for any event to succeed in becoming a memorable event that leaves a long lasting impression in your attendees mind, and in turn ensures the success for your future events. In this post you will learn how to promote events using Inbound and maximize opportunities online for your next event.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Instead of relying on traditional methods of marketing that focus on pushing messages out to your audience by buying ads, buying email lists, sending direct mail or telemarketing and hoping for a conversion, Inbound focuses on generating content that will attract more relevant prospects towards you. It makes it easier for a company to be found by consumers who might be interested in its services. This is done by writing blog posts, using search engine optimization, and creating content offers such as eBooks, Whitepapers, etc. that will educate consumers on what the things your company offers, and how they can benefit from them. 

In this aspect then, Inbound Marketing can be incredibly useful when applied to event planning. Instead of spending time and resources on promoting your event to audiences that may or may not take an interest in what you have to offer, making yourself easy to find for likely consumers through creating relevant content is a cost-effective and extremely productive way to generate new leads.

In other words, Inbound Marketing for events is incredibly useful for lead generation

How To Use Inbound For Next Event?

Identify your event Buyer Personas

According to a recent HubSpot and Eventbrite survey of event organizers and attendees, 84% of respondents feel that attending events is an important part of their job, with 79% going to events specifically to learn something. However, over a third of those people are being left disappointed with the events they are invited to.

It seems that many event organizers don't take into account who would actually benefit from attending their event (47% of event organizers do not have a well-defined buyer persona for each event), or what the goals are of those people, before wasting all their resources on untargeted marketing. As a result, 51% of event organizers have not been able to increase their attendance numbers.

Identifying your event buyer persona will help you convey targeted marketing messages, since you can use the language that your audience is used to, and provide solutions that are tailored to their needs.

The Event Page (or Website)

Create a compelling website or a page that has the following elements:

  • Compelling event description: indicating the event topic, time, place, who should attend and the benefits the attendees will get.
  • If this is not your first event then you can include attendees testimonials, press releases or industry influencers quotes from a previous event.
  • Your event speakers are the stars and main attraction of your event. Attendees want to know everything about them. It is important to highlight them. Include pictures and bios of your speakers so your targeted visitors know what they will be missing if they don't attend your event.
  • Event featured image: This is the visual that will appear when your event page is shared on social media. It is important to pick a photo that will attract and engage visitors.
  • Create event related videos that talk about event benefits or interviews with event speakers and publish them on wistia, youtube or vimeo.
  • Feature clear call-to-action button like “register now” or “pre register”
  • After the event, update your registration page and add links to some of the articles that were written about your event, and add information about any future events you are hosting.

Blog Blog Blog ...

Post frequent and engaging content that will have huge SEO and social media benefits to your event, as well as create the buzz around your event. Also, when your content is targeted to your buyer personas it will attract the right kind of visitors, media and industry influencers to your event website and encourage them to share your posts. Your blog posts should cover:

  • Pre-event preparation
  • Interviews with speakers
  • Industry related informative reads
  • Infographics of event attendee demographics
  • Post event summary of presentations with a link to download from SlideShare

Use Social Media

According to PewResearch as of January 2014, 74% of internet users use social networking sites. Social Media can help you promote your event further that you ever could.
 
Social Media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn poses a unique platform for promoting conferences before, after and during the event
 
Twitter can provide a real-time, public and searchable record of tweets about your event that speakers and attendees can follow. Twitter even allows people who can’t attend in person to read along as conference events unfold. As an event organizer Twitter gives you an archive of participant comments, as well as measurable data they can report back to sponsors.
 
Selecting a unique official #hashtag for your event  allows attendees following your event #hashtag to generate new connections, interact with speakers or exhibitors, and share their own commentary, images, videos and other highlights of the show, offering a fantastic stream of content that can maximize your event visibility within their industry.
 
Be sure to promote before the conference begins, as well as during and after it as well, to achieve maximum exposure.
 
Here is a list of suggestions on how can you use social media networks to better market your event:
  • Tweet when registration starts
  • Tweet  before registration closes
  • Tweet count down for the number of days until the event starts
  • Post tweets that mention sponsors and speakers
  • Retweet tweets that have your event hashtag
  • Post the event details on social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+
  • Post interview videos about your event with your event speakers, and industry influencers
  • Add social share buttons on the registration page
  • Include event #hashtag on registration page
  • During the event hold contests, ask participants to register their details and announce winners on Social Media
  • Create an auto thank you email that people who register receive once they register and include social share buttons so they can share it with their followers
  • Include event #hashtag on thank you email
  • After the event share the speakers presentations on social media
  • After the event thank all the attendees, speakers and sponsors and don’t forget to add the event #hashtag
  • After the event post photos and videos of the event

Email Marketing

Make sure that your event email marketing campaigns are only sent to those who have opted to receive them. If you don’t have an existing email list you may ask sponsors, partners, speakers, or friends to send your email campaigns to their email lists.
 
One of the treasures of Inbound is the use of downloadable content to generate leads. The more downloables you have, the more leads you will generate, and with refined buyer personas, and contextual content, the higher the quality of leads will be. 
Nurture these leads by creating an automated drip email campaign. Use this to your advantage by sending reminders and RSVPs as the date of your event approach, incentives such as deals or special offers to those who have subscribed or will register early - early bird registration, updated speakers list, event in town during the event etc..
 
Here are a list of of what you can do to market your event via email:
 
  • Use subject lines that inspire emotions as they have higher open rates
    • 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Miss "Event Name"
    • Learn Industry Secretes from "Speaker Name"
    • "Contact Name" Would Self-Hypnosis Help You Achieve Your Goals?
    • "Contact Name" Are You a Sales Pro Who Wants to Close More Deals?
  • Pick up the best time to send the email based on your defined buyer persona
  • Make sure your email is mobile friendly. According to SalesForce Blog 64% of decision makers read their email via mobile devices.
  • Add social sharing links in your email allows your recipients to promote your event. 
  • Run A/B testing to gain insights on finding the best day for open rates for your audience, writing the most effective subject lines etc.
  • Schedule dates and times to send automated campaigns, "save-the-date" reminders, confirmations and post-event "thank you's"
  • Create workflows to kickstart event driven email campaigns 
  • Personalize your email campaign by merging personalization data fields such as  such as name, company, and event related fields to increase relevance to recipients
  • Send post event survey to your email list, knowing your attendees feedback will help you better plan the next event 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

According to BrightEdge, organic search traffic accounted for 73 percent of all traffic to business services sites. It is important to optimize your event website and blog posts with search engines to be found by your target audience.
 
On-Page SEO tactics like adding relevant long-tail keywords that your event website can rank for, meta descriptions etc. can improve your event's search rankings and increase the amount of potentially interested people visiting your site for your event next year. 
 

Planning an Inbound Marketing strategy for your next event is one of the most important steps to deliver a successful event and a memorable experience for your event attendees. With all the statistics from the your Inbound efforts, you can analyze and measure your events performance and learn more about your buyer persona, and how to leverage communication efforts for upcoming events, to maximize your opportunities online for your next event.

How have you been marketing your events online? What has worked for you, and what has not?

Learn how Inbound Marketing can be applied to your event planning  to create long last impression in your attendees mind


Ismail Aly
Ismail Aly    

Inbound Marketing & Sales Enablement Consultant, HubSpot User Group Leader, HubSpot Platinum Partner