The average event planner may be able to handle two tasks, but the best planners can handle ten. Why is this? You could chalk it up to variances in skill, education, passion or drive but there is one constant among all the most efficient event planners: they embrace new technology and understand that it can improve their event. It can also save enormous amounts of time and energy, and as an event planner, you know how valuable that can be.
With an ever-increasing array of social media tools literally available at our fingertips – it has never been easier or more cost-effective to promote your event and enhance your attendee’s experience. That said, the amount of technology available can be overwhelming so below, we’ve listed 10 of the most effective ways it can be used for event marketing:
#1: Create An Event Page or Website
Creating an event landing page or website is a vital step in your event marketing strategy as it acts as a hub for all things related to your event. Your attendees will want to know what they’re signing up to. So make sure to include the two essential elements listed below:
Here’s your chance to tell potential guests what your event is all about. What will your attendees gain from being there? What will they learn? Who will they hear from? Who will they be rubbing shoulders with? They want to know so make sure you tell them in easily digestible chunks. Events are inherently visual, so include the speaker’s photos and bio and a sprinkling of high-quality images and a video if you have one!
Finally, don’t forget to include a prominent registration form!
If you want to further improve your event page or website, check out this infographic by analytics expert, Neil Patel, on the anatomy of a landing page – it’s easy to understand and will be helpful for anyone new to this! We also recommend checking out Eventbrite – you can create a page without any hassle, and it’s both time and cost-effective.
#2: SEO Your Event Page
Search Engine Optimisation is an important part of any marketing mix, helping you appear in front of those who are searching for your topic. Remember, events are a staple of many company’s marketing and lead-generating strategies meaning there can be a lot of competition. Follow these SEO guidelines to optimize your event’s page or website and make sure yours stands out online:
Target relevant and effective keywords when writing your page’s headline and description. Google’s Trends tool is a great indicator of the volume your proposed terms are getting, or if you want to get more in-depth, we recommend using Moz. We also recommend using SocialBro to help shape the language you use in your social media posting.
Linking is important for search engine rankings – include as many relevant links as you can! Don’t forget links to the speaker’s websites, social channels, blogs and your sponsor’s sites. Most importantly, try to get as many links from other sites back to your event page as possible. The value of these are denoted by their ‘domain authority’ – the higher the authority of the domain that is linking to your page, the better. An easy place to start is by linking from social networks back to your page.
To learn more about SEO, see Neil Patel’s advanced guide.
#3: Work with Sponsors
Whether you are organizing a conference or a festival, it’s important to foster a connection between your sponsors and attendees. Your sponsors are not only a source of income for the event, but a valuable marketing resource. We asked event professional, Liz King, founder of Techsytalk for her top tips –
“You have to clarify the value that you offer any potential sponsor. Make sure that you have taken stock of the opportunities for sponsors to meaningfully engage with your audience and that you can prove the ROI for them.”
“Spend time getting to know your audience and tracking their demographics, make note of the differentiators between you and similar events, and approach sponsors only when you have this information together.”
“It’s all about networking and making the connection to the right person at the right company. Stay focused on the value that you can offer the company and what goals the company can achieve by partnering with your event. Focusing on the money you need to raise is never the way to a sponsor’s heart.”
As Liz mentioned above, it’s essential to first establish a mutual beneficial relationship – you can do this by asking your would-be sponsor what they are hoping to get out of the event and who their audience is. It’s likely that they want to make sure they have a good ROI in terms of visibility, leads, traffic to their booth, etc. So keep an open mind, and offer them the chance to sponsor a designated area with their logo, or have their logo as a backdrop, or on the opening slide for PowerPoint presentations.
To further increase your event marketing efforts, you should also consider reaching out to potential photo and video partners – agree to promote their services at your event if you aren’t paying for them. If you aren’t on the verge of exhaustion at this point then it’s also a good idea to organise a pre-event dinner and drinks (invite sponsors, speakers and guests) the night before to form important connections and ensure they will work with you again.
You can read more about connecting with sponsors and proving ROI here.
#4: Pre-Event Email
When used correctly, email marketing is a super simple and effective way to promote an event. It can be used to generate awareness and interest, engage with prospective attendees, send traffic through to your event page and keep everyone updated. Follow these guidelines to get you on the road to email success!
Don’t just send one email. You aren’t the only one who is busy and it’s possible that they may have missed your first email so don’t be afraid to send out reminders and follow-ups! Using subjects with wording like ‘Last chance…’ can help your open rates by creating curiosity.
To help with the above tip – create an editorial calendar so that you don’t let too much time go by in-between emails, or send too frequently. As you get closer to your event, your emails should include new speaker announcements, invitations to pre-event activities, links to new blog posts, other general updates.
#5: Pre-Event Blogging
Blogging about your up-coming event is an important event marketing strategy, and allows you to share further information with your prospective attendees, and can be used to further generate interest leading up to your event. Follow these easy pre-event blogging tips:
Write your blog posts weeks or even, months in advance. It helps if you brainstorm blog ideas beforehand! What will your attendees be interested in reading about? How about an interview with an event speaker? Or reach out to your speakers and invite them to write a guest post or do a guest-post exchange!
Create and keep a content calendar – this will help in allowing you to think ahead, keep track of your posting frequency, post higher quality content and post it more consistently.
#6: Pre-Event Social
Social media networks are an important factor in the success of many businesses, and events. Founder of Techsytalk Liz King elaborates:
“Social media has become one of the primary ways that people connect with each other. In order to have a successful event marketing campaign, you have to embrace social media and strategically implement it to attract ticket sales, connect with top-notch speakers, and host a great event.”
So if you want to make the most of the opportunity, there are a few steps you should consider taking when promoting your event on social:
Build an online audience that may become event attendees. Use a tool such as SocialBro to identify users who are interested in the event, and monitor people discussing the event or asking you any related questions.
Establish your event hashtag early! Make it short and easy to remember and check that it isn’t being used elsewhere. There’s no value in a hashtag if no one uses it so spread the word! Promote your hashtag on your event website, on your marketing materials, in your videos, in your press releases, across your social media, etc. Explain clearly that people can interact with the event organisers during the event by using your Twitter handle or with your hashtag.
#7: Social During The Event
On-the-day marketing is a key part of event marketing and using social media for this is extremely valuable because the potential reach is so wide so assign someone to manage your event’s social media on the day. They can share real-time updates using your hashtag, post quotes from the speakers, share photos and more. We also recommend using Hootsuite to save time and energy – it allows you to schedule tweets and posts on a number of channels.
Encourage people to tweet about the event using your hashtag. Invite them to ask questions for the speakers via tweet – this is also a way to include those who couldn’t attend the event in person. Just make sure it’s easy for people to know what the hashtag is by ensuring it has a constant and visible presence. You could put it on their invite or have it showing on a screen.
Visual equals engaging in today’s events so consider using EventsTag! We are a platform that create live social media slideshows that allow will you to capture tweets, photos and videos from your attendees and display them live on a big screen at your event. This acts as excellent on-the-day entertainment and greatly increases your social media presence so overall, a great way to increase your event marketing efforts.
EventsTag also encourages guests to post and share on social networks using your event’s hashtag, and in turn this will maximize the volume and reach of your traffic and the impact of your event.
One of our customers, Kristian Lorenzon, Head of Social Media at O2 has been using EventsTag prior to its recent launch and here’s what he had to say:
“We have used EventsTag on numerous occasions to bring together content from our customers, as well as to communicate with our own staff. The installation at The O2 has proven to be a fantastic way to take our campaigns into the real world, extend their reach and build engagement with our brand. The platform is incredibly intuitive and provides the flexibility to accommodate the breadth of activities we run.”
#8: Social After The Event
The follow-up to any event is very important so get online and make sure no questions are left unanswered; also take the time to reply to any feedback left from attendees.
Go the extra mile by writing a blog post that covered all the key areas of the event and share it on social media alongside any photos or videos you have from the event.
Send thank-you tweets to your speakers, attendees and sponsors!
Remember to keep your Twitter account active even after the event by curating and creating content to share with your followers. This is important if you plan on having any future events.
#9: Post-Event Blog Post
Following your event, a great blog post will continue to drive traffic to your event site and serve as great material for any future event marketing. As it will be a brief recap of the event, it shouldn’t be too difficult to write so get started right away before you forget that amazing quote from the first speaker!
Your post can include a summary of the event and presentations, for example: “What We Learned”. As we mentioned earlier, visuals are important so use a tool like Slideshare and include a gallery of photos and videos from the event.
Search your event hashtag and pull the top tweets from your event – include these in your blog post so those that didn’t attend, know what they missed out on!
If you have used Eventstag and want to authenticate the success of your event, our optional analytics package gives you the granular detail of social activity around your event, including total reach, top influencers and the performance of each social network which may also be of interest to your sponsors and speakers!
Again, don’t forget to include a thank-you list including all your speakers and sponsors.
#10: Post-Event Email
A follow-up email is an easy way to say thank you to your speakers and sponsors, share links to your social channels and a link to your post-event blog post. You can also include an invitation to register for your next event! If you used EventsTag – once your event is over, we can provide you with a shareable gallery of all the social posts and images from the day, which is perfect as engaging and relevant content for sharing with your guests in a follow up email marketing campaign. Learn more about what we do here.
The future of event technology…
As technology evolves and changes how we discover, organise, market and attend our events, it’s inevitable that it will continue to make a huge difference in the way the event industry operates over the next few years. We asked Liz King for her predictions:
“Our attendees connecting with each other more authentically and frequently using social media. Our sponsors and brands will be able to connect with our attendees better by leveraging technology. In some ways, our event planning will become easier because we will be able to use technology to plan and execute our events more efficiently. In other ways, event planning will become more difficult as sponsors and attendees will be looking to hard data to evaluate the success and ROI of their participation. This means that the event planning firms you will find the most success over the course of the next few years are those who’ve learned to collect and analyze the data that is housed within our events.”
Many event professionals have been using Twitter, Facebook, Vine, YouTube, etc. to engage their attendees at events. But, as Liz mentioned, it’s becoming increasingly important to collate all that valuable social media content, to be able to measure how this has had a helping hand in the event’s promotion. EventsTag can be very useful with its detailed reporting, and an important difference: your crowd is engaged and entertained by their own content being shown live on a big screen whilst you collect vital data for future event’s. It’s a win-win situation!
Also – big thanks to Liz King who took the time to answer our many event-related questions. As a technology-integrated event planner and award-winning blogger, her insight is invaluable and we are pleased to be able to share her knowledge with our readers. Liz will be hosting a top conference for event planners soon – see here for more details about Techsy Talk Live.