Your event planner may come with an array of certificates bearing testament to their organisational skills, but unless those in control are able and surf the waves of technology, then your event will always fall short of its potential.
The quantity of tools available now means your event can be promoted in a very cost-effective way, enhancing attendee numbers and improving their experience. But without a clear vision, organisers can quickly become weighed down.
Here are some key considerations to get the most out of technology for your events.
1. Dedicated event website
An website is an essential part of the marketing strategy. Your event needs its own organisational hub to maximise its promotional power and to establish itself as a presence in its own right alongside your company.
Make sure you are clear on the event is about and what attendees stand to benefit by signing up. Guest speakers and associated biographies will help to explain this, and illustrate the kind of people that will be filling the networking floor.
2. Configure for SEO
You want to achieve as many views as possible on your website, and SEO is integral to this. Isolate the most relevant and effective keywords when writing titles on your site, and ensure descriptions are as accurate as possible; Google’s Trend Tool can help with this.
Make sure you have included relevant links in your copy, such as pathways to speaker websites, social channels and blogs, and links to sponsor’s sites.
3. Work with sponsors
Endeavour to foster a good, working relationship between sponsors and attendees. Beyond a much-needed source of income, sponsors bring marketing resources that can catalyse your promotion efforts.
Ensure you are clear in the value your packages offer to potential sponsors and explore all avenues for sponsors to reach out to your event’s audience.
4. Email campaign
A newsletter is a simple and cost-effective way to get the message of your event heard by a huge swathe of industry peers.
Emails should be sent as part of a campaign (hence the name), so don’t just send one newsletter, rather send out mail which develops the story of the event. Introducing new speakers, attractions, benefits and features as they are organised will help to add strata to your campaign, establishing it in the minds of email recipients.
Do not bombard users with emails day in, day out, rather keep people updated with a weekly mailer that politely and unobtrusively reminds potential attendees of what they may miss out on if they do not sign up.
Other incentivising features, such as promotional offers or event coupons, can be linked into newsletters as the big day approaches.
5. Social media strategy
Social offers a unique way to bolster your audience and increase support in the run up to, during and after your event.
Your aim is to build an online following that will convert into attendees, so try to identify users that are likely to be interested in the event, then track dialogue that develops off the back of the leads you are creating.
Formulate a suitable hashtag and stick to it, using it in association with all outgoing social material.
Hashtags and handles will be essential on the day of the event, giving you the power to easily communicate programme updates and maintain the online dialogue around all that goes on. For organisers, Hootsuite is a great for scheduling tweets and posting the same material on a variety of channels.
Encourage attendees to tweet and chat about the event as it plays out, invite questions and stoke debate.
The follow up to all events is crucial. Try to accrue as much feedback as possible and invest this into planning for the next event. Most importantly, let your attendees know they are valued by getting in touch with them personally and simply thanking them for taking part.
While technology has revolutionised how events are promoted, it’s important to recognise that the practices involved are constantly evolving; teams and individuals that consciously adapt, learn new skills and stay agile will get ahead.
As the world increasingly embraces social media, brands are challenged to maintain as much personality as possible, to keep dialogue authentic and project as human a face as possible to maximise trust and engagement among the consumer audience.
By Stephen White, Amplified Business Content
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