Marketing a conference means being everywhere at once. You want the professional world abuzz with anticipation, your event’s name popping up everywhere they turn.
“You’re going to be at [insert your event name here], right? Seems like everyone is!”
That sort of cultural infiltration takes more than basic social and web presence. Especially if you’re still building your conference brand, you have to infuse your marketing with extra oomph.
Here are 10 conference marketing tips to help stand out from the slew of conferences all around you this year:
Conference marketing tip #1: Know who your attendees are
Who’s your target audience base? Yes, you’re looking to attract professionals, but exactly which ones?
For instance, if your conference is targeted at the gaming industry, your audience might skew younger than one targeted at financial professionals. These target demographics should affect your marketing strategies.
For instance: we all know that LinkedIn is the “professional” network. But if your demographic is largely millennial, you should know that the highest number of 18 to 29-year-olds are on Facebook — 87% versus LinkedIn’s 23%.
Conference marketing tip #2: Get serious about social
Did you know that nearly 25% of all traffic to registration pages comes from social media? People turn to social to find out what’s going on and why they should join in.
As a conference promoter, your game must be strong across social channels. Any way that you can make your social media efforts more consistent and efficient will benefit your conference marketing.
Social media management tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Edgar can help you set up strategic, automated social campaigns so you’re posting better content, more often, with less effort.
Conference marketing tip #3: Automate your online advertising
The reach of organic social posts is shrinking as more and more event brands get online — especially as social media platforms continue to tweak their algorithms. Paid ads are more important than ever to boost your presence on your audience’s social feeds.
Tools like Boostable and Tone Den help you better target audiences and perform A/B testing on your ads to determine which are most effective.
Conference marketing tip #4: Double down on your SEO efforts
Search engines like Google are a vital discovery method for your attendees. There are nearly 10,000 searches a month on the word “conference” alone.
But you can’t expect to show up at the top of search just because your event is the best. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a science, and a constantly changing one at that. It involves using strategically placed keywords in your web copy, making sure to always mention key factors like your event’s physical address, and, of course, having great content to begin with.
Conference marketing tip #5: Create content you can repurpose across channels
Your content includes every single digital marketing asset you produce, from photographs to witty captions to live video to insightful copy. But if you’re creating content from scratch each time you post something, you’re wasting precious time.
Repurposing content doesn’t just mean sharing the same thing across every channel. It’s about imaginative repackaging for targeted use.
For instance, extract the most valuable information from your conference presentations into infographics to share via email and social media. Or share prime quotes from keynotes on Twitter, tagging the speaker along with your event’s custom hashtag. Then collect all these quotes later on into a “best insights that came out of this conference” blog post.
Conference marketing tip #6: Emphasize the visual
Some of your most valuable content is photo and video. It can be used across just about every marketing platform you employ.
It’s worth the investment to hire professionals to capture your event so you can use those assets year-round to keep the energy lively around your event.
Conference marketing tip #7: Segment your email lists
Email is key to business, and it’s certainly key to conference marketing. Rather than blast your entire list, break it down into buckets such as:
- Those who attended last year
- Those who’ve signed up for the next event but not yet attended
- Those who’ve expressed interest but have not yet registered
You can then send targeted emails with messaging designed specifically for each type, and combine this effort with what you know about demographics.
Conference marketing tip #8: Treat your attendees as marketing partners
Word of mouth is a powerful, age-old marketing strategy. Today, you can influence this strategy more than ever before by leveraging social media and influencer management tech.
SocialLadder and Verve are two that help you build brand ambassador programs from among your existing registrants. With promo codes, custom websites, and rich rewards programs, you can motivate ambassadors to register more attendees for your conference.
Conference marketing tip #9: Stay top-of-mind for event-goers
With all the ways people hear about your conference, it’s hard to predict which touch point will lead them to convert to a registered attendee. It’s not uncommon for people to ponder a commitment for a while before they press the button.
Ad retargeting is important to this effort. By reaching potential attendees across the web, you remind them of their intention to sign up for your conference. The average event sees a 6x return on retargeting efforts, so this tactic is huge for measurable ROI.
Conference marketing tip #10: Remove all barriers to registration
Studies show that the more steps people have to take to go through a checkout process, the less likely it is that they’ll get to the finish line. Make it easy for attendees to register from any site where they might discover your event.
For instance — if a prospect is on Facebook at the time they decide to register, give them the ability to buy right on Facebook. A robust event management solution will have partnerships with the most important discovery sites to enable native checkout.
There are so many ways these days for conference creators to market their events. These tactical conference marketing tips will help you make the most of your marketing time and dollars and ensure the maximum number of registrations this year.
Interested in learning how to meet — and even exceed — your conference attendees’ expectations? Download the 2018 Conference Playbook.