Events and conferences are a fantastic way of congregating your audience in the same place. This kind of environment can really encourage success and growth for a company. Chances to interact directly with your audience don’t come around all that often. This year, your business booked an experienced and engaging speaker, decorated a visually creative booth, and published a general notice about the event. In a world that never sleeps or disconnects from social media, how do you ensure your audience knows about your event and becomes excited to attend?
Cutting through the noise and saturation of social media, ad campaigns, and new startup companies is no small task. However, with a targeted, original approach, you can guarantee your audience is invested in your brand and message well before an event occurs. UBM, a global events organizer, publishes a “Content Connects” research report each year. They summarized that “96% of attendees look for information prior to an event and 90% continue that search post-event.” These figures are too powerful for your business to ignore. In order to optimize your business’ success at an upcoming event, here are 5 simple steps for drumming up pre-event excitement.
1: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE AND YOUR INDUSTRY
Targeted advertising is key in the build-up stages before your event. Whilst targeted ad campaigns on Facebook may seem like a straightforward approach, it is not guaranteed to appear before the eyes of the people you want. Start by tweeting known supporters of your company or vision. By making them feel like they were the first to know, this will help build stronger loyalty. In turn, your followers will do a lot of the legwork for you, often spreading your message to their own followers or audience. Rewarding those who have supported you from the beginning is vital.
Knowing your industry is just as important as knowing your audience. Generating extra footfall for your booth or event at a conference will undoubtedly generate better engagement overall. If there are other trade shows or stands, they are bound to benefit as well. Connect with companies you have worked with before, or who share similar values or goals. This can be through collaborative social media posts or even a staged relationship online. A great example is rival companies mocking each other on social media. These posts are often lighthearted and funny, but engage both sides of the fence when it comes to the audience.
2: MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOU
If you are a well-established business, you will undeniably have all major platforms of social media covered. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn will already carry your image and logo. Refresh this by creating content specifically for the event, but still linked to your core social media platforms. One suggestion is a Twitter account specifically for the event. Its core purpose is to post updates or a countdown to the big day, for example. A unique hashtag is a great way to create an air of mystery among followers. You want your audience to care about the event and feel they are integral to its success. Sharing sneak peaks of new marketing campaigns or backstage shots of your trade stand are all invaluable ways of making social media work for you.
3: GUEST OF HONOR
They are more than just a speaker at your event. They are a conduit for the values of your business and a representative of your target audience. Even before they get to the main stage, they can help share and communicate your messages. Whether this is through their own social media accounts or the industry circles they reside in, picking the right guest speaker for your company is perhaps the most important step in a successful event.
You’ve put them to work and they’ve spent months leading up to the event supporting your marketing campaign. But what about the big day itself? Your speaker needs to be able to work the crowd, talking confidently about your message. When the inevitable happens and there is some kind of hardware breakdown, can the speaker hold the audience without a slide or video playing behind them? Fantastic audience engagement will keep them coming back during and after the event. Especially if you’ve planned something special to captivate them on event day.
4: VIDEOS SPEAK VOLUMES
Short, sharp, and lighthearted videos can be enjoyed and shared in seconds. It is for this reason that they form a key part of building that pre-event buzz. Videos offer an opportunity of exclusivity to your audience that no other medium can. Your guest speaker rehearsing, a part of the stage being built, or a preview of the messages being shared at the event can all be consumed on-the-go by your audience. Making videos that can easily be shared is paramount. Utilize your current social media platforms, blog sites, and YouTube to cover as many bases as possible.
5: DO SOMETHING UNIQUE
Taking risks is all part of being an innovative business; why not do the same in your pre-event marketing? Doing something out-of-the-box or unique will not only support all of the strategies above, but provides the ultimate weapon in making your brand or company stand out. With digital ad campaigns appearing nearly everywhere, on every device, your message needs to stick.
Your imagination is the limit; however, previously successful campaign ideas include: Creating unique gifts or invites for exclusive members of your community. This could include crowdfunding supporters or strong advocates of your company values. If your event carries a theme, give them something they can wear or use on the day. The recipients will feel honored to stand out and your remaining audience will want to know how they can get involved.
Sending confirmed attendees something in the post is another creative way of standing out. In a world of digital content, holding something physical can have significantly more potency. Building upon this, asking your audience to tweet when they receive your goody bag and tracking their journey to the event via tweets or hashtags can synergize your marketing approach with your social media platforms.