How do you promote your event? Do you use email marketing? What about banner ads on popular websites? There are tons of ways to promote your event today, especially in the digital age. Yet, people still seem to forget about utilizing their attendees and community of followers to help them promote. By using this network of people, you can help increase your events reach and even save a little on the budget!
Corbin Ball stated that there are about 1.8 million meetings in the US each year, many with fewer than 100 attendees. With many events having less than 100 attendees, it should be easy to reach out to them on a personal level and get their help in promoting your event. However, most eventprofs do not think about getting their community involved in promotion and are missing out on tons of free marketing! One of the reasons may be is that they do not know how to approach their followers and attendees.
The important thing to remember is to put yourself in your attendees shoes. What do you look for in an event? How do you know when an event values your option? If you have this mantra in mind when planning, you will be able to come up with a few ideas on how to get people involved.
Start a Contest
Consider adding a component to your event where you ask your attendees to get active on social media. AIBTM did a great job of that this past June with the 'Meet America Selfie Challenge'. Attendees were encouraged to 'Meet America' during the event by taking selfies at booths with the green #AIBTM diamond. Attendees won prizes for most creative selfie, most original and more. This got attendees on their social media sites posting pictures with the event hashtag. This was a great way to get more visibility for the event hashtag, while at the same time engaging their attendees in a fun way.
Include Them in the Planning
Your attendees want to feel included and that they matter. An easy way to do this is to make their opinion count and show them that their actions will have a direct result on the way that you plan your event. The inaugural Event Tech Live that happened in November 2014, gave their attendees the chance to get involved. Speakers were asked to send in videos submissions for their speaking slot instead of written submissions; they then picked the sessions by crowdsourcing their speaking slots. They put the power in attendees’ hands to choose who they want to see and what they want to learn about. Most people will start campaigning for the sessions that they voted for through their social media accounts. This immediately gets your show out there to a whole new network of people.
Have Stellar Content and Keynotes
It is a natural instinct for people to share things with their friends that they are excited about. Ever leave an amazing movie and you can't wait to tell all your friends about it? Right there you are being a brand advocate by promoting that movie. You liked what you saw and you want other people to share in on the excitement! The same thing can be said for good event content. When people found out that Ariana Huffington would be a keynote speaker at Silverpop Amplify, you started to see tweets pouring in promoting the event. The attendees couldn't wait to tell people who they were going to see speak in a few weeks.
You Never Know Until You Ask
Why not just ask your network to share and promote your event? One of etouches employees spoke at IMEX America last month and received an email with speaker guidelines and points. One of the points asked if you could promote your session on social media using their hashtag. It is a win, win for both parties because you hopefully bring in more people to your session and the event gets more visibility.
With tons of ways to reach out to your community of followers today, it should be easy to get them involved. Not everything will work for everyone, so see what works best to get your community talking about your event. After all, 84% of people surveyed (Nielsen) trust recommendations from someone they know versus online banner ads.