Benefits of an Online Presence for Promoting Your Event
If you’re planning an event for your company, you’ve probably got the logistics down. Whether you’re running your first event or aim to expand it, reaching prospective attendees online is crucial to the success of your promotional efforts.
If you’re not a one-person operation, you should coordinate with your marketing department. Many of these suggestions and initiatives are much easier if you have help. If you are the marketing department or are operating solo, no worries! You can outsource many of these tasks to virtual assistants (VAs) and other qualified freelancers, just as you would for other aspects of your business. Here’s how to establish and maintain an online presence for your event.
Invest in a Dynamite Website
Your event should have its own page, even if it’s on a subdomain of your larger website. Many of your attendees may be primarily interested in the event, not the rest of your business, so this will make it easier to navigate. Keeping user needs and intent in mind when designing your site is a key part of embracing user-centered design, an approach that can have major benefits for your bottom line.
Additionally, you can gain traffic insights from Google Analytics and learn about your event page visitors who may be different from your main company page’s visitors. Information about their demographics and interests will help you ensure you’re reaching your target audience and can craft future event pages more to your visitors’ liking.
Your website should include:
- Name of the event
- Sponsor of the event
- Industry and context (who is this event for?)
- Location of event and venue-specific information
- List of what the ticket includes (is it inclusive of food and lodging?)
- Date and time of the event
- Ticket sales link and ticket cost
- Refund policy
- Code of conduct/anti-harassment statement
- Lodging and accommodation
- Your contact information
- Keynote speakers or event highlights
- Schedule and program
- Testimonials (if you’ve held previous events)
- Value proposition (what will attendees learn?)
- Photos from previous events and/or venue
In addition to this information, you’ll want to make sure your website is optimized for search engines. You can encourage Google to index you faster by using keywords and putting relevant information in your meta descriptions. (Tip: If you’re using WordPress, try the free Yoast SEO plugin.) Schema.org lists an event schema which will help you clearly specify that your page is about an event.
Unless you’re a professional web designer, you should outsource this task to a qualified web design professional after thoroughly evaluating them.
Ticket Launch Countdown
Ideally, you should market online before your event. If this is a major event that companies sponsor employees to attend, you should begin marketing at least a year in advance and ramp up that marketing as time goes on. Include a countdown to ticket launch and invite your website visitors to subscribe to your email list to be notified when they are available.
Once you launch ticket sales, change the countdown to either “time left to buy your ticket,” “time left for early bird pricing,” or “time until event.”
Listed Price Increase and Referral Incentive
Get prospective buyers to commit early by including a listed price increase. For example: “Buy your ticket before July 3 for early bird pricing. Save $75 on standard ticket price.”
Once those early birds buy in, ask them to brag about it and spread the word. You can even provide them with a referral code so their guests receive special pricing or a bonus item. When they do tweet about their participation, reward them with a heart and a retweet. Continually engage.
Similarly, leverage your established affiliates and guests by offering them a kickback to ticket sales. They provide their audience with a referral code, and you provide them with cash when those tickets sell.
Make sure you coordinate your event branding online and off. If you’ve got the logo on the event’s website, you should also have it on your promotional items, which you should hand out at networking events.
Consider creating an event logo specifically for the event. You may wish to use your brand’s colors (or select complementary colors). Studies show that colors are memorable.
Leverage Social Media Groups
Are you in social media groups about your brand and related to your industry? Make sure you use those. While it’s bad form to spam your event in a bunch of social media groups, there’s no harm in asking an admin for permission to post your link — especially if you’re an engaged, authentic, and regular user. This will dramatically increase your reach.
You can time your social media promotion with the time you use for your regular online engagements and brand reputation management. You should execute a brand reputation management strategy that:
- Has impact
- Matches your goals
- Fits within the parameters of what you can realistically accomplish
- Comes most naturally to you
Such a strategy will help you retain an authentic brand voice as you promote and monitor your event.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to promote internally. That includes Slack channels and company-wide email updates, among other channels.
Brian Walker, SAP Hybris Chief Strategy Officer, suggests that, if you want to get particularly specific on social media, you can also invest in some targeted advertising:
The message to meeting planners would be to recognize how to reach attendees in the forums they’re already in and the mediums they’re using and the touch points their attendees are engaging in, which is primarily mobile today, and look at today’s digital marketing platforms as an opportunity to further engage.
This advice underscores the necessity of specific audience targeting.
Submit to Online Event Listings
While Google will hopefully pick up on your event info from your optimized website, you want to go where your people are. Industry-specific sites that list events are key assets for you. Take the time to message them and let them know about your event.
You should also submit your event listing to the local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Association, and Better Business Bureau. These organizations can support you and offer you more resources.
Lastly, don’t forget the online channels you’re already using. Does your business regularly send out newsletters and engaging content to a bevy of email subscribers? A mention in your regular email newsletter is an easy way to target people potentially interested in your event.