Planning a new event is the same as launching a blog: it doesn’t matter how great the content is — if you don’t have a powerful promotion strategy, nobody will know about it. Additionally, the connection between promoting an event and marketing a blog goes deeper than you think.
According to Nick Borelli, president of Borelli Strategies, “Trends in social media marketing for events have less to do with new technologies and everything to do with content creation strategy.”
In other words, the promotion of your event depends more on your SEO strategy than on the media coverage you may try to get.
The best way to do this is through inbound marketing.
As highlighted by Lisa Toner and Mark Walker, the authors of The New Age of Event Marketing, “When you go public and announce your event, that’s the sound of the starting gun as the real race begins—getting people to notice and care, turning that attention into registrations, hitting targets, and filling seats.”
Toner and Walker continue, specifying, “This begs a hard question: how do you stand out from the crowd, create awareness and buzz for your events, and do it within your existing constraints, often against numerous competitors? The answer? Inbound Marketing!”
Inbound marketing, as defined by HubSpot, is “an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful—not interruptive. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.”
As Bryan Adams and Dave Hazlehurst specify in their bookGetting Goosebumps: A Pragmatic Guide to Effective Inbound Marketing: Emotionally Connect with Your Audience and Achieve Your Business Objectives, “The great thing about inbound marketing is that it’s almost a living, breathing thing itself. Constantly evolving with tastes and trends, there is very rarely a dull moment. That’s because it’s about people and it’s about conversations.”
Another major plus for inbound marketing is its adaptability to different industries; thus, you can successfully use it as a promotion strategy for your next event.
Here are a few tips on how you can do it:
Target your event promotion content
An important part of inbound marketing is producing useful and engaging content. Yet, before creating event-related content (blog posts social media ads and posts, etc.) you need to define your target group, also called “buyer personas,” or better said, “event personas.”
According to Toner and Walker, “These are the people who are genuinely interested in attending your event and engaging with your company or service. By inviting people outside of your personas, you are simply wasting money.”
When defining the event personas, you need to know their profile (occupation, demographics), their goals, and their challenges. Obtaining this information will help you craft the right messages for the right people.
Reach the influencers and make them talk about your event
Each tribe has its own leaders. So depending on the theme of your event, your job is to find these leaders and persuade them into event-related content creation (or at least a shout-out in your favor).
How can you find them? As described by Kissmetrics, there are several ways.
First, start a social media monitor. This is where you’ll find “influencers who advocate for the genre or niche you have outlined.” Second, pay attention to the hashtags and tune in to the conversation. Third, search for the blogs that have the biggest influence.
After creating a list of potential influencers, see how you can convince them to produce event-related content. In exchange, you could compensate them financially, invite them to the event as a speaker or attendee, or use shout-outs and promotions to drive more traffic to their site.
Create (live) video content
According to the latest statistics, 87% of online marketers use video content. On the other hand, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process. Moreover, 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others.
Not convinced yet?
One-third of all online activity is spent watching videos, and 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days. So if you want to strengthen the promotion strategy of your event, don’t think twice—go for video ads, interviews with industry leaders, or other useful video content that will engage your target group and convince them to buy tickets to your event.
Know that visual content sells better than text
Data visualization is gradually gaining more territory. As mentioned in the visual marketing content statistics published by Venngage, from 2015 to 2016, the use of visual content by marketers increased by 130% overall.
In addition, 71.1% of marketers specified that they spent less than five hours per week on creating visuals. Thus, when designing the promotion strategy for your event, think about introducing more visual content, and don’t limit your visuals to stock photos only. According to Venngage statistics, “just 7.6% or marketers stated that stock photos had the most impact, despite being the most frequently used type of visual.” So focus more on event-related infographics and illustrations, which performed best in 41.5% of the cases.
Encourage your attendees to create and share their own event-related content
Let’s not forget about your guests! Another good strategy you could try is offering discounts to those people who’ll write blog or social media posts about your event, share your content, or invite their friends to the event. This way, you’ll create more buzz and extend the reach of your promotion strategy. Offer them a discount on the event as an incentive.
Call to action
Inbound marketing may be a new concept for you. However, when designing the marketing strategy of your next event, take into account the incredible power of content as a new way of spreading the word. First, start by creating event persona profiles to understand better for whom you’ll create the message. Then, focus on identifying and reaching the influencers who‘d be interested in talking about your event. Afterward, apart from creating text content, develop a video and visual content strategy to be sure you’ll attract a wide audience. Finally, encourage your attendees (in exchange for a discount) to publish and share event-related content. Good luck!
Would you like to become a real expert in promoting events? Well guess what! We are working on a brand new eBook that will teach you how to extend the reach of your event with inbound marketing. Leave your email and you’ll be the first one to receive the e-book when it will be published!\