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Top 10 Ways to Market Your Event

Over the years, our Greenfield team has had to "rescue" numerous programs because they had not be promoted well to begin with.  Whether you are promoting for a FAM, a client appreciation event, or even a paid conference, here is our prescription for a successful event marketing campaign:

  1. Get permission first: with the implementation of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) July 1, 2014, make sure you get permission before you start marketing electronically.  Even if you're in the USA or anywhere else on the globe permission these days is key.  It's not easy, but you can build your list and get people to agree to receiving your information by reaching out by phone, in-person at another event, or through social media connections.  In Canada, with the new law's requirements, ensure you stay on top of your database; otherwise you may soon be running out of option for your marketing list!  
  2. Maintain your database meticulously: With the CASL, if there is a complaint, the burden will be on you to prove that permission was obtained.  Don't risk a fine by sending unwanted messages to recipients whose information you haven't updated in your database.  Keep it clean!
  3. Make it about ME: who cares if your event has a record-breaking number of exhibitors, sponsors or break-out sessions?  If your communication isn't articulating what's-in-it-for-ME, as your attendee, then you likely won't get me to register, regardless if your event is free or paid.
  4. Twitterize your message:  Don't send long emails telling me ALL there is to know about your event.  Since your message is mostly likely to be viewed on a mobile device, keep your message short and to the point.  If there's more to your story, give links where the recipient can go for more.
  5. Make it easy to share: An increasing number of business event attendees are active on social media.  Make it easy for attendees to share your event with peers by using ShareThis or other social media sharing platforms. That way they can tweet, post to Facebook or LinkedIn, or whatever social medium they prefer.
  6. Tell them who else likes you & who else will be there: When you tell your event's story, impart the experience through the voice and words of people like your prospective attendee. The testimonial of a REAL person, with a name, title, company and photo, will go a long way to convince them your event is worth their time.  And while you must respect attendees' privacy and not reveal their personal information, it's OK for you to tell the names of the organizations who will be represented at your event.  This will help your prospective attendee – and their boss, if they need approval – better decide if the event is for them.
  7. Show them too: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million.  Use this powerful tool to show clips of speakers, testimonials from attendees, exhibitors, sponsors.  Score double points by showcasing a video showcases of someone with similar attributes to your prospect.
  8. Vary your channels: Unless recipients have "white listed" your email address, there's a 30-40% chance that your mass-deployed email will be caught in spam filters.  So while your audience may be interested, they may never see your message; you must vary the ways you reach out!  Pay special attention to the groups where your prospects hang out on LinkedIn.  Get the influential people in your industry, those with lots of followers, to tweet about your event.  Or even send something by mail – something that'll pique recipients' curiosity, something that'll get them to check out your event online.
  9. Understand my communication preferences: While Boomers and GenXers may appreciate getting information by email, younger professionals may not be so interested.  Millennials are said to be less inclined to read email.  This, coupled with the CASL, may require you to shift resources to building a following on social media.  But make sure you know which ones first!
  10. Don't be so business-like: Learn from what gets shared online; I'm not talking about silly cat videos (unless your event is about cats), but we all enjoy funny or touching stories. Your promotion will rise about the clutter if you show emotion, humour, or an edge.  Business need not be so serious!

Do you have any other smart ways to promote your event?  Share them here!