7 October 2019
Business events present a fantastic opportunity to connect with your existing network, as well as attracting fresh contacts and potential leads. It is an ideal forum for showcasing your expertise to help others excel in their business. This builds brand awareness and trust, so attendees are more likely to get in touch when they need your services in the future.
Business events draw together people with a genuine interest in a specific subject and this can encourage collaboration. At events, good practice can be shared, fresh ideas discussed and new partnerships can be formed. In addition, you leave with a list of strong leads.
There may be many advantages, yet organising and running an event is no easy task. It takes considerable time, money and resources to make it happen. When you have gone to the effort of booking a venue, arranging speakers and preparing resources, the last thing you want is empty seats. As such, effective event promotion is essential.
Creating an Event Page
Before you embark on promoting your event online, it makes sense to create an event page. This could be on your company website, on social media (such as a Facebook Event) or using a third party (such as Eventbrite). Essentially, you need a place to direct anyone who is interested in finding out more.
The event page has to include all of the core information, including the date, time and venue. It must also clearly define the value of attending. We are all busy, so you need to compel potential candidates to see it as a great use of their time and money.
Be specific about who the event is for and what they can expect to gain from attending. It should include visual content – if you have run a previous event, this could include a short video that helps to generate a buzz. Give information about any speakers, to evidence that they have a level of authority in their field.
The event page should also provide a clear call to action, the facility to book places and make payments online. In addition, when a booking is made, it should capture the data and send an automated booking confirmation.
Promoting an Event to your Existing Network
With an event page up and running, the best place to start promotion is by making your existing contacts aware of the event. The easiest place to start is by adding information and a link to the events page in your email signature.
Include details in your newsletter and create an informative email that can be circulated to your contacts. You are already known to this existing network and if they feel the event will be beneficial to them, they are likely to be easier to convert. You might even consider offering a discounted rate to existing customers as thanks for their business.
When you are preparing blog articles or webinars, avoid an outright sales pitch. Instead, focus on providing valuable content that relates to the event. This offers a taster, engages the interest of readers and is more likely to draw them in. Do inform them of where to find out more, with a link to your event page.
Social Media Event Promotion
Your event will target a specific audience. It may be relevant to a specific subject, industry, profession or geographical location. Use social media to search for groups, discussions and content that relates and be proactive in your engagement.
It is important to consider ways to help individuals identify that your event relates to them through emotive or beneficial content. You might initiate action with an ‘early bird discount’, or create a buzz with an online competition to win a free stand at the show, or a VIP package incorporating free tickets, reserved seating and lunch.
If you can generate interaction through social media posts, there is a chance that your posts will be seen by individuals beyond your realm of contacts.
Using Paid Advertising to Promote Business Events
The marketing activities detailed above really focus on building awareness across your existing network of contacts. As many businesses put on events to attract new leads, it makes sense to extend the message out a little further.
Paid advertising is a highly targeted means of reaching individuals who are actively showing an interest in what you are offering.
You have control over how the Ad is set up. You can determine when it is shown, who it is shown to and who will not see it. It is possible to set up geographical perimeters and direct your promotion to specific demographic groups. You also remain in control of the budget and only pay when someone clicks on the advert and is taken to your landing page.
The success of Google Ads, Facebook Ads and paid advertising on other social media platforms is dependent on a number of factors:
It is also possible to include a countdown feature in your campaign and remember to set an end date so that your adverts do not show post-event.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a registered charity, Google will offer a free budget. This could be used to promote major fundraising event or open day.
Whether a charity, an SME or a large corporation, if you are new to paid advertising, it might be advisable to enlist the services of a local digital agency. For a management fee, they will ensure that all is set up correctly, monitored and amended in order to will maximise the results.
Preparation for the Next Event
Finally, at the event, be sure to gather as much material as possible to aid future marketing campaigns. Capture the spirit of the event with photographs, video and post-event blogs. Interview speakers and attendees, gather feedback and identify the key outcomes (which may differ from your initial intentions).
Five Key Points in Summary