Tips to Help Market & Sell-Out Your Conference
When was the last time you sold out your conference? Are your numbers stable, or declining? If you are concerned about a declining trend, or are wanting to help stop it before it starts, we have some tips for you.
Of course, there are other outside factors (desirability of location, ease of access, cost), but marketing the event effectively is also well within your control. Let’s get clever going forward!
- Demonstrate Your Thought-Leadership: There are still associations out there that hold a conference because they always have. Many of these believe that they are considered thought leaders in the specific industry they are representing. Post-Event Evaluations that Greenfield has personally had a hand in conducting show that they are not. But they SHOULD be.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the marketing – the copy on your website, if you are blogging, what you are blogging about, and what you are sharing on social media. Your keeners (or, low-hanging fruit – i.e. those who will likely always attend your conference) are the easy ones to attract, but what about the members who never go? You should be creating content that promotes your conference as a thought-leader: a place for your members to meet and engage, and a place that the participant can go to get education they simply are not going to experience elsewhere.
- Some Marketing Should Be Image-Friendly (and, Interesting): There are statistics out there that say 10-20% of registrations can come from social media promotion. What is the best way to attract attention on social media? Visuals.
Why not create an infographic to promote your content, or event? Provide statistics that you can pull from past conferences or surveys, like “75% of our attendees come back year after year”, or “80% of our members want to learn about X, and now we have this speaker”…
- Video, Video, Video: Whether it is YouTube or Vimeo, video messages are powerful. They create FOMO (Fear-Of-Missing-Out).
This could be a live video of your Executive Director/President advising those watching what they will gain from participating, or a pre-recorded interview with a speaker to discuss current issues, and what there session will cover. Greenfield witnessed the interview format with one association, and really saw interest spike because they could hear from the speaker before they went to the conference. Simple, and brilliant!
- It’s All In The Images…: Associations need to start (or, continue) to invest in an event photographer who can help you capture the feeling of the conference.
The atmosphere, people networking, delicious food, excellent location, set the tone in your pictures. Well-lit photos help from email marketing, to hard-copy promotional mailings, to social media sharing to advertising and everything in between.
- Get Participants To Help Spread The Word: This can be done organically, and with little to no effort at your end, but can also be structured, and done with little to no effort at your end!
Have you ever heard of snöball? It’s a really cool platform that help you spread the word about your conference through your influencers – your fans – your participants. According to their website, 92% of people trust word of mouth. This platform helps you cultivate this by putting it to work. How cool is that?
OK, so this is not a one-size-fits-all problem that is solved in one swoop. Audiences are different, demographics change, and associations need to stay on top of their marketing game. Why? See above – audiences and demographics change. Just because you solved it for one year does not mean your problems are over. Keep up the momentum year after year.
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