With dozens of parallel business events taking place in a city at any given time, it is vital to set a strategy for marketing your event. A clear-cut plan on how to get the invite to your target group can put you ahead of the competition.
And unless you maintain a substantial mailing list, or have an endless marketing budget, I suggest you put on your ‘creative hat,’ and exhibit some flexibility!
Here are some solutions I am utilizing to reach a broad audience with my event announcements:
- Maximize existing knowledge!
Take the time to categorize contacts of your database or mailing list, by e.g. field/focus of interest, specialty, as well as affiliations. An easy way to do this is to set-up tags, or to add keywords to your current contact management systems. Information collected at previous events, or via your business network, can prove very valuable. Having access to this information is well worth the effort, as it allows you to narrow down target groups with interest in your next business event’s topic at the click of a button!
- Go social!
Communicate information on your business event via LinkedIn groups specific to your topic or trade. If your next conference is, for example, focusing on renewable energy, you have almost 1,600 LinkedIn groups to choose from on the topic. You may also want to check out which LinkedIn groups are frequented by target groups already in your network. Take some time and browse your contact’s profiles. Then, simply narrow down the selection geographically, draft a post, and start spreading the word!
- Give a taste!
Since it’s human nature to fear the unknown, be proactive and give your potential audience a taste of what they are in store for. Publicize short (!) clips of similar past events on your Web site, or share via YouTube. Provide links to the keynote speaker’s blog, recent publications, etc. This will spark interest, and will give your audience a glimpse of what is to come.
- Utilize local communication platforms!
Do some research, and find free local event mailing lists, and event calendars focusing on business events in your area. Build relationships with publishers, and always be sure to provide information on time for publication deadlines. Most importantly, prepare your contribution in the exact layout/design used by the publication. This will save editors time, assure information is not accidentally misrepresented, and increase the likelihood that your event will be included in their next publication.
- Let others in on the fun!
There are dozens of like-minded industry partners, non-profits, or organizations out there that will compliment your event’s focus, and mission. Find one or two key players, and build co-operations that support broadening of your distribution channels. After all, the power is in the numbers!
- Do some legwork!
Jump on the computer and search the Web for multipliers in your field. Trust me, you will be able to expand your mailing list with excellent contacts, by taking a closer look at the Internet presence of professional organizations, non-profits, industry, and universities that are of significance to your event’s topic and focus. Include newly found contacts in your event mailing lists, and put some time and effort into reaching out to them.
- Extend the personal touch!
Yes, the preference of the written word over the spoken can’t be missed. However, I am still a strong believer in personal communication. If I can’t meet with key contacts face-to-face, I often contact them via phone. Simply to explain why it is that I believe attending or recommending my upcoming business event will be of benefit to them and their network. People love the personal attention, and the few minutes it takes to place a personal phone call with selected key multipliers go a long, long way.
- Mobilize your protagonists!
Tap your speakers’ and moderator’s circles, and encourage them to spread the word about the upcoming event. Invite them to reach out to their local network, or communicate their speaking engagement at your event through a blog or mailing list. Getting the word out is certainly a win-win situation for both sides.
- Be inclusive!
Let the content of the invitation itself do some of the work for you. Use inclusive rather than exclusive language, and directly encourage the recipients to spread the word, à la “Please share this invitation with interested friends or colleagues …”. It’s the word-of-mouth concept that gives an invitation endorsed by a trusted source a lot of weight!
- Live up to your reputation!
All these options considered, nothing beats your reputation! Organize quality events, and your target group will actively search for another one of your events to attend! They will come back to hear you utter time and time again “It is my pleasure to welcome you at this exciting occasion …”
Do you have any unconventional ideas on spreading the word about your business events?
Please share with your network if you find this post interesting. Thanks!
This post was also published at Social Tables