Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services
You may be scratching your head and asking yourself what on earth is holistic marketing and how does it pertain to my conference? Holistic marketing is a strategy which considers the business as a whole and not as an entity with various parts. All communication and activities are aligned and integrated throughout all departments to create a uniform and impactful experience. Many companies do not consider the impact of an aligned strategy and many times, only do what they think is vital, creating an agenda, organizing speaker and other tasks associated with operations.
Marketing alignment is a part of your business strategy and just like top organizational goals, a little consideration makes a large impact on experience and your return on investment. Consider the following key marketing strategies for your next conference to bring your message to the forefront of your targeted audience.
Six Marketing Strategies for Your Conference
1. Event Websites are vital. Your website is your online salesperson. You want to target audience to find and engage with your materials.
Encourage readers to spend more time on the website by:
- Build a mobile responsive website—In today’s market there is a 90% chance your target audience will view your website from their mobile device. If they find this difficult, you may lose their interest.
- Hyperlink pages throughout the website—Inpage and off-site hyperlinks add to the legitimacy of your webpage and offers useful information for your audience, ensuring you resonate with them as a thought leader.
- Set up the registration link to open in a new window—This gives the readers easy access to the last web page they were viewing if your registration process takes them off of your website. Pro-Tip: Use a website builder that seamlessly integrates the registration process.
- Outline an agenda—Even if it is a basic outline. It can be updated and enhanced as speakers commit to sessions and breakout topics. Showcasing that the agenda will update may encourage users to return to the site again and again.
- Consider SEOs (Search Engine Optimization)—Help improve your website’s ranking in search results by writing your copy with the natural keywords and phrases that your target market is searching for online. (i.e. location, topics, speakers).
- Create Content —Blog articles, Podcasts, videos will create additional SEO opportunities for your website. So produce content as often as you can while remaining consistent. Post content that centers around your conference, the speaker’s topics, the industry and hot topics your potential attendees may be interested in.
- Create Shortcuts—If the conference website is separate from the company website, consider promoting the conference on the company’s homepage with a banner that links to the conference website.
2. Marketing Automation is your best friend. According to a 2018 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users before the start of 2019.
Here are some tips on email marketing:
- Build a mobile responsive email template—Do not risk losing a registering attendee because they can’t read the email from their mobile device.
- Create clear CTAs—Always have a call to action. Make sure it is clear what the intent of your message is and what action you’d like your audience to take. Make sure links and buttons clearly say Register Now, Learn More, View Agenda, Meet Speakers, etc.
- Be Creative—You have a short time frame to get your point across. Capture your reader’s attention by simplifying your message, adding short videos or linking to more information so you can track interaction.
- Be Considerate—While email is still one of the highest forms of communication, be sure you respect the inbox and space your emails out accordingly. Spread out your emails by at least a week as to not annoy your audience.
- Give Thanks—If this is a repeating conference, send emails after your event thanking people for attending. Include a Save the Date for the following year and offer a survey to see where improvements can be made.
3. Social Media is a great place to promote your event, interact with attendees & followers, and drive traffic to the conference website. Like content marketing, post about the conference, but post other topics as well. Keep posts simple and encourage team members and industry influencers to like, share and comment on event posts.
4. Event Hashtags can boost impressions and improve the searchability of your conference. Create a conference hashtag and use it every chance you get. Hashtags are individually searchable and on some social sites, can be followed. They increase social media engagement and attract new followers.
5. Geofencing and Retargeting may help you reach your audience. Due to the General Data Protection Regulations and other data protection privacy laws, gone are the days of purchasing a list of leads to increase conference awareness and registration. Target users by location or interest using these paid search advertising techniques.
6. Post Conference Marketing can be extraordinary. The conference might be over, but there is still marketing to be done. It is very important to gather and file all the collateral collected during the conference. This includes; photos, videos, testimonials, survey results, etc. This year’s collateral is next year’s promotional material.
Promote your Conference with Confidence
Each conference is as unique as the audience that attends. It is important to try a variety of marketing tactics and track its impact on registration and engagement. The key is to ensure you have a dedicated distribution and content plan for your website, email marketing calendar, social media, paid advertising and post-conference goals.
In conclusion, do not over commit. Choose a few of these elements and go all in. Do not spread yourself too thin or you may lessen your impact on your audience. Marketing is an art; not an exact science. The key is to test and measure and then focus on what works for your event, target audience and geographic location. If you are interested in learning more about our conference and event marketing services, please email us at email@example.com.