Organising a conference or corporate event can be time consuming – and not just when it comes to planning the event itself. Once you have found the perfect venue, fixed a date and organised your keynote speakers or your entertainment and catering, you also need to put your energy into spreading the word and drumming up interest in your event.
Conferences, in particular, can be a major operation to organise, so if you’re at a loss where to begin or are simply looking for conference marketing ideas, here are a few helpful pointers to set you on the right track for organising a truly successful event.
Learn to love lists
To begin with, you should make a checklist of everything that needs doing to prepare for your event. Organise things in order of priority, discuss and set budgets for each element and set yourself some time frames within which each task needs to be completed. Planning is vital if everything is to come together on the day, so the checklist will help concentrate your mind and will help to determine how you use your time and energies in the run-up to the event.
Location, location, location
At the very top of that checklist should be finding the best venue, because your venue will dictate much of what follows. Whether it’s a conference, seminar, important client meeting, a dinner, reception or company party, finding the right venue is the key to success. Some of the most popular venues can be booked up months in advance, so plan well ahead (six months is a good rule of thumb) and have a date or two in mind when you approach your shortlisted venues. There are hundreds of venues to choose from out there, but as with anything in life, some will be better than others and reading a few reviews is always wise.
Don’t be tempted to take the first venue you see simply because it’s available. Look around with a trusted colleague who can give you a second opinion and discuss your requirements in depth with the team who manage the venue. The best venue operators will be able to accommodate special requests, and most will be able to put together a package involving catering, entertainment and anything else you may need, which can alleviate some of the planning pressure. If you’re on the lookout for conference venues in London or another major city, make sure you find somewhere with good transport links and, if possible, the option of parking and accommodation.
Once you’ve found your venue and settled on a date, it’s time to explore catering options, added extras and implementing your conference promotion ideas.
Venues should be able to supply you with a range of catering options, from light afternoon refreshments at your meeting to buffets or full sit-down meals if you’re hosting a reception or party. Make sure all dietary requirements are catered for before you issue invitations, so that you can give guests the option to tick-boxes if they have any allergies, intolerance or specific requirements.
Audio / Visual
You should also consider any additional equipment you might need for your event. If you require audio or visual equipment or projector screens for your conference or seminar, make sure they can be provided and that the space you have is appropriate for them – a tiny screen in a huge conference hall simply won’t work.
Content is king
Once everything else has fallen into place, it’s time to let the world know about it. Sending out email or physical invites is just one way of making sure people know when and where your event is happening, but here’s where joining forces with your company’s marketing and PR departments and harnessing the power of technology comes into play. Setting up web,, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages – along with relevant hashtags identifiable to your event is almost compulsory these days, as the first thing most invitees will want to do is search for it online.
Marketing tips from our marketing team:
More is more: When it comes to content – the more the better. Audit, document and create as much as you can and repurpose video, text, image and audio content to suit the different social media platforms. For example, if you have an existing video of one of your keynote speakers doing a talk, put the whole video onto YouTube, strip the audio from the video to create a podcast, create snippets of the video for Facebook and LinkedIn, create memes, gifs and quotes for Instagram and Twitter. Then put as much of this content as you deem fit into your newsletter.
Make the content as authentic and useful as possible – so to encourage your followers to share it or tag in their friends.
Social Media ads: Push out snippets of your speakers speaking, then pay to boost this content, targeting the fans of those speakers (you can do this on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) If the speakers don’t have much of a following, you can target these ads against the topics of the speeches instead.
Twitter Hashtags: Search for hashtags related to your conference, leave helpful content in the comment section of the post – with no call to action – then continue the conversation with the poster. This tactic is time-consuming, but a very effective way to create a bond between your conference and potential attendees.
Facebook live: Facebook live is probably the biggest marketing hack in 2019. Your audience is notified when you go live, so engagement is usually much higher than non-live video. Find any excuse to go live – interviewing speakers, behind the scenes footage of the venue, or even take people through the lunch menu for the event.