As you’ve no doubt discovered, planning a conference takes a great deal of work. You need to research and choose a venue. Plan dates, catering. Find sponsors and secure exhibitors and sponsors. And once that’s all wrapped up, the real hard work starts – attracting visitors.
To help make sure your perfectly planned conference or event gets the footfall you want, here are six conference marketing ideas to help you promote it.
Timing is everything when coming up with conference promotion ideas. The earlier you start planning your marketing campaign, the greater your chances of reaching the right audience – and convincing them you’re worth a visit.
Not only will marketing your conference earlier ensure your potential visitors can plan their diaries with enough notice, it also ensures that all your conference promotion ideas work together to build up momentum, and spread the word further. (Remember, people sometimes need to see a marketing message a number of times before taking action).
So don’t wait until your event is about to go live before launching your marketing strategy – start planning and implementing it as early as you can.
If you have a social media presence, make sure that you use it effectively to maximise your conference promotion ideas. Prepare a number of updates featuring the benefits of visiting and schedule them to run throughout your marketing campaign.
Remember too to leverage your speakers, exhibitors and sponsors’ social media followings. You could make promoting the conference across their social media channels a condition of participating. And don’t forget to tag them into your own posts too.
And finally, it always helps to create a hashtag for your event, and encouraging your speakers, exhibitors and sponsors to start using it.
A popular way to reach a wider audience of your ideal visitors is to guest blog for online sites that are popular with them.
Consider what your conference offers them – the reasons why they may be interested in attending – and write blogs on these topics. Ensure they’re genuinely useful (this won’t just help your conference’s reputation, but will increase the likelihood they’ll be shared) and add a link to your conference website at the end.
Don’t forget to share these blogs on your own social media channels when they’re live too.
Local newspapers and radio stations are always looking for newsworthy content, so consider what angles you can create from your event and pitch stories to your local media.
The angle may be something unusual about your conference, or the benefit you’re offering to local people or businesses. The angle may even be you – is there an interesting story behind your reason for creating your conference or business?
Conference venues in London offer a wide range of local media opportunities. And don’t just look to the traditional press such as newspapers and radio stations. Many areas of London have popular local blogs looking to cover local stories too.
It’s always nerve-wracking putting your conference marketing ideas into action. Will anyone book or turn up on the day?
One simple way to eliminate those nerves, and get people talking about your event (and attract more exhibitors with a confirmed guest number) is to offer early bird pricing for people who book before a certain date.
If your event is free for attendees, you can still entice them with early bird offers, but make them added value rather than monetary discounts. For example, you could include free gifts, discounts with sponsors or free workshops for those who book their place before a certain date.
We’ve already touched upon leveraging your speakers and exhibitors by asking them to promote the conference across their social media accounts.
But you can use their reputation and influence even further. Don’t miss the opportunity to profile them – featuring them on your own website and sharing on social media. You could even go one step further and ask them to contribute tips and advice, and use them to create blog posts to share on websites your ideal visitors read.
If your speakers and exhibitors are well known or have interesting stories, you can also use them to gain local media press.
In short, don’t miss any opportunity to use the profile and knowledge of your speakers and exhibitors to spread the word about your conference. It’s a win-win scenario – you conference gets more publicity with potential visitors, and they get free promotion!
If you’re still in the planning stages, check out our checklist for planning a conference which offers some great hints and tips to get you started.