The marketing industry has been undergoing tremendous changes over the past few years. In fact, according to a study from Adobe, marketing has changed more in the past four years than in the last 50 years. Things are so fast moving that only 48% of marketers today feel highly proficient in digital marketing.
One of the methodologies that has been taking the marketing world by storm is Inbound Marketing. According to HubSpot’s new State of Inbound 2015 report, 3 out of 4 marketers across the globe today prioritize an inbound approach to marketing.
Inbound marketing can be very effective when applied to events. Here are a few tips on what you can do to promote your event using inbound marketing techniques.
1. Set up a content-driven website
Unless your event is a private one, you should have an event website. Here are a few tips:
- Set up your event website early – One of the common mistakes people make is to wait until you have full information about your event before launching the event website. Avoid doing that. Search engines take time to crawl your website and give it some relevance. Start early and launch your website even with the most basic of information.
- Submit URL to Google – At first your website will not be known to search engines, like Google. As a first step after you launch your site, submit the URL of your event website to Google.
- Create content – What you want to achieve over time with your website is to get discovered online. One of the ways that this happens is through organic search traffic – ie, people searching online and finding your website through search results. For this to happen, you need to create content – lots of content. As an example, Web Summit is an event that over the span of 4 years have grown from 400 attendees to over 22,000. Web Summit relies heavily on content marketing. They publish on average 3 blog posts per day, and have over 1,300 indexed pages on their website. Not bad for an event website!
- Get links – Your website is considered a relevant one if there are other people linking to it. The more other websites link to yours, the more relevant your website becomes, and the higher you climb up search rankings.
2. Leverage on your speakers’ and sponsors’ network
A great speaker can draw attention and, more importantly, attendees to your event. So will a great sponsor. Once you’ve done the hard work on getting the great partners to your event, you should go the extra mile and leverage on partners’ network to promote your event. Here’s what you can do:
- Blog about the event on their website – Get your partner to write about the event and their session(s) on their personal/corporate website. This is a win-win situation actually. Speakers, for eg, get to promote themselves as a thought leader in the respective topic/industry, and your event gets promoted. It will also serve as a backlink to your event website.
- Write teaser content about the session topic – To attract more attendees to your event, it’s good to give people a flavour of what the event is going to be about. One way you could do this is to get your speakers to write a teaser content about their topics, and you could be hosting the written piece on your event website/blog.
- Promote on social media – Promote your speakers and sponsors on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn network. Announce them on your social feeds, and make sure that you tag them. For example, if you mention your speaker on Twitter, you should expect a retweet and hence you are effectively reaching out to your speaker’s Twitter followers as well.
- Promote through emails – Your event sponsors have vested interest in making your event successful. The better the turnout at your event, the better ROI they can expect. You should help your sponsors to promote the event by emailing to their contacts / leads. You could make it easy by designing and creating the content for the email on their behalf.
3. Reach out to relevant communities
One of the effective ways to promote your event online is to reach out directly to your audience’s communities online. Here’s what you can do:
- Find out where your audience hang out – What are the Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and online communities that are relevant to your industry?
- Join the conversation – Once you know where your audience hang out, join the relevant groups and join the conversations. Reply to questions and give suggestions. Do not simply start promoting your event.
- Post interesting content – We all love what’s different and what’s interesting. Simply posting about your event may not fit the bill here. Instead, post interesting content. These could be for example, blurbs about blog topics being written by your speakers.
- Reach out to influencers – Social media influencers in your industry can give you a boost of traffic simply by them posting or commenting on your event. We’ve got a great post on how you can leverage on social media influencers.
4. Attend GEVME Xchange to learn more
This post itself is written as a teaser to my upcoming session on “Inbound Marketing for Events” at the GEVME Xchange, a full day conference happening in Singapore on 12th January 2016. You can find out more about the agenda here: http://www.gevmexchange.com/agenda
The event promises to be a great place for event marketers and event managers to connect and learn more on the latest trends and best practices in the events marketing and management world.
Hope to see you there!