No matter the type of event or number of its iterations, an event is always a brand and should be treated as such in many ways. This is because a brand serves a number of purposes:
- identity – so that attendees can tell your event apart from other related events,
- guarantee – that an event gives the attendee certain value,
- promotional – drawing the attention of your target audience, the group your attendees come from.
Event promotion online
In the guide 9 Techniques of Efficient Event Promotion, I have described methods of increasing the reach of your marketing actions. Note, however, that their effectiveness depends on your knowledge of:
- opinions of attendees of previous iterations of your event or your competition’s event,
- authority of speakers that you will invite,
- actions of your competition organizing a related event.
Such information is precious because it will make your decisions more effective in terms of time and budget, and will allow you to exploit favorable opportunities as they appear.
What’s going on at home?
Efficient marketing requires constant analysis. There’s plenty of analytic tools that can make it easier for you to evaluate current actions. For traffic analysis for a dedicated event website including the registration form, using free tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar or Heap is enough. Tracking your website visitors and using this knowledge to optimize the sales process is more than recommended. However, the event website is only a small fraction of your event marketing scope of actions. In addition, it will not let you gain any information on people who… never got there.
Most is happening outdoor
The Internet is content, millions of websites and social media accounts, which result in a multitude of articles and discussions. The ability to investigate the opinions they generate gives you numerous possibilities of interacting with their authors. Therefore, monitoring the area outside of your event website requires you to continuously analyze content that appears:
- on websites related to the industry,
- on community forums,
- on social media,
and consists in searching for phrases, the complexity and number of which depends on many factors. Finding the right phrases is half of success. Tracking the phrase ‘conference’ will only give you a list of hundreds of thousands of websites that contain this keyword. You need to prepare a list of more complex phrases that will let you pinpoint the content that can give you information that is relevant in terms of event promotion.
Front yard monitoring system
To watch the area beyond your website, obviously, you can use Google or Bing and consistently analyze the search results of phrases related to your conference or its topic. But you don’t want to waste a couple of hours daily. What’s more, search engines don’t really work for social media profile monitoring. On Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, a piece of information appears at a particular time and, if you want to be efficient, you need to react right away.
A much less costly solution, when taking time, budget, and human resources management into account, is monitoring your key phrases using a tool such as Brand24. In the user account panel, you can enter all the relevant phrases and even add filters to narrow down or extend the base phrases within minutes. When set up, the application will constantly gather any mentions of all content that could be important to you.
Keywords and phrases
The first phrase you should configure is definitely your brand. It should be constant and as short as possible for a number of reasons. A great example is CYBERSEC Forum that has been organized by The Kosciuszko Institute in Krakow for three years now. Other phrases should:
- relate to the topic or specific phrases used by your prospective attendees (e.g. cybersecurity), which will let you find discussions they could take part in,
- be based on names of your speakers, which lets you evaluate their activity in the Internet and use your relation to convince them to help you promote your event,
- contain brands of your competition’s events so you can monitor attendee opinions on them and learn their moves early.
Monitoring with Brand24 doesn’t require you to analyze all the mentions in the application’s interface. You don’t need to wait about in the panel for new results. You can use automated notifications sent to a chosen mailbox or a dedicated Slack channel. I think you’ll admit it’s very convenient.
Do not ignore any opportunity to interact with interested ones. But don’t just contact them to sell your event. You should aim to create an expert brand helpful to your target audience. With this in mind, assume that your mission is to create relations by helping your audience and curating valuable information.
Don’t hesitate to take part in discussions where someone criticizes your event or straight up talks bad about your brand. Try to understand that person and reach out to them. I do realize how difficult it sometimes is to hold back your emotions but remember: the Internet will take everything but it will forget nothing. Your quest is to build a friendly brand, not a hostile one.
Watch your speakers
Speakers of your conference probably include persons recognized and trusted by your target audience. Just like you, they also want to see rooms full of attendees. More often than not, speakers have social media accounts and personal blogs that they use to build their personal brands. With Brand24, you can track their actions and verify their reaches, i.e. the number of readers of their articles, Facebook status updates, and tweets. Persuade them to mention your conference in their next entry and reciprocate by sharing their blog entries on your social media profiles.
The competition is on the hunt
Monitor phrases related to competition’s conferences, training sessions, and other events to examine their topics, dates, and strengths and weaknesses. Using this knowledge, you can give your attendees what they cannot find at other events - better experience and more interesting sessions. Plus, you will avoid competing with another event for attendees, which could happen when you organize your conference too soon before or after your competitor’s conference.
No matter the techniques you employ to market the event you organize, do not expect immediate results. Instant solutions rarely work because building a brand and its recognition is a lengthy process. A great example is one of CONREGO customers using our conference management system implementation service - Everest360 agency.
Anna Baranek, the Project Manager for CYBERSEC Forum organized by Everest360 for Krakow’s Kosciuszko Institute, says:
Every event is a new, different experience. Practice, inspecting results, and monitoring mistakes let us constantly improve concurrent iterations and other events we organize. Drawing constructive conclusions and persistence are core conditions of success. Thanks to them, we managed to create one of three major European conferences about strategic aspects of cyber security, CYBERSEC.
CYBERSEC Forum was host to:
- 317 attendees in 2015,
- 554 attendees in 2016,
- 1009 attendees in 2017.
And now imagine that a good part of these attendees are active users of the internet. By monitoring your brand and interacting with its audience, you can make them your brand’s ambassadors. This is the moment your brand becomes truly successful.