This blog is brought to you by BrightBlue Marketing Team Member: Andrea Lamarsaude
You’ve got a conference coming up and you want to have the best attendance ever – but how do you do that?!? These tips and tricks will help you create a strong marketing & PR campaign that will make that happen!
Integrate very creative and powerful messaging into every single communication prior to conference, at conference, and in any follow up communications. This messaging must sell the value of the conference to attendees and exhibitors and make it fun and exciting for them to be a part of the event.
Create excitement, suspense, and get buzz going!
You don’t want to miss the 2012 “insert name of your conference”! It is THE “what your conference is about” conference of the year! “Name of your conference” is where you need to be!
Use an anchor to build buzz! Ask yourself is there something big happening in your industry that will be released this year that your team can promote to build suspense and buzz around the conference as well as incorporate in your messaging.
Use a multiple touch communication philosophy and always be top of mind utilizing all your communication channels (email, web, social media, blogs, newsletters, PR, etc.). Continually stay in front of potential attendees and exhibitors using messaging that presents the value and ROI of being a part of the conference.
Get your audience excited about attending!
Email teasers - In every save the date email have a compelling summary of some feature of the event (attendee testimonials from previous conferences, contest, exhibitor spotlight success story, great presentations, etc.) with a big “Register Now” sign up button. Suggest that they mark their calendars or sign up now (list dates of conference) in your regular email correspondence you send out in your signatures or in a button or link.
Keep it simple and keep it brief and with a definite call to action.
Mobilize the troops! Arm vendors, sponsors, speakers, staff, and volunteers with targeted message content to help them drive attendance and increase exhibitors.
Creatively intertwine elements of messaging into each aspect of the conference:
· Create a logo, PPT template for the presenters
· Choose a color scheme
· Use messaging in social media campaign
· Clarify what the messaging means for all those involved with conference and what key messages will be
· Send out teaser invitations by mail, email, audio and video clips with elements of messages tied in
· Coordinate special events, experiences tied into messaging
· Incorporate specialty items in your booth at the conference that convey messaging (bags, T-shirts, pens, flash drives, etc.)
· Outfit your staff with special shirts with the messaging main tagline so they stand out
· Create a follow-up program with a survey to ensure that the proper messages were receive
· Record key messages from presenters for Mp3 downloads or send out a CD/DVD to reinforce messages
· If budget allows incorporate speakers and entertainment that reflect your messaging
Address Needs & Issues of Attendees and Exhibitors in all cconference messaging
- Develop a list of needs potential attendees and exhibitors have as well as the pains and issues they face. Then, use this list to develop a communications grid that shows how attending and/or exhibiting at the conference can address each of these needs/issues/pains.
- Next step – use this grid to develop a communications plan to inform potential attendees and exhibitors of how you can help them with their particular challenge by attending and/or exhibiting at the confernce.
- Incorporate this messaging in email campaigns and social media and video - Keep it simple so people will read it. Success story format. List their issue or pain and a quick tip on how to solve pain. Challenge them with an action item – come to conference to solve your pain! Here is a hint – sign up for the conference to learn even more.
- Have that call to action drive them to attend conference and/or exhibit at expo.
Make your conference website sizzle!
- Create contests to incentivize people to attend
- House teaser videos that highlight presentation content
- Offer video / podcast interviews with presenters, vendors, sponsors
- Provide testimonial interviews of people who have signed up already and why
- Share links various videos and info about city conference is in.
- Hyperlink all your other social networking channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) to website
- Use Facebook Places so attendees can “check in” when they arrive at the city airport, the hotel, the convention center, at participating exhibits, and in educational sessions. Have a contest or scavenger hunt tied to “Check Ins”.
Create buzz in conference city
Enlist staff and/or volunteers if you have them to find area organizations, companies, groups, and/or universities you can work with to promote the conference and provide discounted fees for their help and involvement.
Leverage speakers, your key members and board members (if you are a member based organization) that are ‘local’ to the area for interview opportunities (about the event itself, trend pieces, hot topics, etc.)
Reach out to local businesses even if they are not specifically related to your industry but can benefit from reaching your conference goers.
Cross promote event with other similar organizations. Start talking with them to see how they can co-sponsor or barter for awareness campaigns with their members through emails and articles.
Encourage Your Conference Presenters to Share – this facilitates a way to give potential attendees/members an early taste of what is to comes at the event, as well as give the conference speakers an opportunity to share how they’re involved with the event.
- Each video / podcast can be loaded onto the conference website
- Each entry will be shared on all of your social media channels
- Each speaker will be urged to share it on his/her social networks along onto his/her company’s social channels
· Create a virtual conference newsroom – have internal updates for exhibitors once basic information for newsroom has been set up.
· Reach out to industry press to cover the event and in turn help drive traffic to event. Get them to start thinking about coming to the event. Get them excited about coming to conference to hear all the great presentations.
· Conduct joint press releases with exhibitors prior to conference.
· Have an enhanced press presence onsite and inform exhibitors well in advance of the conference.
· Send timely “Save the Date” to the press announcing conference.
Preconference Preview Webinar(s) – create a virtual roundtable with some of the conference speakers (this could be a one-time event or done once a month before the event begins.
· Allow speakers to talk about their presentation to get some before-conference buzz brewing
· Give your industries professionals ‘a taste of what is to come’ with the event
Offer discount codes – for the earlier months leading up to the conference promote a special conference discount code for those that are part of your social communities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Make sure conference is listed in local / business journal calendars in city of conference.
LinkedIn event page – create an events page for the conference on LinkedIn to reach people in your industry who would be interested in attending.