Originally posted on VanCityBuzz.
For the past two years, we’ve run and marketed a local event called the XYBOOM Conference. We’ve been lucky enough to have over 250 attendees each year, most of which come from the largest organizations in the region – and the world.
A lot of events spend the majority of their budget on developing the event itself – ensuring that those that do attend have a great experience. Unfortunately, this reserves little to no budget on marketing, and without marketing, your amazing event is just an empty room waiting to realize its potential.
Thus, we’ve compiled 3 simple steps to get people to attend your event:
1. DEVELOP A MARKETING STRATEGY (OR PLAN)
It’s more than creating a Twitter account and Facebook page. Read Tammy’s post on how to develop a marketing strategy. This strategy doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be clear enough so that all stakeholders of the event are sending the same message across all platforms. Your vision should be so crystal clear that all your potential attendees know what your event is trying to achieve.
2. NICHE & FOCUS
Your event may have many components and dialogue covering many different topics, but what is the niche topic that differentiates you from other events? Zone in on that, and own it. Become a leading voice in that topic and ensure all your communications revolve around that topic. XYBOOM Conference zoned in on intergenerational collaboration, and although there were several other events targeting the exact same potential attendees, many chose to go to XYBOOM because it focused on an aspect that wasn’t guaranteed to be covered by other events. We became a leading voice on “intergenerational collaboration” by ensuring all our outgoing communications (via Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter, Blog) revolved around this subject. We focused on inbound marketing tactics and SEO to ensure that keywords surrounding the topic of “intergenerational collaboration” were intertwined with “XYBOOM Conference”.
3. PARTNERSHIPS & CREATIVE ACTIVATIONS
It can be difficult for events – especially inaugural ones – to generate buzz without the support of partners. If you follow #2, relevant organizations will want to partner with your event because they’ll want to associate themselves with an event that is a leading voice in a specific niche. Your event is a marketing platform in itself for partners, and rather than providing the traditional booth and/or speaking options for them, you can use their support in unconventional ways that will help generate more attendees, thus benefitting both parties. This can mean it’s less monetary support, and more creative and outreach support, thus making it easier for partners to digest. It’s difficult to attain sponsors unless you have already developed a loyal following for your event that you can prove with numbers. So no matter how focused your event might be, a monetary sponsorship could be a risk they’re not willing to take. Thus, providing Sponsors with creative activations for increased brand recognition is a valuable method to potentially create interest and boost potential attendance numbers.
If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations