While outbound marketing is more cold-calling or emailing to a purchased list, inbound marketing focuses on content that attracts people toward you or your association (in this case, attendees to your event). By creating this content that meets these needs, traffic naturally occurs allowing you to engage, educate and enlighten that visitor.
On the surface, hosting an event seems to be contradictory to the inbound marketing philosophy with activities such as hosting a booth, passing out business cards and information about your organization in hopes of increasing membership levels. However, attracting people to your event doesn’t need to feel like push marketing. Here are some thoughts on how to attract potential attendees that want to attend your event using this philosophy and create more followers that want to spread the word about your association.
So, with keeping the inbound philosophy in mind, position yourself as a resource. One of the reasons people attend events is that they want to learn something new or they might have a pain point to overcome. Instinct is to promote your association, but why not do a 180 and offer content that tries to educate rather than meet a quota. Wait, what?
Create an association blog about the upcoming event. Write articles about the content that will be provided (learning sessions, keynote speakers) and why that will impact them and solve any potential pain points. If an association is having trouble with social media reach, blog a How-To on that topic.
Enlighten (Create Something that Attracts)
Potentially, you could have hundreds of attendees from different organization types researching your assocition and event. Use the information that’s being submitted to you to do research on what’s impacting their industry.
Instead of rattling off a pitch about your association or your event, ask about the needs of the potential attendee and how you can help solve their problems.
Did your association’s event solve a problem for an attendee? Create a case study detailing their challenges, sticking points and how your association solved their barriers. Make that offer available for a download, in which they provide their information so that you are able to engage that potential attendee.
If your content solves a pain point, the better chances you’ll have of establishing their trust and gaining them as an attendee.
Before the event, establish an event hashtag to encourage engagement. When a Twitter hashtag (#eventname2013) has been established, you’ll be able to monitor tweets or Facebook posts. Be sure to check the hashtag before you start using it to make sure it is unique to your event.
Promote that hashtag everywhere you can; promotional materials, before keynotes, during learning or breakout sessions and encourage sharing of the content. We’re tech reliant and our devices are at an arm’s reach, so promote sharing if something is insightful.
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned developing an event app. This app will allow your attendees to connect their social media accounts. They can follow social conversations within the app, receive updates and message others they’ve networked with. It’s vital to create awareness, be involved and provide support.
Inbound marketing and engaging content can improve your traffic and lead to new participants at your event. By following these 3 E’s, it’s sure to lead to a 4th E…Evangelists. These are the types of followers that will spread the word for you because of their belief in your association. If you have an questions about inbound marketing, give us a call at 800-935-8333 and let’s see how we can help you.