We’re feeling pretty proud here at Certain after winning Marketo’s highly competitive demand gen competition amongst sponsors of this month’s 2015 Marketing Nation Online conference. Marketing Nation Online is the largest online marketing conference in the world, and we competed with the event’s nearly two dozen sponsors to drive the most attendee registrations. Read the official announcement here.
Immediately after learning about the contest, our marketing team made a decision to go big or go home. We wanted to win the contest not only because Marketo was giving away awesome prizes (and it was also a lot of fun!), but because we knew it was going to take a clever strategy and real teamwork to pull off a win against so many worthy competitors.
Since the announcement, we thought it would be a great idea to share our formula for success–tips and tactics you can use immediately to help you generate more demand for your own events. With so many events, event marketers often wonder how to break through the clutter and convince prospective attendees that your event is worth their time and attention. Planning a great event is one thing. But getting people to notice, register, and attend is something else. No more. Now you have Certain’s secret formula for event marketing success. Below are not 1 or 2, but 6 battle-tested tips to help you generate phenomenal demand for your next event.
1. Gamify it
May the odds be ever in your favor.
People like to win things. The highlight of our campaign was a gamification strategy to increase participation and crowdsourcing among followers and attendees before and during the event. We awarded points for various activities, including tweeting with the Certain hashtag, visiting Certain’s virtual booth, attending our guest speaking session, downloading material, and liking us on Facebook. The top 5 winners were awarded a GoPro or a pair of Beats By Dre Headphones so there was a clear incentive to attend, participate, and share, which, in turn, led to more attendance.
2. Promote relevant sessions
“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections.” – Art of War
Surveys suggest that one of the top reasons people attend B2B events is to learn something new. If you’re not promoting the specific content and sessions in a way that helps people see the value of what they’ll learn by attending your event, you are missing the point. To drive attendance at Marketing Nation Online, we invested in building a compelling speaking session and promoting it to our audience of event professionals. “Winning a Revvie with Events” was well-attended and served to drive many new registrations to the conference.
3. Employ email
Shout your battle cry!
Nothing else can match the ROI of email marketing. And when it comes to event marketing, email is a tried and true practice–assuming it’s done right. We used email marketing to invite our engaged audience of event and marketing professionals to the Marketing Nation Online Event. We used marketing automation to personalize each invitation and emphasized the value participants would gain by attending.
4. Blog all about it
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”- John Quincy Adams
Blogging is great for thought leadership. It’s also a great place to communicate the value of your events. We created an “Insider’s Guide” blog post to give prospective attendees a taste of what they would learn at Marketing Nation Online. We also used the blog to promote our contest and speaking session.
5. Social #share it
Rally the troops!
Marketo has built quite a large following around the #MKTGNation hashtag. We used this to our advantage as well. Using the Marketing Nation hashtag and adding our own version, #MKTGCertain, we were able to expand our visibility in Twitter and incorporate the hashtag into our gamification efforts.
6. Amplify like crazy
“If you rely on organic social, it’s very likely that you will fail.” – Mathew Sweezey, Pardot
“You win the victory when you yield to friends.” – Sophocles
Social sharing and email promotion to your existing audience is great, but paying to bring your message to new targets is critical to amplifying your message and your event. We put in place a paid promotion strategy through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to drive additional attendance to the event. Again, having great event content and the gamification component gave us plenty of value to promote to these new audiences.
Being a great event marketer today isn’t easy. But we hope these tips give you some inspiration to take your events and your attendance to the next level.