Tips for Promoting Your Digital Marketing Event

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 58 seconds

event-audienceAre you feeling inspired by all the talk of digital marketing events in 2016? Do you now want to organise your own? If you’re about to launch your first big event, or thinking of arranging a meet-up in your area for like-minded marketers, pay attention.

We’ve put together some tips from the experts for how to promote your event.

Know Your Audience

Dom-Moriarty“We think the trick to a successful event, like with most forms of marketing, is targeting. There aren’t many agencies in South West London, but as most of us live nearby we don’t get to as many events as those living or working in Central London or the East End. This presented a gap in the market for all digital folk living in the South West of the city, so we just needed to get the word out.

We utilised our own social media community and reached out to people we have met in the industry, building a website for the event and integrating Eventbrite to make it easy to sign up. Our events are all about people being people, no agendas or note-taking, and that’s been crucial to our growth so far. We had about 30 people at our first event but from that moment on, it became all about word of mouth”

Dom Moriarty, Swindig

Knowing your audience is not just about understanding the things they like and are interested in, though that helps. Instead, also think about the types of area they want to travel to. Frequently I see events that look interesting but if it’s not easy for me to travel from office to event and then home, the likelihood of me making that extra effort to attend is pretty slim. For Swindig, they identified an audience group of potential attendees who just lived a little too far out to travel to the big central events, but who still had a lot of interest in the digital marketing sector. The result is a busy, popular event, in an otherwise fairly quiet networking area.

Cross Promotion

Tim-Sheed“Team up with other industry groups that complement the content you are promoting. Partnerships or joint events can benefit both parties as they are a quick and easy way to access a large number of like-minded people”

Tim Sheed, SearchLondon

If you’re a new event, or targeting a small niche then it can be difficult to gain immediate attention for the event you’re hosting. The likelihood is you’ve been inspired by your attendance at other similar events, so why not utilise those relationships to help promote your own event?  For example, if you’re launching an event focused on Analytics, then attendees of an SEO event are likely to be interested so you could work together to help promote your events together. Supporting other events is also a way to pick up more tips for running yours, and meet people to collaborate with if you choose to grow your event bigger and bigger each year.

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Understand the Competition

Nichola-Stott“The most important point is to emphasise the potential benefits to busy people giving up their precious spare time. As Digital Hampshire is a free mini-conference, based in the evenings, rather than competing with other conferences in the region, we’re competing with friends and family time. In our messaging we make sure to stress the quality of the content, speaker and learning outcomes, plus the additional benefits of networking and socialising with industry peers at the drinks afterwards.”

Nichola Stott, Digital Hampshire

By working out the opportunity cost of someone attending your event, you can determine the best way to explain it to your audience. It would be easy to assume that people choosing your event are turning down multiple other events or work in order to attend, but in reality it’s likely they’re giving up their free time.

This means you need to demonstrate that your event is adding enough value for someone to put it above an evening of Netflix and pizza. It’s crucial that the messages you use on your event information, email marketing and social media all reflect the benefits of the event. For example, the networking element means your attendees will still get the opportunity to relax and unwind after a busy day of work.

Make the Most of the Resources You Have

charlie-williams“Take advantage of local contacts. Your event is likely based in a geographical area, so especially for your first events, make the most of those in your local area to help build a following, & become evangelists who will do some of the promotion lifting for you. Buy people coffees, ask them for advise on what they’d like to see at a local event or give them free tickets – just find reasons to talk to your local community.

Also, make sure you ask your speakers for a preview of their talk. Not only can you add a synopsis in your event’s home, you can take the key ideas the audience will learn as teaser-text in your promotional material to entice a potential audience.”

Charlie Williams, Optimise Oxford

When you’re initially promoting your event, you may find that there are budget and time limitations that will appear daunting at first. Instead of being blinded by the ‘where do I begin’ panic, start by focusing on the resources you already have. Investing the time in your local contacts and making a personal connection with some influential attendees will help the popularity of your event grow organically, meanwhile an experienced and knowledgeable speaker will give you a wealth of information to start your promotion with. By giving teasers of the type of insight attendees may get if you have an expert presenting, you’ll be able to encourage people to sign up and spike interest in the event. These simple methods utilise information you should already have to hand and will help you to make the most out of the time you have to work on promotion.

And finally, make sure your event is awesome…

dom-hodgson“I’ll open my thoughts by being the Grinch in the article. Before you start promoting your event, look at what you are organising and figure out what makes it unique?

Think clearly about what you and your audience will get out of the event and what will attract them (and if the event is during the work day, what will convince their employer to let them have the day off)

Once you’ve decided that your event is amazing and people are going to come, do what you would for any campaign. Get a domain, get the twitter and facebook account, start collecting email addresses as soon as possible (people hate launchrock but bloody hell it works) and start interacting with your audience,hire an amateur comedian to MC the event , make some moo cards and give them out whenever you go to a relevant social event (you are going to those alright right?) do guest posts on relevant blogs, ask your speakers to do a blog post or give them a badge to put on the website (but don’t hassle them).

And never stop talking about it, you don’t know who knows someone who knows someone that might be interested.”

Dom Hodgson, Amateur Comedian (and organiser of Think Visibility, and does something at Kerboo)

This really sums it up, alongside all of the different ways you may choose to promote your event, fundamentally you need to believe that it is awesome. Once you have that faith in your event, and so do all your organiser helpers, then you’ll really be able to sell the idea of attending to anyone. It’s important that your enthusiasm for your own event is what makes it stand out and gets people excited about attending.

The TL;DR

Every digital marketing event is different. Make sure yours is awesome, and suits the audience you’re targeting. Invest time into promoting it and building relationships to help gain attention, but also keep in mind what it is you are trying to get out of it as the organiser.

Digital Marketing Events should be fun, for both the attendees and those in charge, so keep it light-hearted and if all else fails, ask your sponsors for a bigger bar tab.

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Hannah Thorpe is a Digital Specialist at White.net, with 2 years’ experience in content marketing and technical SEO so far. White.net is a digital marketing agency which works across SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Digital PR.

State of Digital

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Digital Marketing in 2016, Trends and Lessons from the Past

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The digital marketing landscape is becoming increasingly more complex and, in many ways, ephemeral. With the volatility of  the digital sphere, the trends indicate several opportunities for brands looking to position themselves online.

As new technologies emerge, new software created, and companies are founded, the associated risks for businesses is determining a position on integrating the newest, shiniest technology or to focus their marketing efforts on their core efforts. Early adopters gain a clear advantage in terms of brand positioning and securing new market interests while conservative brands tend to miss out or have to catch up by investing resources to retain their market share.

What’s in store for 2016?

Before any predictions, it’s clear that the digital marketing landscape is quickly evolving and continuing to blur the lines between real time and longer form content. As these changes emerge, consumer preferences are shifting but can brands actually preserver their positioning and respond to these changes?

The best place to start is to look back at 2015 and allow those trends to determine what’s in store for the coming year.

In 2015, four digital marketing predictions emerged.

  1. Content/ Context will continue to dominate
  2. Cross platform marketing will grow
  3. Mobile
  4. Data and personalization

Looking forward to 2016, last year’s digital marketing trends require some fine tuning to better suit consumer preferences, marketing realities and a more crowded online marketplace.

Content/ Context

In 2015, valuable content boosted via paid promotion was important. Content in the right context seemed to be an important aspect of long-form content for many brands. Especially in light of SERP’s trying to bridge the great divide.

It will remain that way in 2016 with a few minor tweaks.

Blogging and content creation will remain a critical aspect of brand positioning online. With that, social promotion and dynamic image and video-based content will take a more prominent role in the content funnel. Words won’t be the only touch point for brands. Especially with video streaming giants Periscope, Meerkat and Blab positioning themselves, content marketers need to readjust their definitions of content or, at the very least, expand their content offerings within this new reality.

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Within content offerings, companies are now realizing the significant impact of user-generated content. User generated content programs are clearly gaining popularity, some notable ones of 2015 include:

National GeographicWindows 10, and Camelbak.

These brands span the industry spectrum from tech to product to global tourism. A little creativity and a willingness to engage and solicit content from fans, can go a long way.  Expect this user focused trend to grow in 2016, as more companies integrate some form of UGC campaign to increase brand affinity and loyalty.

Creative content is not specific to either the B2C or B2B spaces. In 2016, content marketers need to test visual and video platforms, not to mention live streaming, as new means to offer content that is engaging and will entice users beyond the classic text-based blog.

Mobile First

Last year, the trends of mobile usage were outstanding. As the surge in the mobile market directly affected the marketing industry, 2015 pushed the industry to its limits in terms of content marketing on mobile device.

In 2015, Google made a clear statement of mobile trends by announcing that mobile took over desktop traffic in 10 countries. They also released an algorithm update boldly stating that mobile is here to stay and pushing out those sites that aren’t willing to play with the big boys. While Google is willing to accept two versions of the site, they are clearly making a statement of their predictions in terms of mobile trends.

The mobile-first, or multi-screen, trend will only continue gain steam in 2016. Responsive design is just the tip of the iceberg. Customers are clearly showing their multi-device and multi-channel preferences. In an attempt to face the new digital landscape, marketers are shifting their strategy towards an omni channel marketing approach.  Mobile will continue to dominate in 2016 and marketers should focus on creating a seamless user experience across several devices and channels.

This mobile-first approach is especially important for marketers working with the next generation. According to some research, this generation spends almost 18 hours a day consuming content on a mobile device. Remember, they were born with mobile devices in their hand. So they are extremely comfortable with this medium, which means that this generation is performing a majority of their searches, purchases and media consumption on mobile.

It’s time for companies to realize that the next gen users are the future, engaging them now will only secure their affiliations and purchase preferences in the future.  

Users are screen-agnostic, so why are brands so hesitant to jump on the cross platform bandwagon?

Separate digital strategies for different devices won’t be effective for today’s multi-screen user. It’s too difficult to segment consumer behaviors based on mobile, desktop, tablet usage. With so many potential touch points for users and multiple channels of engagement, brands need to ensure that their content is relevant and in-line with the various content delivery channels.

Social Media Gaining More Steam

According to recent studies, social media is the number one online activity surpassing entertainment.  This surge clearly parallels the increase in mobile device usage.

For many brands, social media is turning into one of the top referral traffic sources and, at the same time, dominating advertising spending. As an example, social media powerhouse, Facebook, launched in March 2015 an entire new array of advertising options for brands including dynamic product ads and a carousel style display (both native and on Instagram), as a response to the growing trend of social media consumption.In 2016 and beyond, social media will continue to dominate the online world, so marketers must put more of their efforts in integrating social media into their overall marketing strategies.  

The Underlying Factor: Evolving Data

Last year was focused on data driven marketing efforts. The predictions of a 60% increase in marketing analytics spending fell short in comparison to actual spending. Venture Beat’s report predicts that it will continue to increase to 73% in some industries and reach almost 100% for large cap B2C companies.   

What does this trend in marketing analytics usage mean? It just means that big data is growing and driving many business decisions.  Data analysis is becoming increasingly more sophisticated enabling companies to analyze multiple layers, or dimensions, of data simultaneously. 2016 will be the year that this more complex style of interpreting data sets dominates the market. This format may overwhelm the beginner marketer, but this strategic and informative process is quickly becoming the baseline for correlating business results with marketing goals. Obviously, data has always been a critical aspect of business success. Now, in today’s digital first landscape, a multi-faceted strategy to data analysis enables companies to identify the cause and effect of any digital efforts and its impact on the bottom line of the business.

Awareness of data is not enough. Staying ahead of the curve will only be possible for a company that integrates multi-dimensional data analysis. aware of these in order to stay ahead of the curve.

As we ring in 2016, digital marketing trends for companies should focus on creating a refined almost personalized digital journey that is consumable on any device, at any touch point, and can be attributed back to the marketing efforts of the brand. With a data-driven, consumer focused, non-device focused digital marketing strategy, any brand can succeed this year and transform this past year’s trends into actionable, growth oriented long-term results.

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