By Michael Doane, Marketing Manager, CadmiumCD
I hear it all the time. “How do I effectively market my events?” This is one of the greatest challenges meeting planners face. They want to improve app adoption, engage attendees with content and on social media, and increase visibility for their sponsors and exhibitors.
Let’s walk through the process of creating a comprehensive event marketing plan.
1. Set a Goal
Ask yourself: “What will you measure to know you found success?”
Step one is to create a goal. Without a goal in mind, you won’t know how to measure success. For our sake, we’re going to use “Increase App Adoption” as an example.
2. List Available Channels
Ask yourself: “What channels do you have access to? (Before, During, & After the Event)”
Since we’re trying to increase app adoption as an example, I’m going to list out all the available channels I have to market my event app. These channels are going to include digital and analog channels I have access to before, during, and after the event.
Before the Event
- Email – I can send reminders to download the app.
- Social Media – I can Tweet about the app with my event hashtag.
- Digital Ads – I can include ads on my event website to remind attendees to download the app.
- Video – I can create a custom video that explains why attendees should use the app.
During the Event
- Digital Signage – I can include QR codes that can be used with the app or social media walls that create FOMO.
- Onsite Support – I can have my app company provide support to remind people to use the app and help them if they are having trouble.
- Gamification – I can create a scavenger hunt with the app, again incentivizing people to download and use the app.
- Print Ads – I can include information about the app in my show daily.
- Speaker Announcements – I can have speakers remind attendees to use the note-taking and audience response features in the app.
After the Event
- Surveys – I can use in-app surveys to increase engagement after the event.
- Evaluations – I can allow attendees to gain CE credits through the app and evaluate sessions and speakers.
3. Leverage Existing Resources
Ask yourself: “What resources have you already created?”
For our sake, I’m going to say I have an Event Website. I can use that website to promote the Event App. I also have an attendee list, so I can easily put together an email campaign using my event management software. I’ve also contracted digital signage from an AV company, so I’m going to leverage those to engage attendees with the app.
4. Create Additional Assets
Ask yourself: “What are you missing? How will you get it?”
To accomplish the above, I realize that I need QR codes for my digital signage, an email template and copy to use to ask attendees to download the app, and ads for my website.
I have a few options:
- I can use In-House Designers to create these assets.
- I can hire a Marketing Agency.
- Or I can use my Tech Vendor Templates, if available.
Luckily, I’m working with a tech vendor that’s provided me some marketing assets, so I have access to basic design services and templates. They can help me create ads to promote the app on my event website, they have email templates with pre-written copy to send out to attendees, and I can create QR codes with my event management software system, which can be displayed on digital signage that I rented from my AV vendor.
5. Launch Your Campaign
Ask yourself: “How will you connect the dots & deliver? Who will do it?”
Once we have all the assets in place, the next step is to get everything out into the world in a strategic way. We want to be able to track all deliverables and who is responsible for them.
Here are a few resources I’m going to use to do this during this campaign:
- Spreadsheets – Great to track deliverables and metrics.
- Event Management Software – Great for managing tasks assigned to staff, pulling app analytics, collecting deliverables from speakers and exhibitors, and sending communications to attendees about the app.
6. Gather Data
Ask yourself: “What are your KPIs? How will you collect info on them?”
Once we launch our app adoption campaign, we’ll want to periodically check to see how it’s performing. This step is tied directly to the goals we set in step one.
To see how the campaign is performing, we’ll need to understand:
- Who is engaging with emails? – We can send emails via the communication tool, then pull stats like clickthrough rate and views to see if attendees are opening the emails and clicking the download link.
- Pull App Stats – I can view app stats like number of users, which devices they’re on, and presentation downloads. I can also pull this information on my laptop via my event management software dashboard.
- Surveys & Evaluations – I can incentivize attendees to use the app by offering surveys and evaluations right within the app. I can then take it a step further and send out a post-conference evaluation to learn what people liked and didn’t like about the technology this year.
7. Analyze and Refine
Ask yourself: “How will you use data to better your next conference?”
Gathering data is one thing. Once we have all that data, we need to then analyze it and use it in meaningful ways. With app adoption, for example, we can refine next year’s messaging and keep the trend going upwards. We can see what emails people responded to well and how people were using the app at this year’s conference. We can then deliver messaging next year that focuses on those uses over the channels attendees used most this year.
Michael Doane is marketing manager at CadmiumCD, makers of the myCadmium software platform, an award-winning suite of conference and trade show management products. Visit the CadmiumCD blog for more articles like this.