Technical: Simple digital tools for event marketing

How do you take your event to market with minimal budget? If you use several different websites, you can use create event registration forms, emails and social media images to attract attendees through email and social media channels.

Step 1: Create an event form

Eventbrite is a pretty good option, it integrates well with most electronic direct marketing (EDM) tools as it’s widely used. if you need to take payments, then it integrates with PayPal, though you’ll need to upgrade for a small fee to the premium version. If you want Eventbrite to take credit card payments, then expect them to take a small admin fee for each transaction.

First you will need to set up an account, if you don’t have one, then you can “create events” by pressing the button on the navigation menu in the top right. Here, fill in your event details and then publish as a public event. Don’t worry too much that people will see it before you’re ready; there are so many events on Eventbrite that it is unlikely someone will stumble across it before you start promoting it.

Facebook events are also very effective. Anything where you keep people in the same platform will have better conversion. Facebook also has a ready made audience and boosting your post or creating an ad is very affordable.

Step 2: Create an invitation

MailChimp is a very common electronic direct mail (EDM) website and can work with Eventbrite automatically. After you log in to your MailChimp account, which you can set up for free, and choose “create a campaign”, you will then need to pick “theme” (as opposed to “layout”). Scroll down to find the “Eventbrite” section and choose either one or multiple events as required. MailChimp will prompt you to log into Eventbrite and then you will be able to click the events you want to import from a drop down list. MailChimp will then import the events. You can then make any changes to the email format you wish to make, such as including images and changing the colours to your brand colours.

Step 3: Import your contacts

When you have saved your event invitation, you will go back to the summary screen. In the two field you can choose your list. If you don’t have a list yet, go to the “List” tab and them “import list” from a spreadsheet. You will need to have at least the fields or columns “First Name”, “Second Name”, “Email” for this to be smooth and to allow you to personalise the email greeting. MailChimp will check that the columns are lined up as you want, column by column. Once that’s uploaded then you will have a list you can use.

You are now ready to send or schedule.

Step 4: Measure your email success

Typical open rates for small business direct mail across Asia are about 25-30% and your click rate will be about 2% for a list of about 750-1000 people. The larger your list, the lower your rates because the more diverse your audience. If you find that rates have dropped very low, consider segmenting your audience so that you can tailor your emails more closely to a message that they will respond to.

Step 5: Embrace social media

Facebook is great for event marketing; particularly for interest or professional development events that happen outside office hours. I use it very successfully at PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association, which provides training to women so that they reach their leadership potential. If it’s an event that people will attend on company budgets then LinkedIn is better. Facebook is much cheaper then LinkedIn if you want to boost a post. Remember, events are just packages for content, so always seek to educate, not promote. If you are using Facebook, don’t forget the 20% rule for text overlay on your image so that you don’t accidentally reduce your reach. You can upload your image to Facebook’s Image Checker if you’re in doubt. Remember that social media will have much lower engagement and conversion rates than email, which is normal. The added benefit of social media is that, even if conversion is low, you’ll get the profile.

Step 6: During the event

Takes lots of photos and native videos to capture the activity. Events are rich with content, Be sure to take behind-the-scenes images of you preparing for the event, speaking and packing up. Share any immediate lessons from the ground from your personal LinkedIn account, I get really good results with these.

Step 7: After the event

You can give yourself an extra boost by writing up key lessons from the event and sharing that afterwards as a LinkedIn article. Many of the lawyers I worked with at Baker McKenzie found that these were some of their most engaged-with articles.

Also be sure to share photos of the event on your social media profile as an album. You don’t need fancy tools for this, you just need to get good at framing and our smart phone will do. You can also make friends with the event photographer, or organiser if the event isn’t organised to you, to get photos of yourself.

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If you would like more insights, then please follow me on LinkedIn for updates on events, blog posts and tips.

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