I had a new client come on board last March with a very specific goal: increase attendance for a big conference in May. She had reached nearly half of her attendance goal, but needed an extra push to get to the finish line.
Together we created a marketing strategy that focused on email marketing and social media. This strategy resulted in a huge uptick in event registrations that continued right up to the conference. More importantly, my client surpassed her income goal by $3,500!
With her permission, I am sharing our strategy and what helped us reach (and in some cases pass) our goals. Many small business owners are skeptical about the impact of marketing on their business goals – especially social media marketing. I hope this post will help you see the value social media and email marketing can bring to your business.
Our goal was straightforward: sell 220 tickets to the conference in two months.
We planned to accomplish this goal in a variety of ways:
· Distribute emails to our master list leading up to the event.
· Create engaging, interactive social media content (driven by compelling copy and visuals)
· Offer discounts to Facebook followers
· Employ targeted Facebook advertising
· Engage previous and current attendees in helping us spread the word
· Utilize live video to generate excitement and answer questions
My client also relied on sponsors to help promote the event. Most of the sponsors were already signed on before I began working with her, but it’s worth mentioning that sponsors and event speakers are your best ambassadors for sharing news about your event.
Putting the Strategy into Action
Social Media Marketing
Two months out from the event, we began posting our custom social media content. Most of our content was visual and included photos of the speakers, videos from previous events and graphics with quotes and testimonials. Facebook was the primary channel for advertising the event and it’s no secret that video and photos perform particularly well on that platform.
However, even with the best visuals and copy, people still need an added incentive to register for an event. So we created a special registration code just for our followers on Facebook. We promoted the code in almost every post about the event. It wasn’t a huge discount, but it was enough to entice many people to register. We also set an expiration date for the code so people had to act quickly to grab it. That significantly increased registrations.
Additionally, we were very purposeful in our Facebook advertising. We only boosted certain posts to a very targeted audience. Our audience was entirely local, so we knew everyone who saw our ads was a potential attendee.
Lastly, we decided to utilize Facebook live video to promote the event. My client went live for a few minutes one evening to talk about the conference and why people should attend. She also answered some questions we knew were on the top of attendees’ minds. We included a replay of the live video in one of the emails about the event and it was a huge hit! In fact, a prospective attendee responded to one of our emails with a question about the conference. She received an automated reply saying we would get back to her as soon as possible with a link to the Facebook live replay. My client saw her email an hour later and discovered that the woman had already registered for the event after watching the replay. All her questions were answered and the video was compelling enough that she decided to purchase a ticket. A huge win!
My client set out a total of 32 emails about the conference. We made sure to have a set schedule so we weren’t pushing out too many emails in a week (after all, no one likes spam!). Each email had a very specific call-to-action. One email gave a rundown of the conference specifics, another talked about why people should attend and another was sent out a few days before with a last-minute call for registrations. Each email was short and succinct with a compelling subject line (e.g. attending this conference is the best thing you can do for your business).
Our campaign was a huge success. In fact, nine people registered in one day after receiving the “why attend” email!
Additionally, we knew it was important to get people who had already registered involved in helping sell tickets. So we sent out an email specifically to that group asking them to share the information with their friends and via Facebook. We came up with a fun subject line (can you do me a favor and save your friend $5?) and were able to bring in more registrations through that audience as well.
Lastly, we asked previous attendees to provide testimonials about their experience at last year’s conference. We didn’t get many responses (likely because we didn’t include an incentive), but it was a good first try and with some tweaking I think we can start to engage that audience in a bigger way in the future.
When we began our work together, my client and I set a goal of selling 220 tickets in two months. I’m proud to say that we hit that goal and then some! Since beginning our work together, we sold a total of 257 tickets. Altogether my client sold 765 tickets and exceeded her original goal of 750.
We also saw a significant increase in followers and engagement on the event Facebook page. In just one month, we reached more than 20,000 people (a 132% increase) and engaged nearly 1,500 people (a 161% increase).
Oh and did I mention we also saw a 220% increase in Facebook followers?
At the end of the day, it wasn’t just our marketing strategy that led to the success of the event. My client and I worked as a team. We were partners. We communicated regularly and my client was great about giving me updates on attendee numbers. That way, I knew what was working and where we needed to devote more of our marketing efforts. I also developed a (healthy?) addiction to tracking the latest registration numbers…sometimes on an hourly basis!
As you can see, the power of social media and email marketing is real. Whether you’re promoting an event, a product or a new service, the power lies in cultivating relationships and offering value. Value isn’t just discounts or deals – it can be a resource guide answering commonly asked questions from your audience or a blog post sharing tips or a behind-the-scenes look at your business.
The key is to know your audience and what they desire. Then give it to them. It’s really that simple.
What marketing tactics have been successful in growing your business? Any key takeaways to share?
Interested in channeling the power of social media and email marketing for your business? Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org!