When planning a conference, creating a conference brand is as important as finding sponsors and attracting potential attendees. Without some sort of unique branding technique, your conference may fall flat and prevent the opportunity for a repeat event next year. Though it may seem daunting, your brand should flow consistently across your pre-event promotions, the event itself, and post-event marketing. There are a number of methods at your disposal to give your conference the boost it needs to be a success that people want to attend again.
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How Do You Promote a Conference?
When gearing up for a conference, you want to be sure that word is getting out to the right people. The more outreach you have, the more likely people who would be interested in your conference become aware of it. Here are a few ways to promote a conference:
People are more connected to their phones than ever, making social media one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Utilize as many platforms as possible, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. Posting updates on your social media stories keeps your followers updated in the process of developing the conference, while hashtags allow attendees to be engaged in the conversation.
On a similar note, have a website or a page on your site dedicated to the conference. Linking the site to your social media can give those interested in your event easy access to ticket registration and more detailed information that you might not be able to fit in 140 characters on Twitter. The site itself should promote your brand the same way you present it across social media. Consistency is key.
Limited-time offerings have a tendency to pull people in, as many do not want to feel as though they missed out on something important. On social media, you can offer ticket giveaways or early bird ticket prices. As people snag their own tickets, and your marketing boosts their excitement, they may be more inclined to spread the word for you.
How Do You Develop Event Hype?
Selling tickets is the first milestone. After that, you want to keep your attendees’ excitement alive. The conference needs to be more than just a break from their daily routine. Hype up your event with these tips:
Promote Your Presenters
If you have some big names joining the lineup of presenters at your conference, make it known to your attendees. As more people agree to speak at the event, share it on your social media, so your attendees get a taste of what they have to look forward to.
Give Your Attendees a Voice
Engage with your attendees on social media and allow them to vote on certain aspects of the conference, from something as simple as the design of a photo op area to presentation topics. In letting your attendees choose what they want to experience, you can drum up excitement and ensure they’ll be satisfied at your event.
Conference Branding Ideas: Promotional
Building hype starts way before the conference occurs. Your promotional branding is especially important, because without an individualized branding strategy, your event becomes just another conference on your attendees’ schedules.
Encourage Post Sharing
Don’t leave all the preparation to your own marketing team. Discuss promotional strategies with your sponsors, so they can spread the word as well. Or you can offer ticket giveaways to your attendees for which sharing your event post counts as an entry.
Word of Mouth
Old-fashioned legwork has its benefits, too. If your company has a client-facing department, don’t be shy around your customers. Share the news of your conference with them by word of mouth.
While the purpose of going to a conference is to network, forums, blogs, and social media can allow your attendees to begin this process before they set foot in the venue. Connecting to other attendees prior to the conference will help your attendees skip the awkward introductions at the event. They’ll also have more meaningful networking experiences during the conference.
When branding your conference through a hashtag, be creative about the hashtag you choose. Make sure it's unique to your brand, so anyone searching through posts will be certain to come across conversations about your event.
Conference Branding Ideas: On-Site
At the conference itself, you want your attendees to not only enjoy the event, but also remember who made it all possible, so they will be more than likely to return again for the next conference. Here are a few ways to impress your attendees and increase awareness of your brand during the conference:
Freebies are great crowd-pleasers. By displaying your brand on items such as pens, t-shirts, or tote bags, your attendees will hold on to a constant reminder of your brand and the event.
People not only love free swag, but they will also gravitate toward free food. If you offer food items such as cupcakes or cookies with your brand name on them, your attendees will walk away with a satisfied sweet tooth. They’ll also have a fun moment to post about online, which will spread your name to potential future attendees.
You can build hype for your conference by hinting about some of the panels or guest speakers it will feature. You might also want to make a special reveal on the day of our conference to further delight attendees.
Conference Branding Ideas: Post-Event
When the conference ends, the buzz doesn’t have to stop. While your attendees are still riding the excitement of getting out of the office for a fun and unique experience, keep up your branding efforts.
Asking your attendees to answer a survey regarding what they did and did not like about the conference will allow them to feel like they are a part of the conversation even after the conference is over. Giving them a voice about improvements to be made next year could tempt them to return and discover whether their suggestions were heard.
On your social media platforms, post about the highlights of the conference, from popular presentations to photo ops. Attendees can get a glimpse into presentations they may have been unable to go to or see events they did not realize had occurred. Those who did not attend the conference may view the highlights and decide to attend the next one.
Create Hype for Next Year
After the conference ends, inform your attendees of your upcoming events right away. If they enjoyed their experience, make sure they know they can do it all over again. The advance notice will give them plenty of time to prepare and increase the likelihood of another ticket sale.
Branding your conference is a process that should occur before, during, and after the event. Effective branding can encompass everything from building hype on social media, to handing out swag, to gathering opinions and suggestions from surveys. Your marketing strategy should be unique and consistent, drawing in attendees while distinguishing your event from others. Keeping your attendees in the know and engaged in the conversation will help set your event apart from those similar to yours.