Are you planning an online conference but aren’t sure how to market it?
You’ve probably got a good idea of what the conference is going to be about, but now you need to get people to come and listen to you. How are you going to attract participants?
You may want to consider incorporating some marketing tactics from the world of conventional marketing to grow your conference online. But are you familiar with online conference marketing? What is your first impression?
Traditional versus Online Conference Marketing
Both forms of marketing are important, and you should definitely do some research before making any kind of decision. So let’s explore the differences between the two.
To start, traditional conference marketing usually consists of one or two events, limited to certain regions or countries. The audience is known and can be targeted online.
Conversely, an online conference can be a multi-city event, reaching millions of people. The content is usually free (although there may be a charge for premium content), and a conference organizer’s main job is to grow their platform and draw in as many participants as possible. The key to a successful event is gaining a good balance between educational value and marketing efforts.
Attracting a Loyal Audience Through Content
If you’ve ever participated in a mastermind group or cohort, then you know how important it can be to establish your authority in your field. When someone is new to your industry or topic, it can be difficult to know what language they are going to use, and how they are going to present themselves. This is why you need to create content that is easy to understand and authoritative.
You can use blog articles, webinars, videos, and even some live chat sessions to form a digital signature for your industry, demonstrating your expertise and attracting potential participants. When someone is searching for information on your niche or subject, your digital footprint will appear in the form of content, whether curated or original, that addresses their needs. If you’re running an email marketing campaign, you can also use the content to attract and engage your audience.
You should create content that is going to be useful, concise, and easy to understand. Using the same three-step framework for content marketing discussed in the last blog post, you can ensure that your content will achieve these goals. First, find a problem that your potential participants are facing.
If you can provide a solution to their problem, you’ve got a good shot at garnering their attention. Second, pitch your product or service and make it relevant to your target audience.
Pro-Tip: Look at the existing competition in your industry and determine what your product or service is going to do that is different or better. You can also use your research to determine how other brands present themselves, and what they say about their brand.
If you’re unable to solve your audience’s problem, you can always promote a local or regional event, or an upcoming online conference that addresses their needs. Third, make sure that your content is consistently aligned with current trends and applicable to digital marketing practitioners.
If you’ve followed these steps diligently, you’ve created a body of work that a search engine can consume effectively. Your content may not always appear at the top of the heap when a user searches for questions related to your niche, but as you accumulate more and more high-quality, authoritative content, people will naturally start to turn to you when they need advice.
Establishing Your Industry
One of the first things you should do after you’ve established a digital marketing blog is to begin to establish your industry. You might choose to follow the steps outlined in this blog post to create an engaging personality for your industry. Once you’ve got a website or blog with a decent amount of content, you can also begin to establish yourself as an industry expert in LinkedIn.
If you can utilize SEO to gradually raise your website’s ranking in search results, you can use the platform to your advantage. Establishing your industry on LinkedIn will give you the opportunity to connect with potential participants, sharing your stories, becoming a thought leader, and demonstrating your expertise.
Attracting Technical Experts
If you’ve ever tried to have a meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t have a technical background, you know that it can be difficult to have a conversation when you’re both trying to follow each other’s every movement with your hands buried in a smartphone. This is where a lot of the frustrations come from when you’re trying to have a face-to-face conversation with someone who is on the other side of the world, yet you’re reliant on technology to have a real connection.
When someone is searching for help with a technical problem or seeking expertise in your industry, they usually turn to the experts, those who have the knowledge and experience to solve their problems. Designing websites, building apps, and managing large email lists are all tasks that require specialized knowledge and experience. If you want to be considered an expert in your industry, you need to prove that you have the knowledge to back it up.
You can use tools like Google Analytics to track the demographics and interests of your website’s visitors. With this information, you can begin to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. If you want to diversify your efforts and establish yourself as an expert in a number of industries, you can take on a digital marketing agency role and work on behalf of a number of clients.
When a person is researching a topic in depth, they usually look for experts who can guide them through the information, helping them to separate marketing fluff from quality content.
Gaining Media Attention
If you’ve got a Twitter account, you’ve probably already begun to see the benefits of having a robust social media strategy centered around content marketing. The more content you produce and promote on social media, the more likely you are to earn media placements, growing your reach and establishing your authority in your industry. When people begin to see your name or your firm’s name in connection with a news story, they will naturally begin to associate you or your firm with the topic, whether it’s favorable or unfavorable.
You’ve got to be careful about what you post on social media though. If you’re not careful, you may find that your tweets and other content begin to appear more for shock value than to educate your audiences. A lot of marketers fall into the trap of using social media simply as a way to get their messages out there, forgetting about the need for authenticity when communicating on these platforms.
Marketing a conference can be difficult. You may not always find the right people to approach, which is why you need to be creative.
Traditional marketing typically relies on face-to-face interactions, which are more common in person conferences. However, as more people turn to online marketing and the internet for information, distant events become less relevant. Conferences and the organizations that conduct them need to evolve and change with the times to ensure they remain relevant to attendees and potential participants.