Top things to consider when organising networking events
Ofer Yatziv shares his thoughts on how event planners can run successful business partners/ investors for your business idea, or to celebrate the as ' breakfast meet-ups' – you go to a venue, have some breakfast, chat to. What kind of super-party-planning men and women have the time on their hands to plan such a thing? Virtually none, and that's why the meeting and greeting. The standard meet-and-greet is often a waste of an entrepreneur's most I don't like regular coffee meetings or networking events anyway.
Offer services in kind or create an opportunity for them to sell their own prints or artwork at the event itself. The artwork could even be commissioned and made into event merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies, bags and mugs. Pick a theme they will be interested in and that offers value worth sharing.
Event Promotion: Creative (Free and Cheap) Ideas to Try Now
World Record Attempt Investigate world record attempts in your event niche. If there is a current record make a serious attempt to smash it in the lead up to the official event. If there is no record, think creatively for a record attempt that will capture attention. This could even generate some TV coverage ahead of the live event which is the type of promotion you generally cannot afford. Temporary options such as cardboard tables and chairs can be easily printed, decorated or written on to promote your event and give potential attendees somewhere to sit at the same time.
Or, if you have a little budget available, hire an oversized deckchair with the fabric custom printed to your design. You could also repurpose for your event too!
Guerilla Performances If your event has a performance element or theme you can play on, create a preview performance on the subway or another public area. For example, for concerts have acts start playing, for themed events, dress event staff in outfits and interact with the public. Make sure signage and information makes it clear the full details of the event.
Temporary Signposts Create signposts that lead people to your event or venue easily, they can be made from anything, including cost-effective cardboard or recycled and reclaimed materials.
Just be careful not to tamper with any existing signage or confuse your guests, and remove them afterwards. Well-Known Mascot Characters Do you have a beloved mascot in your hometown?
Or perhaps a relevant cartoon character that everyone loves? Pose for photo opportunities and have your staff dress up to hand out event details. Host a Free or Sponsored Webinar For business related events or those that offer some sort of expertise, a webinar can give a preview of what to expect and entice them in.
If you can give them some really valuable information for free in the webinar, imagine how much more they can get at the event. Set Up A City Photo Booth Photo booths are one of the most popular activities at events so use it as a promo opportunity in advance instead! You can also give options to print the image for a momento to take away.
Social Promises Get everyone working together by sharing a common goal online to encourage engagement and promotion. Utilise Storytelling Share personal stories from people that have attended the event in the past and what it meant for them. Storytelling often sees better results and conversions. Animated Digital Invites Make your digital invitations pop by using animations and cartoons that move when the attendee opens them.
You could also include interactive elements that become live or animated when hovered over or clicked on. For example, offer to volunteer at a local event in your area in exchange for promotional opportunities for your next event and sign a service based sponsorship agreement rather than exchanging monetary payment.
Share Behind-the-Scenes Setup Take your audience on a journey and give them exclusive peeks behind the scenes at your event to build buzz. This could be setup photos, pre-event interviews on what to expect or even a live feed from the backstage area to grow their excitement. Ask for Referrals The highest converting type of promotion and most effective marketing tactic is often word of mouth or referrals so get in contact with previous attendees, industry professionals and vendors that have worked with you in the past to encourage them to share the event details with others.
Many technology tools offer ways to freely generate invite codes and turn past attendees into ambassadors. Link Your Events Create recurring or linked smaller events so that you can use them to cross-promote your main event. For example, if you establish a business networking event on websites such as Meetup. Speak at Other Events Offer your expertise by speaking at relevant industry specific events.
Without giving a sales pitch you can tap into their pool of attendees with minimal effort and make sure they have heard about your event. Ensure Event Branding is Consistent Share social media collaterals such as images or videos, with those who will be marketing the event on your behalf, like industry influencers, speakers or sponsors.5 ideas for creating an awesome corporate event - Recorded Webinar from Mentimeter
Make it as easy as possible for them to schedule and share content that will promote the event. Try to make the images customized for each stakeholder. Use Image Quotes From Past Attendees Take a quote from an attendee and overlay it on an interesting background, such as an image from the event.
Note their name, job title and organization if they are happy for you to share it. These are great to share on social networks, in blog posts or as stories. A Photo A Day Share photos from previous events on social media each day to give a flavor of the event. Make sure you have permission and if you do, consider tagging them in the photo too, to encourage them to share it as well.
Invite Local Journalists There is bound to be events listings in your local newspaper so submit the event details in plenty of time. Furthermore, preemptively contact journalists and invite them to attend and offer a newsworthy angle and key facts why they should cover the event.
Spend Time Making Conversation on Social Invest some time on social media each day to get the conversation flowing without selling. Just aim to be helpful and genuine, offering solutions when you can.
Try to participate in groups, forums and on popular hashtag chats online. Comp Passes Give sponsors, exhibitors and vendors attendee free passes so they can share them with their best clients or invite along colleagues, friends and family. Encourage the favor to be returned by asking them to share widely on social and help to spread the word. Promote your event using exclusivity tactics, such as the first tickets will each receive a VIP upgrade. Find a Milestone Milestone events such as a 25th anniversary are always popular because everyone wants to be part of something exciting.
Figure out a way to make your event a milestone and promote it from that perspective, e. Ask Your Personal Network What are friends and family for? Ask them to share, spread the word and get involved to help the promo cause. If every member of event staff did this too you would reach a very wide network for free. Crowdfunding Campaign If you want to raise awareness, test the water and gain support financial and otherwiseconsider launching a crowdfunding campaign. This can help your event to get noticed and offer a registration boost within a set time period often a month.
Donate Tickets to Charity Auctions Donate tickets or a VIP package to a charity auction or fundraiser which not only helps worthy causes but means that your event will be written or spoken about in order to explain the prizes.
It gets you in front of a ton of people to promote to, while also helping others to fundraise, a win-win situation.
Reach out and contact them to let them know they are missed. If you can take the time to share a notecard with a handwritten message that could be even more effective in showing them that you care. Give Great Deals Probably the oldest trick in the book, but offer deals, discounts and vouchers as an early booking incentive with a clear deadline. Deals tend to spread like wildfire and if people think they are getting a bargain they are more likely to share with others.
Turn on Social Sharing This is a given but make sure you have social sharing capabilities on all of your registration software so that it is easy and prompts others to share their excitement when they got a ticket for your event. Social Media Takeover or Challenge Hand over the reins of your social media accounts to an alternative voice.
This could be the intern or a blogger you are working with. The key thing is to present a different perspective and hopefully to encourage some of their tribe to start following and interacting more with your event account. Another great free idea is to create a challenge, such as a day photo challenge on Instagram. Tap into your niche and set promote that will appeal to your audience.
Furthermore, make sure that you like and converse with everyone that gets involved. If you have a little bit to invest here are 20 of the best low-cost event promotional opportunities. Attend Networking Events There are networking events for a reason! Take brochures, posters and business cards with you and spread news of your event strategically but as far as you can. Perfect your elevator pitch so you can explain succinctly what your event is about.
Blogger Outreach Research bloggers, vloggers and micro-influencers that have a loyal following in your event niche and approach them to get them on board. Arm them with the chance to earn a commission on those that sign up and buy tickets through them using dedicated discount codes. Make sure you provide them with the access they need and look after them on site too, ensuring the WiFi is up to scratch so they can do what they do best.
Give them a voucher when they register to exchange for swag on site at the event. This makes them more likely to come along. Many of the channels offer credits, particularly for those who are starting out so use them to promote your event! Alternatively, consider starting your own awards ceremony if it fits your event niche. Everyone wants to be a winner. Branded Cupcakes Free food and treats are always a big hit. Invest in some cupcakes with the event details in sugar paper and hand them out.
Offer a Loyalty Program For those that want to hear from you, consider starting a loyalty program. This could mean that the more event tickets they book the closer they get to a lifetime event discount or that on their birthday each year they get a special promotional code entitling them to a free drink at the next show they attend. Use this to your advantage by partnering with brands so that both sides win.
This could be product placement at your event in exchange for free signage and advertising of your event to their networks or another quid pro quo. Banners Get vinyl banners printed and get permission to put them up in high traffic areas. These are robust and can cost next to nothing to produce. Request eyelets so you can secure them effectively in outside areas. Also invest in pull up banner stands which can be used inside to promote your event and ask the venue if it can be displayed at the venue for a month or more in the lead up to the event.
Travelling Pop-Ups Events like to utilise pop-up stalls or shops to promote events but take things that step further by having them pop up from one day to the next! Check the effectiveness of your different campaigns by testing two variations with a small sample and seeing which one performs the best.
- Event Promotion: 100 Creative (Free and Cheap) Ideas to Try Now
Email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, make this easy for you. People have different preferences and this way you can find out which promotional approach is better so that you have better results. More click throughs can mean more ticket sales so you have one shot to get it right.
Exclusive Wearables For loyal fans or followers, create exclusive wearable ideas like hats, t-shirts and tote bags as a reward and to turn them into a walking promo. It could be something like, for those who attended the first ever event, or registered for several years consecutively.
It also incentivises people to sign up each year because they get a nice thank you in the form of free stuff. You can get stickers or vinyls transfers for different parts of your car, or if you want a temporary solution, magnetic door or 3D roof signage. For example, turn existing blog posts into promo videos, turn videos into infographics and repurpose video interviews into blog posts. Also go back to older content to refresh it, add new ideas and up-to-date information.
Create Specific Landing Pages Create targeted landing pages specific to the call to action that has been clicked so you can focus on the specific information that motivated the website visitor. For example, if an individual clicked specifically through to information about the event location, they want to know how easy it is to get to, and perhaps local accommodation options. If someone clicked through for more information about the content, they want detailed information about whether it is suitable for their level of expertise and what they will get out of it.
Share Your Event Playlist Create the ultimate playlist, inspired by your event, and share it on Spotify, Amazon Music or other streaming services. Make use of the description box and get your attendees to start following the list. If you have artists performing at your event they can also promote your event and share the ticketing link from certain platforms. Tell the Story of Your Founder Set up an interview for the event founder to share their story and the story of the event on a respected source that your target audience demographic reads.
The more inspirational the journey the greater the interest and this good be a great boost for ticket sales. If time is shorter find opportunities through the journorequest hashtag on Twitter to submit a short quote in your area of expertise and list the event name instead of the organization name.
Write a Collaborative eBook Show your expertise by joining the professionals involved in your event together and writing an insightful eBook as a prelude to the event. This could be personal and include stories or it can specifically solve a problem but, either way, use it builds a connection with attendees. What will give the best results and where should you focus your efforts, particularly if you are working with limited time? Online promotion is more than knowing how to promote an event on social media though that certainly can help!
Long-Term SEO Impact If you have a long lead time before the event, work on improving your SEO and answer long tail target questions your ideal audience ask and make sure the search results offers a clear answer for them.
Make sure you highlight your event and give a clear call to action to book tickets. Create Your Own Community Create an online community where people can connect before the event. Try to create a vibrant place and reasons for like minded individuals to come together and feel at home. Whether it is providing a sense of belonging or bringing together minds that could potentially explore business opportunities together creating a digital meeting space you can offer positive reflections back to your event.
Brownie points if you can get your speakers to stop by add a little something - start a discussion, make a comment, share some wisdom. Encourage teaser videos from each of the speakers talking about what they will discuss, request guest blog posts or interview those presenting. If they have books published promote a book signing or meet and greet at the event. Use Lookalike Audiences Create a list of event attendees and upload to Facebook to help find and target lookalike audiences that may also be interested in attending your event.
Facebook identifies people with similar or common qualities to increase the chances of a match. Invest a little budget in reaching these people via social media ads and it could pay off.
Aim for a list of 1k people as a minimum to increase the accuracy. Not only does this attract those that signed up to get more information, it can get the event trending and intrigues others to check out the hashtag and your event information. Go Live Go Live on Facebook from your site walk through. Do the same thing on Live for the host city or area too. Use Geotagging Online Make sure you can tag the location of your event related posts so that they are easily searchable and potential attendees know exactly whether the location is suitable for them straight away without having to look.
Email Creativity Email marketing campaigns can be effective, you just have to learn how to stand out. Make sure you have a killer email list that you keep up to date, and improve your email subject line as well as the email content offering within to improve open rates. Mass mailings are the biggest turn off, so always ensure that the content is personalized and uses first names.
Share different types of content and use GIFs and emojis to get people's attention. A strong strategy is to understand the pain points of your audience and to create and share humorous insights into the worklife of your attendees. Remarketing Reminders Remarket to those that have visited your event website but never checked out. Set up remarketing campaigns with strong call to actions to offer a reminder to book their place.
Create a Social Filter For snapchat or Facebook, create an event specific filter that people can use for pictures. Not only does it let them know about the event, it captures on the screen for their networks to see too! Website Banners and Advertising You and your sponsors have website traffic, so use it! Create custom clickable ads and banners to promote the event from multiple sources and drive traffic through to your registration page.
Use tagged URLs so you know which traffic sources have been most effective for driving interest. Event Specific Branding For the duration of your event promotion, change your branding and information to new colors and pictures.
This could be something like a new header or profile photo across your channels, or it could be an entire color shift across your brand. Email Signature How many people do you converse with via email per day?! They are all potential employees, customers or sharers of your event so put a non-intrusive mention and link for your event into your signature and let it do some passive promotion for you. Target Keywords Research the keywords that are most synonymous with your event and most valuable to you and utilize them in specifically created online content.
It makes you easily searchable by improving your SEO. Expand Your Network Follow everyone who registers for the event. You should be asking for social media profiles during registration. Develop a familiar format Familiarity is useful when it comes to networking events; the same structure means regulars know the score, what to bring to a networking eventhow things run, and makes it easy for newcomers to get to grips pretty quickly.
If your networking event is designed to get people mingling, drinking, talking and connecting, then you need a format of some kind. Here are some ideas: A really formalised event, in a corporate meeting space and where people speak at specific times One or two guest speakers followed by networking Training sessions with time for networking built-in like the breakfast meet-ups mentioned above Really casual meet-ups, such as in the pub after work.
A networking event can be casual, but it needs some kind of structural base to facilitate discussion. Automating the necessary but rather time consuming registration progress will save you time and also make it easier for attendees to sign up. Spend time picking the right venue The venue is one of the most important aspects of a networking event. Budget will probably be your first focus point. People are probably looking for somewhere relaxed and casual to shoot the breeze.
How to Host a Neighborhood Meet and Greet
If you want to build in some talks or training, have a look and see if your council or local libraries hire out rooms for free or on the cheap. Otherwise, consider hiring formal event spaces; pick one in a central location and look out for great extras, such as catering facilities and onsite technical help. The hard work is really in marketing and promoting it. If your event is large in scale, consider hooking-up with commercial partners who might be able to sponsor the event and promote it to their customer base.
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If your event is smaller in scale, harness the many marketing tools that are at your disposal, from social media and paid search, to blog posts and digital PR and outreach. Planning marketing takes time and preparation. Start it as soon as you can and execute it to the full. What can you do to get more out of it? Continue the discussion online — try setting up a LinkedIn group where attendees can post questions and interact. Perhaps some tangible business opportunities cropped up; why not schedule some meetings and kickstart a business relationship?