5 Free Ways to Market Your Event

Whether you are on a shoestring budget or you are looking for a maximum ROI on your event marketing efforts, it always pays to be resourceful.

Here are 5 free ways to to advertise your event.

 

1. Facebook Events

Billions of people use Facebook, and hundreds of millions check their account multiple times a day.

People use Facebook today similar to how they used newspapers in the past. They login, check what is new or trending, and see advertisements for products, services, or events.

Facebook has a section dedicated to events where you can create an event page, invite your friends and followers to attend, and share your event on your wall.

This is one of the most visible ways to get your event heard about for free.

 

2. Email

Emailing your newsletter list doesn’t cost you any extra money, and emails are still some of the most effective ways to reach your audience.

As a bonus, people who give you their email are more likely to attend your event than people you have to seek out and find.

Depending on your list size, this may be the most effective way to advertise your event for free. Here is a guide on how to best use email marketing for your event.

 

3. Event Calendars

For people who don’t use Facebook, but still want to be involved in their community, local event calendars are a great place to show your event.

Most cities have a popular event calendar, and a quick google search can help you find them. Most of these services are free, but some cost a couple of dollars to use. If you are looking for a free calendar in your area, list your event on SpinGo.

 

4. Reddit

Reddit is a giant online forum that covers any topic you could think of. One specific place that you will want to share your event is on local city subreddits. A subreddit is a specific niche group, for example, Movie Lovers, or Dog Owners.

Most major cities have a local subreddit (e.g. reddit.com/r/seattle) that talks about the news, events, and happenings around the city. This is a great place to share your event and let people know of what is happening around them.

You will have to create an account to do this, but it is a free, valuable option.

 

5. Chatbots

A chatbot is an automated chat message that pops up on your website or Facebook page. You can tailor the message to say whatever you need it to say. Some chatbots cost a lot of money, but there are some that offer free versions that you can install on your page with limited service options.

A chatbot can inform every visitor on your site of Facebook page that you have an event coming up.

Expos: 9 Practical Ways to Turn Leads Into Sales

When you attend a trade show, one of your main objectives for attending is to generate quality leads for your sales team. However, did you know that just 6% of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads into customer business extremely well? For how much time, thought, and effort goes into planning booths and exhibits at trade shows, that number is extremely low for the confidence that marketers have in converting leads into sales.

Having worked with thousands of events, we have noticed firsthand that exhibitors struggle with converting leads into sales. We have a few proven techniques that will help you optimize your leads at your next trade show event.

This solution will work, but it will require work and effort on your part to implement these strategies into your own work.

Before the event:

1. Have a clear objective in mind

Know your goal before you show up at the expo. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but know that you should have one clear, concise goal that each member of your team attending the show can repeat from memory.

2. Create an email drip campaign

Surprised to see this on the list in the “Before the event” section? You shouldn’t be. Before you take off for the expo, create an email drip campaign that aligns with your goal. If you write the content before you go, you can simply plug in the leads that you gather and have consistent messaging across the whole trade show experience.

3. Create free content of value

As a part of your trade show planning meeting, decide on a valuable offering that you can send your leads for free.

First of all, this will help you collect their contact information in the first place since you have an enticing offer for them. Secondly, it will help you build rapport and goodwill with prospective clients since people love receiving content of value for free. And finally, it is a natural way to follow up with your leads. You can start your conversation up where you left it and check in to make sure the info you sent them makes sense.

Once again, this content should align with your main objective. You may already have some content like this built out that you can use, or if you don’t you can take the time to build compelling content. This could be an ebook, industry-specific calendar, report, scorecard, industry comparison, or any other content that makes sense for your audience. At the event:

4. Collect digital info

We live in a world where physical paper sheets are a seriously endangered species. Many people still carry business cards around with them at trade shows, but you will find that many of the attendees don’t carry business cards anymore.

If possible, use the QR codes from their name badges to simple scan onto your phone. All you need is a QR code scanning app and you can collect their information. When the event is over, you can simply upload the excel sheet into your email system and start emailing your new leads.

Not only will this help you capture more leads, but it will save you a lot of time and help you reach your contacts fast. If the event you are exhibiting at doesn’t use QR codes, reach out to the event producer and ask them to include this functionality at future events so you can easily capture and contact leads.

5. Set up a call on the spot

Don’t wait until after the show to send an email asking when your new lead can talk. Instead, set up calls on the spot. This is easier if you have the right tools in place. You can use tools like Calendly, Doodle, or Cirrus Insight to easily set appointments on the spot.

The meeting should automatically be added to their calendar with any of these tools and will help you keep appointments better. Have one of your team members there to walk them through the process and correctly set up a date and time when they can meet.

6. Email contacts that night

If you aren’t able to schedule a call on the spot, reach out to your contacts that very same day. The longer you wait to reach out to your contacts, the less likely they will be to respond to your outreach.

As you get more sales calls scheduled, you’ll see a greater ROI from trade shows.

After the event:

7. Make your trade show leads a priority

Make it clear to your sales and marketing teams that the leads you collected from the tradeshow take priority over other leads coming in. Set the expectation that they will be contacting these leads and building relationships with them.

8. Send out a care package

Determine the top leads that you would like to close and send them a package in the mail. People enjoy getting mail and a clever, yet useful package will help keep you top of mind.

9. Warm cold leads

Sometimes leads don’t convert right away. It’s a fact of life. But just because a lead doesn’t convert right now, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your product. To make sure you are getting the most out of your leads, immediately add them to your drip campaign to keep constant contact with them.

You can also enlist the services of companies like Aktify to warm your cold leads. They will help you find the leads that are still interested in your product and help you close the leads that you thought were lost.

If you follow these nine steps, you will see more leads turn into sales from your expo lead gen list.

20 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows and Expos

In 2018 the value of expos and tradeshows is still strong. In fact, 99% of exhibitors find unique value delivered by trade shows which are not provided by other marketing channels. Trade shows give exhibitors and attendees the chance to talk face-to-face, an increasingly difficult struggle in the era of video communication, emails, and text messages. Trade shows and expos lead to more conversations, more leads, and more sales than other marketing events. Because of that, we wanted to share with you some powerful stats that help you visualize the impact of your events.

We’ve compiled a list of 21 powerful stats that you can use to plan your upcoming expo while also convincing exhibitors and attendees of the importance of attending your next expo.

Why exhibitors attend trade shows and expos:

1. 88% participate in trade shows to raise awareness of the company and its brand.

Trade shows and expos provide a great way to get your name out and let a very niche audience know about your brand.

2. 72% participate to get leads from new buyers and prospects.

Exhibitors expect to meet new clients and get sales by attending an expo.

3. 65% attend to see current clients – it is harder to get face to face time with clients.

Exhibitors are having a harder time getting face-to-face time with their clients, and trade shows provide a way to reestablish the relationship.

4. The top 3 sales-related objectives at trade shows are related to relationship management and engagement.

Above all else, exhibitors want to meet with existing customers, key customers, and prospective customers.

Value of Trade Shows:

5. The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a tradeshow is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259.

By displaying at an expo, you find a much more cost effective way to have face-to-face conversations with potential prospects.

6. 92% of tradeshow attendees come to see and learn about what’s new in products and services.

Expos and trade shows are a perfect opportunity to highlight the new products, services, or technology you offer. And by doing so, you will meet your attendees expectations at the expo.

7. 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended.

Expos do create new business opportunities for exhibitors. If you are sitting on the fence about attending an expo because you’re not sure if it is worth it, remember that your competitors will be closing the deals that you could have been closing.

8. 45% of attendees visit only one exhibition per year.

When you exhibit at a show, you will find new prospects that you wouldn’t find at any other show.

9. 51% of trade show attendees requested that a sales representative visit their company after the show.

People are finding valuable solutions by attending trade shows and if you aren’t attending, you are missing opportunities of closing big deals.

10. 87% of exhibitors rate exhibitions as highly valuable for achieving business sector promotions.

Exhibitors are having overall positive experiences at trade shows.

Prospect Building:

11. 90% of expo attendees have not met face-to-face with any companies exhibiting at the show in the 12 months prior to the event.

Trade shows provide a great opportunity to network and build relationships with current clients and potential prospects.

12. Over 50% of the expo attendees are there for the first time.

With so many new people are attending expos each year, it is worth attending trade shows every year to meet prospective clients who did not attend last years show.

13. 67% of all attendees represent a new prospect and potential customer for exhibiting companies.

2 of 3 attendees don’t currently use the product or service of the exhibiting company.

14. 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority.

4 out of 5 people walking through the show are potential customers for exhibitors.

15. The average attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits at an exhibition.

You have plenty of time to network and make connections at the event. Attract attendees to your booth that will attract attendees to your booth such as visual representations.

Trade Show Concerns:

16. Just 6% of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads, contacts and conversations into customer business extremely well.

Plan networking opportunities into your expo outside of the show floor to increase the chance for building relationships. Use event software that digitally tracks leads through QR codes instead of risking losing paper business cards.

Attendee Experience:

17. The #1 reason for attending (not exhibiting) trade shows is to see new products. 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products.

This has been the number one reason to attend expos and trade shows for over 25 years.

18. Only 34% of attendees said they were very satisfied with their experience at exhibitions they visited.

Attendees provide value for exhibitors and vice versa. Plan activities outside of the exhibitor floor time that provide extra value to attendees. Also provide them with contact information for all exhibitors so they can research the exhibitors they didn’t get a chance to meet in person.

19. Leading reasons why marketers felt disappointed with attending major trade shows worldwide as of May 2017:

45% Cost of attendance

45% Not getting the right spot on the conference floor

36% Low-value leads

36% Wrong speaking slots

27% Company booth was overshadowed by bigger players

20. 56% of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles to attend an exhibition.

Transportation costs are important to both exhibitors transporting their booths to trade shows, and attendees traveling to meeting sites. If you can help them reduce their travel costs by getting a hotel discount, you can help increase the attendance at your expo.

 

Sources:

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

BizActions

CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget

CEIR Report ACRR 1152.12

Skyline Exhibits market research

CMO Council & E2MA, 2013

Exhibit Surveys, Inc.

CEIR Changing Environment Study

CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face

Facebook Ads: Pro Tips to Navigate the New Algorithm Changes

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that big changes are coming to your Facebook News Feed in early 2018. To kickoff his announcement Zuckerberg stated, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” He continued, “recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

Wondering where that leaves you and how these changes will impact your event marketing?

To create more meaningful social interactions, Facebook is going to adjust it’s News Feed algorithm to limit posts from businesses, brands and media, and prioritize posts that promote discussions, conversations, and human interaction. As a side effect, your event may have a harder time breaking onto the News Feed if you don’t adapt to the changing scene.

So, how do you stay relevant in the new Facebook world? Here are 3 ways to make sure your event gets noticed on the giant social media platform.

Create Facebook Event Pages. Over the past year, Facebook has made tweaks to it’s algorithm to feature Facebook Event listings. If you have an event, but aren’t taking advantage of this free tool, there has never been a better time to start using it. Events promote real life socializing, and I assume Facebook will take that into account as it adjusts it’s News Feed algorithm.

Pro tip 1: Invite your Facebook friends to attend your event. The more people that are interested in attending an event, the more it will show up on News Feeds.

Pro tip 2: Post frequently on your Facebook event page. This won’t directly impact how often you show up on the News Feed, but it does have an indirect impact. When you leave a post on your Facebook event page, all the people who have shown interest in your event will get a notification on their account. This can remind them that your event is coming up soon, and they can invite their friends to attend.

Create organic posts that spur conversation. Instead of using clickbait tactics to try and make your posts go viral, focus on writing posts that will get your followers to comment. Ask intriguing questions. Some people might try to find a loophole by asking attendees to “Tag a friend you want to take to the event with you.” But be warned! These are the type of posts that Facebook is looking to demote. If you follow this strategy, you may find yourself getting dinged repeatedly by Facebook and falling into social media oblivion.

Pro tip: Share memories or ask for recommendations in your organic posts. Facebook finds that both memories and recommendations spark more conversations and contribute to Facebook’s new goal.

Use paid Facebook advertising to ensure your event gets noticed. If your organic efforts aren’t getting you the results you are looking for, paid advertising will ensure your event gets seen on Facebook. While Facebook is demoting organic posts from businesses, don’t expect them to limit how many ads you see on your News Feed.

Pro tip 1: Boosting your event posts is great, but it isn’t enough. Boosting your posts usually limits your ads to be seen by people who follow your Facebook page. Use Facebook Ads Manager to reach people outside of your current network.

Pro tip 2: If you don’t know how to do Facebook advertising effectively, SpinGo can promote your event for you.

5 Common Event Ad Mistakes

Each day, I work with dozens of event makers to help build their marketing campaigns and develop a sound online marketing strategy. I see many campaigns come into my hands that have been meticulously thought out and planned to perfection, but I also see a fair share of campaigns that leave me wanting. Here are the 5 most common online marketing mistakes for events that I see, with solutions that will turn your campaign around.

1. Missing Call To Action

Every effective ad will contain a call to action (CTA) – a specific phrase intended to induce a viewer or reader to perform a single act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive (e.g. buy now, get tickets, sign up today). When this vital piece of ad copy is left out of the advertisement, it leaves the reader directionless, and they will view your ad more as informative rather than directive. A simple call to action ties the whole ad together and encourages the reader to take an action. Including a call to action in your ads will improve your click through rate and increase conversions (a specific action you want ad viewers to take).

2. Lacks Urgency To Buy Online

Often, I’ll come across an event advertisement that is informative, relates to me, and has a clear call to action – yet doesn’t drive me to click on the ad. So, what’s it missing? In these cases, the ad lacks a sense of urgency to get me to complete an action at the exact moment I read it. All online advertisements should create a feeling of urgency within the ad viewer and provide an incentive to act now as opposed to waiting until the day of the event. Plus, a person who buys a ticket to your event in advance is much more likely to attend than somebody waiting to buy a ticket at the door. Luckily, there are a few easy tricks to create that urgency (or if you prefer to think about it this way, a sense of discomfort in your reader):

  • Use a promo code with an expiration date in your ad so they save money on tickets if they buy before your event.
  • Announce limited seating or that tickets sell out fast so they better buy today.
  • Mention Early Bird pricing. If people can save money by buying a ticket today, it will encourage them to act now. Create 3 pricing tiers with tickets getting gradually more expensive the closer it is to your event. This allows you to create urgency multiple times throughout your campaign.
  • Implement a countdown on your ads. Using phrases like “Only 10 more days until the event” or “Last week to purchase tickets” clearly lets readers know they have a limited time to act.

3. Ad Links To Irrelevant Landing Pages

Even when an event ad entices me to click on it, I frequently notice that I am lead to  landing pages that provide little information about the event. If you want to have better results from your ads, your landing page is the place to sell your event. Many of your ad viewers are hearing about your event for the first time and want to learn more about it. As a general rule, the most common reason somebody clicks on your ad is to learn more about your event since your ad can’t tell the whole story. Your landing page is the perfect place to share that story and explain why people should attend your event. This will give ad clickers the convincing reason they need to go ahead and buy a ticket. Your landing page should always include an option to buy tickets (if you sell tickets) or say how to attend your event. 

4. Targeting Too Broad Of An Audience

One of the benefits of advertising online is that you have the ability to narrow your marketing to focus specifically on the type of people who would be interested in attending your event. However, too often, I see event makers try to paint with a broad stroke and don’t narrow their targeting, or worse, they simply say that their target audience is “everybody”. The problem with targeting everybody is that your ads become relevant to nobody. No matter what your event, you can narrow your audience to target the people who would be most likely to attend it. Get specific. The more specific you get, the more likely you will get the right type of people to your event.

Here’s a common example of broad targeting that I see fairly regularly. An event maker is hosting a concert and wants to get people there, so they target people who are interested in:

  • Concerts
  • Live Music
  • Music

Simply put, that targeting is far too broad and won’t attract the audience you truly want. Most every person in the world is interested in one of those three things, but not all of them would want to come to your concert. Take a moment and envision the person that you know would love coming to your concert. What are they interested in? What type of music do they like? Where do they shop? What websites do they visit online? What radio stations do they listen to? How old are they? These questions will improve your targeting and lead your ad to better results.

5. Not Enough Budget

I’ll try to step gingerly here as budget can be a difficult issue to address and is by far the most difficult of these steps to change. However, I do have a few suggestions that you should implement even if you have a meager budget to work with. Before I jump into the solutions of how to do online marketing effectively with a small budget, let me illustrate why I made this a point on my list.

I frequently come across online marketing campaigns that don’t have enough budget to make a significant impact on an event. I see people spend $15 on a three day campaign. That is not enough budget to create the awareness your event needs.

At SpinGo, we recommend a minimum daily budget of $25 per day for each campaign that you want to run. This type of budget will increase the number of people who see your event ad, the number of people who click on it, and the number of people who purchase tickets for your event. Spending $5 per day simply isn’t enough budget to get the word out to enough of the right people.

So how do you fix this problem? Here are 3 solutions:

  1. Plan Online Marketing Into The Budget From The Start. Decide how many days you want to advertise your event, on how many different platforms, and do the math. If you want to advertise your event on 3 platforms, for 10 days each that would be 30 days * $25 to equal $750. Write that into the budget. You can adjust this to how much you can realistically spend on marketing.
  2. Ask For More Money. This one is pretty straightforward. If you need more money to market your event, reach out to whoever is in charge of the budget and ask for more. If they say no or if you are in charge of the budget, reach out to sponsors and ask for sponsorship.
  3. Consolidate Your Budget. If neither of those options work and you are stuck with what you currently have, consolidate your online marketing spend into bigger groups. Instead of spending $50 over 10 days, spend it over the 3 days leading up to your event. You will get more bang for your buck.