March Madness has begun. Brackets are being developed, lucky jerseys are being worn daily-fans are ready. When it comes to marketing a meeting however, there is no place for madness.
An annual meeting or event takes a year (or more) to organize let alone worrying about the marketing element of it. Often when meeting budgets are created, marketing and communications can be limited to how much funds are available. Talley has three simple, yet effective tactics to market your meeting.
- Consider your audience – Who are you targeting? Are you marketing to millennials (that’s a whole other blog post so check back for that one soon!) or are you marketing to baby boomers? Decide who you want to receive your message and then determine how they best receive their information. It’s easy to jump right to sending out postcards but if you have an audience that doesn’t read or want actual mail, you’re wasting your money. Digital marketing is here to stay so social media ads and posts might be your better option. Have a split audience? Do an analysis of your membership as well as a review of any lists you’ve purchased and decide how many of the receivers will read the physical mail and then only order for that amount. Direct mail can be costly but when delivered to the right audience, the ROI continues to be high.
- Get digital – As listed in the first tip, digital marketing is the trend. Embrace it. Put aside part of your marketing budget for digital advertising-you’d be surprised how far a little money can go. Whether you have $100 or $1,000, digital ads can reach your audience and turn into registrations. Paid searches for digital ads are separated into two categories- cost per click (CPC) or cost per mille (CPM). Using the cost per click model, payment is due for every ad that is “clicked.” Translation- you only pay when one of your ads leads an individual directly to your desired website or landing page. In short, your team marketer can choose when and where your ads appear. The cost per mille method is similar to traditional advertising. When someone sees your ad, it’s referred to as an “impression.” Impressions do not indicate that any action was taken by the viewer, only that they saw the ad. The CPM option is based on a budget that you set, hence the reason for its name-cost per mille, or per 1,000 clicks. Once the ad has produced the set number of clicks or impressions, the ad stops appearing. CPM tends to be more popular because impressions, or views, of the ad tend to be higher. If your ad is eye-catching and advertised in the right place, it will often lead to a higher click through rate (CTR), or people clicking on the ad. This is most definitely the very abridged version of digital marketing/advertising but a skilled marketer can help advise your association the absolute best method for you to use including ad creation.
- Partnerships – Engaging partners is often a very underestimated way to market meetings or events. Partnerships can be negotiated for little to no monetary exchange, especially for non-profit associations or organizations. For example, if you are aware of a popular media outlet or trade publication that your members engage with regularly, reach out to them and see if they are willing to partner with your association. Many will allow organizations to have ads appear in the publication and/or on its social media outlets in exchange for exposure to your members. This does not necessarily translate to list sharing, although if your members agree, that it always an option. Many partners will share your message if you share theirs by posting on your own social media accounts or by allowing them to distribute their publication at your annual meeting. This is only one type of way partnerships can help promote and market your meeting.