Marketing an Event as a Non-Marketer – Here's what I learned!

The Event of the Decade – because of great marketing? Maybe!

It’s been almost a month now since one of the greatest community events ever – Scottish Summit 2020 – and you might say I’m having some withdrawals! I’ve been reflecting on the event as a whole, including the marketing efforts we put in during the lead up. I will admit, while I work in the digital marketing space, I’ve never been an actual Marketer. When Mark Christie and Iain Connolly approached me about helping out with the event all those months ago, I put my imposer syndrome to the side and just said yes! I connected in the ClickDimensions solution into their Dynamics environment in 15 minutes (yes, it was that fast!) and away we went! It’s been a wild ride and here are a few of the things I have learned about Event Marketing as a whole.

Make sure you have a plan!

This sounds pretty obvious, right? I went into this project with good intentions of building out a whole Marketing campaign for the event, but the reality is that finding time was actually pretty difficult. A lot of our marketing efforts were done either a day or two before or on the same day, which, looking back, was a lot more stressful than if we had sat down once a week and mapped out the various different kinds of marketing media we were going to run. The reality is – making time outside of our regular day jobs was kind of tough. Had we spent more time planning, I would have loved to incorporate more SMS and Social Media into our overall efforts.

Using a marketing calendar is vital!

I have plans to run marketing for at least three other large events this year and I will be taking the time to implement a fully thought out plan before execution – using the ClickDimensions Marketing Calendar will allow me to see, at a glance, all the variable types of marketing efforts being made and when.

Set up Marketing Plan Before Gathering Registrants!

Again, seems like a no-brainer, eh? Well in this case, I was a little late to the game. Thankfully, because of the ClickDimensions integration with Eventbrite, I was able to pull in all the registrants that had registered before we began our marketing campaign. I would have liked to have a well thought out email response for people who had just registered – we did run a small drip campaign, but had I gotten in on the marketing side a little earlier, I would have included some SMS marketing in here.

Stay Connected with the Team

Everyone involved in organising this event, did so in their own free time which was a huge undertaking! With that being said, I should have been more pro-active about setting up regular meetings to ensure we were on track with our marketing efforts. A lot of communication was done via WhatsApp and was often last minute (very much on my part). Staying connected would mean that we could communicate changes to our marketing campaign much easier. I recommend regular team meetings and having a solid agenda for each meeting – assessing the statistics of recent marketing efforts, which leads me to my next point.

A combo of Teams and WhatsApp helped us communicate

Double.. no, TRIPLE Check Content BEFORE Sending!

All of you advanced Marketers out there are likely nodding your heads at this one. Thankfully, I tend to be pretty careful when sending mass communications (Remember that one time Linda accidentally hit “Reply All” to a company wide email? Yeah, don’t be that guy). Unfortunately, I did make a handful of errors including getting the wonderful Nick Doelman’s name incorrect 🙈. In the future, I will double and triple check the spelling of names and ensure that my links are correct. Setting up a test Marketing List is a super good idea – getting an extra pair of eyes on your content is not only smart, but down right essential! It’s like when you spend forever trying to spell a word only to question if it is even an actual word anymore. Yeah – test lists are the sanity check we all need.

No regrets | wanderlustic2
Sorry, Nick!

Use the Stats! #CheckOutMySweetStats

This was definitely something I could have used way more. A huge advantage of using a Marketing Platform like ClickDimensions is that you get so much analytical data back on the performance of your email sends and social media posts. While that data was nice to have and it certainly helped us in knowing that we had an effective method of communication, I now know what statistics to look for such as the best time of day to send an email. Had we spent the time to look at all of our statistics and analysed what type of emails were successful, we would have been able to develop and grow our campaign efforts even more. I would also recommend A/B or split testing to gauge whether our audience reacted better to certain constants like less text or if the email came directly from Mark Christie.

#CheckOutMySweetStats

Social Media is ESSENTIAL!

I cannot stress this particular point enough! Luckily for me, Mark and Iain had already established a solid social media presence, which made my job so much easier. From there I was able to connect in our Twitter account and automate the sending of several tweets during the lead up to the event. If I could do anything differently, it would be to have access to analytics to again gauge best posting times and also to generate a timeline of tweets with our hashtag – #SS2020. Twitter has such a great reach, especially for us in the Microsoft Community, we had a fantastic interaction rate and even say #SS2020 trending during the weekend! How cool is that?

On top of the social media presence, we also included a tweet share button in every one of our bulk emails, allowing our audience to quickly and easily tweet out the #SS2020 hashtag. If there was one thing I would have done differently, it would have been to run more social media competitions to encourage our readership to tweet.

And we’re STILL going strong, a month later! #SS2020

There you have it – my top tips on how to market an event even if you’re not a Marketer! Do you have any tips you’d share? Tweet them at me – @TattooedCRMGirl!

2 thoughts on “Marketing an Event as a Non-Marketer – Here's what I learned!

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