This week, the Academy team has been abuzz with anticipation for next week’s Spring Summit. Final preparations are just about complete and we’re looking forward to welcoming hundreds of Academy Members and their staff to Kansas City.
Each Summit seems to get bigger and better, with great speakers, new programs, and fun events. (As a diehard baseball fan, I’m especially excited that we’ll be attending a World Champion Kansas City Royals game!) This time out, we’ve even developed an app for our event, which I’m sure everyone will find incredibly useful.
While the scope of our event is likely larger than any event your firm will host, there are some simple online marketing strategies that you can implement to ensure that your event is successful.
- Create a Dedicated Web Page
Your website should contain a page specific to your event and should include all of the following:
Persuasive Description: Clearly indicate the topic, time, place and who should attend. Highlight the benefits to be gained from attending in short, scannable paragraphs.
Relevant Content: Share content that’s related to your event. This could include blog posts on a related topic, press releases, or event materials that can be downloaded prior to the event. This content can go a long way in building excitement and keeping your event top of mind.
Speaker Pictures and Bios: If your event is going to include guest speakers, you’ll certainly want to promote them, so your event page should include their pictures and bios. Including links to their social media accounts will give event attendees the opportunity to connect with them beforehand. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may also want to include information about your sponsors.
Event image: Give your attendees an idea of what they can expect. Ideally, this image will be from a previous event, showing your great venue, packed with smiling attendees.
Clear CTA to Register: Don’t forget to include a prominent button and a call to action so that attendees can easily register or RSVP online.
Search engine optimization: Make it easy for guests to find information about your event online by including relevant keywords in your description, title tags and headers of your event page. Good examples would be “San Diego trust administration seminar” or “Zimmer Law Firm Client Appreciation Event.”
- Distribute Digital Invitations
Receiving a hardcopy invitation in the mail is always nice, and we’ve recently shared some excellent advice on direct targeted mail, but you can broaden your reach by extending invitations online via social media and email.
Post an invitation on your firm’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages and include a link to your events page so guests can learn more and register right online. Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images, so be sure to include a picture or take it up a notch and record a video invitation!
If you’ve already built a solid list of potential guests consisting of prospects and/or clients, email marketing campaigns can be another great way to spark interest in your event. However, people are buried in email these days, so if you don’t want your invitations to get lost in the shuffle, you need to take a thoughtful approach to your email marketing strategy and consider the following:
Use an attention grabbing subject line: Subject lines that elicit an emotional reaction lead to higher open rates. The best are usually short, descriptive, and provide the recipient with a reason to open your email. Try something like “Avoid Financial Ruin by Attending this Seminar.”
Determine the right time: Fewer companies send email during the weekend and potential guests typically have more time, so you may want to consider sending your invitation then. On the other hand, mid-week may work best for your niche. Track your results to see which emails get the best response, then plan to send all future emails on the same day.
Leverage social proof: Including a testimonial with positive feedback from a current client or previous event attendee can influence others to attend. After all, FOMO, (the psychological phenomenon known as “Fear of Missing Out”) is a great motivator.
Lather, rinse, repeat: Plan to email your invitation several times. For regularly scheduled events, like seminars, that could be weekly, but for larger events such as your annual Client Appreciation Day, your email campaign could start months in advance with a “Save the Date” announcement.
- Get Social
Create a hashtag: Select a hashtag that’s short, memorable, and unique to your event. Include it on every post and encourage your attendees to do likewise. We’ll be using #AcademySummit at next week’s event, so follow along if you’d like a peek at the magic that happens at our Academy events.
Connect with your prospects, attendees, speakers and sponsors: Using the search functions in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, it’s easy to find and connect to people who may be interested in your event. Tag your guest speakers and sponsors in your posts so that your message is seen by their wider audience.
Encourage attendees to get social: Invite attendees to connect on social media and share the event hashtag. You can include this information on the Thank You page that they’re directed to after registering and in all email that they receive prior to the event.
Publish before, during, and after your event: Start by posting information regarding registration, then continue to build excitement in the days leading up to the event:
- Announce when registration opens
- Countdown to the day of the event
- Post pictures of event prep
- Thank your sponsors and speakers
- Post reminders about the day’s schedule
- Complement your speaker and/or share something you learned in a presentation
- Post pictures from the event
- Capture and post testimonials from attendees
- Retweet and share posts that attendees have published on their own social media platforms
- Thank everyone for attending
While engaging in real time is a huge factor in social media success, many of these posts can be prescheduled using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, making the social media marketing of your event more manageable.
Integrating a simple, strategic online marketing campaign before, during, and after your next event can help get people to notice and register, making your next seminar or client event a great success.
Don’t forget to follow the #AcademySummit hashtag next week for exciting Summit updates and be sure to stop by our Online Marketing Group booth to say hello!
Director, Web & SEO Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555