Last week, we hosted our first webinar on Event Marketing by Ravi Handa, the idea behind which was to build an event organizers’ community, where we can discuss how we can we reach more people regarding our respective events, improve event experience for our attendees and do more to make our future events bigger and better.
The webinar was hosted by Sanchit Malik(Co-Founder, Townscript), and was free to join.
Introduction of Ravi Handa: An IIT Kharagpur alumnus, Ravi Handa is mostly well-known for his venture Handa ka Funda – a leading online course provider for leading MBA exams( CAT, SNAP, IIFT, etc.) and various bank PO exams, where he has taught 1000s of students online / offline for CAT & other MBA Entrance Exams, through easy to understand video tutorials.
Launched in 2009, Handa ka Funda is trusted by more than 100,000 students aspiring to appear in competitive exams, with Ravi being the driving force behind making online test preparation accessible, and affordable.
Agenda for the webinar:
– How to Identify and appeal to your target audience.
– How to choose the best channel for marketing and use it for your communicating and engaging with your attendees.
– How to personalise your marketing approach to drive ticket sales.
– How to organise and structure your marketing efforts for best results.
– How to stay connected with your attendees between multiple events.
Quick takeaways from the webinar by Ravi Handa:
– Your event may last a day or an entire week, but the marketing has to be a year-long affair. All your marketing efforts should be structured and spread out over months. You will not get conversions in a week, so start early. That being said, a lot of organisers are under the false impression that event-marketing ends after the event, but that’s not true. The focus should also be on creating an engaging environment during and post event.
Phases of marketing are always: Pre-Event, During Event, Post-event.
– Define your goals: Your goal should be clear for each marketing effort – what you’re trying to achieve, budget constraints, time constraints, estimated footfall, etc.
First rule of lead generation – Don’t try to start by pitching your product / service to potential attendees: Example: Ravi hosts a webinar via Facebook on – ‘Important books to read for a CAT aspirant’ – in which he wants to collect data from the attendees, which can be contact details, interests in a particular domain, etc. By engaging people in a Facebook live session, he is not trying to sell anything, but merely testing his waters with what audience to target, and what medium can be used to reach out to them with something they might be interested in, in the future.
– Identifying the Audience:
- Type of audience: Analyze if your audience consists majorly of students, working professionals, sports lovers, doctors, engineers etc, which will help you understand the demographic you’re targeting, and if it matches with the product / service you’re trying to sell.
- Where are they available and how to reach them?
Understand where your potential audience spend time, what they like, and where their interests lie.
Ex: A person organizes a workshop about tricks to solve Rubik’s cube. His audience will comprise mostly of students, so he promotes his event in engineering colleges, and gets a great response from there.
– Email Marketing / Blogging: Its a really, really important to have an active blog.
What do you have on the blog? Think about your potential audience, and what they like to read, and write about that. Use the newsletter to promote your event, and look into Sumo.me to collect user data from the blog.
– Using Social Media:
Facebook: Use social group and pages to promote your event.
Twitter: Use hashtags and related posts.
– Using non-traditional websites
Note: Lots of people forget to use non-traditional websites, that can be very useful when it comes to branding and generation of leads.The advantage these websites have is that they have set communities with a common interest.
Quora: Social question answering event.
Reddit: Predefined community websites.
YouTube: Promote good original content, for eg: PPT with video, live streaming, record the Testimonial of customers.
Pinterest: Visual arts.
Instagram: Good for events related to visuals.
Steps to take on pre-event:
– Branding: Have an active social media and online presence.
– Incentivize publicizing the event: Provide incentive for sharing your event link, eg: 10% off on referrals.
– Incentivize attending the event: Provide any type of incentives on attending the event.
This is very useful for free events where you want attendance. You can provide them offers like – first five attendees will get some special prizes, goodies for all attendees, or participation certificates and more.
– Incentivize early registrations: Provide some discount on early bird registrations that will provide serve as a great kickstart for your ticket sales. Eg: Create slots for early bird discounts like get 30% off, 30 days before the event – or, 20% discount 20 days before the event and fix price after that.
Tips from Ravi: People have the tendency of bringing and pulling in the friends with them for an event and/or activity, So every early bird ticket sale, is like ‘free promotion’.
– Share as many details as you can: You need to share content/details about the event and what the attendee will be getting out of the same. It is necessary to that you tell your audience what they should be expecting. The content of every event. should be solid enough to attract attendees.
– Automate as much as you can : Use tools that save your time.Ex: Ravi Handa using Google Form to collect data, which is otherwise a very hectic and time-consuming thing to manage and keep track of. Townscript provides him with the solution for online registration and manage is data easily, saving him a lot of time, so that he can focus on more important things as an organizer.
– Give a coupon code: You can also give out the coupon code for the product/service you’re selling, or your sponsors are involved with.
Choose your Channel (During-event):
- Offline Events:
– Venue: Venue is very important, and should be chosen on basis of your potential audience availability.
– Facebook Discussion Groups: During the event, there should be an active group that is discussing the event. Whether they talk about the venue, food, or artists, it is important to keep a live-update of the event going out to drive engagement and interest from non-attendees and attendees alike. Post pictures of the event, and ask people to tag themselves.
– Broadcast the event on FB: Create a “buzz” about your event, whether it’s bite-sized takeaways from a panel discussion or testimonial from a past / current attendee.
- Online Events:
You can use these channels for online events. Here are the tools for hosting webinars.
– YouTube Live: You can live to stream your event by using youtube live. Other live streaming options are also available, so weigh your requirements before you pick the one that matches your expectations.
Benefits: Free of cost. You can add multiple user webinars. The video will automatically get recorded and will be live on youtube.
Limitations: Lag in the broadcasting of the Video. Only people with a Youtube channel can ask questions.
– GoToWebinar : Good for hosting the webinar and online session, less lag in the video, and costs 109 $ for a month. The only drawback is that only 150 attendees can join in one session.
– WizIQ: Embed on your website: You should embed your video on your website, to increase traffic.
Steps to Take (During Event):
– Give a goodie bag / free-download: Share goodies that are good for your branding.
– Share contact details: Always share your contact details, so that the attendees can get in touch with you. Helps in networking.
– Ask people to share: Request people to share your links or photos. As an organizer, you should always reply to their comments and shares.
– Share Link Generator: Creates a shareable link using this website. That increases the chance of link sharing. Here is the sample link (Just click on it and see how it works).
– Pictures / Selfies: Ask attendees to share their pictures and selfies from the event, whether it is before, during or after.
– Videos: Do Facebook live or Youtube Live streaming.
– Incentivize sharing: Give gifts and discounts on sharing of events page on social media.
Staying Connected (Post-Event):
- Gather Feedback about your event, and learn from the same, to make your future attendee-experience even better.
- Encourage attendees to attend again by sharing a small-update on your next event.
free stuff (I will mail you the PPT).
- Conduct a survey to know about what your attendees / potential attendees expect from an event like yours.
- Ask for recommendations/reviews from current attendees, to attract potential attendees.
Q. How do we encourage college students to participate in a technical event?
Ravi: One thing you can do and you should do is keep it extremely budget-friendly. Suppose, the event entry costs INR 1000 for a non-student attendee, then offer a student discount of INR 100 or 200.
You can also talk to multiple college administrations, to see if they’d be willing to sponsor that event. They might also be interested in bulk ticket-purchase for their students and contacts.
Another thing you can do is include events, that come with a certificate, that students can use in their CV during their placements in the future.
Q. How do you target the audience for higher price events? For eg: Professional training events.
Ravi: For a high-priced event, simply push marketing won’t work well. Go inbound, and focus on online branding.
Things to do for brand building :
– Active blogging
– Youtube Videos
– Actively handling Quora, and other frequently visited social media.
You need to do these activities throughout the year – only then will you have people willing to pay a high-price.
Q. Do you take care of answering on Quora, Facebook live, Youtube, etc. or do you have a team?
Ravi: Yes, I have a team. If anyone wants to partake in all of these activities on a scale that I do, they need to have a team.
If you are alone, you can hire some freelancer and leverage them for content. You can also hire some interns for starters. For the content, just provide the pointers to your freelancer and review the content before publishing it – this will save you lots of time.
Q. How do you find other event forums, communities and websites, where are our target audience is present, so that we can promote our event in those circles?
Ravi: Search on google you will find some good options. I would strongly encourage you to attend events where the similar type of things is happening. You will not only learn a lot but also find the time and space to talk about your events.
Q. I tried Facebook advertising for our technical event, and even after investing a good amount of money I managed to get only a few likes and views, and hardly any registrations. Do you think Facebook Ads is a bad idea?
Ravi: Facebook Ads work, but you need to be clear on what you’re trying to achieve from them, for eg: If you are trying to get visibility for your event, Facebook will work very well. Suppose you trying to get likes on your page or group or any post, or looking to share/promote a blog post – Facebook will work perfectly for this – but you need to understand, that when a user comes on Facebook, they don’t intend to buy or join something. So, The ROI of Facebook Ads for sales is rather less.
Q. We are planning to do a webinar? What platforms do you recommend for the same?
Ravi: We are using GoToWebinar.
Here are some other tools you can use:
1. Google+ Hangouts
2. Webinars OnAir
5. Cisco WebEx
6. Adobe Connect
Q. I have done lots of videos on Facebook. Is there any way to shift them on youtube?
Ravi: It is not a good idea to shift the same video on Youtube, from Facebook. You will lose lots of quality in it, first of all. You can however, record a video first and then upload it to both platforms. You can shift Youtube video on Facebook, but there is no way to shift Facebook video to Youtube.
Q. What encourages corporate organizations to sponsor more attendees for any event and seminars?
Ravi: According to our past experience, we had seen that companies that sponsor rubyconf and gopherconf, are basically working on ruby and gopher technology, themselves. So, you should approach or target companies working in the same industry / product, that the event is loosely based on.