We’re not quite sure who came up with the phrase "If you build it, they will come”, but clearly it was not a B2B marketer in the 21st century.
In this era, markets are already saturated, competition is fierce, and people are extremely picky with where they choose to spend their attention and money. There is just no scenario today in which you can organize a user conference, and simply expect people to flock to your proverbial doors.
So, as with all things B2B, you’re going to need a well-thought-out plan, consistent monitoring, quite a lot of co-ordination, and a couple of excel sheets to get the results you want for your user conference, but it’ll be well the effort (just ask anyone who’s won Product Of The Day on Product Hunt #IYKYK). To this end - and to provide you with even bigger results - use the following 6 proven promotional hacks to maximize your event registration and attendance results.
Let’s get started.
Insane Hack #1:Start promoting your user conference 6-8 weeks before the event
Ideally, you need to start about 8 weeks before the date of your event - yes, we know, it’s tempting to think that that’s too early to start talking about the conference, but trust us, the earlier the better. Just ask Haptik!
By choosing your event promotion timeline carefully, you can maximize awareness, and increase attendance at your user conference. Break down action items into monthly, and weekly tasks - this will make it easier to execute, monitor, and optimize. Here’s a sample timeline to follow:
To make sure you’re staying on schedule, create a tracker - we've made a handy one for you here including ready-to-go email templates for all your blasts and follow-ups, thank us later).
Keep an eye on your metrics to see which activities are performing the best so you can double-down on them, and which ones are lagging behind, so you can pay a little more attention to those.
Insane Hack #2: Have event specific branding
Don’t be complacent. It’s tempting to just use the company logo and colors for your event branding, but getting your design team to come up with a unique, event-only brand that stands out is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that your target audience is already attending a couple of events every month - and probably a few every week! Great event branding helps to distinguish yours from all the others out there, and makes the experience cohesive and memorable.
Here are examples of great event branding for user conferences:
The conference brings together IBMers and experts from different fields for a variety of workshops, experiences, networking, talks, and education. The event branding for the conference aims to align with different business units and narratives, but expresses the journey from individual components to large-scale solutions and insightful discoveries.
One of the largest global conferences held, Dreamforce connects their community for three days of learning and sharing knowledge, networking, and getting inspired to ‘blaze their own trail’ - attendees are playfully known as "Trailblazers".
The event branding follows this thread, featuring national park-themed decor and design - tree canopies for a 100ft. forest installation for instance, or staff members dressed up as Park Rangers - that is high-tech, creative, unique, and definitely so distinct that it leaves its competitors in the dust.
The moral of these examples is to go big on your event branding. Sure, it’s more work, but will help you deliver your message more effectively and emotively, and drive the attention and footfall you need.
Insane Hack #3: Show with video
B2B marketers who use videos in their campaigns see a 34% higher conversion rate, so it’s a no-brainer to incorporate them into your promotional activities. And here are even more compelling reasons to use video in your event marketing:
- Adding video to a single promotional event email can increase click rates by 300%
- 7 out of 10 B2B buyers watch a video during the buyer journey
- People are 27 times more likely to click on an ad if its video in comparison to a static banner.
Now that the case for use is quite clear, let’s narrow down the different types of videos you can create to drive interest and engagement:
- Teaser videos: Showcasing what attendees can expect at the event is a great way to leverage FOMO to persuade those on the fence about registering for the conference. These will be especially useful in email marketing.
- Recap videos: If your company has already hosted a user conference, video highlights of the event will remind those who attended the first time around why they should return for the second edition, and via social proof, nudge prospective attendees into registering. A great example of this is Adobe’s Max 2022 hybrid event video recap, which captures the warmth, creativity, energy and community spirit at the event. Watch it here
MozCon’s video recap is another fantastic example, especially since it features testimonials by previous attendees. Watch it here.
- Invitation videos by speakers: Getting your speakers to introduce themselves and what they’ll be discussing at the event can go a long way toward building credibility and confidence in your user conference, and the value attendees can gain by showing up. Here’s an example of this in practice - Emily Kramer, Co-founder of MKT1, introduces herself and invites B2B marketers to join her talk.
The key is to use a variety of video content to attract the attention of your target audience, and then use it to connect with emotion and empathy with prospective attendees.
Insane Hack #4: Make it easy to spread the word
With basics in place such as using an event hashtag in your social media posts, you’ll be able to catapult visibility and awareness of your user conference. But to boost efficacy, use a social wall.
A social wall is a feed of aggregated user-generated content in real-time, pulled from across a variety of social media platforms. Adding it to your conference can pay off seriously down the road.
- Amplifies event reach: Each tweet or post share spotlighted on the social wall motivates attendees to keep posting, which strengthens visibility and awareness.
- Stokes FOMO: Showcasing memorable moments can generate a sense of excitement and urgency, which can entice last-minute holdouts to join the event.
This is one of the easiest tools at your disposal to help you draw more attention, so make sure that your event platform partner has the capability to showcase user-generated content from the event on social media.
Insane Hack #5: Rope in speakers for promotions
We mentioned this earlier in Hack #1 but it bears repeating: your speakers are one of the best event influencers you have at your disposal. Thanks to their credibility and reach, they can be the catalyst that makes your conference the ‘must attend’ event of the quarter. But for this to work, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to promote the conference. Here are a couple of things you can do to that end:
Insane Hack #6: Get CS and Sales teams to reach out to customers and prospects respectively
Create a leaderboard to incentivize sales and customer success to increase the number of registrations for the event.
By adding competition and recognition as additional motivation for sales and customer success colleagues, you can ensure that you’re getting more of the right people to your user conference. And with attribution in place, you can also track which AE was responsible for driving the most attendee registration.
This cross-functional collaboration will help keep the entire company’s eyes on opportunities to rope in more attendees. Alignment across teams is challenging, but one of the most effective ways to improve promotion results.
Protip: Don’t just rely on your CS and Sales team to drive registrations. Get everyone in the company involved! But make it easy on everyone by making a little kit/drive where everyone has easy access - include essentials like creatives they can post, a hashtag they can use.
Promoting your conference effectively requires smart strategy
A clearly defined promotional plan that thoughtfully utilizes your resources is really the key to getting all the right people to your user conference. You may have to tweak your strategy as you go along, but as long as you have a schedule that covers your bases and the backing of different teams in the company, you’ll be able to generate the results you want.
Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.