Back in April I attended an event organised by Eventbrite at Google Campus “How to grow your start-up”. The discussion was around how to improve your email marketing strategy, what to consider when hosting an event and lastly increasing your brand awareness with social media. In the following is all you need to know if you want to start or grow your event company or single event.
The format of the event was such that each presenter had 10 minutes to share their insights and speakers were from MailChimp, Eventbrite and Hootsuite.
Growing your business with email marketing
Tom Davies, Partnerships Coordinator at MailChimp joined us via skype. I guess most of you are familiar with MailChimp and even using it. I used it before and have a sign-up widget on my blog where my readers can subscribe to receive notification about my latest articles. It works very effectively and I greatly appreciate this widget! His key message was to focus on quality over quantity of subscribers. If the open rate is low, he recommended deleting inactive accounts and increasing engagement rates of existent audience. While it is important to have a sign-up form on your website, it is even better having a dynamic sign-up form, such as AddThis, which targets return visitors or WisePops, encouraging site visitors to subscribe based on their exit intent.
One of the ways to increase engagement with email marking is by segmenting lists and testing them with sending time, subject line, from, visuals etc.
I give you short overview of my experience with MailChimp. In general I am happy with this platform especially because it is for free and provides comprehensive analytics. Each time I sent out a newsletters I could see immediately who opened or unsubscribed. They offer a variety of templates so you can add images, links to website, social media etc. Very easy to use. The only thing I don’t like is that images don’t open unless you “download” them. You can spend hours on finding the best image and resizing it but if no one opens it is useless. Therefore, I try to avoid images unless I need to incude them (e.g. – maps).
Growing your business with events
Mark Walker, Head of Content Marketing at Eventbrite, talked about how to grow a start-up with events and here the focus was on hosting offline events to accelerate online growth. But what if your start up is an event, or an event company? Maybe for the more experienced among you that would be a common sense and you are doing it already, but for ones new to the industry in the following are some good tips.
For start-ups with low budgets and little time Mark suggested to first of all focus on building relationships F2F and “do things that don’t scale” (quote from Paul Graham). But, when you then want to increase and scale your business, build offline connections and amplify them online on social media, reaching out to people outside the room.
The five essentials for running successful events:
1. Have a clear outcome in mind and don’t do an event for the sake of doing an event. Define what do you care about and have clear objectives – generate leads, educate audience, entertain, grow mailing list etc.
2. Offer value and don’t be self-promotional at the event.
3. Invite influencers to your events, send them personalised invitations, reach out on social media etc. I liked that Mark mentioned it because events industry is very slow to adopt to this marketing trend, as opposed to luxury, travel and fashion, to mention a few.
4. Make it social and easy to remember #hashtag, great photos people want to tag etc. People will share photos they look good on! Yes – need to communicate the Hashtag and the Wifi code everywhere.
5. Make it painless experience to attend your event. If event registration is the first experience for someone with your brand, make this experience count. I absolutely agree here. Sometime I want to register for an event and it sends me to a tedious “event application” process I wander if the organiser wants attendees at all!
I used Eventbrite on multiple occasions already and using it for my current event on Saturday. It is an easy to use platform and what I like the most are the integration widgets on the website and event analytics.
To conclude, people buy from people and that is about experience, relations and connections, both online and offline!
Growing your business with social media
Eléonore Hébrard, Social Media Coach at HootSuite talked about the importance of social media and using it for business growth.
Social media is first of all an effective and low cost way to increase awareness and allows companies to engage directly with their audience.
Her six takeaways were:
1. Social media is an effective and low cost way to increase brand awareness
2. Can find your clients and prospects on social media
3. Can get feedback about your products and services
4. Can identify influencers
5. Can engage with clients and turn them into advocates or ambassadors
6. Learn from your competitors strengths and weaknesses
She concluded, that because start-ups are limited on time and resources, they need to identify where their audience is on social and focus on these few networks. That is very good point I fully agree on. In todays fast pace digital landscape, with new networks emerging, it might be hard knowing which one is the right one for you and how many can you manage! For me I can say I have just time for three networks (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and two occasionally (Pinterest and LinkedIn) – it is very time consuming and requires content adjustment to the platform, too. It is not only broadcasting, and you need to listen even more!
Tools like Hootsuite are available for having access to all social media platforms in one place, scheduling posts, monitoring conversations and collaborating with other team members. I never used it so can’t judge how effective it is, I use TweetDeck which is free of charge.
Social media is the best way to grow your event business and all of the above mentioned tools are excellent assistance. I also think that while there are so many tools available, it is important to keep in mind you will find out what works for you only by continuous testing. It is a never ending learning curve, but fun and rewarding one as well!