Does Your Associations’ Website Meet 2019 Standards?

When it comes to marketing for associations, having a website and online presence strategy allows you to market your association online. This allows you to engage with a wider audience and to establish credibility as an organisation. Are you planning on creating a new site or updating your current one soon? If so, there are a few essential aspects to be mindful of. Staying up-to-date with the latest web design trends is critical to the success of your website. Will your associations’ website meet 2019 standards? To do so, you will need to deliver on user experience, prioritizing speed and mobile design. Other trends include striking and simple designs with asymmetrical layouts, micro-animations, and many more. For the purpose of this article, we will only be highlighting the major trends that will affect marketing for associations.

Flat Design

This is a minimalist design approach. It utilises clean and open space, straightforward two-dimensional illustrations and brilliant colours. The reason behind this approach is due to the need for fast-loading websites. Users do not like to be kept waiting – we have very little patience when it comes to browsing the internet. Loading time can severely affect your bottom line, or in your case, the conversion of a prospect member to an official member.

According to Akamai, 53% of visits to mobile sites are abandoned after 3 seconds. Further to this, simple design, if done well is always attractive. It reduces the clutter that more detailed, intricate designs bring. Flat design leads to your important information being at the focal point of your site.  So, this year, go for a more rudimentary approach.

Bots and Machine Learning

Conversing with bots has become standard for us now. Last year saw substantial progress in artificial intelligence and the capabilities of bots. Multiple businesses are benefiting from incorporating bots into their web design. These benefits include more convenience for their users because of instant responses that filter their issues, directing them to appropriate contacts. What this does is save time for your audience, connecting you instantly with your prospects. More organisations in the MICE industry should be incorporating machine learning into their web design. This would be for the purpose of member satisfaction and member acquisition. Satisfied prospects can directly lead to membership.

Mobile-Enabled

Mobile search has now become the highest search form across the word. In fact, Google now prioritizes mobile sites over sites that aren’t mobile-friendly in terms of the sites they index. To stay on-trend, associations need to start by designing their sites for the mobile user first. This should prioritise creating a version that will be compatible for desktop.

Not only will it help with SEO, but it will make your site user-friendly for all members, no matter the device they use.

Micro-Animations

Micro-animations are an effectual way of providing an intuitive and satisfying experience to your user. By including simple animations that help the user understand the site showing them that they are navigating your site correctly. This can be a simple change of colour when the hover over an icon or more information expanding when they hover over a word such as a drop-down menu. These animations keep the user engaged – resulting in lower bounce-rate and higher conversions. Strive to make your site as immersive as possible, enriching the experience of the user.

In 2019, we will see websites become flatter and more striking in design. In addition, websites will push for ultimate accessibility and quicker response times. Having a modern on-trend site is one thing but for the purpose of marketing for associations, this needs to be combined with an in-depth, targeted digital marketing strategy to get the right people to your site. For a full digital transformation, get in touch with me. I deliver results for stakeholders within the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Event Industry as well as for Associations and SMBs

Influencer Marketing In The Meetings Industry

There are three reasons why you would be in search of marketing tips and ideas as an association; to attract new members, to acquire event attendees or to attract sponsors. These three factors combined are the foundation of any successful association and any successful event. There are many marketing techniques at your disposal. But in the age of the influencer, it strikes me as peculiar that influencer marketing is greatly absent in the MICE industry. Influencer marketing is a hyper-trend used by a broad spectrum of companies, from tech giants and start-ups to fashion houses and food companies. In the meetings industry, however, we are only just starting to catch on.

In a survey conducted by EventMB’s 2018 State of the Event Industry which had 2,223 respondents, a mere 24.6 per cent of planners stated that they are considering investing in influencer marketing, while 32.6 percent said they do not intend to at all, which left 42.8 per cent of them stating they have no idea.

I believe that influencer marketing is the future of the meetings industry and I will tell you why. First off, for those who are unaware of what influencer marketing is:

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a variety of marketing where the focus is on influential people rather than on a brands target market as a whole across social media. It is the utilisation of individuals who have influence over potential customers for marketing purposes.

Genuine influence

Now, the difference between paid advertising and influencer marketing is that the latter has an invested audience whom they have accumulated organically.

Their audience is made up of individuals that respond to the content they share. Not only that, but the content shared shapes their perceptions, moulding their personal goals, ambitions and perception of true living.

How does this pertain to the meetings industry?

Through the use of influencers, associations and event planners can tap into a niche, industry-specific markets. The markets you need to speak to and engage in order to garner new members and event attendees. By utilising certain influencers, you will be targeting an audience that is already active and receptive to certain subjects.

By harnessing these already established relationships, it will stretch your social media reach further than simply posting content online and setting up a paid advertising strategy to support it. Associations need reach, and influencers have it – genuine reach. Meeting planners need to engage attendees, and influencers can do it on their behalf.

What does this mean?

With credible influencers, their audiences will more than likely lap up any information by that particular individual. So, this means better results. Even though you will pay for it, the reach is much more credible and authentic than simply setting up paid advertisements.

According to Word of MICE, 81% of consumers’ purchase decisions are directly influenced by social media posts. The meeting industry is slowly catching on in terms of realising where their audiences reside. However, they need to make up for lost time concerning the benefits of influencer marketing.

Now, let us delve a little deeper.

Influencers share their experiences and products. They generate and post creative content through a wide array of platforms such as video, blog, social media posts etc in order to raise awareness or foster interest in their activities and interests, tapping into a like-minded community.

Therefore, influencers form part of the community that they engage with and act as a reliable connection between brands and consumers. They provide a practical perspective to their network. It is a combination of marketing and PR, except more human.

How do you find influencers for the meetings industry?

This is reliant on what type of event you are going to organise and manage. Some events may require micro-influencers which are more niche for accessing more specialised markets.

If you are hosting an event that is more general and business orientated, these influencers could be on LinkedIn. In order to source such individuals, you will need to conduct extensive research. Look for individuals who share articles on best practices and trends or have active, engaging conversations online that are relevant to the industry you are targeting.

Tools for identifying influencers

Technology offers a vast range of innovative social tools that will help you to not only identify and engage with credible, industry-specific influencers but also help you build, organise and track an identification strategy. Influencers can be just as, if not more effective than a revered industry spokesperson with regards to attracting interest in your meeting. This is of course down to their authenticity, relevance and following.

Potential attendees of an event or meeting are often looking for reassurance from people they trust before committing. You will discover that there are authentic, powerful individuals out there that are passionate about elevating the profile of the meetings industry. It is just a matter of finding and building mutually beneficial relationships with them.

If you are looking for expert advice on event planning and management, get in touch with me today. We offer solutions specifically tailored to multiple sectors in the MICE Industry.

2019 Exhibition Marketing Template

Whether you are a business exhibiting your brand at a trade show, or a professional conference organiser arranging an exhibition for a client, the key to your success lies in your planning – that’s why you need an exhibition marketing plan template to guide you.

In this blog, we outline the importance of marketing for your exhibition, how crucial it is to plan that marketing activity and finally, we share an exhibition marketing plan template for you to download and use for your 2019 exhibitions.

 

Exhibitions have stood the test of time and even in 2019, are one of the best face-to-face marketing channels for several industries and businesses. Exhibitions offer the perfect opportunity for brands to engage with their customers, suppliers and potential partners.

Preparing for your exhibition is no walk in the park and involves a lot of moving parts! Decisions and arrangements need to be made around your exhibit design, stand management, set-up logistics, operations and much more. One key item you need to plan for is your exhibition marketing.

 

Marketing your exhibition:

Marketing before your exhibition starts is key. Regardless of what you have prepared for your exhibition, if there are no attendees or guests do not know about your exhibit, all your hard work and preparation will be wasted.

You want attendees to come to your stand with intention and interest, rather than stumbling across it or worse – not coming across it at all. Putting together an exhibition requires a lot of energy and resources. You’ll want to make sure that you make the most of the opportunity by getting the right guests to attend, allowing you to have those valuable conversations and showcase your brand.

These are the three important stages when marketing for your exhibition:

  • Pre-exhibition marketing: Marketing efforts ahead of the exhibition to generate interest and encourage visitors
  • Live exhibition marketing: Marketing efforts that take place during the exhibition to attract guests to your exhibit and encourage other last-minute guests to attend
  • Post-exhibition marketing: Marketing efforts that happen after the event to leverage the full impact and brand benefits of the event

Each of these stages requires different marketing activities to support them. In today’s digital era, much of the activity will be online marketing. In order to manage and effectively action the various activities, you need to prepare a plan.

 

Planning your marketing for your exhibition:

We can all agree on the importance of marketing your exhibition – but how does one go about actually carrying out that marketing? What marketing should be done? Which channels should you use? What exhibition marketing timeline should you follow?

Creating a solid plan for your exhibition marketing will help you to clearly define and manage your marketing goals for the exhibit, ensuring that there are actionable steps to take for each marketing activity. Creating an exhibition marketing plan will also allow you to assign various tasks to different team members and make sure that everyone is pushing towards the same objectives for the event. The plan should detail what activities will be done, what the purpose of each activity is and what they hope to achieve, deadlines and who is responsible for each task.

2019 Exhibition Marketing Template:

We’ve looked at the importance of marketing your exhibition and have discussed why it’s important to plan that marketing activity. Now, all you need is a marketing plan template to guide you.

Overall Objectives:

To start off, you need to be clear on what your goals are for the exhibition. Do you want to have valuable conversations with new suppliers and build stronger relationships with current suppliers? Are you looking to generate new, quality leads?

It’s important for your marketing plan to begin with some measurable goals. This will make sure that the marketing activity you undertake supports reaching those goals.

Budget:

Secondly, your plan should detail a budget for marketing activity. This will ensure that your marketing activity is the most economical choice considering your resources.

Team:

Assigning responsibilities to various people on your team is a great way to ensure that things get done on time. Your marketing plan should detail which team members are working on marketing your exhibition and be clear on who is responsible for what.

Pre-exhibition marketing:

These activities need to create awareness for your exhibition. Your target audience, be it your customers, suppliers, partners or other industry stakeholders need to know about your exhibition. They need to be excited by the event and be encouraged to come and visit your brand.

Live exhibition marketing:

Once the exhibition starts, your marketing efforts do not stop. At the exhibition, there is a wealth of opportunity for you to market your brand. From creating and sharing content from the exhibit to engaging with attendees online, this key stage must be used to its full potential.

Post exhibition marketing:

Once the exhibition is over, your marketing efforts should not yet end. After the exhibition, you have the perfect time to consolidate your time and experience, sharing that with your audiences and aiming to extend the reach and impact of the event as far as possible.

Performance:

Lastly, your plan needs to detail how you will measure the success of your exhibition. Having these Key Performance Indices (KPIs) in mind while planning and carrying out your marketing will keep you focused on the end goals.

Exhibition marketing ideas:

The activities you choose for each stage of the marketing plan need to effectively reach your target audience and incite action from them. You need to think of clever exhibition marketing ideas that will catch the attention of potential guests and encourage them to attend.

Not sure which marketing activities you should put into each stage in the template? Here’s a list of some great resources that share excellent exhibition marketing ideas.

 

So, there you have it. Exhibition marketing plays such an important role in the success of your event, and ultimately, your brand. We’re sure that you are aware that some of these tasks can take up a lot of your time. That’s where we are come in to assist. At FM Waechter, we have built up valuable connections within the MICE industry and the digital marketing arena. We understand the challenges that businesses big and small face. So, why not get in touch with us here. We would love the opportunity to see how we can help your brand.

6 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your Digital Marketing for An Event

Are you doing your own digital marketing for an event, conference or association? If you’re a Digital Marketing Director or CEO, chances are you are currently responsible for this or at least have been before. I understand how stressful this can be and are aware of the complexities it entails.

In the modern climate, many corporations, associations and destination bureaus are being faced with over-burdened staff and diminishing spend. Not to mention a lack of expertise or know how in the rapidly changing digital sphere.

As a result, many of them have had to reassess their event strategies, thus turning to outsourcing for their event marketing needs.

There’s a wide array of benefits when it comes to outsourcing a digital marketing company to manage your event requirements. This is because running an event is an intricate and expensive undertaking so the preparation and management of every detail count, especially when it comes to foot traffic, the overall success of your event, and maximising your budget.

How do you know when to outsource? Have you thought about the reason as to why one would? Here are our 8 reasons why you should outsource your digital marketing for an event from this moment onward.

Save time

This one is seemingly obvious but if you outsource your digital marketing needs to an agency that does it for multiple clients daily, you’ll save so much time because of their experience, the number of people that will be working on your event simultaneously and their ability to get tasks done quickly and efficiently.

Agencies are also aware of all the added value you can acquire through digital marketing and are experts at implementing strategies in order to do so – getting you more for your money, more out of the timeframe and adding to the experience with content creation ideas.

Reduce costs

This also means a decrease in expenditure. Getting more done in less time because of able bodies and experience means getting the most out of your budget. As the saying goes, time is money and you’ll find that by using a digital marketing agency, you’ll save more money than you ever anticipated.

Think about if you had to go at it alone. You’d have to hire several experts to help you action strategies effectively and efficiently. With a digital marketing agency, the package or hours you pay for will cover the huge cost of attempting it internally, never mind the tedious task of having to brief new employees on your vision. Their staff already have the depth of skills needed which means no HR headaches either.

Tap into industry experience

By outsourcing to a digital marketing company, you’ll be tapping into years’ worth of collective experiences such as using content marketing methods, video and social media marketing which is backed by professional data analytics to gain trust from your attendees. At FM Waechter, targeted, interactive and measurable promotion are used for events.

These include:

An in-depth digital marketing plan is the foundation of a successful event and achieving your goals in terms of interest and numbers through the door.

Focus on your core business

When the digital marketing aspect of your event is covered, it gives you the time to focus and expand upon the things that you do best. By freeing up internal resources, you will effectively be enabling your team to be able to focus on the areas where they maximise their time.

As you’ll be well aware of, a successful event demands a detailed master plan and a timeline and budget that is followed strictly. This pertains to the practical, physical side of the event. By outsourcing your digital marketing, you and your team will be able to focus on these defining aspects.

Creativity

Digital marketers are creatives. They are capable of marketing your event or conference in an authentic, captivating, and compelling way. They will also do so objectively; sometimes one can be too close to the project. Never underestimate an outside perspective on your ideas.

Expert digital marketers will assist in making the event a success because they have a world of ideas and industry insight. Further to this, they execute these ideas and strategies with a marketing mindset and instinct toward your expectation and vision.

Learn from them

When you outsource your digital marketing, these individuals will become your partners in strategizing. They will work with your people on a daily basis. This will result in your staff learning crucial methods from them. This can only be a positive thing for building the expertise of your internal resources and may just save you money further down the line.

 

Conclusion

With so much on your plate and so much to be offered by outsourcing this critical element of you event, why hesitate? Speak to a specialist in digital marketing for events immediately! For advice, solutions and ideas on how to make the most of the opportunities that Digital Marketing offer your event, get in touch with us!

5 Effective Techniques to Market Your Conference on Facebook

 
One of the biggest challenges for any conference or event organiser is ensuring good ROI. Also, making sure that their event is well attended and supported.
 
Achieving this is easier said than done. Yet, are you taking advantage of one of the largest opportunities for getting the attendance, return and support? You need this to make your event a success.
 
Using Facebook to correctly market your event at precise times is a great way to get started.
 
Marketing events on Facebook can prove to be incredibly effective. Given the size and nature of Facebook, it can be the ideal tool to improving your returns. According to WebHosting.com, Facebook has 2.23 billion active monthly users, making it by far the largest social network globally. Additionally, they state that as of May 2018, there were 80 million Business pages on the platform.
 
With so many opportunities to engage, communicate and share with an audience, it is the perfect place to promote your upcoming event.
 
In the current digital age, social media platforms are one of the most effective ways to create awareness around events. With that in mind, here are five effective ways to take advantage of Facebook marketing for your next event:
 

Increase Your Reach and Attendance With a Facebook Event

 
This quick and easy step is essential to making the most out of Facebook for your conference as it will help with overall awareness.
 
After setting up the event, choose the right event name, cover image and then add the relevant details. Don’t forget to convey the right message about your event to your audience. Be mindful of the information you provide. Ensure to include your ticketing link so that it is easy for your audience to book their spot.
 
When you create your event, you will be able to invite attendees from your Facebook friends list. A great tactic is to incentivise fellow industry experts or speakers at the event to invite their own friends or connections.
 
This will ensure that your organic reach is far wider, appealing to people who are likely interested in your event.
 
Additionally, when someone is invited to an event by someone they know and respect, it makes them significantly more likely to sign up and attend.
 
Another great feature of Facebook events is that those who RSVP as “going” or “interested” will receive regular reminders as your conference draws closer.
 
However, the most valuable benefit of creating a Facebook event is the free newsfeed placements that your attendees generate.
 
When an individual accepts the invite to your event, it is automatically posted to their wall. As a result, their friends’ timeline, has greater organic reach for your event.
 

Create Facebook Content that Promotes Your Conference

 
Social Media is most effective when it is in fact social. Avoid using aggressive and direct sales techniques. Rather communicate the value that your conference can add to those who attend it. By giving them an indication of how they can benefit, they are far more likely to express interest or attend.
 
When it comes to conferences, an effective technique for communicating value is by sharing content from previous conferences. Alternatively, provide a taste of what attendees can expect.
 
Communicating what they will take away or stand to gain from attending your conference is a great strategy to attract attendees. Information from speakers or key topics that can create discussions online are great sources of content.
 

Target Interested Audiences With Facebook Ads

 
Due to updated algorithms and Facebook’s changing privacy settings, it is harder than ever for content to be seen organically. Simply put, there is very little chance of someone who does not already like your Facebook page seeing your content organically.
 
Running ads and promoting your event on Facebook allows you to reach more people and even sell tickets to your conference or event.
 
The convenience factor when it comes to buying a ticket can be the difference between a ticket sold and an empty seat at your conference. So, keep this in mind when promoting your event. All you need is a few clicks on your event page to make a booking. Setting this up is relatively simple and the benefits can exceed your expectations!
 
If you’re looking for increased awareness among people interested in your event, a targeted Facebook advert will help you reach them. Ensure you include all the information that your event can offer them!
 
Whilst Facebook advertising can be competitive, the right balance of accurate targeting and excellent content can yield results far more effectively than traditional marketing.
 

Cultivate Organic Awareness of your Event

 
Although paid advertising is powerful, organic awareness is just as efficient if you can get it right. Why not recruit your followers and partners to help with awareness?
 
This is achievable by enabling affiliates the opportunity to share and connect. If you have speakers or conference partners, ask them to invite their followers. Provide them with everything they’ll need in order to do so. This will take little effort from their side while boosting their credibility among their own followers. It’s a mutually beneficial method.
 
Additionally, start a conversation. Include the social handles of your speakers within your event description. Attendees or potential attendees can then converse with your speakers or partners about the content of your upcoming conference. You can even go so far as to create an authentic hashtag for your event.
 

Use Testimonials As Marketing Content

 
The value in testimonials is boundless. Having customer reviews of your event is a brilliant idea. It can resonate with visitors who are unfamiliar with your conference or business.
 
Include statements that epitomise the excitement of future speakers and past attendees. More so, loyal attendees that are enthusiastic about your upcoming conference.
 
Use them to create visual content to share on your conference’s event page. You can easily do this by using a graphic-design tool website.
 
Testimonials can be incredibly persuasive marketing tools for influencing potential attendees’ decisions to sign up for your event. It’ll also increase your credibility.
 
If you’re looking for more specific advice or need some help with marketing your conference get in touch with us.

How To Make Facebook Ads Work For You

More than 3 million companies now advertising on Facebook, a figure that suggests that Facebook ads can complement the online marketing strategy of every business. When properly designed and managed, Facebook ads can give your company exposure to a global audience, boost lead generation, and improve SEO ranking in a very cost-effective way. But how exactly can you achieve this? This is your starter guide to making Facebook ads work for you.

Related: 5 Effective Techniques to Market Your Conference on Facebook

Do’s And Dont’s Of Facebook Ads

Facebook ads can be a fantastic opportunity for business owners who want to get their brand message out there. Here are some best practices to ensure you make the most of Facebook’s targeting capabilities and create an ad campaign that works.

DONT’S

  • Don’t skimp on research: Researching your audience is a must before you even start thinking about how the ad will look like. Facebook’s advertising platform is only as precise as your knowledge of your audience! The same applies to the campaign’s goals, which should be research-based and specific.
  • Don’t stick to the same ad format: Facebook ads come in more than ten formats, from full-screen videos to carousel ads, so don’t be afraid to create variations of the same ad and use a format that resonates with your target audience.
  • Don’t overwhelm the audience: Social media users have a preference for visual content and not so much for written text, so use carefully chosen visuals and don’t bombard the audience – think quality vs quantity.
  • Don’t forget the call-to-action: No ad is compelling enough unless it ends with a clear call-to-action. This motivates viewers to take action, whatever that action may be (sign up to a newsletter, grab an offer, make a purchase, app download, etc.).

DO’S

  • Define the campaign: Use the ad account interface to set the campaign’s goals, start and end dates.
  • Define your audience. Facebook offers a wealth of targeting options within its advertising platform, but you will need to know which demographics make sense for each campaign. Targeting can be very broad from everyone on the social network to people who have liked your page, or custom audiences. You can create a custom audience based on their location, age, gender, interests by keyword, etc. The general rule of thumb is to start small and gradually broaden audience characteristics as you test the ad’s effectiveness. Moreover, targeting small groups is cheaper., so this is how you want to get started.
  • Make use of the advanced budget feature: This not only lets you allocate a budget to the advertising campaign, but also to schedule when you want the ads to appear based on the time when your audience is likely to be online. You can also use this feature to specify whether you prefer to be charged based on the number of impressions (the times an ad is shown) or post engagement.
  • Choose a suitable ad format: You can find a few basic guidelines here. Bear in mind that Facebook has specific requirements regarding the size, file format, word count, etc. of the ad’s photos and copy. Here’s a cheat sheet that you may find useful.
  • Get the copy right. There are dozens of copywriting formulas out there, but it’s best to keep it simple with something like the AIDA formula:
    • Attention: grab the viewer’s attention with a compelling headline
    • Interest: the ad should make it clear that your product/service is going to do for your target users
    • Desire: bring proof of benefits (short testimonials), or mention offers and special rates
    • Action: tell viewers what they need to do next
  • Test and re-test: A/B testing is the cornerstone of modern content marketing. The beauty of social media is you can test in real time and make changes to ensure every ad is an opportunity for business growth. Simply put, A/B testing means you create two versions of the same ad (A and B), create two custom audiences, ensure they are shown a different version of the ad, and measure their responses. You then modify the ads accordingly, for example by experimenting with predominant background or image colours, headlines, typography, call to action, etc.
  • Track the campaign’s performance: You can do this by looking at:
    • Ad or video views
    • Total Reach
    • Engagement metrics (likes, comments, and shares), although bear in mind that getting more likes doesn’t necessarily mean getting more exposure or conversions since usually, people like a page or an ad and rarely revisit it, unless there was something that was especially attention-grabbing.
    • Website click-through rates and redirects to your business site
    • Enquiries or direct messages received
    • How many of these interactions end up with a sale (conversions)

Related: Content Performance Marketing: Making the Right Choices at the Right Times

  • Rotate the ad: One of the reasons why Facebook ads always don’t work is because the audience can become saturated quickly. This means you will need to have a variety of ads ready and change them every 7 to 14 days to reduce what is known as ad fatigue. To do this, Facebook experts recommend creating ad sets consisting of approximately five ads each. The specific rotation details will be ultimately determined by click-through rates or other metrics like the ones listed above, which can be accessed via the Actions tab in the Ad Manager dashboard. If something doesn’t work, change it, change the frequency, or do both.
  • Stay up-to-date with current trends: Things change fast in the world of online advertising, so it’s vital to know what drives your target audience at any given point. Some important Facebook advertising trends to keep in mind during 2018 include:

Conclusion

Advertising on Facebook is an excellent way of generating exposure, loyalty, and brand awareness. To make Facebook ads work for you, make sure to design a data-driven and visually appealing ad campaign that resonates with your target audience — or even better, get a professional digital marketer plan and manage the campaign for you.

Frank M. Waechter | fmwaechter.com
Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Growth Marketing, Data Analytics for the Meetings Industry, Events Industry and Associations. Conference and Event Activation, Live Marketing, Onsite Engagement.
Carrer del Mestre Joan Corrales 107-109 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 691 328 572

© 2015-2019 fmwaechter.com

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