Getting more people to attend your mental health event
While I personally am not involved in planning events where I speak, I have heard from many of the people that do that getting one hashed out and realized comes with its own stress and challenges. In order to help with that, here are a few proven tips to get people to your event and make it a success.
Creating short videos are an excellent way to start. In today's digital age people love watching information more than reading it, and in presenting you with a short invitational video, people can already see me and develop a connection.
Moving one step forward, creating and distributing an entire series of short videos on YouTube will help in several ways, such as sharing information in advance, strengthening brand recognition, giving fresh content to older clients/customers while inviting in new ones. This method will also let you have all the information in one place, easily and readily accessible to everyone.
In connection with creating short videos, providing a number of open and free webcasts on your website's homepage can and will reach multiple audiences at any time, giving people a "taste of the conference", Victoria Fanning, Director of Hybrid and Online Meetings at Educause says, and ideally converting them to actual attendees.
Well-done email campaigns are one of the strongest tools for promotion, but they can be even stronger. Instead of sending the same text to everyone, creating several different messages to different segments of your target audience can work wonders. A good example would be the National Business Aviation Association, doing exactly this with great success to promote their conferences and trade shows.
“If you are a pilot, here are the top three reasons you should plan to attend this show. And those may be completely different than the email to the schedulers and dispatchers,“ says Aimee Kaufman, Director of Marketing for the association. “So we are always trying to talk in a targeted way instead of blanketing them with generic messages that may not apply to them.” Kaufman says the marketing message is also different for past attendees versus people who have never attended.
Trend settlers with thousands, often hundreds of thousands of followers, influencers can get you an enormous amount of leads. If they mention you on social media, it will say they trust you, and their followers will as well.
This is an automated - and new - marketing concept, allowing event organizers - among others - to reach people that have previously visited their sites with relevant ads on other sites.
“We have begun using remarketing to promote our events,” Kaufman says. “This means that once they click on any of our Web pages that pertain to that event, a Web banner ad promoting that event will then follow them around—both on our N.B.A.A. website, but also throughout the Web on other websites they visit. We are big proponents that everything we do is about touch points. You want to be in front of them as much as you can, and hopefully one of those touch points will get them to register.”
Recovery stories are touching and important to be heard, but fact is, people nowadays want solutions to their problems, otherwise they will not take time from their schedule. Create sessions that focus on those problems, giving people solutions, so they can have their simple wins. If they just want another recovery story, they can go on YouTube.
Paint a picture
A lot of people don't have an imagination. Show them what they can gain from attending your event. Money, potential clients, knowledge, networking contacts, the list goes on!
Interview your speaker
Your event will have a speaker, or public figure. Hiring a journalist and distributing it digitally - even as a video, again - will help create a connection with your attendees and give them a glimpse of what your event will offer.
Nothing speaks as clearly as empirical data to prove results and success. Using videos, different marketing materials, even word-of-mouth are excellent ways to let people know about your last event and its highlights. Tell people enthusiastically about the details, or your favourite part of the event. Your enthusiasm - along with the facts - will get people to come.
Fun (and games)!
Bluntly put, a lot of mental health events are boring, dry, focusing on negativity in life caused by mental health and disability challenges. Making it about positivity and interlacing games and fun interactions can make it stand out - in the good way.
People love free stuff. Organizing a contest, however simple, a few weeks before the event will create hype and keep people engaged all the way to the event.
As simple as it sounds, adding some information about your event in your mail signatures will let people know about it without being pushy.
Taking it outside the office, you can invite your friends and acquaintances at small gatherings, like a drink at a lounge, while having dinner with them, etc. They will likely be interested.
Using social media effectively can make promoting events a hundred times easier if you know how and what to do. To this end, there are many tools you can make great use of, like Hootsuite, Meet Edgar, Get Response, just to name a few.
Create an event on Facebook before your event, and share this to all the other social media platforms, at the very least Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Also create a hashtag and include it in all of your marketing material, linking them all together. Similarly, put your social media information on all of your promotional material, make it easy for people to find you. Keep it updated and keep it interesting. Use pictures, videos, infographics.
Have a person manage social media throughout the entire event. Keep your audience engaged in conversations, respond to being mentioned, remind attendees to follow your social media, encourage them to create and upload their own content about the event, like photos, videos, their opinions... and to share, of course.
After the event you will want to share all the created content, from photos and videos to experience gained. Thank everyone for attending your event and be enthusiastic. Ask them for their ideas and suggestions for future events, see what they did and didn't like.
As a bonus, you can create a press release and submit it to news media outlets. Television, radio, magazines, newspapers, blogs, you name it! The more channels you have actively promoting your event, the better.