As the first in a series we’ve been working on for some months for conference organisers, we thought a lot about what first step in their promotion process was. After much debate, we’re happy to announce that we decided to share these ways to reach your target audience for events.
At Tito, one of the best bonuses of working on our event software is the opportunity to see a community of creative and dedicated people bring their visions of delightful experiences to life.
Among Tito customers, some of the most common challenges they come up against are getting the word out about those experiences and getting butts on seats.
The posts in this series will share real-life stories and solutions from Tito customers. Today we’re featuring two women who’ve cracked the code of enjoyable and successful developer events who use the following tactics to ensure an enthusiastic full house:
Build an Online Space for Your Target Audience to Hang Out In
Once you’ve started to get to know the folks who are interested in the topic your event addresses and the conversations that surround it, building a place for your target audience for events to hang out outside of the event is a great way to keep them connected. One shining example of this is the community engagement Ministry of Testing have with their attendees from around the world.
“We’re lucky because we have our platform, our Dojo. It’s a learning platform and the videos from all the talks from all our events go up there afterwards. We have around 20,000 to 30,000 people subscribed to that who consent to us sending them specific messages.”
Similar to Sunny’s advice on the use of social media to get in touch with meetup members, Heather advocates using them as a way to stay connected after you first get in contact.
“We’re also quite active on Twitter and LinkedIn and there’s a Facebook group as well. We also have a group of meetups around the world.”
“The last time I checked, I think we had 60 meetups.”
While you might not quite have the bandwidth to run groups globally for everyone who’s interested in your topics, getting involved with the target audience for your events whom you’ve previously connected with can really help you grow your community.
“We work with the people involved in those to help us promote our events, specifically if they’re local. So, say if it was an event in Brighton, we would target Brighton and the London groups and say if you send an email to your meetup subscribers you’ll get a discount code to send to them to attend our event.”
Turn to Existing Communities First
Sunny Leggett from Zero Slope Events
“For a lot of the conferences we have planned, the communities already exist.”
Sunny got into events because of her love of helping local tech communities. She runs Zero Slope Events and works with lots of clients in the developer space and she recommends working with pre-existing communities that are passionate about the event topics to build a successful conference brand.
“The ideal attendee is one that is passionate about what that conference surrounds. So for ng-conf we’re looking at Angular developers from entry level folks to CEOs that are excited to learn more about that framework or are interested in networking with other Angular developers.
“When we’re planning a conference we try to be inclusive and conscious about content and activities that will appeal to the whole crowd. The main way that we promote our conference is by getting email sign-ups from people that are interested from our website or reaching out to already established meetups.”
“We’ll find meetups that have the same kind of attendee that we’re looking for and we’ll offer them a discount or group rate.”
“React Conf is the official React conference of Facebook. The React team has a great following. The Angular group already has a great following as well, so we tap into that too. For local events like Utah.js we utilise meetups.”
When it comes to reaching out to their target audience for events, Sunny and her team make use of social media and some paid channels to connect.
“This year we have started using Facebook and we’re using Twitter a lot. We tweet a lot about tickets. We’ve done some Stack Overflow ads. Usually we use a banner ad including keywords that developers that come to our conferences would search for online. Then those interested parties click through to our website to learn more, and go from there.”
Continuously Provide More Value
Saron Yitbarek from Codeland
Once you’ve found your audience, and found how to connect with them, whether that’s online or offline, it’s important to keep them interested, and to continue to provide value to them. Codeland is a conference that aims to be inclusive of developers of all levels and backgrounds.
As well as the thrilling events that come under that banner, Saron Yitbarek and her team aim to share actionable insights with the community they’ve built over the years in a few different ways.
“We can use our own channels to spread the word about the conference because we’ve been building this community for a while now. We can use our podcast and our mailing list. We might start doing some paid advertising this year. We might end up partnering with some other organisations like Free Code Camp, or Treehouse or Skill Crush to help us promote things if they’re willing to do that.
“Our newsletter looks like a list of resources. We divide it up into a few categories. We try to have a couple things that are inspirational; that get people excited and pumped. And we have a list of resources that are more actionable. Then we have resources that are more fun and interesting. Then we have a thank-you to our sponsors as well.”
“We try to focus on having quality content first and then everything else follows after that.”
As we continue down the path of exploring how contemporary, successful organisers have innovated in the space of sales and marketing for events, we’ll be covering topics like ticket pricing, event page SEO, social media, CFPs and many things in between. If you’re interested in receiving email updates about our blog posts, you can subscribe below.