7 Elements that need to be considered in the digital marketing of Events

08 September 2016

Business events are getting more and more digital. This is especially true for the marketing of these events, where’s no longer any question whether to use digital channels, but rather “how much digital" to use in the mix. Despite this enthusiasm digital marketing offers no guarantee of success.

As the only provider that combines event management software and a business network, XING Events (www.xing-events.com) allows organisers to gain targeted access to over 10 million XING members in German-speaking countries. By taking into consideration the personal networks and profile information from its Xing members the platform can generate meaningful and individualised recommendations for individuals out of the 150,000 events listed annually. 

Prof. Cai-Nicolas Ziegler, CEO of XING Events GmbH gives a summary of what he has learned from the marketing of (business) events on XING.

The 7 major insights into digital marketing for events

1. Made with dedication and care simply gets you the most clicks

The most successful Events on XING (measured by clicks) are those that were created manually with care and attention to detail. That includes an appealing header image and logo, and all the important information. This must be done in conjunction with other supporting marketing activities such as advertisements, personal invitations or recommendations. Since the dwell time on these types of pages is significantly higher than in auto-populated we decided to no longer offer the uploads API to organisers of large events.

2. Personal relationships are the engine for successful referrals and traffic

When receiving an invitation, the relationship with the person sending the invite often counts more than the content and theme of the event. This knowledge resulted from an analysis on the XING events market, where we compared small events that personally know their invitees,  with larger organized groups of events, without personal contact to the person sending the invitations. To support this behaviour we have remodeled the way the Xing Eventmarket works to make it as easy as possible for targeted users to forward an event invite to other connections within their own personal network, hence enabling a form of viral marketing. Specifically we now offer more functions to send targeted messages to "contacts to invite" or share the participation in an event with their own network.

3. Direct rapid responses create satisfied users

XING members used to receive a lot of invitations, which led to very low response to invitations (ISR) rates. We’ve since added a feature where directly from an invitation the sender can be blocked. This had a significant positive impact on the ISR, as users were “empowered” to manage the communications they received.

4. "In dubio per user" for paid products pays off in the long term - for the platform and the organizer

With Event Plus we offer organisers the ability to see which XING members looked at their events, when and how often. Details such as name, location and contact information help the organisers to qualify the leads and to get a better overview. However, there is explicitly no functionality to send a targeted bulk message to all visitors. It is only possible to invite these visitors individually and with a personal message. These gates are important, because the organisers must think carefully and in advance which members would be suitable for their event and what content might be relevant to the invitee.

5. Combination of events and groups is not automatic, but can be very powerful

In discussions with our organisers, we are acutely aware that there’s great desire to engage attendees year round with information, in order to generate enthusiastic, engaged, repeat visitors. Technically, this is easily achieved with XING, but simply having a large number of group members does not automatically build the critical mass of the community. The key learning here is, that organisers create fewer groups who’s content / name and purpose is the event, but rather the subject matters that make up the core of the event. These topics, tracks and themes are what group members are interested in.  A music conference and tradeshow is hence best served to create communities around music trends and not the music conference as such. These groups must also be actively managed in order to be successful, and moderation can be very complex and time consuming.

6. Linking of content wherever possible

A purely event-centred communication, for example the use of newsletters, recommendations, etc., is good, but even better is the integration of the event content in other contexts, that make sense. Again, rarely is the user is interested in an event as such, but their key for attending is the theme behind the event or the people at this event. With this in mind, XING Events has, started curating and producing industry newsletters with event highlights as well as showcasing the event participants as part of the event summary screen in the XING event market.

7. The best advocate for an event ... is the organizer

The purchase decision at events is a process that requires a lot of compelling content and many messages over a longer period. Therefore, XING can assist the organiser in providing and creating tools that give the organiser an easy way to access and communicate with relevant event participants. He can then use this account to craft and shape the communication with future attendees and establish a real dialogue. This works much better than if this task is outsourced to XING

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