Distributing Influence to Build Attendance
Distributing Influence to Build Attendance22-May-2018
By Kristin Veach
Rachel Stephan, senior event marketing strategist at sensov/ event marketing, has spent the last 17 years helping event professionals and associations promote their conferences and congresses. One of the most effective event promotion strategies she’s found has been using influencers to spread the word within their networks.
Now with snöball, Stephan is on a mission to amplify the word-of-mouth effect and put the power of influencer marketing into the organizer’s hands. But rather than limit the number of influencers to a select few people with large social followings, snöball lets many individuals associated with the event distribute influence.
Boosting returns with influencers
Social media has shifted the balance of power between customers and brands. A study by Nielsen found 92 percent of consumers trust peer recommendation – while only 33 percent trust advertising.
Using Influencers – those who have the ability to influence the behavior or opinion of others – makes sense in today’s selfie, sharing, social society. Besides increasing reach and buzz, influencer marketing boosts returns too.
According to an infographic by St. Joseph Communications, influencer marketing results in an ROI 11 times higher on average than that of traditional marketing methods, such as TV, print, and desktop ads.
And, the infographic points out, for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, brands are earning $6.50 in return.
But unfortunately in the past, event organizers wanting to utilize an influencer marketing strategy have had to rely on manual processes like sending out one-off emails from speakers, exhibitors and other influencers to prospective attendees. And there’s been no way to track the results of those initiatives.
Stephan says that’s why snöball was born, “Designed just for organizers and planners, it makes it easy for everyone to spread the word in their networks.”
Creating a snowball effect
Recognizing our society is incredibly socially-oriented opens up a wealth of influencer opportunities at events. Unlike brands who typically just rely on celebrities, organizers and planners can tap into a much larger crowd of attendees, speakers and exhibitors to help share information about an event.
And since our society has become more accustomed to sharing, all of these event influencers also feel compelled to share with their networks – whether it’s to experience gratification, build credibility across their peer group, or just leverage the power of FOMO (fear of missing out).
If an event organizer can give all of these event influencers a tool that helps them to be more valuable to their peers and colleagues, these influencers can help grow the community around the event.
In doing so, event organizers and planners can acquire new attendees previously unknown to them. As these new attendees then spread the word to their circles and networks, the reach keeps growing and expanding – what Stephan calls the snowball effect. And that’s also why the name snöball is particularly fitting for her new platform.
How influencer marketing tech works
snöball is part of a growing stack of event marketing automation technologies designed to drive more registrations.
Here’s how snöball works:
- An organizer or planner completes a simple Excel spreadsheet with five fields and provides the file to snöball.
- Any influencer associated with an event – attendee, speaker, exhibitor or sponsor – receives a fully customizable landing page unique to each individual’s name and role at the event. The landing pages are tailored with each event’s key message and information.
- Then, an automated email campaign is sent to each event influencer. Each email contains pre-written email and social media content, and other shareable assets that the influencers can copy and paste to share. Everything is pre-written and completely customized so it’s a snap for the influencers to share.
- All activities are tracked and monitored so organizers and planners can track conversion rates and outcomes from the influencer campaign.
snöball has been partnering with dozens of associations and organizers so far, including working with AssociationSuccess.org to boost registration for their Surge Virtual Summit. snöball was rolled out in just two days to nearly 1,000 Surge Virtual Summit participants worldwide. And with 24 hours, because of the snowball effect, they received 100 new registrations. It kept building from there. But in total, more than 10 percent of the total Virtual Summit registrations came from snöball.
Stephan explains several reasons why an event tech like snöball is so powerful. First, just like what happened with the Surge Virtual Summit, “it’s designed to amplify reach and connect with a new audience that a planner or organizer doesn’t normally have access to.”
Second, is the fact that everything is automated and affordable. “No one has the time or budget to customize and create potentially thousands of landing pages,” says Stephan. All an organizer or planner needs to do is complete a simple Excel spreadsheet and snöball handles the rest of the outreach and content creation.
And most importantly, because every single snöball page has tracking, it becomes very clear who an event’s top influencers are. That knowledge is particularly beneficial for organizers and planners from a promotion standpoint. “We’ve seen clients gamify and incentivize the process, which increases the competitiveness to share,” says Stephan.
Beyond individual success for organizers and planners, snöball has been racking up awards too. The platform was awarded “Best Use of PR” among all of the exhibitors at ibtm world 2017.
And snöball was recently chosen as one of four winning technology companies in the Start Up Clinic Class of 2018, a new initiative by UBM, Visit and Poken by GES, Episode 1, EasyFairs and Event Tech Lab to mentor and help develop the next generation of successful event technology companies.
The future of event promotion
While email and direct mail remain the most-utilized event promotion strategies, organizers should take a page from our social-sharing obsessed society. By leveraging the power of the community of influencers surrounding an event, influencer marketing technologies like snöball make it easier for organizers to grow their communities and increase event registrations through a larger audience that they’ve been previously unable to tap.