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How I Was Able to Sell Out a Conference FAST!

How was I able to sell out Oklahoma City’s first dedicated marketing conference in less than 20 days? How I was able to sell out an event that 150 people are attending two months in advance? Well, I’ll tell you!

Some may think that since the event is free is why the event was able to sell out quickly. But there are lots of events that are free and don’t sell out. Anyone can put on a great event or conference. But the problem that some runs into is that they don’t how to market it.

I was blessed to have an amazing speaking line-up this year. We have ALL young professionals this year who are absolutely crushing it in their profession right now. I knew I wanted to sell out this conference for them. They’re taking time out of their day to provide FREE value to our attendees. So I wanted to ensure that I gave them a full room.

And now…. the part where I tell you what Crafty did to sell out a conference two months in advance.

Retargeting Ads

I love these type of ads! They’re so wonderfully magical. What is a retargeted ad? It’s a form of behavioral retargeting that is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions. If someone clicked on the ad and they visited your website, their browser is marked “cookied.” When they leave your site to surf the web, that cookie notifies retargeting platforms to serve specific ads based on the specific pages they visited on your website.

That’s what happened with Eventbrite. When someone visited the registration page of Eventbrite for the conference, they would later see the conference appear on Youtube, Facebook, etc. The ads were a success as 213 individuals clicked on the retargeting ad and 49 converted to actual registrants!

Instagram Story Ads

This is Instagram’s best-kept marketing secret. Not because the medium hides it, but because many marketers don’t understand the power of Story Ads. Taking inspiration from Content World or Inbound, I wanted to create a dynamic story ad that captured people’s attention. I decided not to use video content as I opted for text. I wanted to be able to ask three powerful questions. If the person thought the ad was effective, they’d swipe up and be taken to the registration page. If they didn’t care for it, they’ll click through it. Out of the 81 swipe ups,  35 of them actually signed up from this ONE  Instagram story ad.

Old-School Word-of-Mouth Marketing

I’m a sucker for easy marketing. And there is no easier marketing than the power of others helping you market an event. I posted this conference everyday on all of my social channels and I asked my friends to share it. I asked the speakers to also share it on their social media pages. Then their friends would share it and before you know it, a lot of people was sharing it.

Although there are many other factors that could play into how we sold out a conference of 150 people, I believe these are the three that were the most effective. I’m still shocked that we will have attendees not only from Oklahoma City but also from Tulsa, Dallas, Houston, North Carolina, and San Diego! Out-of-state attendees told me they heard about the conference from an ad they saw on Instagram :).

Crafty Communications is a local public relations, creative agency. Crafty specializes in public relations, event coordination, email marketing, and video production. If you’d like to learn more about retargeting ads and see if they’re a great fit for your business, please reach out to us! Send an email to terrance@craftycommunications.com. 

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