Anastasia Vatsika is an INCON partner and Managing Director of AC&C International S.A, member of the C&C International Group of Companies. She is also an IAPCO Council member for the year 2009-2010.
AC&C International S.A, member of C&C International Group of Companies with offices in London and Athens, is a leading PCO in Southeast Europe, providing value adding and fully integrated organisational services for local and international congresses and events of any scale. AC&C's portfolio includes more than 260 conferences and 730 events, many of them international, with participation ranging from 200 to 13.000 delegates.
In-depth knowledge and understanding of a congress market is key to developing a successful marketing strategy. Defining the key target audience, monitoring competition and setting clear objectives will always be the first step. As competition in the marketplace intensifies, communicating your message to this target audience can no longer be taken for granted. The "Information Boom” has seen a dramatic growth in the use of web campaigns and social networks as a low-cost, farreaching alternative to the traditional marketing campaign.
Often the first port of call, the congress website must be designed in an attractive and user-friendly way offering visitors the most updated information available and allowing them to get involved (download congress material, plan their personal event schedule, network before the event, watch the event in live streaming etc).
Search Engine Optimization tactics must be put in place to ensure that the congress website scores high in the search engines rankings. Reviewing the website content and structure, compiling an extensive list of keywords and exchanging links with other related websites ensures that your website features on one of the millions of searches performed daily on the net.
An excellent and inexpensive way to further promote the congress website rankings is by using online congress directories. Submitting acongress for free can result in benefiting from popularity of the directories within the target audience.
To ensure even more visibility for a congress, banner campaigns are another way to get the congress website recognized over the internet. For example by liaising both with the online congress directories the congress has been submitted in and the congress supporters a mutual exchange of banners and thus double the publicity can be achieved. Sponsored banners in the websites of major associations or networks relevant to the congress can also be considered according to the marketing budget.
When dealing with a rather popular topic, sponsoring a search engine link can result in high rankings for your website. Decide the geographical target regions of the congress, compile a list of keywords, select the maximum daily budget and the congress website campaign will be running live attracting even more potential delegates.
Social networks now attract users in their billions and offer an inexpensive platform for your web marketing campaign. After all, the more channels you create for people to learn about the congress, the more successful it will be. Build the congress'profile/community/fan group and leave users to spread the word! At zero cost and time the congress will enjoy an extensive list of potential delegates who will be able to interact and network before, during and after it. Manage the congress list of users and select groups for targeted marketing campaigns and at the same time drive up congress revenues by offering sponsors & exhibitors a new platform to promote their services.