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Mice Net : October 2009
124 mice.net It is important to create a consistent image for your conference. This could be done through the use of the conference logo. The conference logo will always be the link between your organisation, your conference and your market. It is something your potential delegates will associate with the event every time they see it in any media. It is important therefore to design a logo that is visually appealing and contains the key elements of the event such as dates, location, theme and the name of your company. For recurring conferences, put together a design brief document which can be updated each year. This document should contain information on what logo styles and colours were used in the past so that each conference and its logo has its own identity. Make use of your committee members and their contacts. Your committee members can use their networks to disseminate information about the conference from its initial planning stages right through to the registration closing date. When choosing your advertising channels take into account the cost of production of advisements as well as the space costs in the chosen publication. If your budget can allow it, then placing an ad in your industry magazine can be quite beneficial as it is read by your target market. Another way to maximise exposure to your event is to include a banner or a tile ad on other websites that are visited by your potential delegates. Your association e-newsletter or member update is also a good and a cost effective way to promote your event. Try to keep these newsletters inclusions interesting and newsworthy as people will stop paying attention to them if you repeat the same information in every issue. Another form of "in-direct" advertising is through other initiatives that your association runs. A good example of this is MEA's Scholarship program. Those who win a scholarship get to attend the MeA National Conference and also receive flights and accommodation at the conference. This program is sponsored and has its own marketing plan but of course every time people hear about it, it makes them think about the conference. Another form of advertising is electronic marketing to your membership. Event email marketing can have a considerable impact on your event and it also creates strong brand awareness. This can be in a form of electronic newsletters that are designed specifically for your conference. design of these newsletters has to be consistent with the overall look and feel that you are trying to create for your event. These eblasts should link back to your website where people can find more information about your event, thus maximising the use of your website. Again keep these short and newsworthy which will make your potential delegates want to read them every time it hits their inbox. Your event web site can be a very effective part of your marketing campaign, enabling you to provide a complete set of information on your event. Your website does not need to be elaborate but it must be attractive enough to motivate prospective delegates to read it. Usability determines the success or failure of a web site. If your web site contains a complete set of information presented in an easy to find and understand way--- it will become a powerful promotional tool. Ensure the information on your event website is easy to print as those needing an approval to attend may need to print the conference program or other information to take to their management for approval. Content presented on your website is very important. Ensure that your design does not overpower the information and messages you are trying to get across. Make sure your content is complete, accurate, and enticing. As with all other elements of the planning process, your marketing campaign needs to be thoroughly planned and most importantly contain information that will generate interest about your event. don’t forget, in planning of any event, just because you are planning it, does not mean that it will be well attended, but if you promote it well, people will inquire and then may decide to attend. RUNNING A successful association conference - part 2 TIPS ON HOW to run a successful association conference by Meetings & Events Australia. This is the second part of an article prepared by MEA CEO Linda Gaunt.