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This case study is an example of how making slight changes to your event promotion plan can produce great results like those our client, Healing Touch Association of Canada (HTAC), experienced when promoting their 2015 conference called “Healing Together” across Canada.
About Our Client
The Healing Touch Association of Canada (HTAC) is a membership organization that promotes healing touch across Canada and provides support for practicing members who are dedicated to providing heart centered care.
Cindy Palajac, Hon. B.A., Dip. Adult Ed., HTCP, HTCI
Past-President, Healing Touch Association of Canada
Healing Touch Certified Practitioner & Instructor
Scope of Our Services
- Marketing and event planning coaching services
- Develop invitation email for email campaign
- Create Facebook event page and develop promotional posts
Overview & Background
Every two years, HTAC organizes and sponsors a conference to provide special workshops and training opportunities for its members, who are healing touch practitioners in Canada. By the end of 2014, HTAC was preparing for its 2015 national conference called “Healing Together” and looking for a proposal to get the event promoted across Canada. The 2015 conference planned to include practitioners of all modalities of integrative and holistic healing for the first time from all across Canada.
The top challenges that HTAC needed to address for its upcoming 2015 conference were:
- Decreasing number of participants leading to lost revenues in previous conferences, and
- Limited number of volunteers, time and budget to promote conference.
HTAC was looking for the best marketing strategy to achieve a desired number of attendees (80-100) quickly though they were only anticipating 70 due to past experience. Their goals were to create member engagement and promote all conference speakers – keynotes and presenters for their upcoming conference as well as encourage more members to become fans of their Facebook pages.
The conference committee’s initial promotional plan (aka marketing strategy) was to encourage registration and attendance at the conference by engaging members through posts to a HTAC 2015 Conference Facebook Page and HTAC’s Facebook Page. An online registration page and downloadable PDF registration form were available via the conference website (no longer active), which contained more details about the conference. A banner image (our featured image) was also posted to the home page of HTAC’s Website, and conference details would be included in an email to members via e-newsletter.
Initial contact with the client was made via introduction through WIBusiness, and then a consultation meeting was held to learn the client’s situation in more detail. After the initial consultation, we reviewed the Facebook pages and websites to learn that HTAC followers were limited on the HTAC Facebook page (pre-consultation less than 100 followers) and Conference page (pre-consultation just over 40 followers who were the same as the HTAC Facebook Page). We also discovered that HTCA was the only organizer and sponsor, only a couple of volunteers were posting to both Facebook pages at random, and the target market communicated mainly by email and rarely used Facebook.
Our Solutions & Work Samples
Given the client’s limitations, challenges and target market communication behaviour, we suggested changing the conference’s marketing strategy to ensure more direct communications with HTAC members while still engaging potential participants from other healing touch organizations across Canada with the following key tasks:
- Develop a targeted email invitation for distribution to existing and past members by conference committee members.
- Leave all existing Facebook pages and websites as is, but no promotional posts would be added to the 2015 Conference Facebook page to avoid duplicating efforts to engage the same followers.
- Create an Event Registration Page under HTAC’s Facebook page that would contain posts about all the speakers and other touch-point details about the conference.
- Develop promotional and event update posts for HTAC’s Facebook page, an Event Registration Page, and Facebook pages about healing touch that were LIKED by HTAC’s Facebook page. Samples below.
- If volunteer time permitted, the 2015 conference and 2013 conference Facebook pages would be merged with HTAC’s Facebook page, so all the content would be linked into one place. All the page posts needed to be transferred and photos downloaded before the merge.
- Share the new Facebook event page and Conference website (registration page) to other Facebook Pages about Healing touch, reiki, shamanic and First nations as possible. See sample below.
Our Impact & Their Results
Awareness about the conference was first addressed by informing existing and past members in the way they liked communicating the most via email, which was designed for ease of sharing with quick links and key details including the key note presentations, accommodations, travel, payment options, and cancellations. Next, we helped HTAC encourage registrations faster by making engaging Facebook posts and the Event Registration Page with a direct link to the online registration page. Posts were also designed to maintain excitement such as announcing the number of registrants to-date, and discounted price deadlines. The event was promoted outside of the existing follower base, which ended up opening registration to participants from the United States not just Canada.
Within 2 weeks of working with HTAC, the 2015 conference committee received 75 registrations by the end of January 2015 (the Early-Bird Registration Deadline) after sending an initial email blast to all existing and past HTAC members. One week prior to the conference registrants reached a total of 120, which was almost twice as much as initially projected based on previous conference registrations, and a record high in 15 years.
Lessons Learned & Marketing Tips
For all types of events, organizers need to make it easy for any potential attendee to search for information about the event, rather than just bringing event details to those already connected to the business or organization, especially to expand audience reach. When planning to use social media, organizers also need to make sure to use it the right way to promote the event at the right time to the right audience and thereby, increase the chances of getting a good return on investment i.e. to recover costs and make a profit.
For example, a brand’s Facebook page (also referred to as “fan pages”) needs to have a longstanding following of and engagement with at least over 300 fans (followers) for promotional efforts to get noticed even by those following the page. Creating a separate Facebook Page for an event is helpful when there is more than one organizing or sponsoring partner to make it easier to set up administrators and allow access for promoting the event. However, it’s not generally necessary for single sponsored events. Creating an event registration page instead that’s linked to the brand’s page makes it easier for followers to register to the event, and stay in connection with the brand.
Do you need assistance in promoting your upcoming event or conference? Contact us to learn more about what we can do for your business or organization.