Offline events refer to in-person events like conferences and meet-ups. Sponsoring or organizing offline events can be a great asset to your marketing strategy.
Twilio bolsters its brand image by sponsoring hackathons, conferences and meetups.
Oracle and Box hold giant events to show their prominence in the industry.
Salesforce has a hugely popular conference called Dreamforce.
During the early phase of product development, offline events are a great method of meeting customers who can tell you about their needs and problems (that your product needs to solve).
Offline events are especially good for meeting customers you can’t normally find online.
They’re also great for businesses who take a long time to close a sale (enterprise software solutions, for an example).
Conferences are the most popular type of offline events. Everyone can benefit from conferences.
Great tech conferences include TechCrunch Disrupt, Launch Conference, and SXSW.
Twitter made the most of its SXSW debut by crafting a custom hashtag feed and putting it on big-screen TVs. After this demonstration, their number of tweets per day tripled.
Eric Ries started his own conference called Startup Lessons Learned to promote his Lean Startup principles. The conference was a hassle-free, one-day local conference, live-streamed to other locations.
Since it was both easy and enjoyable to attend, the conference quickly became popular. Eric gained authority and published a best-selling book.
Enservio organizes a high-end conference called Claims Innovation Summit. The event, held in a luxury hotel, combines networking and vacation in an irresistible package. The conference made Enservio an industry leader.
Popular small-scale conference MicroConf didn’t sell many tickets in its first year, but the experience was so good that word spread and made the conference a popular, well-attended event (despite its high price tag).
Conferences work best for companies whose customers have common interests or would benefit from community.
You can also meet customers at smaller meetups to teach or share ideas. Meetups create long-lasting connections between customers.
Seth Godin held several small meetups for his book Linchpin. Over 10,000 attended and connected with his ideas.
You can use Meetup.com to schedule and invite people to smaller-scale events like these.
Parties are another great way to build your brand image and get new customers.
Evite threw a party for an internet celebrity and became a well-known brand among partygoers, who are now more likely to use Evite for their own future parties.
Yelp throws parties for Yelp Elites featuring VIP treatment and perks like free food. This encourages other people to contribute more to the site.
If you want to create a conference, start with a day-long mini-event. This will be much cheaper and easier and allow you to gauge participants’ interest in a bigger conference.
To plan the conference, select a topic related to your product or industry and invite a few local company owners (or authorities on the topic) to give short talks or participate in a panel discussion. You can also have a more interactive round table discussion.
Universities will often give you rooms for an educational purpose, if teachers or students can benefit from it.
If you’re successful with the first conference, scale up.
It’s advised to keep your ticket price high to keep the quality of attendees equally high.
Think about the number of people you’d like to invite to each conference. Would a smaller group be more beneficial, or a huge crowd?