Have you considered using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) to drive attendance at your events? The digital advertising tool allows event professionals to target specific demographics and track effectiveness in real time. Smart Meetings talked to Laura Davidson, director of event paid media company Tag Digital, for tips on how to incorporate this powerful lead generation trick in your magic kit.

Start Small

Davidson points to PPC—clicks purchased in automatic digital auctions—as an event marketing technique that has a relatively low cost to entry. With an investment of $2,000, event professionals can reach potential attendees and sponsors based on searches, locations or job title. The technique works for search, social media, display ads and video. Google Ads was the first and largest click platform, but no longer the only place to deploy this technology. “It is more than keywords,” she says.

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In addition to topics, you can designate “negative keywords” such as “virtual” so that any occurrences of “event” linked to that word will not qualify. You can also bid on audience segments based on behavior. The level of targeting possible is such that it can seem as if the computer is listening to conversations and inserting into the feed what the viewer was just talking about. Comment on a problem about a software tool and the next moment, an ad for a user conference that covers that product is on the unrelated web site you are visiting. Strategic use of parameters allows event professionals to catch the eye of the people most likely to attend.

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“Start small, see what is working without spending too much on it. Then build on that after you see how effective it is and how well it delivers,” she said. Davidson estimates up to 30 percent of event results could come from a PPC campaign.

Monitor and Iterate

Data today is more valuable than oil. Dashboards make it easy to monitor and manage PPC conversions, showing in real time how much each lead cost in a tangible way. That feedback loop makes it easy to manage and demonstrate return on investment. Particularly when launching a new product or entering a new area, tracking success quickly and adjusting can save marketing dollars.