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Kate Makulova

The BrightonSEO Formula For Success: Freemium Model in Event Marketing

Kate Makulova
The BrightonSEO Formula For Success: Freemium Model in Event Marketing

For the world SEO community, the beginning of autumn means one of the biggest and highly respected SEO events in Europe. BrightonSEO is a one-day search marketing conference that takes place twice a year – in April and September. The event attracts some of the best minds in organic search and includes a series of training workshops, roundtables and web clinics held the day before the conference. The last BrightonSEO had room for 1,700 people. But this time it’s getting even bigger: the organizers are moving their event to a new larger venue – the Brighton Centre – and they are expecting around 3500 attendees.

The event has developed an unrivaled status in the world of digital marketing throughout the years. It was started out as a fine idea to bring together people who work in the industry and give them a chance to meet up. How did it manage to grow into the UK’s biggest SEO conference and one of the best-selling events in the world? What drives brand awareness and high demand for this event?

Freemium Model: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

From the very beginning, BrightonSEO has been positioning itself as a free SEO event. Kelvin Newman, the founder of BrightonSEO, has built a strong reputation for the event thanks to great speeches and a welcoming atmosphere. But event planning requires a big investment of time, money and energy, even if you’re organizing a small event, not to mention large niche conferences.

Is planning free events worth the effort?

In fact, there are several reasons why it can be very beneficial to event organizers.

  • Building loyalty and attracting new clients

Planning a free event gives brands and companies a great opportunity to build and increase loyalty of their existing customers and attract new clients. These events are intended to get companies connected with their target audience. You should do thorough research to find out what organizations attract the right people you want to meet. This can bring you a high ROI of your money, time, and efforts.

Sometimes companies send personal invitation or give approval to those who want to attend their event for free.

  • Showing your value

If you are a novice in event marketing, it might be very challenging to get people to attend your event. Nobody wants to shoot in the dark. Therefore, many young event organizers offer free admission to their event in order to build awareness for their brand and show its value. This can help you get exposure and attract the right audience to your event.

  • Attracting new audience to your industry

Free events provide a great opportunity to reach much bigger audiences and attract new people outside of your market. Those new to your niche are unlikely to pay to attend your industry event, even if they’re interested in it. First of all, they want to find their bearings and get a general idea of your industry. Obviously, they are not ready to invest in something they are not quite familiar with yet. They are likely to search for some free sources of information they need. And this is your chance to educate people who can turn into your audience in the future.

  • Driving awareness and high demand for your event

We all know that any great event begins with the right audience. BrightonSEO started out as an idea to get people together from the world of search and give them the opportunity to share their ideas and chat about all the interesting things that happen in the industry. The event organizers could build awareness and drive high demand for their event in the SEO community. Today a great number of attendees who are coming to the event convert into paid audience. The organizers offer free conference tickets and paid tickets that include some additional options. The highest price is charged for the Training ticket.

Success Story: How an SEO Meetup Turned into the Largest SEO Event in Europe

BrightonSEO is a free event, but with some reservations. To attend the event for free you should be aware of the exact date when the ticket sale starts. Tickets to the previous BrightonSEO conference in April sold out shortly after they were released – in under 60 seconds! Also, those who want to get to the event constantly monitor social media channels and blogs of the event’s sponsors and partners who sometimes give away desired tickets.

The thing is that BrightonSEO is a widely known and respected event in the industry; it attracts some of the best speakers in the world of organic search and large audiences who want to learn from these great professionals. In fact, BrightonSEO organizers could make their event fully paid. But instead, they have opted for the freemium model that differs from the standard ticketing, ticket sales based, profit model. And their strategy appears to be extremely successful.

BrightonSEO phenomenon

Kelvin Newman’s idea was quite simple – to bring together people who share similar interests in SEO and allow them to talk about industry news and other interesting subjects in search marketing. In fact, it started as just a few people meeting in the room above a pub. In just five short years, it has become one of the most important SEO events that attracts people from all over the world who want to educate and learn about search. BrightonSEO organizers are building and growing one of the best communities in the industry. The members of this community keep in touch with each other on a regular basis and meet at BrightonSEO, which has turned into a place for their community meeting.

But what makes the difference between BrightonSEO and other events that cover the same topics? Some events are conferences that feature great speaking sessions, but cost too much, while the others are trade shows packed with booths and tents where sales representatives are trying to get new leads.

The BrightonSEO organizers offer free tickets to the conference where one can hear great talks. But they also provide a few other ticket types with additional options, like priority seats for sessions, membership in a private forum and training ticket to name a few. Usually, when you’re planning on attending BrightonSEO for the first time, you will likely choose a free option. But if you couldn’t get the tickets for free, you will definitely be ready to pay to get access to one of the most important events in the industry. Even if you got the chance to attend the event for free, you will obviously want to upgrade your ticket for the next BrightonSEO in order to have the additional options.

Closing Remarks

In a nutshell, BrightonSEO is a place where all industry experts and great speakers meet. If you’re working in SEO and you don’t attend the event, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to become part of the digital marketing world. At the same time, the freemium model allows its organizers to attract new audiences who take interest in SEO, while excluding the large flows of students and other sources of excessive traffic. The event organizers effectively expand their target audience. Those who have already attended the event want to come again ready to pay for a ticket and/or additional options.

Therefore, BrightonSEO attracts many sponsors and partners as well who can get quality, steady flow of leads there, thanks to the freemium model. The event drives high demand within niche companies that want to gain access to its audience. This is a way the organizers indirectly monetize their event by gaining more sponsors who can offer them greater exposure and mutual visibility.

As always, our SEMrush team can’t wait to attend one of the most important events in the search and digital marketing world, share our knowledge and learn from the best experts in the industry. This time, BrightonSEO promises to be even bigger and better, and we hope to see you all there!

Kate is the head of event marketing at SEMrush. She is responsible for the development and execution of corporate event marketing programs. A traveler and explorer, she loves to build new connections and accept challenges. Connect on Twitter, LinkedIn and G+.

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