When it comes to planning an event, unbelievably, event planners often overlook budgeting for event promotion. There are instances when attendance is mandatory, like for a training seminar put on by an organization for their employees, but that’s not always the case. Promoting an event becomes the key to a successful, profitable event. The options for event promotion are unlimited, and even with a small budget, it’s important to aim for big impact.
With today’s technology and social media tools, promoting your event may seem like a cinch – but beware – social media outlets are not the only answer. Social media is most effective when used in tandem with other marketing efforts.
1. Explicitly discuss promotion with your client
You've heard this before, but it's important. Make sure to discuss all the options when it comes to planning promotion strategies for your event. Give your client options and make sure that you are both on the same page. Don't forget to talk about the budget! You don't want to have a disagreement after spending client's money on something they did not want or approved.
2. Know your audience
This simple tip can go a long way. Knowing your audience is the first step to building a relationship with them. Find out what they do for a living, who they are friends with, what their hobbies are, and where they spend their free time. Sometimes just a few minutes of research can help answer these questions, but if it's possible, take the time to sit down and have a conversation with them to fill in the blanks.
TIP: Most online event registration platforms offer you an ability to ask custom questions during registration process. Take advantage of it and ask questions to help you guide not only the event, but also your promotion strategy for an upcoming event as well as any future events for the same audience.
3. Keep your message simple
People are busy. Make it easy for them to understand your message, and they will! Most importantly, keep it consistent across each tool that you use to promote your event. For example, if you utilize social media in your campaign, create a unified slogan or phrase that sums up the event or message.
4. Link, link, link
No matter which social media avenues you use in promoting your event, make sure that audiences are able to see one from another. If your Facebook friends like your message on Facebook, they are more likely to retweet your message on Twitter. Whatever social media outlets you use – be sure that each provides the same consistent message across all platforms.
5. Take out at least one print ad
Try and reach those that are not using social media. Even those who use social media might not see your updates or tweets due to high traffic nature of social media. So print ads still offer a good way to reach certain target market in an uncluttered way.
A perk: it’s possible to get free space in many types of publications, you just have to ask. Sometimes pitching publications sponsorship opportunity in exchange for ad space can yield great promotional opportunities.
6. Direct mail can be effective if done right
Direct mail can be one of the most effective marketing activities, because you reach your target audience directly. Though it can be a bit costly up front, there is no question of whether your target gets your message.
With digital information overload in social media and email inbox, direct mail offers a way to reach your target audience without being lost among thousands of tweets, updates and emails. Effective design and a call to action with a trackable link to see how effective direct mail campaign was can give you a nice boost in your event registrations.
7. Make it personal
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s the fact that our own lives are the most important! Help create a sense of uniqueness that your audience can’t miss. Why should they attend your event? Give them a good, tangible reason to come to your event. Focus on the benefits they will get by attending your event, not the features of your event.
What promotional strategies do you find most effective at attracting attendees? Share in comments below.
Photo by Rob Howells