No matter how well you’ve planned and organized an event, it will be doomed if you don’t have enough attendees register for your event. It’s rare for an event (no matter how perfectly it is planned, to sell itself, which is why having a clear marketing and event promotion strategy (from the beginning) is crucial to the success of your event.
Incorporate these 17 ideas and tips, to reach your target audience, maximize attendance, create a buzz, and build momentum leading up to your event.
1. Start Early
It’s important to start early when it comes to marketing your event. You’ll want to start promoting and marketing your event several months beforehand. The more time you give yourself, the better. Even if you don’t have an exact date yet, you can still promote your event. For example, “Coming this Spring!” or “Happening this November”. And remember to add an opt-in form and collect email addresses of those who are interested so they are the first to know when additional details are announced.
The same way you establish an event planning timeline, you need to create a marketing timeline with dedicated dates for email blasts, posts, blogs, etc. Once you get deep into the planning process, this is usually one of the first items to slip through the cracks if a plan is not in place from the beginning.
2. Clearly Defined Description
Clearly indicate the topic, time, place, and who this event is for. The description should include specific benefits for your attendees. Make it brief and scannable. If this is a recurring event, be sure to leverage testimonials from previous attendees!
3. Mix It Up
Don’t use only one type of marketing strategy. Mix things up to achieve the best results. The more forms of marketing you use, the better. Utilize social media, email marketing, video, and podcasts, as well as other types of content marketing, to promote your event. You may find that certain forms of marketing work better than others. You also might find a new way of marketing your event that you’d never considered!
4. Build Your Event Website
Create a website or at a minimum create a dedicated landing page on your site for your event. Creating a dedicated website (separate from your business site) will help you focus on branding and SEO. You can also track your site analytics, visitors, and target market directly to them.
The event page should have a nice, detailed event description, which includes the keyword several times. If it’s long, break up the text into short, concise paragraphs, or better yet bullet points. Make it easy to read (AND SCAN) and include lots of formatting, including headers, subheaders, internal links, bullet lists, etc.
For SEO, choose a relevant keyword. The target keyword should combine the event topic, the word “event”, and the name of your city (if in person). Use a title tag and headers that include your target keyword (and list your keyword BEFORE the event name)
When creating your website be sure to highlight your speakers. Great speakers draw crowds like a magnet. The speaker page should show their faces and list their credentials. Make sure that you have a prominent “Register Now” button in the website navigation, and buttons strategically placed within the content of your site.
5. Registration Thank You Page
On the thank you page after the registration process, make it easy for attendees to share the event on their social media channels. The post should announce that they’re attending, include the hashtag, and link to the registration page.
6. Utilize Email Marketing
Email is still a very effective marketing channel and is especially powerful in event marketing. If you already have an email list, you’re ahead of the game when it comes to marketing your event. If not, consider creating a temporary landing page to build your list (see number 1 above).
Email marketing should start as early as possible and continue all the way up to the event. When building your email marketing schedule, think about creating content for those who have not signed up, and for those who have signed up to keep the momentum and excitement going.
7. Make It Personal
When you started planning your event you had your ideal attendee in mind, and you may already have a community of people that check all of your boxes. Imagine filling your event with THOSE people?! Set aside a couple of hours one day after registration opens and send AUDIO direct messages and texts letting them know that registration just opened and YOU can't imagine the event without THEM there, Make it personal (not salesy), and mention them by name so they know it is not a pre-recorded message that your assistant is blasting to everyone. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point, and remember to add the link to registration after the audio message. You will be AMAZED at the results you will see from this single strategy alone.
8. Rebrand Your Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool (if you didn't already know). Incorporate your event branding and graphics to help it stand out and make it memorable. In the weeks leading up to the event, change up your social media banners and icons to complement your event. If your event is large, or if your event is recurring, think about creating social media accounts specifically for your event. This will help with engagement and promotion and will make it easier for you to keep your audience up to date. Not to mention all the added benefits of SEO.
9. Leverage Your Sponsors
Sponsors are an important part of any event. Your event should provide value for your sponsors that equally provides value for your attendees. Remember, your sponsors can also provide great value to your event, beyond their level of participation and financial investment. When promoting your event on social media, be sure to thank your sponsors and tag them in your posts. Also, make sure you provide links to their social media channels to your audience. Your sponsors are likely to show support for your event on their own social channels or through their email marketing.
Make it super easy for your sponsors to share about your event. Create a sponsor promotion kit with pre-written posts and custom images (featuring their logo) that they can easily copy and paste to their own social media channels.
10. Utilize Hashtags
Consider creating an event-specific hashtag. Pick an event hashtag that’s short, and ideally, unique to your event (and easy to remember). Using your hashtag in all your marketing efforts will help people find your event more easily, and can also boost engagement and registration numbers up to and beyond your event.
11. Create Videos
Videos are without a doubt the most sharable and well-viewed content. Any social media channel that is exclusively focused on video or allows for video marketing is highly effective. Don’t feel overwhelmed, your video doesn’t need to be complicated. Even the simplest video can create some serious buzz! Something as simple as sharing your excitement in the planning process, a speaker you just announced, an experience you just contracted..etc. Attendees and potential attendees love “behind the scenes” content. You will want a variety of video content, so consider incorporating videos from previous events, past attendees' testimonials, and even quick interviews with the speakers or sponsors.
12. Consider Influencer & Affiliate Marketing
Inviting social media influencers to attend or be a part of your event can expand your reach and boost your registration numbers. Influencers are a great way to market your event. Remember, when it comes to influencers, it’s all about being visual. If your event is in person, try and choose a photogenic venue or provide a visually-appealing backdrop for photo ops. Encourage them to post photos of your event as well as live video during your event. Make sure to create a unique promotion code for each partner and speaker. They can use this code when they promote the event, offering a discount to people on their social networks. Since the code is unique to that partner, you’ll know how effective that partner was at promoting the event and can pay them a referral fee in gratitude for the registrants they generated.
13. Write Blog Posts
Increase interest in your event with a simple blog post. Blog posts are highly shareable and reusable content (and you can add SEO to them too). Make sure that your post gives all the details about your event and remember to include a call to action (join the waitlist, or register)! You can also publish multiple blog posts in the weeks and months leading up to it to share the latest news and to promote your guests and sponsors. And, when appropriate, ask your speakers if they would like to be a guest blogger. Speakers will recognize that although it takes time, there are SEO and social media benefits to guest blogging. If they do write something for you, encourage them to share that content with their networks!
14. Publish a Press Release
Spread the word to media sites and news portals by creating a press release. Press releases are an effective way to let others know about your event and reach an audience that may not be familiar with you or your business. You can also reach out directly to journalists who cover local events. Graciously contact them with an invite, press badge, or offer of a relevant article. This could be an interview with a speaker or a guest blog post from you for their website. If you successfully get their attention, you may get a bit of press! Make sure to include a newsworthy angle to increase your chances of your event reaching the hands of journalists and media outlets.
15. Create Digital Ads
Paid ads on sites like Google and Facebook can help increase awareness of your event and can also boost registration numbers. Web and social media ads can be a great return on investment when done properly. Social media offers targeted ads to help you reach specific audiences.
16. Be Their Guest
Podcasts are the perfect way to build buzz about your event and your business. Connect with podcast hosts who share a similar audience to your event and request an interview or collaboration. You can also consider sponsoring a podcast - by doing this the podcast host will promote your event before or during their podcast, and can offer listeners a discount code.
17. Continue Promoting
Just because you’ve reached the event, doesn't mean you should stop marketing. Marketing should continue beyond the event itself. Actively market your event both on the day of the event as well as in the days and weeks after the event has ended. This is especially important if you’re planning on making your event an annual occurrence and if you made an offer at your event. You created a community, built momentum, and now do the work to keep it alive.
Now that you have ideas on how to market your next event, you can ensure that the process of promoting it will be easier and less stressful. Be sure to reach out and schedule a free consultation call to discover even more ways you can successfully market your next event and the ways that Be Bright Events can ease the stress and support you in your planning and marketing efforts.