A quick guide to help you market and promote your next event.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran of the event scene, or you are planning one for the first time, understanding how to successfully market and promote your event can be the difference between achieving your goals or walking away disappointed, as a planner or as an attendee!
Due to COVID-19 concerns and all the uncertainties surrounding it, events are facing more challenges than ever before. That just means that you’re going to be planning smarter, and looking for those opportunities to reach, attract, and wow your attendees in ways you might not have considered before!
Whether your event is going to be a hybrid (in-person and online) in person or a virtual event, here are some tips and tricks that you can use to not only make your current event a success, but build on that success for future events!
1. Identify your target audience.
How MANY attendees you attract to your event isn’t as critical as WHO you attract to your event, so it’s important to identify who it is that you want to see, engage with and ultimately attend your event. Who is your target audience?
An easy way to address this question is by asking another question:
Who cares about this, and why?
Whether it’s a fundraiser, a conference, a sporting event, or something else entirely different, if you can identify who will benefit from your event or who cares about your cause or deliverable, the easier it will be for you to attract the right attendees and get the results you are looking for!
2. Stand out, and get creative!
While there may not be as many events taking place now as there were before COVID-19, it’s still incredibly important to get creative with your marketing in order to help your target audience understand what makes your event so special, valuable, exclusive, or unique!
Here are some ways to make sure that they can find and buy your tickets or register!
- Optimize your event registration with a quick loading, responsive (and mobile-friendly!) event page that features plenty of ways to respond quickly to your CTA (call to action).
- Use imagery and graphics that resonate with your target audience, and that elicit an emotional response. And remember, if this is the first year for your event, it’s your inaugural event, not your 1st annual!
- Don’t ignore SEO! Make sure you are using relevant keywords and phrases that will help your target audience to find you and your event.
- A+B test, and pay attention to your analytics. If you are getting more responses on a certain post, at a certain location, or from a certain web page, pay attention and put your efforts where they are working. Also, keep these as lessons learned for NEXT year.
3. Build value!
Don’t just tell your audience you are having an event, tell them what they can expect and what the impact is going to be!
- Make sure that your audience knows when your start and stop time is, what to expect for food and beverages, what’s included, and what’s in store for them when they get there.
- Make sure that your audience knows who your speakers and presenters are, and why they were selected to speak. Are they thought leaders? Industry or subject matter expert? Nationally known?
- Tantalize and build their excitement with special offers, early-bird specials, sneak peeks, invite-a-friend specials, ticket giveaways, door prizes, and more! You can also consider VIP designations, extras, upsells, and other perks that can make your attendees feel special and give them that exclusive experience!
- Swag bags and items can help build excitement, make online attendees feel more engaged, and can help promote not only this year’s events but future events as well! Get creative, and consider what’s in alignment with your event goals.
4. Leverage your partnerships and collaborators.
- Are you holding an event that has speakers, or are there sponsorships involved? Take advantage of the power of these associations and relationships by helping your speakers, presenters, and sponsorship partners promote your event to THEIR audience, too!
- Don’t underestimate the power of personally inviting people to attend your event! Call, email, text, DM, and encourage other stakeholders on your event team to do the same.
- Think about creating a podcast around the event, interviewing your speakers, collaborators, beneficiaries, and more!
5. Take advantage of and optimize your digital marketing opportunities.
- Create a hashtag to promote your event that’s easy to remember, synonymous with the event, and on-brand.
- Boost event posts or consider creating an ad campaign.
- Post INSIDE the event itself, and encourage your collaborators and audience to do the same.
- Make sure everything you create is shareable, that everything works (links, buttons, etc), and that the videos you create to promote the event are audio agnostic (they can enjoy it without the sound on!)