Are events part of your marketing mix? If not, maybe they should be. Holding events pays off big time when done right. Events generate brand exposure, reach key targeted audiences, create relationships with attendees, prospects, and customers, help you make valuable connections.
Companies new to event marketing often take event promotion lightly or ignore it. That’s a mistake. Whether you're holding a grand re-opening, debuting a new product or service, or trying to generate a tsunami of foot-traffic, you'll fail to achieve your marketing goals if you don't aggressively promote your event. Failing to promote your event sufficiently can cost you thousands in wasted time and money. That's why organizations that regularly host events promote them aggressively. They know the impact it can have.
Below are seven tips to help you successfully promote an event:
1. Know your audience — You've probably heard this tip a dozen times before. But it's critical when doing an event. So, find out as much as you can about your audience before you even start planning your event. Then take advantage of that information when promoting the event. What do potential attendees do for a living, what are their passions, what newspapers do they read, and so on.
2. Simplify your message — How busy are you? Pretty busy, right. So are other people. So, keep your messaging as simple as you can. Also, keep your messaging consistent across all media channels and outlets. Creating a unified slogan or tag line that sums up an event succinctly is ideal—especially if it is a catch phrase that sticks in people's minds.
3. Use print media — Social media is a great tool for promoting an event—especially if you're targeting young people. But not everyone is plugged into social media. So, do some print promotion for your event. Sure. Print advertising is costly. But it helps you get the most out of your promotional efforts. Also, you can sometimes get free space in a print publication by offering it co-sponsorship of the event.
4. Remember direct mail — This promotional tool connects you directly with your target audience. So, don't neglect it. And make sure you do it right. Otherwise, you'll just be wasting time and money. More importantly, it offers you a different way to reach an audience not plugged into social media—one where you won't be lost in the thousands of tweets and emails people get these days. Also, build in a trackable link to your mailer. That way you can determine your return on investment.
5. Make messaging personal — The key to promoting events these days is to make your message personal. Try to create a uniqueness to your event that says your event is a can't miss item. Also, give potential attendees good reasons to come. It could be the food. It could be the entertainment. Or, it could be the guest speaker. In other words, focus on the benefits of attending the event, not its features.
6. Promote early and often — Start promoting your event as early and often as your budget allows. You want to keep the event at the top of mind for as many potential attendees as possible. Telling people about the event face to face is also a good way to promote your event, no matter where it's going to be. But don't be annoying. And make sure your messaging tells people clearly when the event starts.
7. Use a promotional product — Using a promotional product as a giveaway or something people can get a deep discount on when they attend the event is a great way to lure people into an event. Many ways exist to use the item as a promotional tool. (Rocketbooks make excellent promotional tools. They’re something that individuals will use again and again and again—each time reminding themselves about you and your event.)
Here’s a bonus tip: Create as many website links as possible to your event when promoting it. If you're using social media to highlight an event, make sure viewers can distinguish one from another. If they like an event on FB, they might tweet it, which could spur a flood of re-tweets.
The above tips will help you get the biggest bang for your buck when promoting events. So, don't ignore this activity or take it lightly when doing event marketing. Promoting your event is critical to its success, so build the cost of promoting your event into its budget right from the start. That way you’ll have enough funds to do it right. It will pay off in the end.