You have been planning this event for months. You have it all nailed down; the date is set, the venue is booked, the caterer is locked and loaded, and the stunning decor is selected. Now, all you need is some solid event marketing so that a few hundred people will show up.
But, if you are more of an event planner than you are a marketer, you may be wondering where to start and how best to advertise.
The success of your event has a lot more to do with the integrated marketing strategy you use than with the theme of the occasion. Integrated marketing is the use of multiple channels (such as email, social media, and print collateral) to communicate the same consistent, branded message, and actually get people in the door.
It’s important to think about your event strategically and to position it in the larger picture of your corporate brand. First, ask yourself the following: Why are you having this event: is it a platform for your executive leadership to speak to his or her expertise? Is it informative and educational in nature? Is it purely social? Is it a platform to launch a product or to make an announcement? Is it a networking opportunity? Is it a celebration? Is it an opportunity to introduce new customers to your brand?
The answers to these questions will determine the focus of your marketing efforts, the audiences you will want to target, and the tools you should use to promote the event.
The foundation of any marketing used to promote an event is the registration page or website. The basics of this page should include:
- Theme or topic of the event.
- Date, time and location. Be sure to double-check this information. Errors here – incorrect logistical information like address or time of day – are one of the most common and damaging event marketing mistakes.
- Who should attend (what will your target audience get out of attending).
- If possible, use a testimonial from a previous (similar) event for added value.
But, all of this information will fall flat if you have not included a convincing and compelling description of the event – not just the who, what, and where, but also the WHY. What will attendees get out of coming to the event, what will they learn, what’s the take-away? The language and messaging you use here needs to compel potential attendees to RSVP immediately, excite them, and create a feeling of anticipation.
In addition, be sure to include the following components to your event registration page or website:
- Keynote speakers can draw huge crowds; add their photo and bio, along with a list of their credentials.
- If your keynote speaker has any related videos, get permission to share them on the event page. Or, create a short video interview with the speaker containing snippets about the upcoming event.
- The event logo or image. Remember, this is the image that is going to be shared and reposted, so it should look fantastic.
- Sponsor or affiliate logos. Usually placed toward the bottom, it is imperative to remember and thank those who made this event possible.
- A prominent call to action or registration button. It shouldn’t be obnoxious, but if it isn’t obvious, you may hear crickets at the venue.
Now that you have successfully created your compelling event registration page, you are ready to begin marketing.
Considering posting a pre-event blog that contains many of the same details and images from the event page, but with a bit more interesting and in-depth information. For example, if a video interview with the keynote speaker is not available, you could do an email interview and include it in the blog post. Or, if applicable, you could post a brief history, unique facts, or handy tips related to the event theme.
Craft a pre-event email with a catchy subject line. Your subject line can make or break the whole campaign if it doesn’t inspire someone to open it. For example, “Please Join Us” does not interest most people, but “10 Things You Will Miss if You Don’t Attend” peaks the interest. Everyone wants to be in the know and not miss out on an event that promises to be fun and informative!
Share the event registration link on appropriate social media platforms (Facebook, Google+), as well as in your blog post. No matter the size or nature of the event, you will want to start marketing well in advance.
Tweet and/or post in a chronological order:
- Registration opens.
- Early bird registration deadline (if applicable).
- Countdown (“Just X days until…”).
- Keynote speaker mention (“Just saw Tom’s video, incredible!”).
- Mention your sponsors (“Special thanks to ABC Company for making the X event possible!”).
- A “see you there” to all the registrants the day before the event.
Other ideas for marketing your event might include running targeted pay-per-click ad campaigns, creating an event on Facebook, and sending out direct mail flyers to your mailing list. With the use of a compelling description of the event, integrated marketing best practices, and a few insider tips, you can be sure that your next event will be packed.
And, don’t forget post-event marketing. If appropriate, posting photos from the event, or a short video of a presentation, can create a buzz and maintain interest with those invitees that couldn’t attend.
Do you need more in-depth or strategic information? Avocet Communications uses the relationship approach to solve marketing problems. Contact us today to learn more about how we can use our solutions to benefit your business and pack the house at your next event.