Event marketing is obviously one of the most important aspects of event planning. If you don’t get the word out about your event, you’re simply not going to sell a lot of tickets. That’s why event promotion is such a big part of the process and has largely become an industry become an industry unto itself.
Having an event marketing strategy in place and ready to go can be the difference between failure and success in this event management industry. So it’s important to put some of your time and energy into figuring out how to attract the attention of your event’s target demographic when you’re not thinking about who’s going to MC or what o’dourves are going to be served.
Luckily, we’ve put together an event marketing guidelines to take you through the process and provide you with some valuable event marketing tips to help you out.
1. Define Your Goals – Specifically
Defining your event marketing goals and event target are the good place to start. Obviously, your aim is to sell tickets to your event. But there are other considerations you should be making.
How many do you want to sell?
Are you trying to use this event to establish a brand?
Will this be a one-off event, or will there be more?
Some typical goals might outline:
# A certain number of attendees
# Relationship building with your peers
# Establish your identity
# Jumpstart other upcoming events by using this as a trailer
The ultimate goal of your event and the volume can help define your event marketing activities and budget.
2. Start Your Marketing Efforts Early
If your event is going to get maximum exposure and have every chance of generating interest, it has to be hyped for as long as possible. The stats show that there’s usually a bit of a rush the last few days up to an event date, particularly if it’s well marketed.
This is why event organisers will often charge higher ticket prices during this period. But having your event planned and everything arranged early allows you to market it for longer and give you a better chance of having people find out about it.
3. Create Your Branded Event Website
The overwhelming proportion of tickets to events are purchased online rather than in person. So needless to say, having a virtual ticket booth distributing tickets for your event is an absolute must.
It can also act as a hub for you to provide information and track interest. In some cases, website analytics can give you information about where you might be losing potential attendees in the ticket buying process, for instance.
You’ll need to make sure that your site visitors can easily navigate their way into around your page to find the event they’re interested in and see details about future events. Having a URL also allows you to easily market your event in other places online and easily direct people to your page.
Need some cool event ideas? Here are 40 Event Ideas for you
4. Write Great Content for Your Event
The content on your event page should be written and delivered to attract your target demographic. Don’t underestimate the importance of the tone of your copy with respect to the kind of event your throwing.
Is it fun and silly?
Or are your going with serious and professional tone?
Think about what your target demographic is going to respond to the best.
The content should focus on topics like:
– Event schedule
– Features of the event
– Food and drink info
– Guest speaker info
– Video package highlights to prior events to generate buzz
5. Optimise Your Event Site for SEO
Keep in mind that many people may hear about your event via word-of-mouth and offline event marketing. You need to make sure that if this is the case, interested parties can easily find out about your event with a quick Google search.
How well optimised your event page is to appear in such searches depends on a range of different factors. But if there are a few things you can do to give yourself a good chance:
– Try to put keywords into your content that are relevant to your event
– Make sure your content is engaging, unique and informative
– Add event keywords in the title and meta description
– Set up links to your other pages and other relevant websites if applicable
– If you not sure how to do, or too busy to manage all these, hire a professional SEO agency on a contractual basis
6. Explore Influencer Opportunities
Influencer marketing is all the rage these days. Nothing quite compares to having a popular influencer give your event their stamp of approval. Just having a couple shout-outs, mentions, and tags can convince their solid base into giving your event a chance.
This is by no means mandatory but can be a really powerful tool for certain kinds of events. Some prefer to collaborate with influencers well before the event date. Others wait until the end where there tend to be higher levels of last-minute interest. But what determines the ultimate success of such a campaign is carefully choosing influencers that –
a) have access to your target demographic
b) fit in with the kind of event you’re organising
7. Consider Full-On Advertising
So, how to promote your event offline?
There are plenty of advertising avenues to go down if you have the budget and proper planning in place.
Some of the offline event promotion options that you might consider include:
– Google AdWord campaign
– PPC online advertising
– Product placement
– Direct mail
– Youtube video marketing
– Local newspaper
– An advertising campaign on social media platforms
8. Write Informative Press Releases
Writing a press release might seem a little old-school and you might think it’s only appropriate for a special class of event. It’s the social media age, who needs a press release?
Well, in fact, there are a few reasons why you should think about writing one or more press releases.
– Press releases incorporate Google alert pickups through keyword entries, so they are good for SEO.
– Publishing content in as many places as possible naturally helps to grow awareness
– A well-written press release can spread like wildfire.
– They’re highly cost-effective when you consider readership on some press release websites and RSS feeds.
9. Look into Strategic Sponsorship Opportunities
Partnering up with a sponsor for your event tends to be an option open only to bigger, well-known brands. In this case, the sponsor understands that your event is going to be big and want’s to associate their brand with it.
This is a win-win for both parties, as your event can benefit in terms of logistics, financing, outreach and brand credibility to name a few. If the option to have brands sponsor your event is there, it’s definitely something you want to explore.
10. Run Useful Newsletter Campaigns
Nicely worded, personalised emails about the event can be to a lot to spread awareness. Starting from the inception of the event to days leading up to it, send out regular emails to keep your base informed, engaged and interested.
The challenge really comes down to putting together a subscriber list that you can send newsletters to ethically. This can be tricky and naturally takes time. If your client is an established business or organisation, they may have compiled a list that you can utilise.
If you have the resources, newsletter marketing is a tried and tested marketing tool and a veteran of the marketing game. Use it accordingly.
11. Smartly Utilise Social Media Platforms
There are so many options when it comes to social media event marketing and this is an area that lends itself greatly to innovation and creativity.
Here are a few of the things you can do to promote an event:
i) There are all sorts of different communities on social media – whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or LinkedIn. Savvy marketers will be able to identify the communities that may have interest in their event and effectively promote it to them either through advertising or less direct means.
ii) Outsource your guests and attendees as drivers for promotion. With incentives such as gifts and discounts in exchange for social media shares and mentions, you can use this X-factor promotional army to get the boost you need.
iii) Tap into the hashtag craze and encourage people to use this reference point for your event.
iv) Incorporate the speakers, sponsors and exhibitors in your campaign. Allowing the world to see your team and enterprise and their own participation in it would give your event the integrity it seeks.
v) There is huge potential for fun competitions and contests. You could have people complete certain tasks or enter into competitions with one another, with winners receiving free tickets or special offers. This certainly requires some outside-the-box thinking and won’t necessarily be applicable for all event types.
12. Effectively Leverage Client Resources
If your client is having you manage an event, they should contribute to marketing efforts too. How much they can contribute can vary from case to case, but at the very least you should be able to use their contacts, customer data and goodwill to get your message out there. Discuss options for clients and opportunities will present themselves.
13. Use Pricing to Your Advantage
We discussed some event organisers jacking up prices in the last days leading up to the event. But there are other ways to maximise revenue by using price tactics. Let’s have a look at a few options:
1. Early bird – Offer discounts on those attendees that register early on. This gives you the best chances of selling to those that have discovered your event in the early going. If the price stays the same throughout and potential attendees know that, they are more likely to put it off and may forget altogether.
2. Other discounts – Discounts can be offered as the key to other marketing efforts. You may be able to set up a deal with a sponsor for instance (buy this product and get a discount to this event), or via social media (share our event page and get 10% off. There’s also the option of offering discounts for large group bookings.
3. Late entry – How to deal with ticket prices in the last stages before the event comes down to various factors. If your tickets just aren’t selling and demand is lower than you expected, lowering the price may be the best option to maximise profit. If you’re expecting a sell-out, upping the price can be the way to go.
Read more: How to set ticket prices for your event
14. The Final Stages
This is the excitingly critical phase of the journey. You should be trying to do several things at the same time including:
> Creating enough enthusiasm to advance last-minute ticket sales by continually pushing new content and interesting promotional methods
> Getting existing ticket buyers even more pumped for the event
We’d usually recommend keeping your promotional activities going or even ramping them up during this period, depending on how ticket sales have gone to this point.
Keep in mind that once the event date arrives, the marketing should continue. You can use the success of the event to encourage people to come to future events you may be putting on. Sharing images, videos and even feedback on the night can be a big help.
15. Conduct Event Analysis
To wrap things up, be sure to collect data from the following:
# Number of attendees
# Networking efficiency
# Social media outreach
# Promotional contests
# Influencer outreach
# Stakeholders input
# Budget evaluation & ROI
You can use this information to tangibly understand how your input, those from the stakeholders and other outreach & awareness programs – have impacted the results. Use this knowledge to improve your performance for future events and the marketing of these events.
Following this simple guide can be a good starting point for your event marketing efforts. This is an area that takes time and practice to perfect, but with the right tools and a game-plan at your disposal, you can get the results!
For more information, get in touch with EventBookings and discuss how we can help you with the process.
[Image sources: 123rf.com and pexels.com]