Marketing 101: Creating Traction for Your Event
Throwing a successful event is a thrilling and rewarding experience. Whether you’re hosting a large dance party, a sporting event, a huge store-wide sale, a community-building neighbourhood get-together, or perhaps a large fundraiser for an important cause, the event largely relies on how many people show up. An amazing event with top food, drinks and entertainment can flop because the event managers simply didn’t promote it well enough.
If it’s a ticketed event – under exposure from inefficient promotion tactics can lead to a loss. Events such as fundraisers, protests, or awareness campaigns relying on participation might have an underwhelming effect. Don’t make the most common event promotion mistakes with these tips for how to spread the word!
Budget for event promotion
When planning an event, it an easy rookie mistake to think that if the event is good, the promotion will do itself. With hundreds of events happening each week in bigger cities, and people’s schedules filling up fast, it’s important to give promotion the time, attention, and budget it’s due. However, if you’re aiming for a few hundred people to turn up, your budget should be smaller than for one catering for thousands of attendees. Budget appropriately both for your budget size and event size.
Figure out your target audience
Successful event promotion relies on knowing who you are speaking to. What might catch the interest of an 18-year-old might fly over the head of a 40-year-old, and vice versa. Make sure you know who you wish to target and format your wording and platform-use accordingly. Promoting your event in a way that appeals to 20-somethings, when it’s in fact a family-focused neighbourhood event can make your party flop.
Advertise on multiple platforms
In today’s confusing and busy marketing world it’s important to reach people where they are. This means advertising your event on multiple platforms – or especially platforms frequented by your target audience. For millennials and gen z’s – that might mean Instagram and Facebook. For gen x’s, skip Instagram and stick to Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook is great for growing awareness of your event fast because many use Facebook as their event calendar, and will more easily see, click attending, be reminded of your event, and share it with peers – and it’s free!
Create a compelling website
We can’t stress this enough! Your event’s website is the face of your event in the time leading up to the big date. No matter where potential guests have heard about the event (be it online, from a poster, from a road sign, a friend, or other promotional tactics), it is on your website that they’ll be making their final decision whether they wish to attend. Make sure your website works well and provides important information to make your event look professional. If you sell tickets to the event, it’s a great way to get a hold of your attendees’ emails. That way you’ve got a great avenue to send reminders in the leadup.
Incorporate effective road signage
In the world of internet traffic, there’s still something to be said about real-world road traffic. Whether it’s foot traffic or cars, clever road signage can work not only to create traction and a buzz around your upcoming event, but on the day, it can also be a great way to guide people to your event and providing important information.
Weather resistant electronic advertising signs are a great way to ensure a constant advertising opportunity in the weeks leading up to your event. Don’t rely on flimsy cardboard signs – wind, rain, hail and shine – these electronic signs will look great and advertise your event to all bypassing traffic.
Don’t be afraid to remind people of your upcoming event
We’re all busy and a bit forgetful sometimes. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to remind people of your event thinking that they’ll remember. People forget! A guest who intended to come with friends might forget in the hubbub of the everyday and may simply forget to buy their ticket or talk to their friends about getting onboard. Remind attendees via email and on social media in the time leading up to the event (this is also a great opportunity to get them excited about the upcoming event with little sneak peaks and updates) to ensure your event remains fresh in their mind.
Learn from past experiences
Promoting an event – any event – is a learning curve. Following your next event assess how well your attendee outcome matched your goal. If the turnout exceeded your expectations – congrats! If not, it’s a great chance to learn from mistakes (perhaps you didn’t properly remind attendees about the upcoming date) and use them to become a better event organiser and promoter for the next one. After all, we can’t all be Jay Gatsby on the first go!