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Event Promotion: Getting the Word Out

In today’s marketing you cannot expect to just create an event and magically people will come. With the number of events people are asked to attend increasing, people have to be choosy with their time and only go to the best events. Promoting your event is key to bringing guests to your event. You need to build a strong promotional campaign for your events to ensure they are a success and attendance is high.

A lot of planners are afraid of promoting their events because they are not sure where to even begin, or feel it will be an expensive endeavor and are not sure what avenue of promoting will be successful.

Before you begin promoting your event you will need professional promotional material. To make sure your promotional material matches the quality of your event and brand we suggest hiring a graphic designer to make your marketing materials. Make sure all designs and images used reflect what your event will be like and match your event in quality to set expectations.

Once you have your materials made, start promoting! It is never too early to begin promoting your event. The more people you make aware of your even the more likely word will spread which will increase the potential number of attendees.

The Event Page (or Website)

The cornerstone of all the promotion efforts is the event page or website. This could be a page or website specific to the event, or if you don’t have a site for the event, use an Eventbrite page. Either way, make it captivating by including the following elements:

  • Compelling description: Clearly indicate the topic, time, place and who should attend. The description should include specific benefits for each type of attendee. Make it brief and scan-able. Use third-party endorsements when possible, such as a quote from a previous event.
  • Pre-Event Content:  create content leading up to and/or during the event for event attendees to take away from the event (this could be videos, photos, t-shirts or just about anything.) Done right, this can add to the buzz leading up to the event, tap new audiences for attendees and keep the event property top of mind to departing attendees. Content is about capturing great memories!
  • Speaker or entertainer pictures and bios: Great speakers draw crowds like a magnet. The event page should show their faces and list their credentials.
  • Event image: The image will appear when the page is shared in the social networks. It could be the event logo, a picture of a room full of people, or just a genuine smiling face.
  • Event-related videos: Create simple video interviews of the speakers and post them here. These can be produced quickly using Google Hangouts or Skype. It’s easier than you think and very effective later-on.

Promoting Your Event on Facebook

Facebook is a great cost effective way of promoting your event. You can use it to get the word out about anything from a small event to a large convention. It is a fast way to spread the word. However, you cannot just expect to post an event and have people show up. You will need to work on social media to make this happen.

The key to a successful promotion on Facebook or any social media is to make it shareable. Hold contests such as giving away tickets to your events. To enter the contests, require contestants to “like” and “share” your post. The more people that interact with your post the more Facebook edge rank will allow visibility, allowing more people to see it! Always be sure to check Facebook’s contest rules to before holding a contest.

You can also pay to advertise your event on Facebook to spread the reach. If you do this, be sure to target your audience to your target market or else you will be advertising to irrelevant people.

Create an Event Hashtag

A hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and even now Facebook is a great way to generate a buzz around your event. If you decide to go this route and create a hashtag for your event, which we strongly recommend, make sure everyone knows what the official hashtag is! Often people do not make it clear what the correct hashtag is which leads to a few variations and no strong presence on any social media. Put your hashtag EVERYWHERE! Even ask speakers, performers and staff at your event to use the hashtags on their promotional materials, and tweets. If you use a hashtag right you will see more engagement before, after and during your event. Make it clear, share it often!

Create an Email Newsletter for Your Event

An email newsletter is a fantastic way to stay in touch and promote your events. Email newsletters are much more likely to be seen by your prospects because they are guaranteed to go directly to their email. Once people opt into your email newsletter you can update them with exciting news and announcements to keep them excited about the event. You can also use this newsletter to announce next year’s event to past attendees. Always remember this year’s attendees are your best customers for next year so keep them in the loop about any future events.

Leverage Content

Create and distribute shareable event materials to help promote the event.  Assets can include banners, buttons, videos, etc. Consider implementing a referral/incentive program for each click to the event from assets shared by others. Use Videos. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are all great for video content promotion.  Videos can include footage from previous events, speakers in action, etc. 

Free ticket giveaways are great to generate buzz and excited attendees.  This can take the form of a contest, drawing, etc. Social media platforms are a great way to keep the buzz going!

Word of Mouth

Don’t be embarrassed to talk about your event on blogs and forums where you hang out, as long as the event is relevant to the other users. Your friends and coworkers should do the same. It’s important not to cross the line and become a spammer. You won’t get any good results by posting on forums you never visited before. An invitation from a “friendly face” is worth a lot more than from an unknown promoter.

 

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