So you have an event to run... First off don't let that feeling of overwhelm get you down.
Planning, promoting and managing an event is an exciting challenge to undertake. It might involve multiple teams and requires a lot of preparation to be successful. Promoting it can feel like you're scaling a mountain but with the right tools and strategy you can climb your way to a successful event and pack the place out.
To help you calm those nerves, we’ve prepared a survival kit full of top event marketing strategies and tools you can use to create buzz at your next public event, before it, during it and after, so read on!
Pre-Event Marketing: Know What You're Promoting
Before starting any promotion for an event, it is important you establish what your goals are. Whether that is driving ticket sales, creating a buzz on social media, but it’s probably going to be both! To create a successful event early on, goals need to be set in advance and made clear to the team.
First off we say, know who your target audience is! If you are attracting people to a local event you’ll want to know where they hang out. What different media do they consume? There is no point advertising a music festival in the magazine of Knitting Weekly. If you can understand your demographic then you have a better target to aim for and get your event noticed.
But HOW to promote your event?
There are many ways to promote your event, from email marketing, radio, to the magic of social media or the more tangible wizardry of printed promotions. Which you chose is up to you, however, we will look into a few different examples of both…
Cater Your Email Database
Let your email database take a load off! Simply send a tailored email to your contacts list, telling them why they need to attend, when and where it will be taking place. Include EVERYTHING in the email, essential information such as pricing and where to purchase tickets, add a ‘Share’ button to help forward the email on and spread the word. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool in itself.
Embrace Social Media
No how-to-guide would be complete without a mention of social media, like Marmite you either love it or hate it but we all embrace it and let’s just skip right to it and say that pretty much everyone uses it! Use them to your advantage because they’re free advertising space!
If you are in a small team, it might be wise to limit yourself to a few key channels rather than trying to be everywhere at once. Cover 1 or 2 channels well rather than spreading yourself too thin, Your target audience will most likely have a preferred platform, so that is a good place to start. You’ll need to have a content plan in place before you start and this applies to print as well!
The main social media platforms are:
- Facebook: Probably the best platform for promotions, you can create events, share updates about your event, include a ‘Find Tickets’ link and interact directly with your audience. Creating groups is now a core feature of Facebook and a great way to get your audience talking to each other. Because honestly, who likes a silent disco!
- Twitter: Twitter is great for sending out rapid updates and the best place to develop a communal hashtag for your event that people can use or search for.
- Instagram: A very visual channel, this is perfect for sharing teaser images, previous event images and behind-the-scenes shots. With live feeds now being popular on both Instagram and Facebook, it’s a great way to inject some video into your event, be that in the buildup or on the day.
- LinkedIn: The professional one of the bunch, if your event is focused on business and professionals, this is the one for you. There are communities interested in specific topics, so fit your promotions around these interests.
Promote with Print
Whilst social media and digital marketing have their benefit, never forget some of the tried and tested marketing techniques. Leaflets and flyers provide a fantastic platform to promote special events and reach your audience in many ways:
- Poster and Flyer Design
- Beer Mats
- Billboard, 6 Sheet and Bus Advertising
- Newspaper inserts
- Street distribution
- Display Banners
Another added benefit of a flyer is that it is something tangible, your audience can physically hold a flyer, which may stay in their mind longer than it does to scroll past an advert on a phone screen. The quality of how a flyer is designed and printed will also impact whether a customer decides to read it, that’s where designers like us at Depict Creative come in, but that is for another time (or another blog). This is why it is important to ensure your flyer or poster stands out, is well designed and the message is clear.
The Creative Angle
Events should be promoted with one objective - to attract visitors. When you have your copy sorted, the USPs and the hooks, then the magic can truly start. Designing the overall style of the event marketing. You’ll want to come up with key marketing straplines, a suitable tone of voice and the visual system to ‘brand’ the campaign.
Think of new and inventive ways to market your event too! Pick your marketers brain and come up with ways to help engage your audience outside the normal channels, whether it is a drawing competition or a chance to play at a live event with a lucky draw, the possibilities are endless! Teaser campaigns can be a great way to build interest. We recently promoted a music festival and to build on the suspense of the headline act announcement, we used specific lyrics from some of their songs and threw them out onto social media - it really got people talking for all sorts of reasons. Then we had our audience waiting for us when we announced whom the main act was going to be.
This may sound silly but make sure your collateral is signed off and kept in a dedicated 'signed off' folder. With so many revisions or changes to your event planning, things can easily get overlooked. You wouldn’t want to be advertising incorrect information just because you used an older file.
Also, if you have any guest speakers or attendees, you must have their approval of all related imagery! It’s likely they will have built up their own personal brand and worked for years to maintain. One accidental misuse of an associated image or copyright infringement can cause a lot of trouble, so check before you tweet, post or print. Oh, and make sure it’s a good quality image!
During the Event Marketing: Show Time
The time has come and it is showtime! But your job shouldn’t end from a promotions perspective. Delegates, visitors and keynote speakers will be watching on social media even if they are at the event! Live social feeds are hugely important during the event, so fill your social stream with interesting content. We make sure we have one of our team on hand at every event to handle social media. This involves live streaming, updates, photo’s, video’s and even interacting with people who may comment on any social media posts.
Oh and don’t forget the selfie frame! Everyone loves to have their picture with a cardboard frame hanging around their neck!
Post-Event Marketing: Recap
Event recaps are essential, they help to remind attendees of the day but it also gathers crucial information. For example, their views and feedback from the event.
There are various ways to recap an event, here are some example:
- Summary of presentations
- Speakers’ presentations
- Gallery of photos
- A list of the top tweets from the event
- Special thanks to the speakers, sponsors and attendees
Getting feedback is important, so do not forget to share survey links and invites for the next event to help keep the buzz going until next time.
We frequently work with clients who rely on place marketing and event promotions, If you are interested in talking to us about an upcoming project, then get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01902 283029.