The worst fear for any event marketer is to plan every detail of an event and when it comes down to the big day, no one shows up. I know, your hands are getting sweaty just reading this.
It’s okay! This blog on creative event promotion will help ensure your events are well-attended and attendees are engaged.
Important Staples of Event Management and Event Promotion
Before we dive into five creative ways to promote your next event, let’s review some important staples of event management and promotion.
- Themes go a long way: Not only do attendees appreciate a creative idea to lure them into attendance, but it’s easier on the event planner to keep the details in sync and consistent. Choosing a theme helps you organize the message you’re trying to get out to attendees and better yet, ensures those attendees remember that message long after the event concludes.
Below are elements from a casino-themed event.
- It’s the little things: Whether this is the first event you’ve planned or you are a seasoned veteran, details make the event. In-person events, you need to make sure the attendees are comfortable. Adjust the temperature, give them more coffee (yes, attendees LOVE their coffee), and space out sessions and activities so that there’s room to enjoy other things like networking or catching up with old friends. Attendees remember these little things, sometimes more than they remember the education you offered at the event. It is often the deciding factor on whether they will attend another one of your events.
- Remind as if you have nothing else to do: People are busy. People are constantly inundated with invitations to social events, online webinars, and work conferences. There’s just a lot of stuff happening ALL the time. Sending one reminder a day before the event doesn’t cut it anymore. Urge attendees to get a little more engaged during this process as well by offering a free download or a chance at a giveaway if they confirm their registration a second time. This holds them more accountable for showing up and it reminds them why they wanted to attend your event in the first place. And then, remind them again.
Creativity is key. I am a writer and yes, there are creative aspects to my job, but event planning? That is creativity at a whole new level. When I write a blog or article, it’s just me…usually. Sometimes I will interview someone, but I rarely have to engage with all the readers of my content and make sure they engage with everything I’ve written.
Event promotion is that and more. Not only do you have to brainstorm up a creative idea for an event, promote till you’re sick and tired of it, and manage every detail, you need to make sure event attendees are engaged, having a good time, learning what they came to learn, and will attend another event of yours again soon.
Yes, it’s a tall order. But one you can serve up with these promotion tactics!
Event Promotion Tactics
1. Facebook has its perks
I’ve seen some compelling promotions on Facebook alone, so much so that it deserves its very own category. Here are some ideas to take your Facebook engagement to a whole new level:
- Like this post for a chance to win: The simplest way to get your fans to engage is to click “like” to enter either into a contest to win something at your event or simply be invited to your event.
- “Caption this” or “photo comment” contest: Post a photo from one of your past events and ask fans to caption it. Pick a winner by choosing the one with the most likes. Or you can ask your fans to post their favorite pic from one of your past events and choose a random winner from the comments. It can be a fun way to get fans excited for your upcoming event while increasing awareness.
- Reward fans for feedback: Post a new product, new service, or even a new event idea and ask for fans to share their feedback. By doing so, they can win a gift card or an invitation to your event.
Make sure to also leverage Facebook events to invite people. It’s incredibly easy and even though you may be competing against a lot of other events, it will improve the chances of getting it on prospective attendee’s calendars.
2. The other social networks deserve some love too
Facebook may not be where your target audience is and if so, you can move your focus to Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Twitter: For large and/or annual events, set up a dedicated Twitter account and then identify a hashtag for the event so that attendees, presenters, and supporters can help you promote.
- LinkedIn: In addition to posting on your company pages and active groups, make sure to post on your own personal profile as well. LinkedIn is becoming a thought leader network where it’s easier to merge a face to a company name and I know that’s where I engage the most, not necessarily on company pages.
Also, consider a small targeted LinkedIn ad campaign for your event.
3. Direct mail is not dead
Getting mail in the mailbox is a tad more exciting than it used to be. It can be compared to the feeling we would get when we heard “You’ve got mail” from our computers. Now that receiving email is no longer a novelty, direct mail has its turn at impressing attendees and increasing awareness for your event. Yes, it’s more expensive but just look at the different possibilities. (P.S. All I did was search on event promotion direct mail ideas on Pinterest and came up with a plethora of ideas to begin with!)
Create a sharable video about your event and make it fun. Boring stock photos that show people around desks writing notes does not make a video viral! Have colleagues in your office show their support in different ways. Maybe someone has a countdown calendar on their desk or maybe the planning team has a rally meeting to get everything excited. Remember who you are as a company and don’t be afraid to share that through video!
5. Get personal with email marketing
I preach this a lot when it comes to email marketing and it’s exactly why Pinpointe works for my own email marketing efforts. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I like to feel like I’m the only one people are emailing and the only way to do that is to know who you’re sending an email to. Different ways of categorizing contacts through tags or behavioral targeting is how personalized emails become a reality. Another great way to achieve this by using URL Personalization within Pinpointe.
For someone who has been through it, start small when segmenting to get comfortable with how the categories work and then you will be able to tailor your message directly for that audience. I talked about finding a theme to keep your messaging consistent and that’s especially critical during the email marketing phase. As mentioned before, getting email isn’t all that special anymore, so you need to make sure your message hits the mark right away and with as little reading as possible.
So, there you have it. Event promotion can allow your creativity to flow. Just make sure you do so in a consistent and orderly fashion online, through direct mail, and in-person at your event.