Events targeting hundreds and thousands of participants are unique when it comes to digital and online marketing. The patterns used to market a location based or services business just don’t apply. Event marketing is date-focused and experience-focused. Here are 25 tips for bringing more people to your event. And, the last one is really good…
- Understand the audience and where they hang out online and in life. Advertising and promotion needs to meet them at those places
- Get the customer experience right! When people love the event they come back and they tell their friends and colleagues about how fantastic it was. Event reputation is the biggest factor in generating repeat and referral sales
- Create marketing collateral by hiring a photographer and videographer to capture the event. Be extremely specific with them about what you want them to capture, record, and create for you so that you can more easily marketing the event for next year. Give them examples of what you want from other events (or prior years).
- Use Retargeting/Remarketing advertisements for website visitors who did not purchase tickets. This is a small, high value audience because you already know they are interested
- Facebook Groups are important if you’re working to attract adults. that match your audience and topic and find a way to respectfully place the event in front of the group
- Facebook Events are a critical piece of any promotion campaign if you’re working to attract adults. You can leverage the event for interest assessment, advertising for ticket sales, and communicating the details of the event
- Videos are the best recruiting tool. Create them. Share them on the social media platforms that potential attendees use. And put advertising dollars behind them.
- Video style really, really matters. Hire a videographer that makes videos for social media and YouTube advertising. If they haven’t done it before, they’re not the right fit
- Influencers are a bigger and bigger part of the promotional picture for events. In 2019 we saw that most people with large social media followings understood what to do when we contacted them asking to partner, even if they had never partnered before. Find the people that appeal to those you want at your event and reach out to them
- Search Engine Optimization will help your event stand out from the crowd when people search for phrases like “Events near me this weekend”, “5k near me”, and “networking events near me.” Investment in SEO makes a difference and should be employed for any event targeting 1000 people or more or where online competition is high
- Directory listings on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other websites are critical to people being able to find you. Spend the time to get profiles setup, correct, and showing off your pictures and videos.
- Google My Business allows you to post events to your profile. This is a must so that your event shows up when people search on google for events
- Online event calendars exist and provide a great way to spread the word to a broader audience. They also help improve SEO. Focus on the free calendars. Paid calendars should only be considered if there is an exact match between your target audience and the audience of the calendar
- Signs work. Billboards, over-street signs, large banners near places where your target participants travel really do work to build awareness
- Email marketing to past participants works as long as the event experience was strong. Sales messages should also have content of value, don’t just sell people or they will disengage
- Create price incentives that cause people who register to invite their friends/colleagues via email and social media, offering those friends/colleagues a price break is important too. “Because you know me you get a discount” is a better pitch than “I’m going so you should go too”
- Event websites need to focus on conversion first. Keep focused on the fact that the event doesn’t happen if people don’t come to the event. Conversion rows, entrance and exit pops, videos and photos. The website should be relentless on conversion
- Work the press! If you’re hosting an event worth having then you can attract press coverage. Articles and news spots give you access to an audience that would otherwise never know the event exists. Create a story worth publishing ahead of time and pitch it to local reporters
- Welcome press badges. All major events should have a certain number of seats reserved for those that can get you additional marketing exposure. Influencers, industry celebrities, and press reporters should all be considered and explicitly invited
- Release content early to attract additional attendees. Musicians share their music before people consider coming to a concert. Magicians create YouTube videos of some of their best magic to get people interested. Authors publish papers and books before they fill event centers. Figure out what you’re offering and what to share to get people interested. It needs to be so good that people want to share it with their friends
- Push incentives to people who register and pay. This may be swag or pre-event content. Whatever it is it should get registered participants talking to people about how good it is
- Sell tickets to the next event at the event. If you’re hosting a series or annual event open ticket sales for the next event at or before this event. In doing so you provide yourself the opportunity to sell to a captive audience that loves the experience, because you provided a great experience!
- Build an audience of people who are interested but not registered. Social media followers, email list members, private Facebook Groups. There are so many ways to offer people the ability to stay connected even if they do not attend the event. As you build a following you build a marketing channel
- Leverage sales partners by finding businesses that already service your target audience and partnering with them. Placement on their website, in an email newsletter, on social media, in their store or office. Whatever it is, if another business already has your target attendees, find a way to partner with them to get the word out.
- Hire a sales team. Events need sales people like any business. Prospecting calls should be going out every day to high value target attendees. Get past the idea that people will find you and go find the people you want
Take your event to the next level of sales performance. Inquire.
About The Author
Jeff Kelly started AssetLab Marketing to help businesses sell more by increasing the number of leads, calls, and sales coming from their website, social media, and online advertising.