You've set the date. You've booked the venue. Now all you need is to get people to show up. Anxious? Maybe just a little? Well, don't be. Marketers are scheduled to spend over $540 billion dollars worldwide on advertising this year, so your department should have a few dollars lying around to use for an event.
If you're not sure how to begin marketing an event, here's a list of effective event marketing tips. You don't need a huge advertising budget or superstar endorsements to make it all come together. Use this list as your event marketing blueprint to kick start your event marketing campaign:
1. Start with an effective event page
The keystone of all your promotional efforts should be the event page or website. This should be a page or website dedicated solely to the event, or if you lack the time and means to do it yourself, use an EventBrite page. However you do it, make it compelling by incorporating at least some of these elements:
- A compelling description of the event.
- Speaker pictures and biographies.
- Event-themed videos.
- And a prominent "Register Now!" button.
2. Send pre-event emails
If you have a list, an email marketing blitz may be your ace channel. If you lack your own list, you should ask speakers, partners, or friends to list the event in their own emails. Regardless of where the list comes from, use these event email marketing guideposts:
- Make the subject line exciting and engaging. Be as specific as possible.
- Send during the weekend - people may feel less stressed and more open to spending a few hours at your event.
- Use a video thumbnail of the main attraction.
- Use social proof - if you have positive feedback from a previous similar event, make sure the review is included in the email.
- Send the email several times. Make sure you emphasize 'early bird' registration discounts.
3. Utilize all social media channels
Tweets and blogs; Instagram and Snapchat; Vimeo, LinkedIn and Facebook. Make sure you have the top 15 social networking sites covered with an announcement. Digital media director Amy Jo Martin says, "Using just a few social media channels is like using a pea shooter to bring down an elephant; you need all the firepower you can get, and you only get that from using ALL the top social networking platforms."
4. Have dependable vendors lined up in advance
"Oh, we can get balloons and snacks at the last minute." These are the last words you'll ever use before you take the rap for a failed marketing event. Always use an online party-planning directory such as mypartyplanner.com for everything you'll need. Directories are an excellent source for ideas to liven up your event. They'll help you compare prices for individual services and products in your area and empower you to have everything ready to go long before the first folding chair is set up.
5. Send a news release to media and industry websites
Start with hyper-local media; they often let you post your own announcements just the way you want. Find these by searching Event Calendars in Google for your city and county. Don't neglect industry and trade associations; most of them have newsletters - you just have to make sure to get your announcement in early enough so they can use it. Get a professional-looking press release to your local newspaper(s) and radio & TV stations. And don't forget about local blogsites.
6. Build momentum just prior to and during the event
Have your hashtag up and running; make sure Instagram and Snapchat are busy getting the look and feel of excited attendees waiting in line and coming in. Hold a drawing right away,and get the results posted on every social media channel - with a teaser that another giveaway is coming up soon. Always remember that face-to-face contact with customers and potential customers is still a priceless marketing tool. A marketing event is THE place for such interpersonal contact.
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