The most exciting, perfectly-planned event is nothing without robust attendance. To maximize the effectiveness of the occasion, you’ll want the venue filled. To attract the maximum number of people to your affair, you’ll need to put just as much effort into your promotion and marketing efforts as you do into the event itself.
The first step in an effective promotion strategy is targeting the audience. Is it a recurring event for which you can reach out to previous attendees? These previous attendees can be leveraged in several ways beyond individual ticket sales, as we’ll see below. Alternately, this may be a brand new effort, open to the public, which will dictate different guidelines for the way you promote. In this case, you’ll want to narrow down which elements of the general public you’re hoping to attract.
Once you’ve targeted your core audience, you can begin implementing individual tactics. These tactics will form the core of your event promotion plan and lead to a booming response from the audience. Try some or all of the ideas below to optimize event attendance and make the occasion a resounding success.
1.Perfect the Event Name and Description
One of the first bits of extremely effective promotional strategy begins during the event’s planning stages. The event’s name and description are two essential forward-facing pieces of information you’ll create. To increase its effectiveness, make the name snappy, descriptive, and memorable. Make it stand out against a backdrop of other events. The description should reach out to your specific audience and detail the event itself in a way that defines the benefits people will receive by attending.
2. Optimize the Event Website
Another critical piece of your event’s promotional material will be the website. While this may be an obvious truth for many event planners, it is a feature that is sometimes overlooked and so deserves special attention. It needs to be attractive, compelling, engaging, and easy to navigate. It should also include or link all necessary event information, such as the calendar, schedule, and ticketing. In addition to this informative content, you can put the website to work for you through search engine optimization. This involves more than keyword-rich content. It should also include clear headings, truly useful information, attractive photographs, and effective metadata.
3. Offer Early Bird Discounts
There are a number of advantages to early sale ticket promotions. The first is that it enforces an additional deadline. By guiding customers to purchase tickets early for a lower price, you push for an earlier sell-out date, which will help your bottom line. The lower price during the promotion can also motivate attendees who might not otherwise buy. This, in turn, allows you to reach a wider range of people through your marketing.
4. Maximize E-mail Marketing
E-mail blasts are a critical part of a good campaign. However, there are a number of ways to make sure your e-mailing efforts are getting the most results. One of them is to segment your e-mail lists. They can be divided between previous attendees and new customers or by demographic information, depending on the event you’re promoting. This allows you to tailor your event e-mails to particular audiences. Another way to easily promote through e-mail is to have your staff add an event link to their e-mail signatures.
5.Keep Ticket Purchasing Simple
The easier it is to complete the purchasing process, the more likely people are to follow through. Every step along the way, whether it’s an extra pop-up, landing page, or information page, will decrease the number of people completing a signup. In as many cases as possible, keep the steps to a minimum. Ideally, customers will be able to make their purchase with a single click. In order to help with this, you can implement native purchasing tools on social media platforms to make it possible to buy the ticket directly from the social media page.
6. Leverage Social Media
Social media offers boundless opportunities for promotion. In addition to the necessity for a good Facebook page, there are other steps that can be taken to increase the effectiveness of a social media campaign. If you have the budget for it, Facebook offers the opportunity to run extremely targeted advertising on the platform. You can also live stream your event promotion activities using Facebook Live.
One way to do this is to start a Linkedin group. This gives the event visibility across multiple platforms. It also offers the opportunity to target marketing to specific professional groups.
Another good strategy is to contact Twitter thought leaders and get them to promote your event on their platform. Working with others this way can give the campaign additional reach. Another good way to use Twitter is to develop a great hashtag for your event and then promote the hashtag through various means. You could also use the hashtag across multiple platforms.
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7. Practice Retargeting
Ad retargeting is the practice of serving ads to people after they leave your page. This allows you to reach audience members even if they don’t sign up the first time around. Retargeting is available in a fairly inexpensive, simple-to-use form on both Google and Facebook.
8. Create Partnerships with Speakers and Sponsors
Speakers and sponsors are excellent resources. They’re already invested in the project, so frequently, it’s easy to get them to promote on behalf of the event. This is especially useful for speakers or sponsors with a large audience or social media following. A great way to use this is to ask them to promote the event on their podcast or share the Facebook event page on their own social media.
9. Gamify the Pre-event Leadup
Gamification is a continuously more popular way to enhance promotional efforts. This can range from very involved processes like creating a video game for your brand to simpler strategies such as hosting a content creation contest among your registrants. If it’s a charity event, consider incorporating leaderboards into the process, tracking people’s donation levels.
10. Take Advantage of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has been around as an effective strategy for ages. In order to do this, have your affiliates offer promotional codes for a discount at checkout. This will not only encourage signups but allow for detailed audience tracking through the use of the promo codes.
11. Use Push Notifications
There are a number of ways to use push notifications. If the user has signed up on your website, it’s possible to enable them through that. Additionally, if your event has an app, attendees can receive the notifications that way. A related strategy is periodic e-mail reminders. Include information on contests, promotions, event updates, and referral programs.
12. Capture the Data
Data is critical to a successful campaign. All the information you can gather from your platforms will inform the most effective next steps. It’s possible to adjust your strategy midstream if the data dictates. Alternately, all of that information will be invaluable in planning for subsequent events.
13. Transform Event Attendees into Event Ambassadors
Some of your best allies are the people who attend and enjoy your event. You’ve already developed ways of reaching them. Now use those outreach methods to get them to promote the event for you. Ask future attendees to share the Facebook page with friends. Get previous attendees to publish photos from the event using the event hashtag. The possibilities are endless, but attendees can become an army of ambassadors to help get the event off the ground.
14. Build Memorable Video Content
Good content is the golden rule in the digital economy. One of the most valuable types of content is video. There are tons of ways to create a video that could go viral, but ideas include an online video challenge, a highlight reel from a previous event, flash mobs, narrative videos, and more. Keep the message direct, concise, and memorable.
15. Incorporate QR Codes
QR codes are used all over the place these days. They can provide information, updates, and webpage redirects, or they can be used to gather additional information about your registrants or attendees. Include them on physical advertising material or any printed handouts at the event.
16. Create Infographics
A good infographic can provide a great deal of information in very little space. In addition to providing an information blast, infographics are extremely shareable. This shareability offers the opportunity to rapidly reach a wider audience with your message.
17. Geotag Your Campaigns
Geolocation is not only a great way to gather information about your audience, including habits and interests. It also allows you to customize your content to your audiences by making use of extremely localized opportunities, influencers, and vendors.
18. Promote Branded Merchandise
Branded merchandise can be distributed before, during, and after the event. It’s a great incentive to get people to return year after year. This can include a wide range of options. The best-branded merchandise is something the attendee will continue to use after the event. After all, no one is incentivized by trash.
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19. Donate Event Ticket Packages
Offering ticket packages through raffles and contest prizes serves a couple of purposes. First, it increases attendance through the prize winners. Second, everyone who enters the raffle is exposed to and knows about the event. Their knowledge opens the opportunity to new registrations and additional buzz.
20. Explore Different Ticket Types
Tiered ticketing offers a number of opportunities. The most basic is that it provides value at a wide range of price levels. Effectively employed, it also implies a higher value for higher-priced ticket options. Offering additional perks (content, swag, etc.) at the high end is a good way to encourage more purchasing, thus increasing your bottom line.
There are many moving parts to an effective promotion effort. However, when the elements of the strategy are effectively curated and optimized to operate effectively, massive results are possible. A great campaign is a seamlessly operating audience development machine that will have your event bursting at the seams.