There are almost as many ways to promote an event these days as there are events themselves. From trendy social media platforms to more typical forms of online marketing like PPC and email lists, to offline forms of advertising such as direct mail and niche commercials, event planners are rather spoiled for choice. Here are some of the most popular ways to get the word out about an upcoming brand event, and why they are worthwhile for event planners and coordinators:
Taking advantage of the significant reach and relative ease of social media marketing is becoming one of the more standard promotional methods for event marketers, since it is so accessible and relatively quick to implement. And there are lots of unique and fairly low budget ways to get your event and message across on social media:
- Image is Everything: Because events involve meeting new people and discovering new things in person, there are some ways we won’t be able to appeal to senses with online content. In this case, creating and sharing great visuals, such as images and videos with sound, can help attract more attendees to your event, as well as encourage others to share it within their social communities.
- Create an Event: One of the simplest ways to spread word about your event is to create an announcement and invite others. Using platforms like Google Plus and Facebook, you can create custom events that provide attendees an easy way to share the event, which in turn can drive more followers to your social pages. Make sure to include all the details about your event as well as make it public so anyone can attend.
- Ask Your Attendees: If your attendees are looking forward to going to your event, consider asking them to share their excitement with their friends? You make this easy for them by creating a customized tweet and placing it on the “Thanks for Registering” page after signing up for your event online.
However, social media users can also be fickle (to say the least) and less likely to be committed to actually attending or participating in an event, making the time and effort involved in an organic social media marketing campaign a moot point.
More typical forms of advertising such as PPC, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, and display ads are almost par for the course but can be quite effective, especially if you can accurately access and target your potential attendees on each platform. Understanding your audience and more importantly, where they go and how they interact online is crucial for running digital ads in any capacity, but particularly in the event industry where timing and location is so important.
What’s more, digital ads can be an equalizer – small businesses and big companies alike are all charged the same amount for their ads (assuming they are targeting the same audience on the same platform). Therefore, they can be a great way for smaller brands to get the word about their events without the cost of a major commercial campaign.
Special pages on your website, banners on the homepage, and mentions on your blog if you have one are all helpful. Having any partners or aligned sites feature your events is nice as well. Even building a microsite on a subdomain or separate domain can be valuable, especially for a recurring event that may warrant its own stand-alone site in general.
As a marketer, your list of email subscribers can be one of the most valuable assets. After all, anyone who opts in to your list is already aware of your brand. Plus, with proper list management, you can track your potential attendees from their initial sign up to when they actually visit your events, and follow up with them afterwards.
Although email marketing lacks the cool factor or visual appeal of social media marketing or other digital trends, there is a reason it has stuck around – it is typically one of the best ways to communicate with your current and prospective clientele. Not only does nearly everyone have an email address, if they sign up for your list, they’ve already indicated interest in your offerings – which is not always the case with less targeted marketing tactics like social media or online advertising.
Direct mail, on-site or in-store signage, outdoor advertising, vehicle wraps, and even local commercials can be quite effective in promoting local events. Ensuring that your mailing list is as accurate as your email list is the first, as well as brainstorming other ways that your audience may come into contact with your business – including at the event(s) itself!
At the end of the day, social media is far from the primary source of marketing options for small businesses, especially for special events or similar marketing activities. However, it most certainly is useful and has a low barrier to entry and a relatively high level of engagement in comparison. That said, it is essential for marketers to keep in mind that social media is hardly a magic bullet; in fact, it is only as intelligent and effective as the human beings who are managing it and crafting the overall brand or event story.
Therefore, trying out other methods of marketing that might be more complex and costly but have an even higher level of engagement since the end user has already opted into receiving marketing messages (such as direct mail, email, or other more traditional means) can be worth the expense and the effort, especially if you are promoting an exclusive and high stakes event.