Promoting your event can be a daunting task. You need to target the right audience, drive registrations, increase your reach, and ultimately turn your event into a successful one. But how do you do this if it’s your first event, you don’t have a large audience, or your brand isn’t established yet?
Everyone looking to reap the rewards of event marketing has to take the plunge at some point. And while you might need every trick in the book to stand out, the good news is that effective event promotion strategies don’t need to break the bank, nor do they have to limit your options.
To help with this, we’ve come up with the main strategies you can use at your online or in-person event to help you stand out from the crowd and drive registrations.
The core components of event promotion
Just as you would when promoting any other product or service, the main aspects of event promotion are exactly the same. This covers the event website, emailing, social media, blogging, partnerships and media.
The event website
Serving as the focal point of your event promotion initiatives, your event website needs to be informative yet persuasive. Here’s how to make it happen…
- Create compelling copy
An event website is the main source to provide attendees with event info such as the agenda, time, place and most importantly, why they should attend. This is the first glimpse potential attendees will have of your event, and as you know first impressions are key.
First things first, keep it precise and have a clear call to action. And secondly, use the website to capture the essence of your event. This is a chance to give prospective attendees a first glimpse of what your event will look like, so use this opportunity to its fullest.
- Utilise your speakers
Speakers sell tickets, so having them feature prominently on your website should be a no brainer. Seeing this information will entice people to purchase tickets. In addition to names include headshots, logos, and social media profiles.
This area of the website is a further expansion into the story you are sharing about your brand. The speakers and exhibitors shape your event.
- Build the website around your attendees
Use data, analytics, and research to identify potential attendees’ interests and why they might be interested in attending an event like yours. Shifting to this mindset is the easiest way to convert website visitors into event ticket holders.
Every event website should always portray the event experience and help your attendees quickly make a decision on why they want to attend.
- Make it conversion friendly
The aim of the game for every event landing page is to convert website visitors into attendees. There’s only so much enticing you can do with copy and a well-designed webpage, so be sure to add plenty of buttons with a single, clear call to action.
Emails are a great way to get the word out about your event. Use your mailing list and your network of partners and speakers to generate excitement around your event.
- Know your audience
You can’t build a laser-like email campaign that will help you attract more attendees if you don’t know the needs and expectations of those who’ll receive these emails. People usually want to experience something that will tackle their problems or offer concrete solutions to a pain point.
There will always be something that unites them. From the desire to earn more money, grow their businesses, or lose weight (depending on the type of your event), find a common and sensitive trait that would define your target group and build your email message around it.
- Stick to the point
If you want to attract more attendees to your next event, keep your invitation emails simple, yet personal. Always address people by their names (Hi John, Konnichiwa Marta, Bonjour Kevin). Usually, this is an automated option you have access to when setting up an emailing campaign.
Also, if possible, talk about something that will capture their personal interest. For example, you could mention the city where they are living or a previous event they’ve attended. This will make them feel more special and more predisposed to register for your event.
- Always follow up
If you want to attract more attendees, establish up a follow-up system. Don’t get discouraged if people don’t register right away or respond to your first email. Most probably, they are just busy or didn’t truly understand the benefits of your event. After a few days, make sure to follow up and experiment with a different invitation message.
Promoting an event without using social media is a cardinal sin. Your attendees are out there which is why you need to be using to spark some excitement and get the word out.
- Use a hashtag
Hashtags are a fantastic way to thread together all of your social media across every platform that you use. Moreover, having a hashtag helps the event stay fresh in the minds of people. The aim of the game is to make sure everyone knows your event hashtag, so use hashtags early and often.
Tag photos, posts, and create table tents at your event with the hashtags. Hashtags make it easy to find event content. Plus, a well-used hashtag makes non-attendees curious about your event. Finally, don’t forget to add your event info and hashtag to each of your event’s social media bios.
- Create the action plan
Create a social media calendar, where you plan ahead what you are going to post on which network. You should know WHY you are posting every single post. All of your posts should have a specific purpose as for instance: educate, entertain, attract, convince, inspire trust etc.
And leverage different platforms. For example, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat work great to create expectations and get people excited about your event. Whereas Twitter and LinkedIn are great networks to share valuable content with your (potential) attendees.
- Tell a story
This might be the aspect that, if applied well, will set you apart from most of the event organizers: Create a purpose for your event and use it as your ad campaign message. All the successful brands do it. And you should do it too.
Make your social media campaigns around your brand, they make it about the attendee. Are you organizing a business conference? What's its purpose for your attendees? Boosting their career? So, how about turning them into their industry's shooting stars?
- Use video
By far the most digestible format of content, video create expectations and excitement around your event. Moreover, it’s a sure-fire way to boost the engagement of your audience. Use your video to highlight the purpose and the event message you have defined. And keep in mind your audience and its needs and make sure the video points out their benefits.
- Create teaser posts
Share pictures with your followers they don't usually get to see. Include your potential attendees in the entire event experience-starting from the planning and organizing through to behind the scenes pictures happing during the event.
You will make them feel part of the whole process and create stronger connections with them. This is a great way to create some excitement before the event.
Blogging on your site is a solid way to convert visitors into attendees. Use your blog to keep your website visitors informed. Plus, it gives you plenty of content to share on social media.
- Inform and educate readers
Unlike emails or social media, where the aim of the game is to keep things to the point, blogging allows you to tell your story in more detail. Having an active blog benefits you in two ways: one, it serves as a focal point to drive traffic from emails and social media; and second, it helps attract new readers who haven’t heard about your event before.
The best way to engage your readers is to identify ways in which you can help them and add value to their pain points. Use your blog posts to inform and educate, then once you’ve sparked interest, they’ll already be eager to attend your event.
- Invite speakers to write guest posts
Even if you don’t have your own blog, you can still consider guest posting. This is a great way to expand your reach by targeting audiences that share something in common with your event. A great option here is to leverage your speakers to see if you can feature on their blog and vice versa.
Working with partners is a great way to boost exposure and leverage the networks that your partners have established to get the message out about your event.
Partners and sponsors play a vital role in making any virtual event a success so it’s important to incentivise them to promote your event. Not only does this ease the workload of promoting the event yourself but it also enables you to work collectively, expanding the reach of potential attendees that you can attract and giving you much more exposure in the process.
Create a unique promotion code for each partner and speaker. They can use this code when they promote the event, offering a discount to people on their social networks. Since the code is unique to that partner, you’ll know how effective that partner was at promoting the event. You can also consider paying them a referral fee to that partner for those registrants.
- Create partner content
It’s important to use every channel you have at your disposal when promoting an event which is where your partners can come into play. Make things as easy as possible for them by creating content that can be shared on their websites, emails, blogs and across social media. Consider creating a prepared kit with customised visuals and templates for any copy that you want to be shared.
Share your event with the press
A well-written press release can ensure the media is aware of your event’s existence. The media in turn will pass the news to the public and preferably, your target attendees. Also great is that they are relatively cost-effective compared to other marketing tactics.
The purpose of the press release is to provide an official piece of information about an event so that the media can forward this information to the public (your target attendees). So they can be aware of the existence of the event, get the right information, and ultimately, be interested to register/purchase a ticket to the event.
As you can see successfully promoting an event requires a lot of different actions, covering all corners of marketing. However, if you give yourself plenty of time to prepare and create an action plan, you’ll be able to drive registrations and make your event a success.