Events can be great marketing tools. The power of a face to face interaction is hard to match. The trick is getting bottoms in the seats in a cost effective manner. Snail mail invitations aren’t the only way to promote an event in 2016. Promote your event online:
Before you start publicizing your event prepare a consistent creative message. You want your promotional campaign to feel cohesive. This allows you to gain momentum by building upon your existing event brand with each promotional activity.
Pick one spot to drive visitors to for information, signups or ticket purchases. This location is up to you and should remain consistent throughout the event promotion. All ground zero options should be mobile friendly and include your event creative branding, description, details, sign up form and payment option (if needed).
As a web designer I always suggest driving the traffic to your website for event information and signups. Your site is a controlled marketing environment. You’re not encumbered by another system’s limitations. And best of all they might stumble upon something else they need while they’re visiting.
If you’re only planning on one or two events per year and you don’t have a complicated sign up process a third party event registration service may be a good cost effective solution for your event.
This powerful website allows you to share your event details, collect payments for multiple ticket types and promote the event using their built in sharing and email invitation system. Free events are free to list on the site, though the system does take a cut for the service of selling and promoting the tickets – up to $9.95 per ticket and 3% payment processing.
Using Facebook you can create an event for free and promote it easily through Facebook to your friends, fans or a targeted audience. Although Facebook doesn’t allow ticket sales natively inventive web services such as Eventbee and ThunderTix offer apps to sell tickets on Facebook using their services. NOTE: I don’t suggest creating a Facebook event if you’re planning to use another option for your ground zero. But don’t overlook Facebook as a promotional tool as we’ll discuss later.
Evite allows you to choose from pre-designed event invitations and send them to your email list. This is a great choice for less formal or smaller gatherings. It doesn’t however allow for ticket sales or a specialized event sign up form.
As you promote your event always drive traffic back to ground zero using your prepared event brand imagery and message.
Even if ground zero isn’t your website promotion on your site is a must. Add a pop over ad to call attention to the event on key pages of the site. Add it to your home page slider and place it in a prominent location on blog posts and high traffic generating pages.
Blast it out a few times. Once a few weeks before – a save the date. Then once a week or so before – a true invitation. Then a final email the day before or the day of – a last chance reminder. If you send regular email newsletters put an ad for the event on the newsletters. Make sure to review your stats. Some email marketing systems allow you to see who opened and clicked on each email. Marry that with your event sign up list and send a personal email or follow up those who clicked but didn’t sign up with a phone call if possible.
This is a no brainer – post about your event on all your social media outlets. Keep your audience posted during each step of your planning journey. Keep them dialed in and interested for must have giveaways or big reveals at the event.
Boost your Facebook post about the event to make sure your current fanbase doesn’t miss the invite. Consider running an ad to reach out to new event participants. Target people in your geographic area with appropriate interests, job titles or even working for specific companies.
In the weeks leading up to the event add the event imagery to your email signature and link the ad back to ground zero. Then you’ll be sure not to miss a contact!
If your event is geared towards current clients consider adding your event graphic to digital invoices. This is a great way to multipurpose an existing communication with clients but remember the person who receives the invoices may not be the only person you want to invite to the occasion.
Both Facebook and Google offer low cost retargeting solutions great for large events generating new customers. Think of retargeting as advertising insurance. You went through all the trouble (and money) to bring the visitors to your site initially don’t miss an opportunity to remind them about the event and convert the sale.
Even with all the digital hoopla leading up to the event don’t discount the value of a physical invitation and a follow up phone call. A personal touch may be what many attendees need to take the leap.
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