Organizing an event takes time, effort and resources. It would be a regrettable waste if, following such investment, the event doesn’t attract as much attendance and participation as was envisaged. To ensure you don’t find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you must effectively market and promote the event to the desired target audience.
In fact, from the get-go, event marketing and promotion must be part and parcel of event planning. The earlier you start marketing, the higher the chances of event success. Remember that the speakers, performers, exhibitors, suppliers, and other event stakeholders would usually need at least a year’s advance notice to prepare.
There are numerous ways you can market an event. Traditional techniques such as email marketing (with the email list cleaned up by a bulk email verification service) can work. However, get creative by taking advantage of marketing techniques that maximize return but without breaking the bank. We look at a number of these below.
1. Create a Microsite
This is an especially effective strategy if the event has a regular frequency. A promotional microsite is a purpose-built website that’s dedicated to the event and is separate from your organization’s primary website. It would be the ultimate destination for anyone interested in gaining a detailed understanding of every aspect of the event.
You can leverage traditional search engine optimization as well as email marketing and social media marketing to drive traffic to the microsite. While having event information on your main website would seem like a great opportunity for cross-selling, the reality is that visitors to your site could get distracted by other non-event content and inadvertently fail to sign-up.
An event microsite gives you the space to delve deep into the event details and deliver content that is specific and relevant.
2. Promotional Videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is equivalent to much more. Audiovisual content attracts substantially more engagement than written text. Consider creating at least one video that breaks down the event for prospective attendees.
A series of videos is preferable as opposed to doing a single video that attempts to capture everything. Visitors to your website and social media pages can only watch for so long before they lose interest and have to move to something else.
Having a series of videos ensures you can break down the event elements into bite-sized chunks that relay key points in just a minute or two. It also allows you to segment content and tailors different videos to different audience groupings. That way, visitors can go straight to the video that’s most relevant.
Above all, the videos should be informative, captivating, fun and shareable.
3. Create a Captivating Infographic
An infographic combines the advantages of an image with the articulation of text to quickly relay your message to your target audience. A visually appealing infographic compels recipients to share with their friends and colleagues. And the more the people who see your event infographic, the higher the number of people likely to attend.
4. Merchandise Give-Aways
Everyone loves free stuff which is why merchandise hand-outs is one way of getting word on your event out there. You could give away branded t-shirts and coffee mugs or hand out gift cards, free event tickets, and product samples. A good place to start would be your social media followers. You could also work with social media influencers whose audience includes your target audience.
Nevertheless, hand-outs can be counterproductive if they’re of low quality. Even if you’re giving the items for free, poor quality items would leave the impression of a mediocre event. So don’t just give away merchandise for the sake of it; make sure it’s of sufficiently high quality to get the recipient talking about it to the people in their social circle.
5. Contests and Rewards
Humans are hardwired to want to win and be the best. Tap into this innate need by arranging event-related competitions that offer attractive rewards. For example, you could upload an image to your social media page and ask your followers to ‘caption this’. The person with the caption that attracts the most likes or comments wins a reward such as an event ticket, a gift card or event memorabilia.
Contests can be a powerful viral means of raising event publicity and interest. People who initially participated in the competition for the reward will be drawn to the event website where they’ll learn more.
6. Explain the Benefits
It won’t be obvious to everyone what they would stand to gain if they attended your event. So to get rid of any ambiguity, clearly explain the benefits. After all, if people are paying to attend, they have to understand what kind of return they’ll get from their investment. Some prospective attendees would have to convince their employer to sponsor their participation and this would best happen if they are armed with the knowledge of the benefits.
Create a ‘Why Attend?’ section on your site where, using testimonials, past stats, and videos, visitors can have a clearer understanding of why they should participate.
These are just some of the event marketing methods you could make use of. Ultimately, the marketing techniques you settle for.
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