How to Promote an Event ~ Putting together an event is hard work. From securing funding to getting permits and choosing locations, even the smallest of local events can turn into a headache.
And unfortunately, they don’t all pay off.
The truth is that without a proper way to promote and market your event, you may find that its attendance is lacking. In fact, it can be so low that you might feel as if this great event you planned turns out to be a bust.
That’s because no matter how great your event, you can be sure that no one will come if they don’t know about it. Because of this, make sure that you have a robust marketing strategy that will help put your event on the map. The better your marketing, the more guests you can expect to come out.
That being said, let’s take a look at a few general pointers that you should keep in mind you look for creative ways to promote your local event.
Keep the Following in Mind
For starters, it’s important to understand that no one can guarantee that your event will be a success. Even with the best, most strategic, marketing campaign, you may find that your event has unexpected hiccups. For example, a severe thunderstorm might keep people from coming out to your event—and there’s not much you can do about that.
This being said, let’s take a look at some of the important considerations that you need to make when preparing for your event.
Varied Marketing Is Important
To have the best marketing possible, you’re going to want to take advantage of a wide variety of different marketing schemes. From radio to social media, you’ll want to make sure that you’re reaching your audience any way possible.
Of course, make sure that your campaign is cohesive across every different area. By having a consistent theme, you’ll leave a better impression on the audience. What’s more, you’ll start to gain top-of-mind awareness that will be important to draw people out to your advent.
So why do you need to go through different marketing strategies? Think of it this way: each different avenue will have a different audience. Sure, sometimes the audience may overlap, but you can still expect to reach a much broader base of potential visitors—and customers.
To do this, you’re going to need to budget appropriately. Some promotional tools are cheaper than others—social media, for example—but if you’ve got the resources, you don’t want to skimp on more expensive alternative options, either.
Start Planning in Advance
All of this means that you’re likely going to need to start planning your marketing in advance. Don’t’ wait until your event is almost ready to start doing your marketing. By doing this, you won’t be able to draw the crowd that you’re hoping for.
Instead, make sure that you start planning and acting on your marketing strategy relatively early. The earlier that you start, the better the top-of-mind awareness that you’ll have.
You don’t want to start too early, though, as this may put some of your potential base off. If something is advertised too long, it goes to the back of someone’s mind—and they may think that it’s already passed even if it hasn’t.
That being said, starting a few months in advance may be a good idea. This will give people enough time to make plans to attend your event—and you a chance to build hype.
Building hype is one of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. Without building hype, you’re not going to generate enough excitement for your event. But this can be one of the hardest parts of your promotional journey. You’ll need to find out exactly what it is that your event is offering and market that.
Not only that, you need to position your event as one that people just aren’t going to want to miss. Only in this way can you secure the audience size needed to make sure that your event realizes its true potential.
Finding what makes your event specialist will take some time and careful consideration. If possible, you may even want to secure the assistance of an outside marketing firm. This can help you see your event in a new light, giving you the ability to boil down your true selling point. Below, we’ll go more in detail about this selling point and its importance, but first, let’s consider one last aspect that you need to know.
Put Together a Marketing Team
If you want your marketing to be successful, don’t try to go at it alone. This is a mistake that many people make, and it can prove rather costly in the long run.
The truth is that marketing is a hard business. You’re going to need to make sure that you’re covering all your bases to have your event be a true success. And this is something that you’re only going to be able to do through the collective brainpower of talented staff.
No matter how good you may be at marketing, you can’t do it all alone. By having a strong, solid team, you’ll be able to more effectively plan, coordinate, and implement your marketing strategy for superior results.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the importance of forming a true selling idea for your event. This will allow you to start creatively marketing your product.
Find Your Selling Point
What is your selling point? It’s the one thing that your event offers that people won’t be able to find anywhere else. It’s the one thing that your event does better than everyone else—the thing that would be a shame to miss.
Why are we talking about your selling point in an article dedicated to finding creative promotional techniques? Because the reality is that without a selling point, all the creativity in the world won’t help you. Instead, your selling point should be the base on which you build all of your creative promotional methods.
If this sounds difficult, don’t worry. That’s how it’s supposed to be. You’ll want to put in serious thought and time into making sure that you’re finding your event’s true selling point. And remember—you may want to find an outside marketing firm to help in this regard. This can give you a fresh perspective and let you find what really sells your event.
Need a little help in finding the true selling point behind your event? Consider the following.
You Have to Deliver
This point proves to be especially important if your local event is one that will run for more than one day. Recurring events need to really deliver on the marketing promises that they make—or people aren’t going to come out the second day.
Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth in promoting your event. Positive word of mouth can ensure that your event is a success—and can even allow it to be your wildest expectations.
Poor word of mouth, however, can do just the opposite. Just think—how many times have you been put off trying a new restaurant because your friends told you that the food was bad? Now think in reverse. How many movies have you gone to see because you heard good reviews from your friends or coworkers?
These business ventures either fail or flop because of a combination of two things. It’s not just that they aren’t living up to general quality standards. It’s also the fact that they aren’t living up to the hype that they promised.
Take, for instance, a B-grade horror movie. When watching these, you may not have high expectations—allowing you to enjoy them. However, if you go to watch an Oscar-winning film and find it to be poorly-plotted, it’s going to leave a doubly-sour taste.
So what’s the point? Make sure that when you do your marketing, you’re not making any claims that you can’t back up. Doing so can be counterproductive in many ways.
Think from Your Customers’ Perspectives
To find the idea that’s really going to sell your product, you’re going to need to think from your customers’ perspectives.
This requires finding your target audience and making sure that your local event offers something of value to them. If, for instance, you’re having a bake sale to raise money for the ASPCA, make sure that you’re clear on the benefits that you’re bringing to animals in need. Advertising your event as a simple bake sale won’t bring out the right crowd and can reduce passion for the event.
Remember, even if people aren’t spending their money, they’re giving you their time. And that’s something that you’ll need to earn through both your marketing and your delivery.
And for events that require money, you’re going to need to work twice as hard.
Benefits, Not Features
Finally, make sure that you’re not just talking about the different features that your event will have. In many ways, when marketing, less is more. Though you may be tempted to list everything that your event will have in the hopes that something will stick, the truth is that you’re going to want to form one single identity.
Everything that you do should be built around this. It should be intriguing—a one-liner identity that’s easy to remember and that motivates people to research and come out. This will help bring in more people to your local event.
Creative Marketing Techniques
Now that you have this in mind, you’re ready to start thinking of creative marketing ideas that will have your event as popular as possible. As you consider these options below, think of how you can make these general marketing ideas great for your specific event. It’s okay if you decide to tweak some of these ideas—the more you can tailor them to your specific event, the better.
Buy Social Media Ads
Social media ads are some of the cheapest around—and you’ll have access to great demographics information that can help you run a smooth campaign. With social media advertising, you can start targeting your ads to your expected demographic, making them a great way for you to increase interest in your event.
Facebook, especially, offers great cheap ad options that are perfect for marketing on almost any budget. Remember to make sure that you push your event’s brand identity through your posts. Don’t overwhelm your potential audience, or they will be confused and lose interest. Keep in mind that though humans can remember more than one thing, people are busy—and no one’s going to take the time to remember everything that you have to offer. Instead, they’re going to boil it down to one big idea—and you can control what that idea is.
One of the best ways for you to promote your local event is to stay engaged. This means commenting on others through social media, promoting it throughout your local community, and generally being open to discussions and questions.
Doing this will allow you to build trust with your target audience. And the more trust that you have, the more people you can expect to show up to your event.
A creative way to do this is to start holding raffles or some other form of competition. If your event costs money, for instance, hold social media giveaways with free tickets or cash or door prizes. Doing so can generate hype about your event that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Another creative way to do this is to announce the winner of your contest at your event. This will help bring people out who wouldn’t generally have wanted to leave their homes.
The Bottom Line
By following the guide above, you’ll be on your way to having a successful local event. With the right marketing strategy, you can find incredibly creative ways to promote your local event. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be one step closer to having the successful event that you’ve been dreaming of.