How to Promote Your Event

The key to any successful event is large turnout, and this turnout is impossible to achieve without promotion. In an ideal world, your customers would always come to you. In practice, though, you need to go out and find those customers yourself. By learning which promotion strategies work and which to avoid, you can maximize your event’s turn-out without wasting time on ineffective tactics. Here are a few ways to promote your next event:

Promote Your Event

 

Utilize Social Media

People are more reliant on the Internet than ever before. As sites like Facebook and Instagram gain popularity among a diverse population of users, businesses can reach an ever-widening audience. The greatest benefit of social media is that, unlike static forms of advertising, it invites user participation.

One successful campaign from Volkswagen involved a “treasure hunt” for event tickets. The tickets could only be found if users would share and spread the virtual map. For a less ambitious but still effective example, many companies and organizations spread their messages through “donated” Tweet space: Users can volunteer their social media accounts to spread automatic posts generated by the company. This worked well for Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee program as a way to rally support from people who may not have been able to help the cause in other ways.

Just be sure to use your social media campaign wisely by targeting the right audience and presenting a unified message. Take the time to make a single brief slogan that can be used as a hash tag in Twitter and Instagram; this will help people find your message and recognize it immediately. Most importantly, having a hash tag invites participation from your followers, customers and others who may be excited about your event. By creating the hash tag, you are inviting others to use it, which can improve your chances of a message going viral.

Go Offline

Although the Internet offers numerous ways to connect with an audience, not every potential customer will be found online. Offline marketing campaigns still work very well for some target customers. If you’re targeting a group of people who don’t frequent social media sites, your best strategy may be business signs, newspaper advertisements, radio ads or other messages broadcast over traditional media. If you’re not sure that traditional advertising still works, consider a recent study that suggests 58 percent of drivers learn about an event they were interested in by reading billboards.

The most important thing to remember when advertising an event offline is to target your audience. Because offline ads do not have the same long reach as Internet marketing strategies, you will need to do more research to find out where your desired audience is likely to come across an advertisement. People who see billboards on a lonely stretch of highway may not be the same people who read the newspaper every day, and neither group might include your target audience. By knowing who the ideal customer is for your event, you can spend your advertising dollars wisely and achieve the greatest effect.

Cross-promote

Word-of-mouth promotion is still the number one way to spread your brand and encourage a large turnout at your next event. While Internet virility is valuable, it’s important to think of other ways to drum up interest and enthusiasm among your would-be customers. One of the best strategies is cross-promotion which allows you to work closely to other businesses or organizations in your niche. Instead of viewing these other groups as competitors, think of them as a way to work toward a common purpose.

Even better, look for ways to promote yourself within a group that’s interested in your event but who won’t be competing for your bottom line. For example, you might team up with a related charity, local club or even a MeetUp group in your area. One of the easiest cross-promotion tactics is to co-sponsor the event itself. By teaming up with another small business, you can reduce your workload and double the amount of visibility your event has. You may attract customers that otherwise could be unreachable.

Of course, the effectiveness of this strategy will depend on your niche, the event itself and what type of consumers you’re hoping to attract. Be sure to think outside the box. When it comes to cross promotion, small businesses have a definite advantage over larger companies. They are more nimble, have narrower niches and are more likely to be involved in the community, all of which makes them more likely to succeed.

As your business gains momentum, your reach will spread. The first few events you hold may have a lackluster turnout, but each one will help establish your brand and begin to spread your influence among potential customers. If you carefully target your marketing toward your ideal consumers, you will soon begin to notice the growth you need for a successful business.

This was a guest contribution from Brandon Serna with FASTSIGNS, an industry leader in signage and many other visual communication solutions around the world.

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Posted on April 11, 2013, in Biz Tips, Entrepreneur, Small Business, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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