No matter what type of event you’re planning, visibility is key to making it a success. Although most marketing teams and c-suite execs are setting aside about a quarter of their marketing budgets for events, how much of that trickles down to marketing the event itself varies quite a bit. Realistically, few of us are lucky enough to have thousands (or tens of thousands) to spend on paid search, TV, or radio, so we have to turn to other impactful ways to draw attention. Here’s a quick look at 12 ways you can draw a crowd without emptying your pockets.
1. Grab a Sponsor
Enticing a sponsor to sign on isn’t always easy, particularly if your event is new and your brand is small. However, if you spend time gathering data and putting together a package which demonstrates the benefit to potential sponsors, it is possible to get an in, even when you’re unknown. Naturally, the sponsor can help subsidize the costs associated with the event, which leaves you with a bit more money to work with. A really great sponsor will let you leverage their audience and help spread the word.
2. Bring on a Partner
Do you know of people in related industries or those which share a similar audience? By working together, you can share the expenses, work, and costs.
3. Make Friends with Influencers
A lot of people think “celebrity” when the idea of an influencer is mentioned, but not all influencers are celebs. Industry experts with a following work, as do bloggers, YouTubers, local officials, and more. Focus on connecting with people who actually engage with their audiences, not just those with huge followings. Sure, your message may possibly be seen by more if it’s being shared by someone with a large audience, but people who are engaged with the influencer are more likely to take action. If you’ve got some cash to spend, you may be able to formally hire an influencer. If your budget is tight, work on connecting with local influencers or those who share the same values as you; they might agree to help simply to support a local business or a cause they care about.
4. Revamp Your Site
Ideally, you’ll create an event-specific website, but if you’re on a budget, just make sure your primary website is updated. Create an event-specific page and make sure all your contact details are accurate.
5. Freshen Up Your Social Media Profiles
If you don’t already have social media profiles, it’s time to create some. The right platforms to be on will vary based on your audience. Facebook is good for a general audience, whilst LinkedIn can help you reach professionals. Instagram and Twitter work well for a younger audience, and Pinterest is fantastic if you’re trying to reach DIYers.
Take some time to craft mindful bios on each platform and make sure all the information presented is current. Mention the event in your bio whenever possible and swap out your cover photos for an image which promotes your event.
6. Create Social Media Groups
There are two ways to approach social media groups. First, you can create groups for the event. These will serve as hubs of information for the people who already know about it and want to engage with the event and your brand. Secondly, you can create groups related to your industry and event, then use those to promote some. For example, let’s say you’re an IT professional and your event is a workshop aimed at teaching small-business owners how to safely store their data, which you ultimately hope will get more people to sign up for your services. You can create and manage groups which discuss the IT needs of small businesses and supply them with helpful tips, while occasionally mentioning that your workshop is coming up. Be mindful of how much you promote, though! Over-promotion will cause people to leave your groups, so make sure the bulk of what you’re sharing is not promotional and is interesting or helpful.
7. Craft an Event Hashtag
Create an event hashtag that’s simple, memorable, and no more than two or three words long. Use it consistently everywhere your brand is active; on your site, on social media, and on print materials. Event attendees will pick up on the use of it, which will help you spread the word and make it easier for you to track mentions.
8. Leverage Facebook Events
Use the Facebook Events feature to promote your event. When you create yours, be sure to tag any relevant people, such as speakers, performers, sponsors, and the venue. If publications in your area allow for event listings, add yours there as well.
9. Circulate Content
There are many types of content and just as many ways to share it. People respond better to visual stimulus. It draws their attention more, helps them retain information better, and encourages actions, such as likes, shares, and comments, so always pair your written comment with some kind of eye candy, like photos, videos, and illustrations. Experiment with different forms of content and pieces of various lengths to see what resonates with your audience most.
- Blogs (your site, LinkedIn)
- Guest Posts/ Blogs
- Social Media Posts
Many people become disenchanted with social media when they’ve put a ton of effort into creating and sharing awesome content, but it takes more than that to grow a following and engage people. They want to interact with you. Set aside a few minutes every day to hit the social networks of your choice and make the rounds. Reply to people who have commented on your pages and look for mentions you can respond to. Have a look around for discussions you can join in as well. This increases your visibility and encourages people to come back to your page to see what you’re about.
11. Provide Live Coverage
Live coverage of your event can help draw in stragglers or help generate interest for your cause even amongst people who couldn’t attend. Post bits of information across various social media channels (remember to pair it with visual aids!) and share insider details. You can also leverage Facebook’s live video option to generate more interest. YouTube also works well for some industries, particularly those in gaming.
12. Keep the Momentum Going
Keep sharing on social media after the event is over. People will be looking for recaps, key takeaways, and photos from the event to share.
Get Your #VisualFuel from Splento
Whether you need visual media to help promote in advance of an event or would like to have professional photos and video during the event, our team is here to help. Contact us for more details or reserve your photographer now.