Have you ever been disappointed in the turnout for an event you put together?
Marketing events is difficult. You're actually in the business of motivating somebody to do a lot of work to go out of their way to attend your event.
They have to get dressed up (at least to some extent), commit to a date and time, drive someplace potentially far from their home ... it can be a lot to get somebody to make that type of commitment.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools at your disposal to get your event in front of more people.
1. Create a Central Hub
You should have one primary location where your conversion (purchase or registration) occurs.
My suggestion would either be a page on your own website where users can register or buy a ticket, or use a service like Event Brite to handle your event ticket sales for you.
2. Post to Facebook Events
Facebook events has made a big comeback recently and is a great way to get your event in front of prospects. Facebook now notifies you when your friends have indicated an interest in attending an event that's happening near your location.
This is a powerful viral marketing tool for anybody that's trying to promote an event.
Head over to the Facebook events page, input your details, be sure to tie it to the venue if they have a Facebook presence for extra exposure, link back to your primary event page, and then don't forget to invite people once it's been created!
Focus on inviting your friends that are most likely to be supportive. Facebook always rewards engagement so sharing with people who will ignore it not only doesn't help your event show up in people's feeds, it actively hurts.
By default, Facebook makes your event a private event and as of the date this article publishes, you can't change it after you submit it.
Make sure to change it to public so it's discoverable beyond just those you invite.
3. Submit to Local Event Calendars
Most local area publications and blogs maintain online event calendars that people actively seek out or find through search engines to find out what's going on in their area.
Do a Google search for "[location] events" to get a list of some of the most popular ones in your area, and check out your the local newspapers websites as well. Most of these publications offer a way for you to submit your events for free.
You can also check out one of our products, Event Incite, for a way to publish your event to a single source to be listed across a number of local event calendars.
The service is new and we're actively adding new locations and new publications but even if your location doesn't have great coverage, you'll get some SEO juice out of listing it and linking back to your primary page, and we go out of our way to help you promote them on social media.
4. Promote on Facebook
You didn't think you could host this amazing event with hundreds of people without paying for some advertising, did you?
Facebook currently has the single greatest advertising product that has ever existed on this planet, bar none.
You can narrow your audience down to your exact prospect and pay only when they actually click through to your central event page.
Don't use the "Boost Post" option, it's the single worst (and laziest) way to advertise on Facebook.
Take the time and use the ad manager to craft a few well-built ads that you can test against each other to find out which one works best.
For more detail and tips about marketing on Facebook, check out this blog post.
5. Post on Instagram
If you've hosted this event in the past, use a quality image from one of the previous occurrences and feel free to write up a detailed post.
Not enough people take advantage of long-form content on Instagram which means you'll stand out.
Instagram's interface also makes it easy for someone to view as much or as little of your text-based content as they want so don't be afraid to put a full description with your image.
If you don't have a good image to use of the actual event, use a stock photo that will grab some attention and hopefully not look too much like a stock photo (Instagram users in general don't respond well to obvious stock images).
Check out Pexels.com as a good source for some free stock photography.
Don't have a lot of Instagram followers? It's time to start working on your influencer marketing.
Start searching the area where your event is happening for accounts that are related to your event with a lot of followers.
Reach out and see if they'll share your post and event info. If you've done a good job crafting an image and building an event worth sharing, these users are always on the lookout for quality content to share with their followers.
If they won't do it free, you always have the option to pay for the exposure.
Instagram makes direct response more challenging because they don't allow links in posts, but the best way I've found is to use a service like Bitly to shorten your URLs into something simple to type into a browser and then to also include the link in your profile (and let people know it's there).
Here's a quick example:
And don't forget, hashtags, hashtags, hashtags! Be sure to hit all of your local area tags for people searching in your area.
6. Remarket with Facebook and Google
Remarketing is one of the most underutilized tactics in digital marketing.
Once someone has visited your website, ad platforms like Google and Facebook can tag those users so that you can continue to show them ads while they're still warm leads.
7. Ask Sponsors to Share
If you have event sponsors, they should be happy to help promote your event.
Once you have your landing page and other advertising and marketing assets created, make sure to share them with your sponsors and ask them to promote and post your event to their followers.
8. Set Up a Google Alert
Go to Google Alerts and create an alert for your event to have Google email you whenver your event is mentioned.
Take a look at the pages where it gets mentioned and make sure they link to your central event page.
If not, reach out to the website owner, author, or user that mentioned it, thank them, and ask them if they wouldn't mind including the link in their post to help their readers find more info.
There are a number of other tactics you can employ to help gain more exposure, and they're certainly not limited to just digital, but this should be a great start on your road to a succesful event.
And don't forget to reach out to me if there's anything I can do to help :-).