It’s December, which for many businesses and organizations is peak event season. If you’ve already hosted an event this season, then you may be thinking, “Why didn’t more people show up”? If your event is coming up, you’re probably still working out the logistics and lining up your promotion plans. And frankly, you probably just want to take a vacation.
As an event organizer, you’re always worried about people showing up. The good news is that you’re not alone. In fact, a study we conducted with HubSpot revealed that the top two challenges for event organizers are getting people to pay attention to event communications and getting them to respond.
Our study also revealed that those planning events spend less than 20% of their marketing budget on event promotion — which should be plenty. Email marketing is the most used way to get the word out about an event; that’s great. But what about those people who never open your emails? There’s direct mail, used by 47%. It’s an effective tactic (especially when used in conjunction with email), but it can get costly. Then there’s social media; 40% of organizers say they are using social media to promote their events
Event organizers are mixing it up when it comes to promotion, which is really is the best way to go. The key is to capture the attention of your target audience. Here are four techniques to consider as you put together a promotion plan for your next event:
1. Branding. Brand your email invitation so your invited guests know it’s from you — according to a study by the Email Sender and Provider Coalition, 79% of people hit the “report spam button” when they don’t know who the sender is. So show your personality and don’t hide your identity. Use your business or organization’s logo and colors. Include pictures, either of attendees at previous events or of the venue or speakers, or other related images. Then use these things consistently across your email invite, your event home page, on signage and any direct mail pieces you create, and even on social media.
2. Videos. Videos are a great way to bring life to your promotional efforts and get your audience engaged. For instance, including them in your email invitations can increase email click-through rates by as much as 300%, according to Forrester Research. But don’t stop there. Embed or link to your videos on your website, and on social media too. What kinds of videos? How about ones that show off past speakers, ones that preview your upcoming speakers by showing them at other events, or ones that show off people who have attended one of your events in the past. Be sure to capture new video footage of your event so you can use it to promote your next one.
3. Mobile. Face it, our mobile phones and other devices are becoming an indispensible part of our daily lives. So put these appendages to work and make them part of your promotional efforts. Set up a Foursquare venue. Then add items in the To-Do area, and maybe even create a special offer (a free drink from the bar, or a tshirt, perhaps) for people who check in. Show that yours will be a fun event to attend!
4. QR Codes. Make the most of your direct mail, signage, and promotional items by using QR codes which provide a shortcut to a website of your choosing. Use the QR code to send people to your event homepage or registration page, to give some more details about the event, or to promote a contest.
What fun and interesting things are you doing to promote your next event? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.