Our Annual Rant – er, Advice – on Event Promotion
The Sprocket Report
Spring’s promise of better weather means a wealth of events to attend and plan -- and market. But if you want us to come to your event, why do you make it so hard for us to get your information?
We’ve ranted about this before (check out this post from 2014) and it’s a continuing mission of ours to help people promote their event correctly so they get the attendance they want. When you put so much effort into your pet project, whether it’s for your own business or for a not-for-profit you are passionate about, you deserve to be rewarded with a successful turnout. Don’t let poor marketing rob you of that reward! Here’s some advice for better marketing:
Start planning earlier than you think
Deadlines in some news outlets could be months before the date of your event, which means your announcement will never get posted. Remember that you’ll need to make many, many marketing “touches” before your event even gets noticed so leave enough time to try a lot of venues. Also, work on building relationships during your “off season” because it’s a huge advantage to have an audience already when it’s time to make your event announcement.
If event marketing is not your forte, then get professional help. If you aren’t setting up the tent or catering the food yourself, why are you doing your own marketing? Think of any successful events you attended recently and find out who worked with the hosts.
Line up volunteers
Okay, maybe professional help is not in the budget. If that’s the case, then try to get a volunteer who has similar professional skills and a whole bunch of helpers. Marketing is time-consuming work to do effectively and it will be tough to find a single volunteer who can give you the time you need.
Hammer out a marketing plan
Get the organizers to outline a plan on paper (or in a spreadsheet since this is 2018) rather than carrying it around in their head. Having a physical plan means you can break up the work into multiple tasks that can be shared among a bunch of volunteers. Now several tasks can get done at the same time and those responsible are identified and empowered.
Do the website work first
Your website should always be the primary source of information. Once your event webpage is completed, your volunteers have an authoritative link to share for news releases, online calendars, social media posts, event registration site, postcards, etc. What you don’t ever want to happen is for someone to hear about your event and then be unable find the information on your own website. That just totally trashes your credibility.
Craft shareable web links
Social media platforms are actively working to reduce advertisements. While that may be a relief for each of us personally, it means that even your marketing efforts are being thwarted. But actual people passing on your event information to their friends is the best kind of marketing. So make it easy for them to share your news. Make your emailed invite viewable in a browser so it has a web link. Include an eye-catching graphic in your blog post that shows up when the link is shared. Stop sharing that teeny tiny unreadable version of your pdf poster in social media. And don’t think I’m going to open any document you email to me.
We have much more to rant about, but this covers our biggest pet peeves. If you want to learn more about successful event marketing, we ranted about it in 2015, too.
The reason poor event marketing upsets us is because we hate it when folks with good intentions don’t get the positive results they deserve. Our expertise is in the webpage and social media realm, so if you need assistance with your next big event, give us a call. We’d be happy to help!