What if you threw a party and nobody came?
Thankfully, there’s no need to fear that familiar nightmare. Effective marketing relies on method, not magic. So whether you’re hoping to fill the room at a fancy fundraising gala or next month’s online seminar, some thoughtful preparation and simple strategies can help you get the word out and the crowds in.
Here are 7 winning event marketing strategies
Tell the truth
Give to receive
Knock, knock, inbox
Make media social again
Friends are for friending
Start the presses
There’s so much happening everywhere, all the time, that people need a real reason to believe your event will be worth their time (and maybe money).
We’ve all been the recipients of hackneyed sales tricks, like threats of limited space and disappearing tickets, or claims of industry domination you JUST. CAN’T. MISS. Generic manipulations like these are dated, disingenuous, and more likely to turn folks away than earn their confidence.
The best way to convince people that your event has meaning is to share candidly what it means for your organization and the people you serve. Craft your message with honest enthusiasm about the event, a transparent purpose, and a clear description of the benefits your guests can expect if they join you.
Put together a timeline — starting with a “Save the Date” launch and finishing with a final push on the day of — for promoting your event one tasty piece at a time through email and social media. Use energetic images, emphasize your best-known partners, and tease the most exciting happenings that guests can expect.
You’ll stay top of mind, amass an audience that’s consistently interested, and share enough specifics to create enthusiastic attendees and ambassadors for the big day.
Never underestimate the power of presents. Early bird discounts or add-ons can help drive ticket sales or registrations. Offering these for a short period of time stokes a sense of urgency and gets people to promote the event for you. Plus, everyone who signs up in advance is highly likely to ask their friends and friends of friends to join them.
Got hyped and want to spread the word? Create your event registration form now!
The surest way to land promising targets is, of course, to email your list of contacts. Give yourself enough runway to start slow and pick up the pace of your reminders as the event nears.
Each email should have a compelling subject line, intriguing imagery, and a succinct message that includes a link to a dedicated landing page on your site and rewarding click-throughs with complete information about the occasion.
Email is also useful for drawing attention to blogs or guest posts that can spike curiosity about the event. Brief testimonials from past attendees paired with distinguishing aspects of this particular event can help guests imagine what the experience will be like and look forward to showing up.
Hyping your event through social media was probably your first instinct, and it’s a smart one. Beyond spreading the news, Facebook and Instagram make it easy to throw a giveaway contest or themed competition to amp up engagement and spark buzz.
The quickest way to build your network is to add someone else’s. Reach out to bloggers, celebrities, and almighty influencers whose followers may be especially attuned to your event. Consider sweetening your invitations with incentives they can pass along, like a discount code, special gift, or exclusive experience at the event. Joining forces substantiates influencers’ value as inside sources while swiftly expanding your guest list. Everybody wins!
Go grassroots and get contributors to your event on board. Invite participants and vendors to boost your signal through their social media channels and digital newsletters. Make it as effortless as possible by providing photos and a variety of messaging snippets they can run with. Not only will this attract already vetted audiences, but it will also up your partners’ stake in the process and secure your ongoing collaboration.
Social media encourages a do-it-yourself approach to PR, but some classic moves remain useful. Cast a wide net and send press releases to journalists at a variety of local publications to see who might pick up your story. Curious about how to get started? Check out the insider’s guide to “How Museum Hack Does Growth Hacking” with Michael Alexis.
Papers and magazines, online and off, routinely have event calendars to fill and may be looking to find a feature for an inset or of-the-moment recommendation to the community. If you hand over a well-written description and ready-to-run photo, that spotlight could be yours!
Whether your next occasion is for celebrating, learning, or increasing sales, an event can only be as great as your guest list. Getting people together is good work. With these essential marketing go-tos, it’s good work you can do better.