Immediately after finding themselves walking down the school hallway without clothes, children's worst nightmare is to have no one attending their birthday party. And for a good reason. There is nothing worse than going through all the trouble to ace the logistics and planning of the event of the century, only to find out that no person is coming. Besides not being exactly an ego booster, the lack of profit from null attendance may also severely hurt your wallet.
Once you plan and materialize your event, the next step is to properly reach out to people to ensure that you will have a lot of attendees. Learn about some foolproof ways to an effective event promotion strategy and become the next Gatsby.
1. Start early
You should start your promotional efforts a few months before the big day arrives, to allow more time to get people through the door. Reckoning that larger venues may require more time than informal ones, try to reserve at least two months in advance to create buzz and get more people to find it.
2. Use different platforms to promote it
A lot of people use Google to find local events. The more platforms you put your event on, the bigger the chances to get it popping up in those search results. The added benefit is that some platforms, like Eventbrite, Facebook and What up in town, can help you to easily share the event information and understand the hype it generated. Each platform has their own special upsides, like for instance cross-marketing between events from the same host in the case of What up in town.
Here’s a Ranker on the popularity of different Event discover platforms:
3. Get found with smart SEO
When you're describing your event, optimize your content with keywords that people generally use to search for similar ones. This will again increase your chances of getting found on Google searches. You can check out some keyword research tools that help you find the magic words for no cost.
Using internal links (we all know Google’s page rank algo...), images and especially videos (e.g. YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo) can also ramp your traffic and attract your target audience.
4. Make your tickets easy to buy
When it gets to seal the deal, the easier you make it for people to get the tickets, the better the chances they don't change their mind. You can choose to sell the tickets via link to a third-party platform or, if you have a website, some ticketing providers also give you a ticket widget you can embed and get people to buy tickets there on your site.
It is obviously much more convenient for the user to buy the ticket without leaving your page and the second option is therefore preferable.
In the end, whichever your option is, make sure that you have a "Get tickets" call to action visible at your page’s prime point of attention, or even better, at multiple spots.
The world’s top ticketing providers include:
5. Create social media buzz
You should first find out where all the cool kids hang out. Meaning, understand what are your audience’s preferred social media channels and share your event there. It's better to limit yourself to a few channels than overdo it by trying to be everywhere.
While Facebook might be too crowded with built-in events, it's nonetheless good to share a link for an event page and reach a broader audience.
For professional topics, find specific communities on LinkedIn that might be interested in participating.
Use Twitter for quick updates before and during the event. It's also useful if you want to create an event hashtag. Hashtags help to anchor it, and you can encourage your guests to share it.
Instagram is perfect for sharing teaser videos and images of the present and of previous events, pictures of the preparations, and key speakers or performers. In 2019 Instagram is the most popular social media platform for Gen Z and young Millenials.
If you have the budget and the time, teasers, trailers and aftermovies as well as features on popular YouTube channels are also great ways to promote your event and the #1 channel if it comes to keeping your audience engaged beyond the timeframe of your event itself. For the case that your event repeats yearly or even more often a after movie is an absolute MUST (there are various platforms that mediate photo- and videographers, e.g. this one here: What up in town Services).
Depending on the specific topic of your event you might also want to target audiences on Reddit, Y Combinator, etc.
6. Include special deals for tickets
Special tickets generate a win-win situation: you boost your tickets sales, and buyers get to save some money or gain special privileges. Some modalities include Early Bird tickets, with a lower price for an early on sale, Group tickets, that provide a quantity discount and incentivise people to bring their friends, and VIP tickets, that for a higher price offer some upgrades, ranging from better seating to guest- and speaker one-on-one interactions.
7. Don't underestimate the power of email marketing
Email is still a very effective digital channel and believe it or not especially for events still in 2019 the #1 sales channel. By getting people to sign up to your email updates, you can not only send them information and updates on the present event but also on future ones. You can use it as well to run giveaways and ask for feedback. Just don't forget to use it sparingly, not to overload people's inboxes.
8. Engage through competitions and giveaways
Speaking of giveaways, kicking off contests across your social media may channel people's natural desire to win. Ask people to spread the word on social media platforms, vote on pools, follow you, share your hashtag, identify the event page on pictures, sign up your email list by offering freebies and tickets as prizes. There are many options to choose from, be creative and always keep in mind what fits your specific event the best.