Marketing Tips for Event Organizers
What’s the best way to make sure people buy tickets and show up to your event?
The answer is a stellar marketing plan!
No event is successful without attendees. So, if you want your event to be a success, you need to market it in creative ways. You also need to engage with attendees before, during, and after the event to maintain a solid relationship with them. And, most importantly, your event needs to stand out to get people talking about your brand.
With that in mind, here are our top marketing tips for Event Organizers:
You Need an Event Hashtag
There are no buts about it, with today’s digital landscape you absolutely need an event hashtag. Every time you mention your event, make sure your event hashtag is included. This is crucial when it comes to your social media posts and also your other marketing channels, even on your printed material! Choose a clear, easy hashtag that people will remember, and that’s easy for them to spell correctly.
Reinforcing your event hashtag helps anchor your event and keeps it fresh in people’s minds. You want people to use the hashtag when they tag all their posts and photos! Remember, every time people use your hashtag, it’s free publicity for your future events.
Pro Tip: Have a sign at your event with your hashtag to remind people to use it.
You should also be sure that all of your social media accounts include your hashtag in the bio and don’t forget to mobilize everyone taking part in the event, like your speakers and performers, to use the hashtag in the weeks leading up to the big day. This will help you reach a broader audience base, create a buzz about your event, and get more people to attend.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Facebook
Your Facebook Event should act a “Save the Date” as early as humanly possible. Send this out during the earliest event planning stages! Facebook events are one of the strongest marketing tools at your disposal. Every time someone marks themselves as “interested” in the event, it will help the algorithms to share the listing with that person’s network. It’s the free advertising that just keeps on giving!
As expert event marketers, we highly recommend that you boost your event to get as many people “interested” as possible during the early stages of planning, including the “Save the Date” part. The more people who mark themselves as interested in a public event, the more their friends will see the event listed in their newsfeed.
As the event grows nearer, you can remove the “Save the Date” part from the title.
Once your event has been created on Facebook, you need to post to the event page often as a way to drum up conversation and keep the event fresh in people’s minds. Ask questions concerning the theme of your event, share relevant photos or photos from previous events, and create a buzz that keeps the event relevant in your audience’s eyes.
As plans for the event become more concrete, update the “About” information in the event and don’t forget to include the “Find Tickets” button, so it’s as easy for people as possible to purchase tickets and attend.
Then later in the event planning stage, when you’re ready to sell tickets, run more sophisticated ads using Facebook’s ad manager (not simply boosting) to drive people to your website’s ticket page or to a landing page. Always add the Facebook pixel to your website so you can re-target people who have shown interest in your event with additional ads later.
Create a Presence on Different Social Media Platforms
Facebook is a must for any event marketing strategy, but you shouldn’t overlook other social media platforms. Instagram is also great for behind-the-scenes photos, including event preparations or photos of key speakers and performers.
You can use Instagram to establish the look and feel of your event with amazing branding. What is the tone of your event? Is it fun? Professional? Wild? What’s your theme? Who does it appeal to? Search for people who might be using hashtags related to your theme, industry, and brand and comment thoughtfully on their content so they can get to know your brand and get interested in your event.
If this isn’t your first time organizing an event, then you should also share photos on Instagram showing how successful your previous events have been. This will draw in more people and get them to participate. Once your event is over, regram photos that people have shared from your event by searching for your event hashtag.
Twitter is another excellent social media platform that’s ideal for real-time updates both before and during your event. It’s also a good way to promote your event by tagging special interest groups. Once again, don’t forget to use your event hashtag!
If your event is focused on a professional audience, then you’ll definitely want to use LinkedIn as a marketing platform. There are communities of people interested in specific topics, so find one that fits with your event’s central theme and begin to join the conversation as a way to market and promote your event.
SEO is Your Friend
Google isn’t just great for finding websites and businesses. Many people use the search engine to find things to do, too. So if you’re writing a compelling description on your event page, publishing a blog post about your event, or sending out a press release (more on this below), don’t forget to optimize it for SEO.
You need to:
- Know what words people use to search for events
- Optimize your content for those keywords
Here are some keyword examples:
- Toronto Events
- Things to do in New York City
And here are some phrases to include in your blog posts:
- Are you looking for great Toronto events this new year? Don’t miss the Roaring Twenties Events taking place at the Jam Factory!
- What’s fun to do in New York City this Memorial Day Weekend? Check out the Battle of the Big Bands!
If your event has a DJ and a dance floor and you know that people often search for “places to dance in Montreal” or “best dance party in Montreal” then you should use that phrase to describe your event.
If your event is outdoors in the summer and features food and beer, make sure to include: great outdoor summer festival with food and beer in San Diego.
But, if you’re asking yourself, “what do people search for?” There’s no need to worry or guess at random. There are several (free!) keyword research tools that will help you, such as Keyword Tool or Google’s own Keyword Planner—this one requires an AdWords account, but setting one up is simple.
Another great way to boost your SEO is to have a press release. Not only can you send this out to newspapers but you should really send your press release out to blogs and online sources in your city too. For example, most cities have online blogs dedicated to local news and entertainment like BlogTO in Toronto. Get to know your local online news sources, which are often easier to get recognition from than by traditional print and television.
If you get your event out there, people will talk about it, and in turn, this creates an organic buzz around your event. By sending out a press release to blogs and online sources in your city, you’re more likely to get shares, which will help boost your SEO and even your ticket sales. Don’t forget to list the press release on your website too.
Crowdsource your Marketing: Get People Involved
Crowdsourcing your marketing is a fantastic marketing strategy. If you’ve organized similar events in the past, ask your existing customer base to post pictures or videos of the event using your event hashtag. Memories of your previous events that come from real guests are one of the best ways to build credibility with potential new attendees.
But what if this is your first event? A great way to market a new event is to host a competition. The key is to make the competition easy to participate in. As guests to invite or tag their friends for a chance to win tickets. For higher stakes events, you could ask guests to submit pictures and simple videos on a topic related to your event and tag them with your event hashtag. Just remember that people have to *really* want to go in order to jump through too many hoops for the competition so don’t make it too difficult to enter or you might get radio silence. There’s nothing worse than a competition with too few participants. Make your contest simple for wider appeal.
Contests are a great way to create buzz around the event on social media, and besides free tickets you could offer winners food vouchers, swag, backstage passes, or any other free things you wish to include. Just watch out about alcohol as there are often rules about giving away booze.
Leverage Email Marketing
A great mailing list is one of the most effective marketing tools, and this really works well if you already have a list of attendees from previous events. If not, start building one immediately by adding a way for people to sign up to your email updates on your Facebook event page and your website. Remember, email is a direct line of communication to your guests and you can’t beat that!
You’ll also need an incentive for people to sign up to your email announcements. For instance, the first 100 to sign up get a discount on the tickets, or people who sign up by email might be entered for a chance to win a spot on the guest list.
Here are some other excellent ideas on how to use email to market your event and get more people to participate:
- “Bring a friend” offer. For instance, if they get three people to register for your event, you can give them a special group discount
- Use email to announce exclusive deals on your tickets like a guest list, early-bird specials, last-chance tickets, and any sales
- Use email to keep people updated about any ongoing competitions and giveaways you have on your social media platforms
- Email your list with exclusive previews of your speakers, performers, and activities.
- Use email to get feedback using quizzes or surveys
Enlist the Help of a Professional Marketing Agency
As an event organizer, you understand how much work goes into planning and executing a successful event. Without a proper marketing strategy, your event won’t reach its full potential, but with all that planning, the marketing aspect of the event can feel like a whole second job… and that’s because it is! Rather than spreading yourself too thin, this is where a professional event marketing agency like Barker Social can help.
We have years of experience marketing and organizing events. Our team of experts will help you craft that perfect hashtag, multiply interest in your Facebook event, blast your event on all social media channels, and improve your SEO rankings.