10 Digital Marketing Tips To Help You Promote Your Event
As an event planner since 1998, I have watched the way we promote our events change drastically over the years.
At first, our marketing consisted of traditional marketing tools such as radio, television and print.
An ad here. A flyer there. Simple. Yet could be quite expensive and limiting.
Over the last 10 years, we have seen the growth of digital marketing which has provided the opportunity for events to market to a wider audience at a reduced cost. We can reach a different audience and target our marketing to those who would benefit or enjoy our event the most.
But while the tools have become “easier” not everyone is actually using these tools to their best advantage. There is a lot of room for improvement and there is a great space for events to really stand out above the others in a competitive market if they do a good job.
Here are 10 of our top tips for using digital marketing to promote your event.
1. Why are you using digital marketing for your events?
Ask yourself what you hope to gain from a digital marketing campaign. On average with our clients we find it is for:
Increasing registration numbers
Engaging with potential participants and/or keeping participants informed
Promoting and thanking sponsors
If a fundraising event, providing information and awareness for the charity
2. Always stay on brand
Make sure your logo is well defined and used on your marketing materials. Keep your colours consistent with your pantones. Use the correct font. On social media, stay on topic with what your event is about.
Now while we say this, there is room for interpretation on what is staying on brand. If you are a running event, then you probably aren’t going to be posting articles about financial advising. But you may be able to tie in something that makes it relatable. For instance, on #nationalvinylrecordday, you could ask followers to post their favourite old school music they like to run to.
3. Use great graphics and images for your event
Chances are if you have an event to promote, you have a plethora of photos and images that you can use, especially if this isn’t the first year of the event. Use those pictures to sell your event. But do make sure any photos you use are have high quality and celebrate the event well.
When planning ahead for the following year, make sure your photographer has a list of photos you would like taken so you have them for promotions for next year. You want to show participants, the venues, sponsors, etc.
4. Keep your event account active all year long
Don’t let the account go dormant and expect your followers to be back on board as soon as you start posting again. We recently took on an account that had done just that, and with a short timeline until the event, we had to work hard to get the account back in their followers’ newsfeeds.
So keep posting throughout the year, even if its just once or twice a week. Make sure your audience has a way to keep engaging with you throughout the year.
5. Make sure you have included sponsor recognition in your event marketing plan
Don’t fill your Facebook and Instagram with “we’d like to thank our sponsor” posts. Try to be creative with how your show them your thanks without being overly blatant. Find images that show off their support, or find an article that ties in to what they offer.
For example, for one of our running events, rather than just giving a shout out to the water supplier with a picture of their logo, we try to make sure our photographers captures great images of their product at work at the event for use on Instagram. Or for Facebook, we might find a great article on hydration and tag our water supplier in the description.
We find Twitter to be a great place to tag and promote our sponsors for events as its much more acceptable to post numerous times a day on Twitter than on other platforms. So this gives us room to promote their involvement.
6. Continue to grow your event mailing lists and eNewsletters
Don’t rely completely on social media. We are at the whim of the rules and algorithms of Facebook and Instagram. So build up a great mailing list and send out regular newsletters all year round.
You can build your list starting with your current registrations as well as having a sign up section on your website.
With the new laws on opt in to mailing lists, make sure your participants understand that, as part of your event communication, you will be sending them out newsletters. And use a reputable company such as MailChimp to allow registrants to opt out at any time.
Make your newsletters informative and interesting. Use graphics and link back to your website for further details. Here is an example of a simple newsletter that we sent out for one of our clients using MailChimp – Victoria Marathon eNewsletter
7. Budget for paid ads to promote your event
The algorithms keep changing, so it constantly gets more difficult to be seen on social media. It is becoming increasingly necessary to have a social media ad campaign. You can run one quite inexpensively, but you do need to make sure your marketing budget includes this.
8. Keep an eye out for other marketing opportunities
Your marketing doesn’t have to be all digital, and depending on your market, there may be other ways in your community that you want to target them. Keep track of what works well in your market. Mix it up if that helps you be seen by your audience.
9. Be on the social media platform that works for your target audience
Think of who you are trying to market to and research what platform your audience is hanging out on. There are a number of options, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter being the most popular. But there is also YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn and many more.
If your market is 65+ year olds, chances are they are not on Instagram. So you won’t be using that platform to gain new participants. But it may be where your sponsors are, so keep that in mind.
Look at other similar events and see where they are spending their time on social media too.
10. Mix it up!
Social media is meant to be fun and engaging and entertaining. So make sure you keep that I mind with every post you put up. Post pictures, articles, videos (even better, make your own videos). Ask questions and do surveys. Provide contests and incentives. Just always keep in mind that it needs to fit your brand and your event.
There is a lot to think about when promoting your event. With so many events in the market, you need to stand out. Having a great digital marketing program is one way to ensure you do!
This week’s blog was written by our CEO Tami Tate. A small business owner since 1998, she loves working with entrepreneurs, events and businesses of all sizes on their marketing.