One of the most important considerations when planning an event is how you will promote it. Obviously, you want people to come. However, without the appropriate promotion to spread the word about your event, you essentially have no event at all! Some of our previous blogs have briefly touched on the aspect of event promotion, but here we take a more in-depth look.
Event promotions should be targeted
Your event promotions will depend on who you are inviting, and why you are inviting them – your audience will shape your whole promotional strategy and your associated marketing collateral. Event promotions should be targeted – think about how you’re actually going to get ‘bums on seats’. How do your audience prefer to be communicated with? And, what is the best method to reach them?
You also need enough time to inform people about your event (at least two weeks in advance), and your event promotions must be very carefully planned. This is crucial to the success of your event. You can have the best event invitations in the world, but if you don’t give invitees enough notice to make it their business to attend, or do not time your promotions correctly, you will be left with empty seats and a wasted budget.
An example …
I worked at a local Council in Australia who were consulting on a contentious Town Planning proposal. A major tactic in our award-winning campaign was to host a large ‘Shape your Community’ Summit-style event. The purpose was to give the community the opportunity to provide Council with feedback on the proposal.
A huge part of our publicity and advertising activities focused on inviting people to this pivotal Community Summit event - the climax of the campaign. We were trying to explain the complex planning strategy to the local community so we wanted as many people to come as possible.
In this instance, to spread the word, we cast our net wide and extended an open invitation to the wider community. We used direct ‘snail’ mail, email to stakeholder databases, invitations in our magazine and local media, the Council website, community notice boards, messages on hold telephone advertising, paid advertising, posters, word of mouth, phone calls, social media, press releases, YouTube videos; the list could go on!
We considered that there would be a variety of ways our invitees would like to be communicated with and (as you can see) targeted our promotions accordingly. And, not only did we promote our event to those who had a special interest in the project and we felt needed more information (namely the local residents), but we also strategically targeted decision-makers like State Government representatives, as well as those known advocacy groups who were not supportive of the proposal, as an opportunity to get a cross-section of the community to attend the event.
And, it worked! Close to 200 people gathered for our event and our venue was at capacity. The Summit was considered a success and a large part of that success we owe to our carefully planned event promotion.
Email is just one of the great tools you can use for event promotion. To learn how to maximise the use of email for your next event, download our free event email tips sheet below.