Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Believe it or not, the most challenging thing about running an event isn’t often the logistical side of things – that’s something most event planners live and breathe. It’s marketing. Executing a successful campaign requires a deep knowledge of the event in question along with its guests. Not only that, it requires considerable marketing knowhow.
The second bit is where a lot of event management professionals – novices in particular – tend to get tripped up. See, marketing isn’t exactly easy. Even one tiny mistake can render an entire marketing campaign useless.
Factor in how much misinformation is currently floating around the web, and, well…it’s not hard to see why so many people seem to have trouble with event publicity. Today, we’re going to see if we can clear things up a bit. We’re going to go over a few low-grade tactics frequently used by marketing novices – tactics which should be avoided at all costs.
Let’s get started.
Blasting And Spamming
I like to think that marketing, no matter what field it’s associated with, has two golden rules, each one closely related to the other:
Know your target audience.
Simple enough, right? When you’re looking to invite people to your event, you should focus exclusively on those you know will be willing to attend. What I’m trying to say here is that you need to avoid what I like to refer to as “shotgun marketing.”
“Reaching out to too wide an audience will dilute the impact of your advertising efforts,” explains the Event Planning Blueprint blog. “Focus on the customer base most likely to respond. For example, an event planner who specializes in coordinating festivals doesn’t need to market to individuals in need of a wedding planner.”
Another tactic you should avoid is spam. Don’t send out unsolicited invites to one of your events. Moreover, do not, under any circumstances, harass or beg people to attend.
“If someone doesn’t want to come to your event, they are not going to,” says Eventbrite’s Theo. “Just because you email them ten more times, they will not change their minds. They may get so annoyed that they start telling others not to come.”
Sharing Event Fliers (Or Invitations) Via Mobile
Event fliers are pretty great, but The Creative Blog warns that they should be used sparingly – and only in the proper circumstances. Mobile is not one of those circumstances. Don’t try to share videos, fliers, or anything else through MMS – it simply doesn’t convert, and there’s a good chance you’re going to end up agitating at least a few people.
Instead, set up a website that’s optimized for mobile devices, and direct prospective guests there. That way, you can appeal to mobile users and get the word out about your event while providing them with a great experience.
Sending Out Cookie-Cutter Invitations
People these days are subjected to a constant din; a sea of white noise where thousands of marketers are vying for their attention. For that reason, if your event invitation is even slightly generic, there’s a good chance people are going to ignore it. That’s doubly true if they’re a guest speaker, corporate partner, sponsor, or vendor.
Think about how many cookie-cutter emails and invites these people receive on a daily basis. Do you really want to be seen as lazy or unimportant? Because there’s a very good chance you will be.
Now, I’m not saying you should put together a custom-tailored invitation for every single guest. No one has that sort of time. What you should do, however, is as follows:
Include an attendee’s first name (and any other relevant information) on your guest invites. A little customization can go a long way.
Write out personal emails to community organizers, influencers, etc. These are your event partners – if you simply vomit out a generic email in their direction, they’ll assume you don’t care about getting them on-board.
Misleading Prospective Attendees
Here’s the funny thing about the Internet. Even though you could pretend to be just about anyone online – and there’s no real means of verifying who a particular individual actually is – people still place a high premium on honesty and transparency. That’s doubly true if you represent any sort of corporate or organizational interest.
What that means is that lying to people is literally the worst thing you can do. You thus need to take great care to ensure the information you provide guests about your event is as accurate as possible. Otherwise, they may never trust your firm again.
“My favorite example for this is receiving an invitation for a free event which turns out to be paid after registration,” writes Events & Projects Coordinator Valeria Paskaleva. “That’s definitely the surest and quickest way for your email event notifications to instantly be moved to the junk folder, your social media pages to be unfollowed, and your whole brand to be discarded for good. After all, who likes being lied to?”
Focusing Entirely On One Medium
I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret here: in the world of marketing, there is no Holy Grail. There is no one medium, approach, or strategy that’ll guarantee increased attendance. The key to success, then, isn’t to focus on a single avenue – it’s to create a multi-layered plan.
“A balanced marketing plan for your event business might include an attractive website, a blog about planning great events, an email marketing campaign, or local advertising,” explains the Event Planning Blueprint Blog. “Use your creativity and planning skills to reach out to your audience in several different ways. Don’t make the mistake of depending on a single marketing method to bring in business.”
Marketing is tough – but it’s undeniably a part of event management. As an event planner, you need to have a solid understanding of how you can spread the word about your events in order to increase attendance. How else are you going to sell tickets?
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