This is the time of year when there seem to be events on all over the place so I thought it was time I pulled together a few tips for marketing an event, as by their nature events are often one-off activities away from your mainstream marketing.
I’ve split my tips into two so they should be useful whatever you’re doing…
1. Business to Business – where your delegates are other businesses. These often take the form of training, informing or networking and occasionally awards ceremonies or conferences. If this is relevant to you here are my top 5 tips:
- Dig out existing customers’ details so that you tell them first!
- Make sure you give people plenty of notice to get the event in their calendars, I recommend at least one month in advance, preferably two.
- Think of an innovative way to let your target audience know about the event – a quirky hand-delivered invite or special voucher incentives to give people to bring along with them work well.
- Don’t miss all of the obvious opportunities to market your business event: on your website (do you have a news section?); on the bottom of your invoices; posters near or in your premises (if you have them) or, if you don’t, at the venue where the event will be held and at any business networking that you do
- Give them an irresistible reason to attend! Can you get a high profile guest speaker, perhaps, or offer expertise that’s topical and cutting edge?
2. Consumer Events- marketing to the general public. These are often more fun as you can be more creative if you’ve got a budget. The reasons for events might be different but the principles are the same, so whether you’re planning a festival in a local farmers field or an open evening in a shop, here are my top 5 tips for success:
- More “in your face” tends to be more effective – if you’ve got the budget for a celebrity that can work a treat to attract visitors, if you don’t can you call in a favour or book an unusual act?
- Promotion needs to be as public as you can make it but doesn’t always have to be expensive – get in touch with the local newspapers, local radio stations, tourist offices, schools and libraries to see if you can post the details on their websites, in their outlets or even outside their premises.
- Get some banners (as big as you can) made to publicise the date and time anywhere people will let you put one up. Try your local authority for bridges and roundabouts, otherwise approach owners of buildings direct. Try a local printer for good prices for a batch of banners.
- Create some instant PR with a good press release to local papers with headline information and top reasons to come to your event.
- If you’ve got the budget, look at using road signs up to a week before the event and while it’s on. If you don’t, get your own lamp-post signs made (you may need to check with the local authority before you put them up).
I could go on, and I’m sure you’ve got more things that you’ve found worked for you!
Karen McNulty is a renowned author of marketing articles for small and home-based businesses. She is a co-director of http://www.marketingplanwiz.co.uk and also writes smaller marketing tips for the website.