Posted: Wed 23rd Jan 2019
Events offer entrepreneurs a great way to promote their business. Potential customers and clients get a chance to understand your brand and build a relationship. Ensuring you use as many methods as possible to promote them is crucial if your events are going to be a success.
From creating visuals to using social media effectively, we look at 11 free and cheap techniques you can use to make sure your next event is packed.
1. Be clear about the value delegates get
Make sure any event promotion clearly sets out what attendees will get out of going to the event. Be succinct and pick points that are relevant to the audience you're targeting.
This value proposition often appears as a bullet point list. Your event could offer a chance to network with people in a specific industry, a practical talk by a well-known expert and include dinner and drinks.
2. Tap into other people's networks
There will be lots of organisations that serve your customers, such as suppliers, trade bodies and community organisations. These people may be willing to promote your events to their audience.
Look into their network and try and figure out where there's a fit and what value you may be able to offer in return. These organisations may be interested in free tickets to attend the event or to give away, or perhaps you could even give them a sample of your products.
3. Personal email invites
It's easy to discard Facebook and email newsletter invites. Your customers are overwhelmed with people getting in touch to sell them stuff. Writing an email to invite people personally can make a big impact.
Clearly, this takes time but there are some shortcuts. The event details and benefits will be the same no matter who you're writing to. This means you can normally get away with a single paragraph of personalisation.
Gmail offers a canned email feature. This means you can save an email outline and load it whenever you go to compose a new message. In the advanced tab of your Gmail settings simply click to enable canned responses (make sure you save changes). Outlook has a similar feature to allow you to save useful paragraphs called Quick Parts.
Another approach is to use a mail merge. This allows you to set out the components of all the emails you're going to send.
4. Shout about it on social media
Use your personal and business social media accounts to promote your event. Make sure the messaging you use is relevant to the platform and reflects your brand. For example, LinkedIn tends to be more professional whereas there's more room to be creative on Instagram.
Think about how often you're going to promote the event. Customers may not buy a ticket the first time they see a post, so it needs to be consistent. And you can talk about speakers or additional benefits to mix up the messaging.
If you're new to running events ask everyone you know that's keen to support your business to share the social media post. It can be hard to get organic reach on Facebook, people sharing your post will help make sure it's seen.
More personal social networks like Instagram can be used to share behind the scenes snaps as you prepare for your event. This content is really engaging and helps convey your brand's personality.
Promote your business events on Enterprise Nation
Adviser members of Enterprise Nation who run service businesses can list their events on the website and promote them to thousands of visitors.
5. Hand out flyers in your local area
Shops and businesses inviting customers to events in their local area can benefit from distributing flyers. Proximity is a big factor when people choose whether or not to go to an event.
People will love it if you have the time to hand them out yourself too and can really sell the benefits of attending. Flyers can also be included in customers' shopping bags or displayed at the till.
6. Make sure staff know what's happening
Brief every staff member on what's happening and make sure they talk about the event when they're serving customers or speaking to clients.
7. Create eye-catching visuals
Creating images that can be used on social media, in emails or to create flyers can be a big help, according to Enterprise Nation's head of marketing Lorna Bladen.
"My advice would be to produce a handful of eye-catching visuals to help your target audience see and feel who is delivering that event," she said.
Bladen recommends Canva, which offers a wide range of ready-made templates that can be personalised and resized for whatever you need. It's free to use but you have to pay for some stock imagery.
Using photos of previous events helps build credibility and let's potential delegates understand more about the atmosphere.
Make this content available to friends and partners that are promoting the event. Google Drive or Dropbox can be used to store the files online and share them with people that are going to be posting about your event in emails etc.
8. Run a giveaway for people that buy tickets
People often wait until the last minute to buy tickets. Offering giveaways to the first people who sign-up can encourage people to purchase a ticket more quickly.
Prizes for delegates can also boost ticket sales. Try to think of something that's relevant to the event. It could be a free hour of consultancy or a sample product.
9. Share video testimonials
Recording video helps too. It's easy to film short quotes about events from delegates. The social proof of having someone recommend attending can have a big impact.
The activity going on in the background will help potential delegates understand what the atmosphere's going to be like.
"Next time you run an event, get out your iPhone and take vox pop interviews of your speakers and guests. This content will be really valuable for future event marketing," advised Bladen.
10. Answer any questions ASAP
Providing a personal touch by replying to questions you receive rather than directing people to the FAQ page will increase the likelihood that people attend the event.
"If you are running an event, make sure that you're able to have a two-way dialogue with consumers. Swiftly respond to event questions as it will dramatically shorten your sales cycle," said Bladen.
11. Create an event on Facebook
It doesn't matter how you're selling tickets to your event, a Facebook page will help people share what's happening and indicate interest.
This also means people can share it with their friends and find out what's happening when they visit your company page.
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