The final instalment in event marketing from the team at Event Insurance Services – useful tools for promoting your event
We have looked at pre-event, mid-event and post-event promotion in the previous two articles in this series. As part of this activity you will need to master some specific publicity skills – read on for a quick start guide to the basics.
Sending out a press release to relevant publications can get your event some valuable publicity. While some newspapers and other publications will allow you to post your event on their site anyway, getting a story published about it would get it some extra attention. There are three basic rules you should stick to when sending out your press release:
- Personalise it
Journalists and editors receive a lot of emails each day from people hoping to get their stories published. If you don’t take a personalised approach, you may not capture their attention and will miss your opportunity. Do some research and at least find out the name of the person you are contacting and try to include some reasons why the story is perfect for their publication and relevant to their audience.
- Have a hook
You can’t just write about how great you think your event is going to be and expect it to get published. You need a juicy hook that will make your story a more attractive offering to editors. Are you doing anything for charity? Is there a local community angle you can use? Are there any shocking statistics coming out of your event? If you can find that hook, you’re more likely to engage the audience and get published.
- Make it easy for them
Finally, don’t expect the editor or journalist to put in any ground work. You want to serve your press release up on a silver platter, ready for them to publish. Attach your press release in a Word Document and also paste it into the body of your email so there are multiple ways to access it. Make sure spelling, grammar and styling are all on point and remember to attach a print quality image which can be published alongside the article. Leave a note to editors containing any additional information and all your contact details. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to run the story.
As a bonus tip, try using more than one form of communication to get your story in front of the right eyes; send it by email, pick up the phone and don’t let yourself be ignored!
Formal, printed event invitations still have a place in the modern, digital world of today. They will be particularly valuable if you have an older audience who are less tech savvy. However, don’t rule printed invitations out for a younger audience either as nostalgia plays a huge role in engaging younger people. Of course, digital email invitations are much more cost effective, but make sure you have permission to email recipients or you could run into issues with data protection laws.
Event email templates
When you send out your event invitation emails, you don’t want to overload the recipient with information. Keep it simple and give the essential details such as date, time, location and most importantly, the reason why they would want to attend this event. You can then link to more information on your website or include an area for signing up.
If you are charging for your event, you might want to include ‘early bird’ prices to encourage faster sign ups. Send these emails out to your existing database of clients, customers or contacts. You can also buy marketing data lists; however, the response rate will be much lower than that of your own, personal list of contacts.
Social Media Strategy
Social Media is such a valuable tool when it comes to event promotion and should be used throughout each stage of the event. But you shouldn’t just blindly start posting whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. You need to know where your audience are, what time they will be active and what type of content will get them engaging.
Target audience: Facebook is better used for B2C (business to consumer) as it is the place people go to for social interaction, research and fun.
Timings: Studies suggest that the best time to post on Facebook is between 12pm and 3pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The best time to post on a Saturday or Sunday is between 12pm and 1pm.
What to post: Video content is extremely popular on Facebook, as well as more fun content such as Memes. Try to keep your posts visual with minimal written content if possible.
Advertising: Facebook has very specific advertising targeting. You can target people based on age, gender, location, interests and more.
Target audience: Twitter is ideal for both B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) and is the platform where businesses really get to show their personality.
Timings: Studies suggest that the best time to post on Twitter is between 12pm and 3pm on Monday to Friday (consumers will be checking social platforms at lunch and as the day ends and businesses will be looking to get active on social as part of their marketing strategy).
What to post: Again, visual posts work well with Twitter but you also have the option to include polls and other forms of engagement. Try to start a conversation, ask questions and mention specific people and businesses in your posts. And of course, don’t forget to hashtag!
Advertising: Twitter also has vast targeting capabilities as well as built in tools to analyse your ads performance.
Target audience: LinkedIn is the perfect platform if your event is B2B (business to business). People use LinkedIn to network and discover updates/events relative to their industry.
Timings: The best time to post on LinkedIn is in the morning (8am – 10am) and late afternoon (3pm – 5pm) on weekdays.
What to post: LinkedIn is a great place to post your articles or opinion pieces relating to your event. The type of content may depend on the day of the week though, with informative, inspiring content working better on a Monday and the fun stuff working better on a Friday.
Advertising: LinkedIn also has some great audience targeting options included in their advertising. Target by job position, industry and more.
Of course, there are many other social platforms you might choose to promote your event on, including the more visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. It’s important to decide which platforms will be most relevant to your audience and then push the right content out on each one.
When it comes to promoting your event, you want to ensure you have every angle possible covered. There are various tools online which can be used for research, promotion and increasing the visibility of your event. All of these tools are free so it’s worth taking a look to see how they can help you.
YouGov Profiles is a great place to do a bit of swotting up on your audience. This tool allows you to search for a brand, product or particular interest (which is related to your brand) and will then show you audience information based on 250,000 YouGov panel members. For example, if your event is a car show, you might want to try searching the Top Gear audience and you will be given information on demographics, interests, media habits and much more! While this data might be quite generic, it can certainly be inspiring!
Most local newspapers will have an events section where you can upload your own event to the public. Wikipedia has a full list of newspapers in the UK, so try to add your event to as many relevant ones as possible. Remember to really sell your event and give all the details such as time, date, location, dress codes, cost etc. as well as your own contact details.
There are plenty of websites online which will list your event, such as Eventbrite, The List, Yelp, Evvnt and Timeout. The key here is to find event websites which are relevant to the area you operate in. A simple Google search for ‘what’s on in (your area here)’ will most likely come up with an events website for your local area. Add your event details and then move on to the next website.
If you have a website, then Google Analytics will be great for measuring how your event affects your ‘on site’ engagement. If you have set up a competition page, a game, an information page or have a particular product or service you are promoting at your event, Google Analytics can tell you exactly how engaged your audience is. Google Analytics allows you to analyse specific pages on your website and can show you how long people spent on the page, how many pages they viewed on site, and whether they converted or not. All of this data is highly valuable and can be used to measure the success of specific goals relating to your event.
Advice From The Experts
We spoke to several event industry experts to discover what they feel is needed for effective event promotion. Here are a few of their top tips and industry secrets revealed to help you with your own event promotion.
QUESTION: Which marketing channels do you use to promote your events and why?
It is valuable to work with the media and generate interest in the event. A personality or industry professional commenting or offering a testimonial about your event is of great value. If you can engage with bloggers who are relevant to the event, this will increase your outreach to potential attendees. It might be an idea to create a strap line or hashtag that people can use when talking about the event, this will generate traction and reach previously unknown prospects. The data you generate will be invaluable for future events.
There is also huge value in the more traditional form of marketing – that is picking up the phone and speaking to prospects. This really gives you an understanding of what your potential visitors are looking for and allows you to build strong relationships.
Georgina Coleman, MD, Established Events
If you want to get the word out about your event, the most effective channel is often social media. If you get it right on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can get your event in front of thousands of potential attendees for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
A simple way to get your event noticed by the right people is to make it easy for those that sign up to drum up interest among their own friends and followers. You can do this by including social buttons on the order confirmation page that allow them to spread the word with a single click. You can add fuel to the fire by entering everyone who shares your event on social media into a raffle – this simple promotion can give a huge return on investment.
Victoria Brunton, MD, EventStop
QUESTION: Do you have any examples of successful promotion tactics with evidence?
Pre-booked sales/attendees are the key to making sure your event is a success. If you can confirm your attendees before the event takes place, rather than waiting for them to walk through the door, you are guaranteed better success. I would never advise promoting an event and just seeing who walks in. From my experience, if you are sending out a message or invitation to prospects, you are likely to get a pick-up rate of 20-30%. So, bear that in mind when looking at the capacity of your event.
You need to communicate by offering benefits or incentives. This may be in the form of reduced rates for early booking, or it may be an incentive for attending the event. You need to be creative when thinking about what this may be. An experience that ‘money can’t buy’ is always a winner. This may be in a prize draw format that allows any of your attendees the opportunity to win.
Georgina Coleman, MD, Established Events
It’s also important you send the traffic you generate from your social media activity to the right place. Creating a specific page for your event [on your website] featuring your branding and all the relevant information will give off a professional impression and help convince people to put their money down to attend. Before you start promoting your event, it’s important you get this page set up so your efforts are as effective as possible.
Victoria Brunton, MD, EventStop
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Established in 1996, Event Insurance Services is a specialised intermediary offering competitive event insurance. Its policies provide affordable, reliable insurance, tailored to fit the scale and style of the occasion – from school fêtes and small ceremonies to high profile weddings and events. Event insurance is the safety net for anyone organising an event. It can cover a policy holder against public liability, employer’s liability, damage to event equipment, cancellation of events (including cancellations due to adverse weather conditions) and much more. As well as the support of 2,500 insurance brokers throughout Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands, Event Insurance Services also has a valued network of more than 1,000 UK venues, outlets and support services in the wedding and event industry. 01425 470360 / www.events-insurance.co.uk