How Should I be Advertising My Event?

I’d like to take a day to focus on the fundamentals of advertising your event. I’m often asked about promoting when you have very few resources, or how to market when marketing is not your specialty.

It’s all about picking your battles. I’ll list out the concepts and tools you’ll need to know to advertise your event and get more registrants, then leave you with some helpful resources. It’s a back-to-basics guide!

1. Cast a wide net

Some people love getting direct mail, and some attendees are only going to sign up if you give them a personal call. Limited on time and resources? It’s best to know your audience as well as you can, then devise a plan that hits a few diverse methods in an order that makes sense.

Click here to see an infographic of the many ways an attendee might be convinced to register for your event.

infographic event marketing timeline GIF

Visualize the timeline you’re using to advertise your event. Here’s a way to maximize your efforts:

  • Get as many people to register as possible early on with a lower effort approach, like email blasts and mailers.
  • Tackle the dwindling list of yet-to-register in a more high-touch manner, like personal calls and social outreach.
  • Learn more with this step-by-step event marketing plan. We walk you through a 6-month program to advertise your event (but don’t worry, you can get started later than that.)

2. Stick to channels that get results

If you’re thinking about ways to advertise your event, ask yourself these questions for each activity:

  • Is there a clear conversion path? Is it easy for someone to sign up? (It’s a real bum-out to spend time and money on advertising your event, only to send your potential attendees to a page where they will abandon the process.)
  • How do you stand out? What’s the hook? Why should someone open your email and come to your conference when they’re being bombarded by messages?
  • Does the channel have the ability to amplify on its own? Social media and referral programs, for example, can take on a life of their own and generate registrations without you lifting a finger.

3. Differentiate by knowing what attendees want

We’ve done a ton of research (including an in-depth study, as well as conversations with hundreds of planners and event-goers), and we have a pretty good idea, on the whole, of what attendees want.

Guidebook state of mobile event tech 2014 report

(But don’t take our word for it. After all, every event is different. Survey your audience to find out what they’re coming for, and use that message in all of your advertising. Read on for more on using surveys to learn how to make your audience happier.)

To get you started, I’ll share this with you: Attendees want to make lasting connections with others. Networking is the #1 reason people go to events, according to everything we’ve learned. So let’s talk about how you can show your audience that you’ll facilitate networking for them–right in your marketing messages.

  • Allow people to download the mobile event app before they register. They’ll see the networking features built right in–contact card sharing, scheduled time to connect, to-do lists and more.
  • Offer ways to connect like-minded people before they get to the event. Let them know who is same geographic area, who has similar jobs, or who has the same interests and hobbies.
  • Ask speakers and vendors to begin reaching out to your audience with free content and offers throughout the registration process.

4. Be flexible and ready to change your approach.

If something isn’t working, it’s time to alter your plan.

event registration plan for last minute ticket sales

You might need to be on your toes to launch a new offer, reach out to sponsors for help, approach the press, or boost social ads. We covered a 14-step plan here: If you’re struggling to advertise your event, try our last-minute emergency registration plan.

Looking for more ways to plan, execute and market events? The Guidebook Blog publishes a couple times a week–real, actionable ideas from actual planners. If you subscribe now, you won’t miss a post (and we do a lot of awesome giveaways, too)!

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