When it comes to event marketing there are two things you need to do: get people to show up and get people to spread the word about how awesome it was after the fact. It’s tough to do given many verticals have a ton of events in their space from virtual to in-person events. The only way to compete with all of the events in your industry today is to provide value or an emotional connection (vested interest, like in the case of charities) to the event.
Planning an event can be fun, but if no one shows up it’s a failure. The key to getting people to sign up is to make sure they know how awesome it’s going to be, and it has to come from a source other than you.
12 Ways to get people to spread the word about your event:
- Email. Your most viable resource is your email list to let people know. Tip: Try segmenting the list after people sign up and continue to communicate with them separately and get them psyched about the event. They are going to be your event evangelists.
- Create Facebook event. This is totally worth your time setting up because it will be indexed by Bing. Use it to tell your event’s story and be sure it has a compelling photo. And don’t be afraid of showing the guest list, unless you have a compelling reason not to do so, it’s good to let people see if their friends are attending.
- Submit your event link to event sites. Consider local neighborhood websites in your area, Patch.com, Lanyrd.com, and your local paper. Many local news sites have a free place for you to submit your event link.
- Advertise. Don’t discount advertising. Whether you choose social ads, banner ads, or print ads, advertising your event can make all the difference and it provides brand recognition later on.
- Enable word of mouth. The only way people can and will spread the word about your event is if you provide then with a bulleted list of benefits about the event and why others may find it valuable.
- PR. Try to get your event covered before it actually happens. Either create a press release, or reach out to bloggers ahead of time. It can cost less than $50-$150 to create a press release in the U.S. that can be picked up by viable news sources or journalists.
- Online badges. Tip: Give speakers or guests of honor a badge for their website. You could also give attendees, who may also be bloggers, a badge for their website who might be inclined to blog about it or post the badge on their website. (see the BlogHer badge to the right).
- Make it easy to share all collateral about the event. If you are going to give them a bulleted list of why your event is beneficial, make sure they can spread the word via their social channels or via email. It’s hard to spread the word when you don’t make it easy for them to do.
- Create a Twitter hashtag BEFORE your event. By creating the hashtag before your event it allows people to become familiar with it ahead of time. Tip: Keep your hashtag short, promote it early and often, make it unique and limit it to one hashtag.
- Involve them in testimonials. Consider doing Tout testimonials and then stringing them together to provide a promotional video later or to share on social media immediately. Everyone loves their 15 seconds of fame and this makes it easy for them to share.
- Write a recap blog and share photos. Writing a recap blog on your website and sharing photos from the event can make people see what they’ve missed. Tip: Give a shout out to vendors/sponsors and a link back to their site in your recap.
- Create a post event survey with a prize. People don’t mind taking a 2 or 3 question survey for free, but if you want more detail or ways to improve your event for next year, then you need to make them an offer that will be worth their time to take your survey and provide honest feedback.
Do you have any other ways to get people to come to your event or spread the word pre or post event? Please share in the comments below.
p.s. check back tomorrow for the Friday Fun blog — giving away SXSWswag!