5 Ways to promote an event using online tools [Tips + Examples]

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POSTED ON 25th July 2016

You’ve booked your venue, decided on your speakers or format, but the biggest challenge almost always is promoting and filling up your event. An event page or website is essential, however there’s no chance it will ensure that people will show up.

The good news is, these days there are a lot of budget-friendly options to help you build awareness and most importantly bookings. With the right tools and the right strategy, you can create big exposure for your event.

Here are some great tools that will help create the buzz you need:

1. SOCIAL MEDIA

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and most recently, Snapchat, are excellent tools you can use to promote an event. They are also user-friendly, cost-effective, and can compliment almost all marketing campaigns including content marketing, product/service launch, public relations, etc.

Sensis estimates 69% of internet users in Australia have a social media profile. Australians use it to communicate with friends and family, research about products/services, follow brand and businesses, access offers and promos, etc. This makes social media a critical tool for your campaign.

To maximise results in social media, don’t just rely on good ‘ol posts. Though regular updates about your event are useful, you should also leverage other tools available to you to get better results. Here are a few tactics you can try:

  • Add a Call to Action (CTA) button in Facebook. Facebook Pages allows you to create CTA buttons that link to any destination on or off Facebook. To promote your event, you should change your cover photo to your event photo and choose the appropriate button (e.g. Book Now, Sign up):

CTA buttons - Promote event

  • Remarket/Advertise. It’s rare that a person buys or signs up to an event after seeing the offer the first time. This is why you need to remarket. Using remarketing platforms like AdRoll, you can create an ad in most social media platforms for a minimal fee. If you are tight on budget, you can schedule your ads to show on the most critical days like 1 or two weeks before the event.

Remember to put together well-written copy, with a visually appealing image and a clear call-to-action (CTA). Use words that emphasise the need for urgency (e.g. hurry, limited time, now, etc.). When remarketing in Facebook, be sure to exclude users who have already purchased a ticket when you fill out the custom audiences page. Here’s an example announcing Ronan Keating’s show in ANZ:

cta button - facebook promote event

  • Take advantage of the additional promotional tools. Most social media channels offer other tools or functionalities within their platform like Facebook Events. This tool is easy to set up regardless of the size and nature of your event. With a few simple steps, you can create an announcement of your event in minutes where you can share posts, upload photos, and invite more guests. For Twitter, you can create a series of teaser tweets to build audience interest. Additionally, you can use your event-specific hashtag(s), so your followers can help spread the word about your event. Use the event hashtag wherever possible including your bio. Some examples below:

promoting event - MA

promoting event - MA2

2. EVENT LISTING WEBSITE(S)

Get listed on event listing sites to further extend your reach. Eventbrite is a one-stop shop for promoting any event including fundraisers, conferences, seminars, parties, etc.

Sign up for a free account in Eventbrite. Fill in the details regarding your event and choose your ticket types. You can also customise your event page, let attendees pay online, and track your progress. Eventbrite gives you access to powerful reporting and promotional tools, mobile sales and box office features, and 24/7 customer support.

The use of the platform is free as long as you’re not charging for tickets. There are no monthly charges, enrollment costs, or setup fees. However, if you’re charging for ticket sales, you will be charged 2.5% of the ticket price plus AU$0.99 per ticket, plus a 2% payment processing fee in Australian dollars.

Apart from Eventbrite, you can also explore other event listing sites such as Evenfinda, TixrSticky Tickets and Eventlist. Remember to use your event URL link when promoting in social media and in your other marketing campaigns.

3. NEWSLETTER

Creating an email marketing campaign is another way to promote an event. It’s still an effective tool especially if your target audience are professionals and executives who prefer to receive announcement from their inboxes.

You can include your campaign as an announcement or feature in your monthly newsletter. Or, you can create a special campaign for your event. Here’s a sample newsletter from one of our clients:

DFP - event MA blog

What’s great about this strategy is that you can give more details about your event, and include more images (e.g. photos of past attendees highlighting a successful event the previous year) and other content (e.g. short bio of the speaker/s) to build interest. However, be careful not to reveal too much about the event, and limit everything to the most important information like the who, what, when and where. When listing the benefits of attending the event, remember to frame them in terms of what they can do for your target group. Think about what your subscribers are looking for and what they can take away from your event.

Finally, don’t forget to use call to action buttons that take subscribers directly to a sign-up or registration form for the event (e.g. landing page in your website or Eventbrite page).

DFP - event_2 MA blog

4. LEVERAGING PARTNERS AND SPEAKERS

If you have speakers and sponsors involved in the event, it makes sense to for them to extend an offer to their own database.

Offer a discount or value add specifically for clients and contacts of speakers or sponsors. Provide them with copy, graphics and discount codes to make it easy for them to send an email, promote your event on social media and any other platforms they have available.

Similarly interviewing speakers about their topic, adding to a blog or video post will help provide a teaser of the information and learnings people can expect at the event.

5. MARKET YOUR EVENT WITH AN EVENT

Promoting your event at an event is a great way to sell to an audience that is already engaged and interested in what you have to say.  If you have the opportunity to be a guest speaker you can include details of an upcoming event in a closing slide. Alternatively, running a pre-event webinar can help people “try before they buy” and spread word of mouth about the quality of your event content.

Whether you are promoting a concert series, a conference, or a luncheon event, these tools can help you spread the word. Try a variety of tactics and see which works best with your audience so that you can use them for your next events.

If you need expert help in promoting an event, contact us.

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