It’s no surprise that events are memorable, effective and fun ways to make a business stand out from the pack. They’re also perfect opportunities to engage clients and prospects directly and personally, which are also essential for brand-building, and for developing relationships that are both personally satisfying and professionally lucrative.
However, what remains a mystery for many entrepreneurs, experts, authors and other business professionals is how to promote their event – especially if they’re on a tight budget, and need to “do more with less.”
Well, as someone who has been in the event planning and promotion field for years, allow me to happily shed light on this by sharing 8 great – and very cost effective – ways to promote your event:
1. Get Talking
Step away from the keyboard, and call friends and other people in your network who may be interested in attending your event. Even if your invitation is politely refused (i.e. due to a prior engagement or something to that effect), this is a prime opportunity to make a personal connection that could pay dividends down the road. It’s also ideal for reaching people who you don’t know, since you’re offering them something. Make it an easy, no-stress phone call with no end game in mind. Remember, you’re not selling — you’re helping.
2. Get Visual
Create flyers and graphics for your event, and post them in an area frequented by clients and prospects. You can also send these in the mail (yes, the old fashioned way with stamps) to your targeted audience with a personalized post-it note. Make sure that your graphics have a consistent look, and that the artwork can be re-purposed for invitations, banner ads, and social media. This saves time, money, and gives your branding efforts maximum exposure.
3. Get Newsworthy
Submit media releases about your event to local news stations, magazines,
newspapers and industry publications, as well as on-line blogs and distribution channels. Be sure to be crisp and clear in your delivery, and include contact information for the press. If you have video, use it here as well. Above all, be media ready to capitalize on the publicity and opportunity for maximum exposure.
4. Get Dialed In
Find local radio stations and targeted blog radio networks that may be interested in an interview. Make your story compelling, create an irresistible offer that has a time specific deadline, and be a fun and entertaining guest. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll build a loyal following, get recognized for your expertise, and be able to use the recorded interview in your own promotional strategy. And you’ll probably be invited back!
5. Get Social
Use the power of social media to your advantage. Post targeted messages to your database and audience on a frequent (though not too-frequent) basis, using various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also make a list of groups who might benefit from the event, and target them on-line. Keep in mind that it typically takes multiple impressions (a.k.a. touchpoints) before people notice a message and take action. As the best sales professionals advise: be persistent, but never pushy.
6. Get Wordy
Blog about your event, and ask others to do the same. If you’ve been a guest blogger, ask your colleagues to give you a mention and share it with their list, and do the same with your social media contacts. This not only extends the life of your promotion, but it allows you to reach beyond your traditional target audience.
7. Get Hooked-Up
If you have a room that needs to be filled, consider asking fellow colleagues who are in a complementary — but not competing — business to publicize your event to their list. Before presenting this type of opportunity, be sure that you have all the details outlined, including commissions. Make it easy for your partners to promote you by providing pre-launch copy and emails, and copy for social media postings. Always strive to be a good partner, because your reputation will follow-you long after the event is over.
8. Get Educational
A pre-event teleclass is an ideal way to talk about something you’re passionate about. Plus, you’ll not only build your database, but you’ll also get a heads-up on who’s really interested in what you’re offering. Create your own mini cheat sheet. Why should people attend? What are the benefits? How will they improve their business, life, help a cause? And, who can they tell about the event? While you’re thinking of these big picture concepts, don’t lose sight of the details, either, such as: dial-in numbers and times (and in what time zone). Also send out a reminder email at least 24 hours in advance.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, if you apply some or all of the strategies above, you’ll:
- ensure that your event isn’t a “best kept secret”
- provide some valuable help by sharing your wisdom
- potentially fill the room with great new customers and clients
- have fun doing what you love!