Live promotional events may require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on the part of your marketing team, but all that effort can pay off in a big way. Live events allow you to directly engage with consumers, promote awareness of your brand, get customer feedback, and put a human face to your business, all of which can help you generate leads and increase sales down the road.
Of course, live events only work if people know that they’re happening and are willing to interact with your business at the event. To maximize the benefits to your business, you should be marketing the event before, during, and even after it occurs. Here are 13 strategies you can use to get the most out of your business’s next big event.
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Pre-Event Marketing Tips:
Promote your event (and offer exclusives) on social media. At this point, it should almost go without saying that you need to be using social media to promote an upcoming event. Create a Facebook event and Tweet frequent updates about your event (complete with an event-specific hashtag) at the bare minimum, but also consider offering special event-related deals to your social media fans, such as free T-shirts or access to the VIP tent for people who like you on Facebook. This strategy will show existing fans that you care about them while also encouraging more people to engage with you on social media.
Create—and optimize—an event page on your website. Make it as easy as possible for web users to find out about your event by creating an event landing page with all the details attendees will need. Optimize this page for search engines by using relevant and location-based keywords (for example, if you’re putting on a street carnival in Portland, someone searching for “free weekend events in Portland” or “family friendly activities Portland” should be able to find your page).
Issue a press release. Consider sending a press release with details about your upcoming event to local news outlets in order to encourage community members to come. You may also be able to attract local journalists to cover your event and give you even more publicity.
Partner with a non-profit. Want to show that you care about the community? Team up with a non-profit to put on a fundraiser event like a fun run or free (donation-based) concert. The non-profit you partner with will be able to help you market the event and may be able to bring in potential customers or clients that you might not have attracted otherwise.
Share behind-the-scenes updates. If your business is busy preparing for your event, let your social media followers know about it. Tweet about what you’re doing (again using your event-specific hashtag) and post pictures of your employees setting the event space up or getting out your promotional giveaways.
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Event Marketing During Your Event:
Offer promotional swag. Think about giveaway items that event attendees will actually use and won’t mind carrying around with them at the event—such as sunglasses or a tote bag—and then order a bunch of those items with your brand name on them. That way, event attendees will think back to the event and your business every time they use the product, and they’ll promote your business to others every time they wear/display the promotional item.
Live Tweet the event. Have someone on your team Tweet live updates about your event as it’s happening so that people who were not able to attend can still follow along and feel like they are a part of it. Tweeting live updates can also help you let people who are at the event know about things that are going on at certain times—for example, if you have a booth set up at a music festival, you might Tweet a reminder that you’ll have exclusive giveaways for people who come to your booth between 2 and 3 pm.
Live stream the event. If your event is conducive to being filmed, then by all means, film it and stream it online in real time. This is another great way to allow people who can’t be at the event to follow along, and you may be able to use some of the footage in future marketing campaigns.
Encourage attendees to share social media updates about your event. You don’t have to do all the event promotion yourself—think about ways you can motivate attendees to share photos and social media updates about your event while it’s happening. You might invite them to participate in a candid photo contest, a scavenger hunt with clues posted on Twitter, or a Facebook poll about the event.
Post Event Marketing Tips:
Blog about the event. Your most recent event can provide great, fresh content for your blog. Recap the event, share goals that you met (such as a number of attendees), and thank everyone who helped make the event a success.
Post photos from the event. Share photos from the event on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other platform that is popular with your target market. Make sure you’re not just posting polished, posed photos: share images of attendees enjoying the event and interacting with your staff.
Follow up with people who gave you their contact info. If you collected emails or other contact info from event attendees, follow up with them as soon as possible (while the event is still fresh in their mind). Thank them for attending the event and let them know about any other upcoming events or exclusive deals that they might be interested in.
Tease your next live event. Use the momentum from your most recent event to help build enthusiasm for any other live events you might have coming up. For example, when sharing social media updates or writing a blog post about the event, mention that people who enjoyed this event (or wanted to attend but couldn’t) will have another chance to interact with your business again soon.