There's a lot of planning that goes into hosting a great event for your business or nonprofit. From determining who to invite, cost, venue, activities... your success relies on how well it's promoted.
Before the event: What's the best way to reach the people you want to attend?
Your Website: Make a page (or entire website) with all of the information your attendees need in one place. Who should attend - spend some time to make this part compelling - when, where, cost, how to register/purchase tickets*, important details about the venue (parking, room or building location).
Tickets/registration: make it as easy as possible. Many people may be visiting your site from a mobile device, so don't make the forms too long or complicated. Even if your event is free or by donation, ask for contact information to stay connected to those who have registered.
Don't forget to ask people how they heard about your event so you know what worked the best.
*Incentivize ticket sales: offer a discount for attendees who sign up early (set a deadline or limited amount of tickets and promote it), offer a group rate to encourage people to bring others and consider putting together a VIP package with some perks.
Email: Hopefully you have your own list, but if you need to reach a bigger audience, is there another organization or group (chamber, member organizations...) you can reach out to and ask them to share or advertise?
Make a plan for how often you'll reach out via email: announcing the event, registration/ticket deadlines, previews of activities or giveaways. Reach out to those who registered early and ask them to invite people to attend with them. Don't send out the same "reminder" email to promote your event, treat those email messages like they are going to your friends. Focus on how your event helps them.
Social Media: Are your attendees active on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn? Choose the right social media platform for your event and create (the right sized) graphics and easy to share information. Make a plan for how often and where you'll post on social media, and schedule posts ahead of time. Every time you share a post about the event, include a link to find detailed information (your website, or landing page to purchase tickets or register).
Facebook - create an event, and post reminders, registration deadlines and event information both on your page and in the Facebook event.
Hosting an outdoor event? 7-10 days before, include updates on the weather.
If you're using Instagram or Twitter, consider creating a unique event hashtag and include it on every post you do for your event. Links don't work on Instagram posts, so change the link in your bio to the event website/page and remind people to "click the link in bio" for details or to register.
Media: Put together a well-written press release with all of the event details - include a copy of the invitation/flyer and a direct link to the event website.
Print: Create flyers or postcards, yard signs, banners - and a plan for where and how you'll distribute them. Recruit help to get the word out!
Ads: There's plenty of options out there... radio, social media, magazines, so focus your efforts and budget on those that will reach the right group of people.
During the event: Be a good host! Introduce yourself to people, and help other attendees connect.
You still need to promote the event AFTER it is over.
1. Steal Photos from Another Website (Google, Pinterest...)
What you should do instead: Use a tool like Canva to create your own graphics, or license photos properly. Using your own photos and logos with consistent fonts and colors helps build your brand recognition. Your followers want to see you - your products, services, event, location - not a stock photo everyone else in your industry is using.
2. Buy an Email List
What you should do instead: No one wants a spammy email. Share educational, helpful or entertaining information or offers that benefits your customers. Your email list is a tribe of people who find value in what you provide. Focus on nurturing that relationship and building the list the right way. Build trust by only sending them information they want.
3. Only Focus on the Number of Likes on Social Media
What you should do instead: Give people a reason to follow you and engage with your posts. Likes are good - but focus on quality over quantity. Share tips, photos, links to your website that get good engagement. Having a large number of people who don't comment, share or recommend your business won't help you grow your business.
4. Only Talk About Yourself
What you should do instead: Be social! Yes, we all use social media to sell our products and services, but if all you do is post "buy now" or "call now" people will lose interest in your page. Share posts from other businesses you trust, leave a positive review, or let your followers know about a local nonprofit fundraiser or community event coming up.
5. Let a Volunteer or Your Nephew be the Voice for Your Business on Social Media
What you should do instead: Have someone dedicated (in-house or under contract) to promoting your business who understands marketing, your business and your goals. Nothing against your nephew, or the volunteer who knows about social media. They may be great at adding hashtags or creating graphics. Are they prepared to respond to a negative review? Do they post consistently and reply to questions on weekends?
Social media is often the first impression someone has of your business and your customer service. Make sure it's a good one.
Plan. Implement. Measure. Repeat
If you haven't already, review what marketing efforts have worked for your business, how customers find you, and the first impression people get when they find you online. Here are 7 things you can do to do a quick review of your online marketing efforts.
Your online presence is often the first impression someone has about your business. Before they call you, or visit your business, they search for you online.
Once someone clicks on your website or follows you on social media, make sure they find a professional and easy to navigate website that is super easy for them to buy your product, schedule an appointment, call you, etc.
Your first impression check-list...
Tips for improving your reach on Facebook
Check your Facebook page insights for information on your current followers - and how your previous post have done. Which type of post (video, your photos of your staff/behind the scenes, links to your blog, events...) get the most engagement and what day/times your post do the best.
It's all about engagement - the likes, comments and shares your post are getting. The more engaged your audience is, the more often your post will show up in their newsfeed, and your reach will improve. If you're not seeing engagement, a few things to consider...
1. Are your post relevant to your audience? Are you posting what they want to see, or what you want to share? Focus on how your product or service solves their problem or makes their life easier. Tell stories or share testimonials to explain how you help people.
2. Be social and ask questions and get to know your followers. If you're posting photos of your product, think of ways to make those post more engaging - create a gift guide, ask a question, include a testimonial or short story...
3. Be consistent with your posts. If you go a few weeks in between posting, your reach will go down. Commit to posting at least a few times a week. Schedule your posts to save time and to post when your audience is active.
4. Have you focused too much on page likes and not your target audience? If you have run "like & share this post to win" or other promotions/giveaways as a quick way to boost your page likes, you may have a large number of your followers that are not your ideal customer. They liked your page for the promotion, and now they're not engaging with your other posts. Run a paid promotion and target your ideal customers (don't choose the option to boost a post to "people who like your page and their friends") to get the right followers on your page. Create ads that will resonate the best with your audience, and target people based on demographics and their interests.
5. Timely post and trending topics. Has it been raining for a week straight? Post about missing the sunshine or find a funny meme to share. Everyday is "National Day of..." something (follow this page for updates). Look up dates that are relevant to your business (or that you find amusing) and share them. If it's National Taco Day, invite your co-workers to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and share a photo (and add the hashtag for trending topics).
Overall, Facebook and other social media platforms, should be used for building relationships with your customers. Focus on why they should follow your page and create content that educates and entertains your audience to help reach your customers.
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