As you may have heard, we have a marketing planning seminar lined up in a couple of weeks at the Brighton Race course. We’ve been doing lots of promotion for it, and that got us thinking, what is the best way or how to promote a a seminar, business event, a networking occasion etc. So we have put together a list of some of the things that you should be doing to promote any event that you’re running.
Make sure that you have a web presence for the event, this doesn’t just mean on Facebook, that’s great for a social event, but for a business event you will need more than that. You will need somewhere where people can sign up for the event and you will need to offer them a way to pay you easily for their place. If you have a website then that’s the perfect place to have the event information, but even if you don’t have your own website, you can still give the event a place for online sign-ups using eventbrite, or something similar. Once you have set up this web presence you will be able to provide this link on twitter and linkedin and in emails, not only will you then be advertising your event but if people are interested they will be able to sign up immediately.
If you don’t already have one, put together a mailing list. You can put together a mailing list of your existing business contacts, or clients. You need to ask people first if they would like to join your mailing list, adding people to a mailing list without their prior consent is actually illegal (Privacy and Electronic Communications [EC Directive] Regulations 2003). But once they have agreed to being on your mailing list, then they not only open to hearing from you, but they expect to hear from you! This makes it much more likely that they will want to attend your event. Don’t forget, if you are running a networking event to make sure to get contact details, business cards etc. from everyone who comes to the event, then you can ask them if they would like to join your mailing list and anyone who wasn’t already will be now!
Create a flyer for your event, it’s really easy nowadays, you can make a flyer on Microsoft Word or Publisher, or Photoshop! As long as you make it eye-catching and put the right information on it, the name of the event, the time and location, then you have a great flyer! Don’t forget to put a link to your website on it too if you have one. Depending on the event, you could give your flyer out to passers-by, but a better idea is to give the flyer out during other networking situations, when you make a new business contact, or meet a new client, give them a flyer and invite them to come.
The next point relates to the last one, word of mouth is very good advertising, so don’t forget that you can use this yourself, tell colleagues and associates and clients about your seminar when you see them, a face-to-face conversation is probably the best way to sell the event to someone, you can fit in the most possible information about the event this way, and although you won’t be able to rely on this method alone, there probably isn’t enough time for a discussion with everyone… the people you speak to might tell their own contacts. Voila, word of mouth advertising.
If it’s a big event, recruit friends and colleagues to help you sell tickets. Offer them commission for each person who they bring to the event, this is a very easy way to get more man power behind your marketing quite cheaply and effectively. Even if they simply share the event with their social networks, it could bring in quite a few more attendees.
Approach companies that you have a relationship with to encourage their employees to go. This works particularly well with a seminar, if you’re doing a seminar on social media (as is our speciality!) then let those companies know that you’ll be doing it. Letting them know is probably enough in itself, you don’t have to pester them to tell their employees about it, if they have employees they think could use improvement in that area, they will probably encourage them to go.
Create a special offer. Don’t like selling to people? You may find easier to approach strangers (and create a more receptive audience) if you offer them a special deal. For example, offer the colleagues you meet at networking events a free ticket for a guest if they register for your seminar. You’re giving them a special deal that will help to motivate them to register – plus you’ll fill an extra seat.
Send out a press release. You can do this using press release sites, you write up what you want to say and up it goes, this will help your website and your event’s SEO as well as giving you a stronger online presence. There are many website that will do this for free, so you can’t lose!
Upload your event to websites which keep track of what is going on in your area. They will either let you upload the event yourself, or you can send them an email to let them know that your event is happening and they will probably put it up, provided that it’s relevant to their audience, after all, they need things to put up on their website, otherwise it’s obsolete!
Stay in touch after the event. Don’t forget to ask people at your event if you can add them to your mailing list, like I’ve said, and don’t forget to send out regular emails once the event is over, you may not have another event planned yet, but you can send them out interesting and relevant information, which keeps you and your company in their heads after the event is over. That way, when you have your next event, people won’t have forgotten about you or your last event, and they will be more likely to come!