You’ve picked a date, chosen the right venue, solidified your agenda, and now it’s time to sell those tickets! Bringing an event to life takes a lot of hard work and coordination, and you want it to be well attended. Planning is only half the battle; you need to ensure you have a well thought out marketing plan in place to promote ticket sales or confirmed RSVPs. We want your event to be as successful as possible whether it’s a charity ball, grand opening, or conference, so we’ve listed a number of different ways you can spread the word and fill your venue.
Before you start promotion, set a goal for how many attendees you’d like to have so you can track your progress. If your goal is to have 200 people show up at your door and your event is four months away, try aiming to sell 50 tickets per month, or tweak your monthly goal to something more inline with the specific needs of the event.
Online Event Listings
Start with a well-known site like Eventbrite. This is a great platform as many people use it as their go-to when they’re looking for upcoming events in their area that are of interest. Eventbrite is easy to use and let’s you input key information like your event name, description, location, and promo image. It also let’s you set different tickets prices which comes in handy when you’re running early bird specials or are offering VIP tickets.
In addition to Eventbrite, look for other online public calendars in your area that allow you to submit event info they can publish on your behalf. To find calendars that are right for your event, start by searching for events in your area and see if the calendars you find accept outside submissions.
Social media is one of the best tools to promote your event. There are so many different ways to utilize platforms like Facebook and Instagram to spread the work, so we’ve broken them down into 5 different tips:
1. Create a Facebook event on your business page, Facebook group, or even on your personal account. Make the event public and kick things off by inviting people you think would have an interest in attending. If you’re using Eventbrite, you can easily share the event you’ve created on their platform to your Facebook page or on Twitter.
2. Design a series of promotional images using an easy-to-use tool like Canva, and share them periodically onyour key social media platforms. Each time you share a different image, pair it with a caption that gives your audience different information about the event. I.e. in one post highlight your guest speaker, and in another talk about what’s on the menu.
3. Partner with a brand or business whose target audience is aligned with yours, and plan a giveaway in which the winner will receive free tickets to your event, and anything else you decide to include in the prize. This is a great way to reach a wider audience and to get everyone more excited about your event.
4. Facebook or Instagram ads can be great for increasing ticket sales or RSVPs, but only when you know how to run them well and target the right people. If you’re unfamiliar with the best practices of social media ads, look up tips on how to use them effectively, or hire a social media manager who can create them for you.
5. Do a live video or series of Instagram stories that shares all of the details of the event – what it is and the event’s purpose, when and where it’s being hosted, who or what the entertainment is, how to register or RSVP – anything a potential guest would need to know.
Email marketing is alive and well, and can be a great way to get more bums in seats. If you have an email list, every couple of weeks you can send out information about your upcoming event. The first email can be a full rundown of what your event is and what guests can expect to get out of attending, and the ones after that can focus on different aspects of the event like sponsors, what’s going into the swag bags, and more.
Online marketing isn’t the only way to spread the word. Yes, people still listen to the radio. Yes, people still watch cable in between binges on Netflix. Send a pitch to your local radio station or morning show and get ready for your 5 minutes of fame. Remember these news outlets see a lot of pitches come through their inbox, so be sure your subject line is something catchy, your email is short and to the point, and you touch on the most newsworthy aspects of your event.
We don’t know a single person who doesn’t check their mailbox regularly. Head to your nearest post office to see what the options are for sending direct mail to everyone in a certain neighbourhood, region, or even the entire country if you’re hosting something like a national conference. Once you’ve figured out costs and what areas you’re targeting, design postcards with your event details and send it off to hundreds or thousands of people!
Once you’ve decided on all the different ways you’re going to market your event, create a timeline so you know exactly which tools or tactics you’re going to use leading up to the big day.