1. target your audience
The most important thing you can do to make sure you are successfully promoting your event is to specifically define your audience and craft your brand, materials, and marketing to that group of people. Here’s our little guide on understanding and defining your target audience.
Alright, audience down. We know who we’re selling the tickets to and inviting to participate. Now we have to craft some cool shit that will make them WANT to attend. First things first—your event needs a brand.
2. create a brand for your event
Yes, you heard that right. A brand. Meaning an identity complete with a logo package, colors, fonts, patterns, voice...the works. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an event poster that changes over the years, but you need to keep it all in the family by having an underlying brand identity that ties everything together. A great example here in Spokane of an event that does this really well is Bazaar (an annual event put together by Terrain). You can see how they’ve included the Terrain brand as a callout, but also identified the event as the main attraction by creating it’s own identity.
Your event brand, if done correctly, will speak to your target audience in an engaging way. A good graphic designer will be able to accomplish this for you (that’s us!).
3. use your new brand to create a presence
Your presence can be traditional or unique, depending on the audience you’ve established. Think about how your audience will interact with your printed, web, and non-traditional presence. Your list of avenues used to reach your audience can range from posters, little flyers, facebook, instagram, twitter, your website, your friends’ websites, to other ways like branded pop-up photo-booths (yeah, we know a gal!), personal letters in the mail, and more.
Whatever you do, be consistent with the look and feel. Remember that you’re using the brand you’ve created to speak to an audience that should be eager to listen. A printed poster ain’t shit if you’re showing it to the wrong audience, so be sure to use our first step (target your audience) to help you decide where to hang posters and who to target on social media (which we’ll talk about next).
4. craft branded & targeted campaigns to reach your audience
If social media is an avenue you’d like to use, create branded posts that lead up and into your event. Set a “launch” date, and create an event on social media with branded cover images and photos and amazing descriptions enticing your target audience to join in.
You can put some money behind boosting your event, as well as a few key posts leading up to your event. The most important thing to keep in mind when using Facebook is to make sure that you’re targeting your audience using Facebook’s tools in order to reach the right people. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.
We always encourage our clients to use this list of posts as a starting point on promoting social media events:
- launch graphics (facebook cover, square images for instagram, instagram story graphics)
- featured graphics with more details about the event (ex: sponsors of the event, special caterers, DJ announcement) Basically, anything that will make your audience want to come.
- ticket sell-out graphics (ex: only 50 tickets left, get yours before they’re gone)
- countdown graphics (ex: one week until the event)
5. use something different than "just" a ticket
If you’ve ever gone to an event, whether it was a ted talk or a three day music festival, you know the feeling of getting your printed ticket or wristband in the mail (at least, that’s our favorite part). With the internet constantly changing the way we interact with our customers there’s something that feels especially special about receiving something in the mail...it’s unique, fun (hopefully!), and most importantly; it’s personal! Use this feeling to your advantage, and take the time to craft something extra cool for your attendees. It will work wonders in making your event more memorable, especially when you can tug on some nostalgic strings.
For example, maybe you create some custom buttons (all it takes is a special tool and some supplies) that act as that person’s ticket for entrance. Bonus! They get to keep it, and they have to wear it, which means you’re getting an even better reach.
If you wanted to get extra special, you could choose a few *influencers* on social media that are attending your event and send them something personalized in the mail. You should choose these people based on their reach on social media and how ideally they fit into your target audience category. The idea here would be for them to be so grateful and excited about what you sent them that they’ll be stoked to share it in their stories or in a post on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to include a little digital branding package that includes keywords, taglines, and (duh) your brand’s logomarks, fonts, colors, or whatever you choose to be of importance in making sure the brand and your event are recognizable and memorable.
6. create themostamazing day-of material for your attendees
This can be free stuff you hand out, merchandise you sell, or a mixture of both. You know those key influencers we were just gabbing about? When you reach out to them, include a few day-of items that attendees will be receiving and encourage the influencers to create a little “sneaky-peak” to pre-advertise and hype up your event! Remember, targeted advertising is the best advertising, and if it’s affordable (dare we say free?!) it’s even better. Either way, if you have 200+ people rockin’ rad t-shirts and bumper stickers that their friends ask about; you win.
Don’t just think about your day-of material being take-aways for your attendees, think about how you can design an experience for them to remember, too. Think about what you can create to brand the space you’re in; pop-up banners, booklets with your day-of schedule and key speaker or attendee biographies, a large stage design that incorporates the brand, or maybe coasters, napkins or stickers that you put on cups. The possibilities are (legit) endless, and there are so many ways to create a memorable event.
7. communicate with your community. giveaways, collaborations, the works.
Besides all of those fantastic social media posts you’ll be creating and posting, you should be thinking of creative ways to include your community in the excitement of this event. A great way to do that is with giveaways and collaborations.
The easiest, most cost-effective giveaway is a free ticket or two. If you are using social media, post about your free tickets, give people rules to follow in order to enter, and choose your winner. The key here is to have your audience “tag friends” in the comments so you can get more eyes on your event post.
If you can dedicate some extra time to doing an in-person giveaway, we think it’s even better (depending on your audience, of course). We’re talking full-on scavenger-hunt! Create a package that your audience will be excited about and physically hide it somewhere that resonates with them. For instance; if you’re hosting a book launch, choose a physical location that has ties to the book and ask the author to write a little personalized note in one of the first edition copies. Hide it on a shelf with a little teaser and promote the crap out of it!
It requires a little more effort, but partnering with local businesses in giving away more than just a ticket is extra beneficial. Think about things that “go” with the vibe or theme of your event, and reach out to see if they’re willing to help sponsor your giveaway package. More often than not, they’ll be stoked to cross-promote what they offer and your audience will double or triple in size.