Reaching Beyond your Friends – Getting Results for Online Event Promotions
Facebook is a versatile tool for building relationships and raising awareness of your business or non-profit organization’s events. Getting the word out about your upcoming fundraiser is crucial for your event’s success, so it’s important to remember that your personal network might not be enough to get you the results you seek!
One of the most common ways to Facebook for business promotions and events is through your personal networks. This is a great way to start, and hopefully you already use this strategy regularly!
If you are trying to sell tickets to an event, gain sponsorships or silent auction items, you will need more than just your network to get the word out! Sharing with your friends is great, but chances are, your friends are friends with your friends, so your circle might not be big enough to get the word out effectively.
Here are some tips to help you take your event promotion beyond your network and in front of people you don’t know, but who might want to attend if they know about the event in advance and can make plans to attend.
As soon as you have the date for your event confirmed, get the details online somewhere. (Preferably your website!) You’ll want to sell tickets, sponsorships and organize your silent auction items and donations online as much as possible. Today’s busy world requires that there is a way for people to take action online, as opposed to going to a specific store or physical location to purchase tickets. If you are not able to use the Internet for these functions of your event, you will likely miss a lot of people who would otherwise buy tickets. We recommend developing a strategy about 150 in advance of the event date.
Today, advertising is more than a PSA on the radio, an ad in the newspaper and some posters at the local chamber of commerce. If you want people to attend your event, it’s imperative that you shift your advertising strategy to coincide with the way people consume ads today. Facebook, Display ads, digital ads on highly trafficked websites and cross promotion with other organizations are going to yield greater results than some of the traditional advertising methods – and they are not nearly as costly. A strategic Facebook ad campaign, 120 days before the event can capture a great amount of data that can be used when the event date draws nearer!
The Easier the Better
People want fast and easy. The more complex the purchasing process is, the more difficult it will be to convert social media “likes” to sales! Using tools like EventBrite and Sign-up Genius can help organize the people on your planning committee, but make sure these tools make it easier for the people buying tickets. We recommend an event website whenever possible, especially for annual/recurring events!
Create a Website
There are so many online options for events. Some of them are FREE. If you are creating a signature event that you will continue to use year after year, you will want to consider investing in a professionally designed and developed website. The reasons you should have your own website are plenty. And will be covered extensively in a future blog post.
Set Specific Goals
Trust me, we know how crazy it can be planning your event. Things never go exactly the way you plan them. In the beginning stages of your event planning, set specific goals, based on your data from previous years. If you have no data from other events, or if this is your first event, think about the information you will want to have next year that will make the planning easier.
Some Goals To Consider
A List is Gold.
You can build an email list automatically. If your attendees have a blast at your event, it’s likely they will want to attend again next year. Getting their email address when they purchase tickets, or enter a contest to win a prize is the best way to ensure they don’t miss the event next year! You’ll need an account with an email provider (we love MailChimp) and a way to collect email addresses – preferably online – think about automating the process, to save time.
Increase Engagement with Event Sponsors/Donors
Are you currently using online tools to recruit sponsors? What about those silent auction items? Remember, people want fast and easy. If you aren’t currently making your sponsors and donors lives easier with a simple link to sign up and pledge their commitment to your event, you are likely missing out on some great opportunities. Some of those unanswered emails from extremely busy people might not be rejections. It might mean they simply don’t have time to open the .pdf you sent them, or time to return your call. But if the information is available on your website, and they can commit online, you’ve just made life easier for everyone!
Track Visitors to Your Website
Data is a powerful thing. If you have a website and you are selling tickets on that site, you will learn so much more than if you were sending traffic to a link on a 3rd party’s site. You can learn about the behavior of your website visitor and learn so much about your marketing efforts. Things like where are you getting the most traffic (email, Facebook, online advertisements, Google)? These days, most 3rd party event/ticket sales options include the ability to embed your ticket sales on your site, so you are able to gather meaningful data about your marketing.
We would love to help you plan a winning marketing strategy for your next event. Please give us a call or send us an email so we can learn more about your organization and how we can help!