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Within six weeks, they were drawing attendees to each event; today, nearly nine years later, the group has more than 2, members.
Here are four strategies Samuels advocates to make your networking event more fun for everyone. Too often, we think of social change and professional success as deadly serious endeavors.
But perhaps we need to ask ourselves how we can bring more fun into everything we do. Samuels was successful because he realized that if he was going to succeed in bringing people together, it would have to be a social event they actively wanted to attend. Think about the activities you do purely for pleasure. A classic example is taking current or prospective clients out for a golf game, and enjoying beautiful weather and several hours of in-depth conversation with them.
If you like cooking, think about ways to integrate that into your networking. Could you turn an art opening into a meet-up opportunity for professionals who share your interest? How about inviting a group to join you for an author discussion and dinner afterward? Blogger Outreach Research bloggers, vloggers and micro-influencers that have a loyal following in your event niche and approach them to get them on board.
Arm them with the chance to earn a commission on those that sign up and buy tickets through them using dedicated discount codes. Make sure you provide them with the access they need and look after them on site too, ensuring the WiFi is up to scratch so they can do what they do best.
Give them a voucher when they register to exchange for swag on site at the event. This makes them more likely to come along.
Event Promotion: 100 Creative (Free and Cheap) Ideas to Try Now
Many of the channels offer credits, particularly for those who are starting out so use them to promote your event! Alternatively, consider starting your own awards ceremony if it fits your event niche.
Everyone wants to be a winner. Branded Cupcakes Free food and treats are always a big hit. Invest in some cupcakes with the event details in sugar paper and hand them out.
This could mean that the more event tickets they book the closer they get to a lifetime event discount or that on their birthday each year they get a special promotional code entitling them to a free drink at the next show they attend.
Use this to your advantage by partnering with brands so that both sides win. This could be product placement at your event in exchange for free signage and advertising of your event to their networks or another quid pro quo.
Banners Get vinyl banners printed and get permission to put them up in high traffic areas. These are robust and can cost next to nothing to produce. Request eyelets so you can secure them effectively in outside areas. Also invest in pull up banner stands which can be used inside to promote your event and ask the venue if it can be displayed at the venue for a month or more in the lead up to the event.Adam Savage's Custom Tool Storage Stands
Travelling Pop-Ups Events like to utilise pop-up stalls or shops to promote events but take things that step further by having them pop up from one day to the next!
Check the effectiveness of your different campaigns by testing two variations with a small sample and seeing which one performs the best.
Email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, make this easy for you. People have different preferences and this way you can find out which promotional approach is better so that you have better results. More click throughs can mean more ticket sales so you have one shot to get it right. Exclusive Wearables For loyal fans or followers, create exclusive wearable ideas like hats, t-shirts and tote bags as a reward and to turn them into a walking promo.
It could be something like, for those who attended the first ever event, or registered for several years consecutively. It also incentivises people to sign up each year because they get a nice thank you in the form of free stuff. You can get stickers or vinyls transfers for different parts of your car, or if you want a temporary solution, magnetic door or 3D roof signage. For example, turn existing blog posts into promo videos, turn videos into infographics and repurpose video interviews into blog posts.
Also go back to older content to refresh it, add new ideas and up-to-date information. Create Specific Landing Pages Create targeted landing pages specific to the call to action that has been clicked so you can focus on the specific information that motivated the website visitor.
For example, if an individual clicked specifically through to information about the event location, they want to know how easy it is to get to, and perhaps local accommodation options. If someone clicked through for more information about the content, they want detailed information about whether it is suitable for their level of expertise and what they will get out of it.
Share Your Event Playlist Create the ultimate playlist, inspired by your event, and share it on Spotify, Amazon Music or other streaming services.
Make use of the description box and get your attendees to start following the list. If you have artists performing at your event they can also promote your event and share the ticketing link from certain platforms.
Tell the Story of Your Founder Set up an interview for the event founder to share their story and the story of the event on a respected source that your target audience demographic reads. The more inspirational the journey the greater the interest and this good be a great boost for ticket sales. If time is shorter find opportunities through the journorequest hashtag on Twitter to submit a short quote in your area of expertise and list the event name instead of the organization name.
Write a Collaborative eBook Show your expertise by joining the professionals involved in your event together and writing an insightful eBook as a prelude to the event.
This could be personal and include stories or it can specifically solve a problem but, either way, use it builds a connection with attendees. What will give the best results and where should you focus your efforts, particularly if you are working with limited time? Online promotion is more than knowing how to promote an event on social media though that certainly can help! Long-Term SEO Impact If you have a long lead time before the event, work on improving your SEO and answer long tail target questions your ideal audience ask and make sure the search results offers a clear answer for them.
Make sure you highlight your event and give a clear call to action to book tickets. Create Your Own Community Create an online community where people can connect before the event. Try to create a vibrant place and reasons for like minded individuals to come together and feel at home. Whether it is providing a sense of belonging or bringing together minds that could potentially explore business opportunities together creating a digital meeting space you can offer positive reflections back to your event.
Brownie points if you can get your speakers to stop by add a little something - start a discussion, make a comment, share some wisdom. Encourage teaser videos from each of the speakers talking about what they will discuss, request guest blog posts or interview those presenting. If they have books published promote a book signing or meet and greet at the event.
Use Lookalike Audiences Create a list of event attendees and upload to Facebook to help find and target lookalike audiences that may also be interested in attending your event. Facebook identifies people with similar or common qualities to increase the chances of a match. Invest a little budget in reaching these people via social media ads and it could pay off. Aim for a list of 1k people as a minimum to increase the accuracy. Not only does this attract those that signed up to get more information, it can get the event trending and intrigues others to check out the hashtag and your event information.
Go Live Go Live on Facebook from your site walk through. Do the same thing on Live for the host city or area too.
Event Promotion: Creative (Free and Cheap) Ideas to Try Now
Use Geotagging Online Make sure you can tag the location of your event related posts so that they are easily searchable and potential attendees know exactly whether the location is suitable for them straight away without having to look. Email Creativity Email marketing campaigns can be effective, you just have to learn how to stand out. Make sure you have a killer email list that you keep up to date, and improve your email subject line as well as the email content offering within to improve open rates.
Mass mailings are the biggest turn off, so always ensure that the content is personalized and uses first names. Share different types of content and use GIFs and emojis to get people's attention. A strong strategy is to understand the pain points of your audience and to create and share humorous insights into the worklife of your attendees. Remarketing Reminders Remarket to those that have visited your event website but never checked out.
Set up remarketing campaigns with strong call to actions to offer a reminder to book their place. Create a Social Filter For snapchat or Facebook, create an event specific filter that people can use for pictures. Not only does it let them know about the event, it captures on the screen for their networks to see too!
Website Banners and Advertising You and your sponsors have website traffic, so use it! Create custom clickable ads and banners to promote the event from multiple sources and drive traffic through to your registration page. Use tagged URLs so you know which traffic sources have been most effective for driving interest.
Event Specific Branding For the duration of your event promotion, change your branding and information to new colors and pictures. This could be something like a new header or profile photo across your channels, or it could be an entire color shift across your brand.
How To Make Networking Fun
Email Signature How many people do you converse with via email per day?! They are all potential employees, customers or sharers of your event so put a non-intrusive mention and link for your event into your signature and let it do some passive promotion for you.
Target Keywords Research the keywords that are most synonymous with your event and most valuable to you and utilize them in specifically created online content. It makes you easily searchable by improving your SEO. Expand Your Network Follow everyone who registers for the event. You should be asking for social media profiles during registration. Create a list on Twitter and share content from your attendees periodically and interact and respond to their content too.
They will appreciate it and it will make them more loyal to the event if they feel valued. Run Social Media Contests Create a social media content which maximizes social sharing and interaction. For instance run a caption competition and let people know that the post with the most activity will have the opportunity to win a tempting prize ideally donated by one or several of your sponsors.
Share the Caliber of Those Attending If you are in the B2B arena, let people know the type of people that have already registered for your event.
Check on the registration form if they give permission for their name, job title and organization to be listed publicly.
Those considering attending will be fired up to buy a ticket when they see people they want to connect with. Make the image pop and have it link back to your event page or mini site. So, time to unplug and check out these offline-only event promo ideas. Helium Balloons Balloons are always fun and when attendees start to walk around with them, they become walking advertising! Plus, kids and adults are always wanting to find out where they get one so they will come and seek you out to get one for themself.
Give Staff Accessories Your event staff should be your biggest fans so ask them to carry event swag with them wherever they go.
Flyers and Posters Printed media can still be an effective way to reach certain audiences and communities. Explore opportunities to have inserts at a similar event your target audience enjoy and put leaflets in strategic places, such as the event venue, tourist information centers and transport hubs. Remember printed items can be made from recycled content and also interesting effects can be created to capture people's attention. Brainstorm some ideas for promotion in the lead up to the event and even on the day, encourage a mobile broadcast unit to make it to your live event.
Flash Mobs The possibilities are endless here and you can create flash mobs that are all singing and dancing or something that is particularly event specific like special entertainers or an immersive role play experience in public. Think about the timing and location carefully for maximum promotional impact in the lead up to the event.
Paper Invites Sometimes, the act of receiving a physical invitation can make more of a powerful statement than an email or digital option. You may not have the budget for fancy printing but if not, taking the time to hand write them could be the personal touch attendees need to sign up!
Chalk Sidewalks Temporary and completely diverse, chalk is an excellent idea for sidewalk signage to highlight your event. Reverse Dirt An alternative to the chalk idea is to reverse clean something. For example, create a stencil and use a power washer to wash away street grime within your stencil area.
The image lasts longer and technically is just clean vs dirt. Happy Mail Direct mail can still work and be worth exploring. Publications and flyers that are sent in the post just have to reach a higher standard now in terms of the copy and the effect they offer.
At least there is less competition nowadays as many companies have dropped snail mail marketing completely now to save money. Yarn Bombing This is such a fun and creative idea that definitely gets people talking about it. Yarn bombing works best in smaller areas like the city centre or within a city block so pick somewhere that is going to make the biggest impact.
Shop Window Many shops will allow you a free poster or ad placement inside their store which can be particularly beneficial for local events. For a truly community feel encourage shops to create their own promotion in keeping with the event theme and make it into a window spotting competition to drive residents to the town center. Offer a Taster Session Offer short, minute taster sessions, highlighting some of what people can expect from the event.
This gives people enough reassurance and leaves them hungry for more and might just be the push people need to commit to attending. Video Projections Use a wall outside the venue and work with your AV partner to project your advert or promotion on to it and let passers-by know what is coming up.
Outdoor Installations Turn an existing statue, feature or landmark within the local area into an installation that relates to your event. You could dress them up into a themed character or simply decorate trees and fountains to suit your narrative. Use your creativity and keep it tasteful. Traditional Merch You know the ones; old-school button badges, stickers, magnets, pens etc.
Create a Secret Tour Collaboration Work with your local businesses and your visitor bureau to create a not so secret tour around the city, concluding with your event. Those who sign up to the tour get free entry and you can include other stops along the way. Human Billboards Have your staff do some funky sign twirling to music on the sidewalk or dance their way up the street with their own sandwich signage to get attention!
Pop-Up Playground Make your event synonymous with fun and excitement by having an adult play area complete with blow up ball pit and inflatables. Giant Props Oversized objects are always fun and you could create them yourself with a little imagination. While the budget may not stretch to a giant fabricated prop you could create a cardboard house with event signage and allow people to color it in, draw or write messages on it.
It could also make an appearance at the event itself if it gets a lot of interactions. Trusty Business Cards No matter where you go, take event specific business cards with you. This goes for your personal business cards too. Read This and Get Started Before you start testing out these event promotion ideas, we have created a quick and easy cheat-sheet to help you to get more from your promotional strategy. Even if time is short you need to know where your time and energy are best focused, rather than flapping and randomly trying things out.
For savvy event marketing you should always be strategic in your approach. If you are ready to develop a detailed marketing strategy you should follow this link for step by step guidance on how to create a detailed event marketing plan.
Otherwise, below we outline a quick start guide to event promotion. You have been warned! Use this seven step checklist to select or adapt the best of the ideas for your own event. Having this knowledge will help you to perfect your event promotion action plan to promote an event on social media, online or offline and get better results every time.
They also have reasons for needing to promote their event more or differently. This could be to get more ticket sales, to raise awareness with a specific target audience or even to attract more sponsors. Whatever it is, you have to figure it out.
Before you spend any money or time understand the motivations behind your strategy. This is the first step: Make a list of what you want to achieve. And what your boss or client expects to achieve. Take Stock of Your Resources to Be Realistic Take stock of the time, money and resources you have easily available to you.
This means you can take advantage of every potential opportunity and identify a plan based on reality rather than a wish list. You might be richer than you think: Look at your event budget. How much marketing budget is available? If there is nothing left in the pot can you reallocate funds from other areas? Trim off fat from non-essential elements. This figure however miniscule or lavish it may be will help keep you realitistic with your goals as well as what options are available to you.
Figure out what you can reuse. If you have event props or equipment from a previous event, reuse them, either to help with your event marketing strategy or for the live event!
How long do you have for these event marketing campaigns? Make it Measurable and Make Informed Decisions How do you know if your strategy is working or if it needs to be tweaked? Measuring progress not only helps to keep everything on track it allows you to identify when changes need to be made, before it becomes a bigger issue. You can also make more informed decisions when it comes to allocating budget.