Marketing an event is a bit different now than it used to be. In the good old days, all you had to do to promote your event was to put a bit of cash into your advertising activities to really get the message out there. When broadcast marketing reigned supreme this was the only way to really target thousands of people – you’d then rely on your brand to support the campaign and gain your event the recognition it needed to get people there.
However, times have changed. People don’t convert in the same way they used to when they view broadcast marketing campaigns, this is probably because they’ve got used to engaging with more sophisticated forms of marketing which are mainly based on personalisation and social media marketing. People still try to make broadcast marketing work, however we’ve developed a special name for these broadcast advertising methods they use online, we call it spam.
So you’ve got to ask yourself the question when promoting your event, how do you go about capturing the attention of your event’s audience?
Who is your target audience and where do they hang out?
Keyword research is an important place to start, the art of keyword research is working out what your event goers are going to search the internet for in order to find events like yours. The first place to start is Google’s Keyword Tool, this should give you a feel for what people are actually looking for in search engines. Once you’ve got a load of keywords lined up how about trying to search for people associated with these terms – have a look at them, try and figure out what they have in common, what they talk about or promote themselves, take a look at them on Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin.
Set up a Facebook page to promote your business and search for people that are interested in the same types of events and try and engage with them, get content out there by adding links to blog posts you’ve created or infographics. It takes a lot of effort, however if you do it right you can have loads of people following your page before you know it. Events are social things, marketing is becomming a social medium – the correlation between the two spheres puts the live events sector at the forefront of the marketing space race – put yourself in that space.
Twitter is another useful tool when promoting your event. Use the Advanced Twitter Search function to find more people that are actively contributing to the community you’re looking to target. This is a great way to find hashtags which gives you an insight into the language people are using on Twitter but it also gives you a way into a social community within the Twittersphere.
There are various live events groups on Linkedin that can be used to promote events but which will also give you a feel for how other people within the industry are targeting their events and who they are going out to, remember learning from other people’s mistakes is an important lesson when promoting events on a budget!
There are also loads of community forums and blogs out there, the best way to find these is to search for the keywords you’ve identified adding “comments” or “reply” or “responses” to the search query (using the speech marks which means must contain the word within them). The results you’ll receive will be relevant to the search query but only where people are able to respond.
You might also want to try using Google Adwords to promote your event (if you do, let us know because we can get you some discount vouchers to get your campaign going), this option might not be for the faint of heart though it’s really easy to spend a lot of money and not really get anywhere.
Skiddle has a vast amount of data about events and events goers, so if you are still struggling for answers about your potential event audience why not give Skiddle a call, one of our account managers would be happy to speak to you about your event and our understanding of the event industry could prove really insightful.
How to promote events to existing online communities
As discussed above, promoting your event without help is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort however if you put some serious graft into it there are some massive benefits.
So you’ve identified your audience and found some of the places they hang out, now you’ve got to start communicating with that community. Most people go at this a bit too gun-ho, they go in all guns blazing and end up being ostracised by the community they are trying to engage. They key to this approach is the softly softly approach, that means not promoting your events, that means adding something to the debate that’s meaningful and going to make a difference. Every now and then you can add something that refers back to your event of your experience from putting the event on or promoting the event. People will then come to you.
On Twitter, the key strategy is referred to as Engage, Inform & Retweet (#EIR). When EIR is used over a longer period of time it allows a person to position themselves as a genuine authority in the sector they regularly tweet about, which means they become someone people turn to for advice and opinion and then in turn when you do occasionally promote your event directly it has much more weight.
What is the EIR ratio?
The EIR ratio, although dreamt up about Twitter can be applied to most social media platforms. This is about engaging people, informing them and positioning yourself as an authority in a certain sector/online community before you are about to promote your own event.
Generally, the EIR ratio is considered to be 12:1 – that’s 12 information and retweets/shares of information before you directly engage your friends, fans or follows with some promotional information about your event.
The great thing about creating information for social media marketing is this is largely done through blogs which can really increase your traffic through search engines as well as having a benefit via social media channels. It’s important when writing content to get people’s attention to think about how you can solve an issue that they might be having, this blog for example is geared towards making people think about the way they promote an event online.
How can Skiddle help you promote an event online?
As one of the leading online event listing and ticket sales operations in the UK, Skiddle’s Promotion Centre allows you to post your event details to Twitter and Facebook, however the level of Skiddle’s Facebook Ticket Shop’s integration with Facebook is what really makes social media marketing special with Skiddle as we get the event goers to do most of the marketing on your behalf – with their actions around your events getting your event out to thousands of additional Facebookn users.
There are tens of thousands of visitors hitting Skiddle.com everyday and our reach on social media is even broader still. We write countless pages of editorial content a week and we activiely promote the events listed on Skiddle through these news channels which we then use to target people using social media. All in all it’s a potent mix when promoting events.
We don’t believe in spamming the event goers that have used Skiddle in the past, however if your event is closely linked to the interests of a member of our event goers database and we feel an email will be of benefit to them we will happily work with your to promote your event in this capacity.
The key to promoting your event online is to consistently do as much as possible whilst thinking strategically about how you are going about it, whilst bearing in mind at all times bulk / broadcast marketing does not pay anymore.
Visit the Promotion Centre for more information.