Event Planning + Effective Marketing & Promotion = Success

Getting people to show up to your event involves much more than finding a venue and setting a date.

People are busy with family, friends, work … and life. Your event is simply one more thing to try to squeeze into an already packed calendar – or skip altogether.

SCORE Bucks County has great turnouts for its small business workshops largely due to public relations, promotion and co-marketing.

SCORE Bucks County has great turnouts for its small business workshops largely due to public relations, promotion and co-marketing efforts.

Ensuring a great turnout is about selling people on why they should come. There are a variety of ways to convey this message. I recommend a multi-pronged approach to event planning consisting of good ole’ word-of-mouth advertising, public relations and marketing.

Follow these tips for better attendance at your next event:

  1. Don’t double-book. Know what your target crowd could be doing on the day you have in mind for your event. If your ideal attendees are football fans and your event is on Super Bowl Sunday, you could lose out to the TV. Check potential conflicts before firming up the date.
  2. Share what’s in it for them. Why should people come to your event? Rather, how will their lives or businesses be better? Find the pain points of your target audience and share how your event will help to address them.
  3. Spread the word (and repeat often). There’s no such thing as over-promoting. “I heard too much about this event so I decided not to go,” said no one ever. Lean on business partners, your event’s venue, local business networking groups, chambers of commerce and anyone else with a stake in your event’s success.
  4. Keep the message consistent. Incorporate the same event overview, keywords and takeaways on fliers,
    Lee's Hoagie House uses email blasts to keep Hoagie Bowl qualifiers informed about ticket purchases.

    Lee’s Hoagie House uses email blasts to keep Hoagie Bowl qualifiers informed about ticket purchases.

    signs, email blasts, social media posts and more. Make it easy for supporters to spread the word by providing already created (and accurate) content that can be shared effortlessly. It would be a disservice to potential attendees if supporters shared content listing an incorrect date or time, for instance.

  5. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to try to publicize your event. Think about how quickly your calendar fills up with appointments, kids’ activities, work functions and more. Be sure to allow enough time to get the attention of prospective attendees before their commitments are already made.
  6. Be media savvy. Know how, when and to whom to pitch a story. Ask yourself these questions: How does the event resonate with the audience of the given media outlet? Does it relate to a trend or seasonal topic? Draft a press release outlining the event and noteworthy details. A general rule of thumb is to reach out to press early and follow up as the event draws closer.
  1. Use all available promotion channels. Start with your existing customer base. Call and personally invite them to attend or use Mail Chimp to design and send eye-catching emails. Be sure to include the event details
    SCORE Bucks County is using this digital ad to increase its reach.

    SCORE Bucks County is using this digital ad to increase its reach.

    and registration information on your Website – you’d be surprised at how many people forget to do this. Then, go beyond your circle, with social media posts incorporating hash tags and relevant keywords. Add your event to calendar listings on local Websites and in print publications and ask your event partners to do the same. Hand out fliers where you would expect to find people interested in attending your event. Ask likeminded business owners or merchants if you can post your flier or make it available for people interested.

Please share: What was the largest event you planned? Which marketing tactics worked best in ensuring a great turnout?

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