Marketing via events is a great relationship building and prospecting tool. As I'm heading off to one such event tonight - and have run literally hundreds over my career - I thought I'd share some tips for more successful event marketing...
You need to sell it! Promoting an event is NOT about brevity. You'll often need to provide a LOT of information, and likely some enticement, to help them make a decision to attend. In other words, you need to SELL them ... even if the event is free.
Events are a hard way to make money. Yes, some people make a lot of money running events. But a lot more don't. If you're trying to make a buck, ticket sales almost always won't be enough. You'll need a sponsor - or lots of them.
Copywriting is king. Yes, with most marketing, you need great copy to convince people to attend your event. You should include:
- A descriptive and enticing subject line to your email invitation (as almost all event invites these days are sent via email). Including the date there doesn't hurt either.
- Throw out generic/bland titles - go a little crazy if you must. A clever and catchy title AND then a more "straight" subtitle that summarises the content of the event, is a good way to go.
- Just because it's a business event, doesn't mean it needs to be dull. Make the event sound INTERESTING, engaging and like they might learn something they wont find elsewhere.
- Establish “the issue” – that is, why should people CARE about the content of the event. Asking questions in copy or providing trusted research result is a useful technique.
- Provide an overview of what will be covered, preferably in bullet points, to make scanning easy. You can then expand and provide long copy.
- Provide a bio of the speaker and a summary of their credentials. A couple of audience testimonials from previous speaking events never hurts either.
- Add a sense of urgency in the call to action if possible (ie. Only 17 places remaining)
And keep asking. More than one invitation is a must. 3-4 invitations is ideal. No, it's not really badgering because most people take a long time to take action!
Make & follow a checklist. After you've done all the clever stuff, make sure you've also done the "boring but necessary" stuff, such as CHECKING that you've included the right date and time and the venue .... sounds simple, but so easy to miss! A proof reader for this is your best asset.
Final golden rule: Even if an event is free, people’s time is NOT. They won't forgive you for wasting it, so make sure the event is worthwhile.