21 ways to promote your next business event
Promoting your next business event doesn’t stop when the event date arrives. Promotion must start well before the event and continue during and after the event too!
There are lots of ways to promote an upcoming business event that don’t require huge budgets.
Ultimately, you want people to attend your event. Events management encompasses event marketing and promotion.
The stress felt in the run-up to an event when you have sold only a small amount of tickets is almost unbearable! So let’s make sure you have a great turnout.
Use pre-event, during-event and post-event promotion as a marketing campaign. This kind of marketing campaign highlights that your business is professional, organised and well-known (even if you’re just starting out!).
When you use tactics to promote your event whilst actually at your event, and then continue that promotion afterwards, you’re creating a marketing campaign that then acts as promotion for any future events too.
Here are some ideas you can use to promote your next business event:
Increase communication touchpoints
Your strategic event marketing campaign should consist of a series of touchpoints. These days, people don’t buy instantly. They need to see your brand and event information a few times before they decide they’re coming.
Send them a personal invitation via email. Ask if you can include them in your mailing list. Reply to comments on your social posts about the event. Remind people in person that you’re organising an event. Update the events page on your website. Send out a press release. Add the event to your email signature.
Let people know when and where it will take place
This sounds obvious but you need to plaster this information everywhere. Make it as easy as possible for people to book tickets and turn up to your business event.
Every time you post something on social media to promote it, make sure you include the event details and how to book – every single time.
Provide a link to the event website so attendees can learn more about what’s in store for them at this particular business event.
Release early bird tickets
Early bird tickets are a great way to create urgency and sell a number of tickets quickly. These tickets should be sold at a discounted price and be on sale for a limited time only.
They encourage people to buy well in advance of an event so you know you have a guaranteed guest list. Nobody wants the stress of wondering if people are going to turn up!
Use social media to promote your event
Use social media to get the word out and drive people to your website where they can register for the event or purchase tickets.
Create a hashtag for your event and use it in all of your posts about it. This will help people find information about the event when they search for it on sites like Twitter and Instagram. If you get your event partners and speakers to use the hashtag too, your event will reach all their audiences too!
Include some text explaining what’s happening at this particular event that answers any questions your guests might have in the run up to the date.
Add an event page to your website
Ask your web developer to add a landing page to your website that lists information about your event. Not only is this helpful to your audience, but it drives traffic to your website and could encourage visitors to explore other pages.
Your event page should answer the following questions clearly and concisely:
- When and where will it take place?
- Where is the car park?
- How do they get there?
- What is the agenda and schedule of the event?
- Why should people come?
- What do they get out of attending?
- Will there be a meal, buffet, refreshments, or welcome drink?
- When is the event expected to end?
- When do ticket sales close?
- What discounts and concessions can they benefit from?
- Who will be hosting or speaking at the event?
- Will there be any entertainment or performances?
- What kind of guests will be attending?
Create event-specific branding
Achieve a more established look by creating an event logo. Your event logo should be recognisable to your brand but with a twist. Perhaps you could use your main company logo and add to it with a pop of colour, graphic or slogan.
Remember, your event branding should be consistent across all marketing materials, social media channels and collateral.
Use the same logo across all print materials such as brochures, posters and social media posts to create consistency and brand awareness.
Send out a newsletter
To promote your next business event, create another marketing touch point by having your it appear in people’s inboxes. To do this, you need to have a mailing list.
Mailing lists are built up over time by gaining consent from your contacts to allow you to send them marketing emails.
Your event newsletter should contain the most important information about the event. It’s important not to overload a newsletter with lots of copy. Make sure it’s visual and includes only the essential information: date, time, location, and how to book.
PPC ads are one of the most effective and affordable ways to promote your business event. They allow you to target people who are actively searching for information about your event or its topic, location, etc.
Let’s say that you’re hosting an event to teach guests about how to do what you do; such as marketing tips or social media tricks. In this case, it makes sense for you to use PPC ads because they will allow you to reach prospects and convert them into leads and eventually attendees.
Build relationships with event professionals
If you plan to have a host, compere, guest speaker or performer at your event, get to know them as best you can on a professional level. They’re more likely to put more effort into promoting the event if they care about what it is you’re trying to do.
Equip them with all the relevant hashtags and company names you want them to use in their social posts to share with their network.
You can also lean on them for advice. Get them to share their expertise. They’ve probably worked a lot of events before so ask them for their opinion, what works and what doesn’t.
Get sponsors behind your event
Working with other companies gives your business extra clout. Get a brand to sponsor the event and get their logo on all your advertising material.
They can also give away free samples or gifts at the event, which will make it even more memorable and be a point of conversation in the weeks that follow.
Sponsors will want to shout about the event as they’ve invested their money into it. It’s important to work with brands that align with your company values though, so don’t just go with whoever is willing to pay!
Add the event to your email signatures
A free, easy and subconscious reminder to invitees about your event is the addition of your event logo or information to your email signature.
This tactic allows you to always have a way to remind people about your event whilst communicating about something else. This way, you don’t feel as though you’re having to constantly ask people to attend.
Write a press release
Press releases not only promote your event through the media, but they develop the brand awareness of your sponsors. You want your sponsors to get the most out of their sponsorship, so being featured in press releases will generate a return on investment for them.
A press release should be written in third person, with a catchy but straightforward headline that will grab the attention of journalists and bloggers.
Include information about your event, including its name, date and location. You should also include contact details for anyone who wants more information about attending or speaking at it (including speakers and sponsors).
Never forget to include a photo! This could be of the company founder, the speaker, sponsors, or from a past event you organised.
Send your press release out to the media. It can work in your favour to spend the extra time personalising your messages to individual journalists, rather than sending out in bulk.
Build behind-the-scenes intrigue
Video is a great way to build intrigue around your event. While you’re setting up at the event on the day, use video to show off the venue, speaker line-up and other aspects of your business event. Use that material on social media or on your website.
You may have noticed that many conferences and trade shows have started using live streaming as part of their marketing strategy.
Live streaming allows people who aren’t able to attend an event in person to still feel like they’re part of it. It also creates excitement among those who are going because they know they’ll be able to watch some key moments after they’ve happened (if not live).
Hire a professional photographer
Guests at your event will love posing for professional photos. Photographers will capture candid moments that can be shared on social media, as well as photos of attendees, speakers, venue and event space.
Be sure you brief your photographer to get shots of your sponsors and partners too.
The anticipation of seeing the event photos after will build intrigue too.
Work the room
There’s one type of communication we know works better than any other method: person-to-person! That means networking and talking directly with people who already know, like and trust you.
So, if you have another event in the future, drop it into conversation with your current guests. They’ll feel very special to know about it first and they’ve already seen how great your events are, so should be keeping an eye out for the next one.
Event etiquette and guest care
There are a lot of things to consider when you’re planning a business event, and one of them is making sure that your guests are comfortable. If they’re not comfortable, they won’t want to come back. Plus, they won’t recommend the event to their friends or colleagues either. Here are some ways in which you can make sure your next business event goes smoothly:
- Food and drink: You should always have enough food for everyone who attends (along with water). If there’s going to be alcohol served at this particular function, make sure there are also non-alcoholic beverages available as well
- Seating: Make sure there are enough seats so that everyone has somewhere to sit during breaks between presentations or speeches. It’s also important that these seats aren’t too close together. No one likes to feel crowded out by their neighbours’ elbows while trying hard not to miss anything important being said up on stage
- Bathrooms: Another thing worth considering before booking any type of event space is whether or not there will be adequate restroom facilities available nearby.
- Technology: your venue needs to have relevant technology for slideshows, music, performers, and lighting. You should also consider how the sound travels through the room. If it’s difficult to hear or see what’s happening, guests could become irritated.
Send out event pictures
The release of your event photos will act as evidence of how great your events are, therefore promoting your next event.
Send the photos to those who attended your event as well as those who couldn’t make it. Make sure they know they’re allowed to share the pictures on their own social media pages and encourage them to tag your company and any relevant partners for maximum exposure.
Your event will then be seen by the networks of all attendees who share the photos. Hopefully, this leads to more ticket sales for the next one!
Share photos on your own social media
Share the best photos from the event on your own social media before sending them out to guests. This will help your posts gain more traction and engagement.
You might even post some preview shots before you share the main bulk of the photos.
If you have time, try tagging people in each photo as you go so they get a direct alert that the photos are out.
What’s most essential is to tag in your sponsors and partners in every post, so they’re getting the most exposure for their investment.
Share a post-event newsletter
Send out a newsletter to your email list, highlighting what went well at the event and thanking people for coming. Don’t forget to include links to any social media posts about the event so that people can see them in their feeds!
Include any positive reviews from attendees, speakers, sponsors etc. If possible, try asking attendees what they liked best about attending so you can include those comments on future marketing materials related to future events. This will help build trust among potential customers who may be on the fence about attending future events because they didn’t know what kind of experience they would have beforehand.
Write a press release
Write up a press release about your business event and send it out to relevant publications/press contacts who might be interested in covering some of its highlights–especially if there were any big names in attendance.
Submit it to local media outlets, bloggers and influencers – don’t forget to include photos!
Send thank you emails
As soon as the event is over, send out a thank you email to all attendees. Thank them for their attendance and mention how much they have helped you in the success of your business event. In addition to this, include a link that redirects back to your website or the event landing page.
The key to successful event promotion is to take a personal approach. Use your own network of contacts and friends to spread the word about your next event. You can also use social media to reach out to people who might not know about it yet but might be interested in attending based on their interests or location.
Just don’t neglect the promotion of your event once the event is over. Pre-event, during-event, and post-event promotion all help to show those who did and didn’t attend how great the event was. In turn, this will help promote your next event.