You have been working hard, perfecting every detail of that incredible event. The date is drawing nearer, and there is only one thing to do: get the word out. Promotion is one of the most important elements to a successful event of any kind, whether professional or personal. Failing to spread awareness will lead to a flop, as no one who might have been interested will even know about it to show up.
But how do you properly promote it? With the internet you would think it would be a simple matter, thanks to the widespread access and massive reach of the tool. The problem comes when you think of the scale of the web. Billions of people use it, and even more websites exist, just indexed on Google. Making sure you are visible to your target demographic can take a little finesse.
Luckily, there are a number of options out there for promoting your event both on and offline. Here are a few ideas, but keep in mind that you are not limited to these tools. It is a matter of your own ingenuity.
Twitter Chat & Hashtag Marketing
Twitter Chat has grown from an occasionally used way of socializing to a hashtag-driven marketing powerhouse. The ability to engage in such a direct manner with your audience gives you a line right into their homes. Not just to advertise to them, but to have a real conversation. This connects the two of you on a deeper level, and so entices them to learn more.
You can use a Twitter chat to promote an event in two ways. First, you can hold a chat prior to the event in order to discuss what is planned, or get ideas from the actual potential attendees about what they would like to see.
Second, you can hold a tweetchat during and after the event to keep people informed, or to discuss what happened. This builds hype for future events, and opens communication in the long term with those who attended. Giving you a wider pool to fish from later on when you hold another.
Try a tool like Twchat to create an actual chatroom from hashtags, in order to view and participate in this event more easily.
Example: The American Society of Nephrology holds an informal Twitter chat on how to get the most out of a medical conference before the actual event kicks in. This is a great way to promote the event and get early press.
What is a webinar? I'm glad you asked. This is a seminar that is held entirely online. If you have an event that you want to reach a wider audience, but you don't know how, this is a possibility. You can either create an event based entirely around the webinar, or convert one so that it matches that style of format.
Webimars can be a great way to manage attendees' expectations and to provide more exposure to speakers. Webinars are also a great way to poll your future audience as well as engage them in your social media activities.
Example: MeetDifferent conference is one of the best examples of using pre-conference seminars. Webinars range in topics but they all overlap with future conference sessions.
Meetup.com is a fantastic tool for organizing both local and online events. You can put yourself in a specific location and category, and then look for others who might be interested in the same things you are. Whether you want to create a group for monthly camping trips, or hold a series of talks on Content and Search Marketing, you will find a target demographic here.
You can also find already formed meetup group in your areas, and with the group owner's permission you may be able to promote your event. This depends on the group, so make sure you check the rules, first!
Meetup pages also rank extremely well in Google, so it's a great way to manage online reputation as well.
Further reading: How to Organise, Market and Promote a Successful Meetup by @koozai_sam at @stateofdigital
Facebook Events is a useful tool, as it allows you to invite people, and then allow them to invite others who might be interested in attending. Hundreds of people can be reached in minutes this way, and thanks tot he RSVP feature, you can see how many are intending to come, and who has said no.
If you want total control over who is invited, you can also restrict people's ability to invite others. Or open it only to them inviting those on their friends list, but not out of it. The event can be public or private, opening it up (or restricting access) even more.
Further reading: How to Promote your Event on Facebook via @mannixmarketing
Will your event have paid tickets? Eventbrite might be the right service for you. Create an event, set tickets, and allow others to download and print them right from the site. They have a mobile app so your potential attendees can see it anyway, and multiple payment options for you to choose from.
Using it is very simple. Just put in the event details, specify the business end and how you want tickets and payments to work, and you are good to go. People can find your event based on date, location and category. You will attract a whole new group of people.
Further reading: Promoting your event at EventBrite (official FAQ)
If your event is recurring, getting some placements in local directories is a good idea too! Here are a few:
It might seem like a difficult task, but promoting an event is much easier (yet busier as well) than you might think. You can find people online, offline, and right in the target audience you are looking for, if you only know how to go about doing it. Social media and community groups are especially powerful tools for this purpose, when used in the right way.
Do you have an idea for promoting an event? Let us know in the comments!