The Internet is a convenient and inexpensive place to market your events. In fact, 90% of Yelp users indicate that reading a review on the site can impact their purchasing decisions. However, there are also many offline marketing tactics that you should do in the real world if you really want to get ahead of the competition. Below are some things you should be doing if you aren’t already. It’s important that you take a multi-pronged online and offline approach if you want to be truly successful.
Get involved in your local community by sponsoring a sports team, high school yearbook, or charity. Not only will your gift be tax deductible in most cases, but most of these organizations will note that you are a sponsor of the event. Those people who are on the teams, and their parents, will be more likely to attend your event or frequent your business.
In addition to being thanked publicly for sponsoring them, local newspapers will sometimes note who is sponsoring the team or organization.
Print advertising can be expensive, which is why many event planners shy away from it. However, if you do your research and choose a publication that will reach your target demographic, it can pay off in event registrations. Let’s say you are planning an event for women in the city of Louisville, you would advertise in the local magazine Today’s Woman Now.
No matter what your topic or audience, you can find a publication that has readers in that demographic. Don’t overlook the smaller publications in the area as well. Taking out an ad in a smaller paper is usually very cost effective and you may reach readers in outlying areas who would like to attend your event.
Another option is to send out some direct mail postcards or letters. If you’ve held your event in the past, begin with your mailing list. These are people who’ve been to your event in the past and thus are more likely to attend again.
Next, you may want to purchase a mailing list from a service, but you’ll want to be sure it is a very specific list. If your event is for IT, then you’ll want to buy a list with IT workers’ addresses. These lists are not inexpensive, but can be a good investment if you use them consistently.
Hit the Sidewalks
If your event is on a tight budget, another option is to hit the ground with people who live in the area where the event will be held. Create a nice flyer or pay a graphic artist to create a professional looking flyer for you. Print these up and hang them around town. Some places that you can typically hang flyers include:
- Post office
- Grocery stores
- Local businesses
- University bulletin boards
Create a Team
As you start to promote in the real world, you’ll realize that things you can do on your own, such as talking about the event and putting vinyl on your car is a drop in the bucket. To really make an impact, you need a team of people to do these things consistently over time. If everyone on the team works together, you’ll not only start to see results, but may even think up new ways to promote the event you hadn’t thought of before.