Getting the word out about your event is vital to meet your registration goals. However, there are so many different ways event marketing methods that you may be at a loss as to where to start. The map below will help you understand when to market and where to market for maximum effectiveness.
The first thing you should do is to map out your social media posts. You can easily utilize tools such as HootSuite to schedule posts in advance. This will allow you to set your social media campaign on autopilot.
You’ll want to promote:
- When early registration starts and when it ends
- Online sneak peaks at guest speakers
- The last day to register
- News about the event, such as the fabulous dessert buffet you just scheduled
- Snippets from last year’s event
Of course, some things can’t be scheduled ahead, such as updates from the event itself, but if you schedule some things ahead, you will save time during your busiest planning stages.
When to Schedule
It is also important to know the best times to promote on social media. For example, CoSchedule took a look at 10 different studies to determine the best times for social media posts. Since about 80% of US based Internet users are in Eastern and Central time zones, schedule posts for when these groups are most likely to be online, such as in the evenings after work and dinner.
Research by CoSchedule also showed that people are more engaged on Facebook over the weekends. Scheduling a post for around 3 p.m. will result in a lot of clicks, but scheduling at 1 p.m. will gain you more shares.
Twitter was a bit more interesting in the differences. If marketing to another business, tweets posted during business hours during the week did best. If marketing to consumers, tweets posted on the weekend did better by about 17%.
Get the Word Out Early and Often
Get the word out about your event at least six months before your event. People have to have time to make travel arrangements and request time off from work or schedule around their busy date books.
Get the initial news about the event out, even if you don’t yet have all the specifics. Tell them what you can. At a minimum plan out your dates, location (venue) and times.
Remind your mailing list at least every couple of weeks about upcoming online events, registrations, how to save by registering early, new speakers you’ve booked, etc.
Market to Local Media
Getting listed in newspapers and mentioned on the radio is PR that only takes you a bit of time and perseverance, but won’t cost you a lot of money unless you actually buy advertising slots. However, because it is a cost-effective way to market, it is also highly competitive. It can be difficult to get noticed in the dozens of press releases that cross the desk of the typical editor in a day.
- Six months before event: Send out a press release to editors in your target market where the event will be held. Try to make the press release short, to the point, and catchy.
- Four months before the event: Follow up with another copy of the press release and a telephone call to the editor to see if she has any questions for you about the event.
- Three months before the event: Phone the editor and ask if you can send a press kit with more information, provide press passes to the event, or help in any other way.
- One month before the event: You hopefully have made a point of contact who is willing to run a story or two and possibly send someone to the event to cover it. Touch base with this person and set up a time to meet during the event. Perhaps to buy him a cup of coffee.
- Before, during and after the event: Meet with reporters and return their telephone calls.
Planning ahead just a bit will allow you to get the word out more quickly and efficiently than if you market without a plan.