5 Tips for How to Promote Your Event
You’ve put hours upon hours into planning your event. You’ve found a venue, decided on a topic, and gotten it approved with everyone you needed to.
And now you need to get people to come.
While promoting an event can cause anxiety or frustration, there are proven ways to make sure your event promotion grabs people’s attention and brings guests to your event.
1. Branding is everything.
One of the biggest mistakes nonprofit event marketers make is in this area. The branding of your event and your event promotional materials makes all the difference—it signals to your audience whether this event is for people like them, whether you know what you’re doing, and helps to build awareness by consistently portraying the same message. Make sure you use high-quality photos (if you need photos, try Unsplash for high quality, free use photos). Keep your fonts consistent—use Google Fonts to find good pairings. And, please use the same colors, and colors that work well together—the free Adobe Color tool will help you build a great color palette.
Spending a little extra time on the front end to come up with a consistent brand for your event will go a long way to gain attention and legitimacy in the eyes of your audience.
2. Targeting is your best friend.
It’s easy, especially when you are a busy nonprofit event coordinator, to send generic appeals about your event into the void. More specific marketing targeting is time-consuming and can be confusing. However, there are solutions that take relatively little time to set up and can have an incredible impact. In fact, a study by Bain and Company found that for-profit organizations with a savvy segmentation strategy posted 10% higher profit growth. That’s a lot of money for your cause!
Advertising through Facebook, Google, or lesser-known options like Quora can allow you to target people who are most likely to want to attend your event. You can drill down to such minute details as age demographics, geographic location, and even industry! And, by targeting specific potential attendees, you can get your event in front of people when they are searching for events or already in that mindset—which will make them even more likely to sign up.
3. Set and repeat.
When you’re working on your event for hours each week, it’s easy to lose perspective. While you’ve already done some promotion—maybe a mailing, posts to your organization’s social media accounts, and more—many of your followers may still be unaware. It takes between six and eight touches for someone to make a decision on your event, according to a study by Salesforce.com. This is particularly challenging when promoting events on social media, as each platform’s ever-changing algorithm can mean your posts get lost in the noise, or never seen by your audience at all! Consistency is key.
4. Find your hook.
You’re obviously excited about your event and your cause, but how do you get your supporters on board? It’s important to find your hook for the event, that one piece that makes it compelling and different from the crowd. Maybe that’s a specific way that the event connects to your mission (i.e. every ticket sold provides 10 meals) or a once-in-a-lifetime experience (like a behind-the-scenes tour or special speaker). Whatever it is, make sure that this is at the forefront of your messaging.
5. Leverage your network.
If you’re reading this, you might be one of just a few people responsible for this event. While you’re obviously amazing, planning, promoting, and executing an event with a team of one or just a few is hard!
So when promoting your event, leverage your broader network. Encourage those already signed up to invite a friend, connect with partner organizations to cross-promote your event, and check out various community groups online. Many neighborhoods or cities have Facebook groups or event boards dedicated to neighborhood concerns or events in the city—see if you can post about your event in these groups. Facebook groups benefit from a lack of algorithm restrictions and higher engagement than the rest of the site!
When in doubt, ask your faithful supporters, volunteers, and staff to share with their personal networks! Someone is twice as likely to listen to a recommendation from a friend than an organization, according to eMarketer—those connections will go a long way!
These five tips will get you started on the right track to a successful—and well-attended—event! Keep up the good work.