Putting an event together is one thing, but getting the word out about your event so your community hears about it and attends is a whole different ball game. Marketing is very much an integral aspect of event management, and includes many dimensions from positioning to pricing to channels being used for outreach.
We debunk five misconceptions around event marketing, and how you can fix them.
1. “I’ll keep my event free as it’ll mean more people will turn up.”
Strangely, from experience in having attended many events at Peatix, paid events tend to increase the likelihood of attendees turning up with free events typically having a 40-50% drop out rate. Why? Because attendees have made a monetary investment, and only those who are truly interested in your event will do that. Psychologically, a paid ticket is also perceived as more valuable than a free one (unless it’s limited in some other respect like an invite-only event, or an intimate session).
How to fix it: The decision to charge and how much would depend on your event’s purpose and target audience’s capacity to pay – balance between charging to curate an interested audience and inevitably deterring your community from attending with a paid ticket. Regardless of a free or paid event, always provide value for the time and money invested in by attendees.
2. “My event’s free, official registration only acts as an additional barrier to sign ups.”
Pity! You’re missing out on valuable information like your attendee’s name, organisation, email, and even polling them to know your audience better. All this information can be used in marketing your future events by collating your own email database, or in understanding your community’s preferences, and more.
How to fix it: Use free online ticketing solutions like Peatix (our platform is free to use for free events!) that enables you to collect attendee information through an in-built form feature. Besides, we’re sure your event’s interesting enough for your target audience to want to expand that little bit of time to register for a ticket.
3. “All I need is to have my event up, and use Facebook to market it. Social media is after all a given mode of marketing these days.”
It is true that in this digital age, social media marketing has sealed its place in a marketer’s toolbox. But Facebook may not necessarily be the answer.
How to fix it: First think about who your target audience is before you picture a day in their life and discern where it is they look for information. Your target audience, depending on their age group, interests, and social circles, could be active on other social media channels instead, like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. Having a good understanding of this will increase the likelihood of your marketing efforts reaching the right crowd versus spending and wasting time or money on channels they’re not on.
4. “Traditional media is dead.”
Quite to the contrary! Did you know that The Straits Times and TODAY are the most widely read media in Singapore boasting a distribution of over 300,000 copies daily?
How to fix it: Approach traditional media with authenticity:
1) Shortlist media outlets whose readership would be interested in news about your event,
2) Find out who the specific journalists are that write about events in your genre and build a genuine relationship with them over time, and
3) Provide them with everything they need when the time comes for you to do a publicity push for your event, that is, to have a succinct press release detailing information about your event and high resolution pictures ready.
5. “Phew! My event’s finally over, I can stop thinking about it.”
Most definitely not! Engaging with your audience post-event is crucial to building up your community (especially if you intend to organise more future events). Imagine receiving an email from a friend versus a stranger, who would you likely open an email from? Point made. If your previous attendees hear from you often enough with content that’s relevant to them, they will soon see you as a friend who helps them to achieve their goals, and will be more than happy to open up an email coming from you.
How to fix it: You could engage post-event via social media or email, and show you care about your attendee’s opinions by getting feedback. Keep in communication with your community so when the time does come to promote news about your event, it would feel more like an invitation from an old friend.
Pulling off an event involves acute planning, meticulous but flexible execution, and active post-event follow up. Needless to say, event management is hard work, but rewarding, especially when the community leaves with brimming smiles and joy in appreciation of what you’ve put together!
Now, go plan that awesome event, and share your passion (i.e. market your event well) with everyone.
(This article first appeared on The Hubbington Post)