10 ideas for marketing your small business event

People buy from people and they buy from people they like.  And events are very effective when it comes to attracting and keeping your potential customers’ attention and nurturing your existing relationships.  By engaging in a conversation you can interact with your audience on a personal level and understand them better. People enjoy connecting with their peers, learning what’s new and sharing best practices. By bringing people together for your event you are not only connecting your business with them, but you are also expanding their own networks.

One of the most challenging aspects of planning and marketing events, is getting the right people to fill the room.  Things that will trigger your guests’ interest are: a relevant topic, innovative format and experience, attractive venue and speakers – and a few effective marketing tactics:

1. Use your website to market your event

Add your event on to your homepage so people can easily find it and register. Even if you are promoting an invitation-only event, give those who are interested a route to find out more and register.  If you are worried about having less control over your attendees, it works well to ask visitors to register their interest, instead of automatically registering for the event. Allow others to share your event with their social media networks by adding sharing buttons and ask your own networks to share it as much as possible.

2. Personally invite your social media connections

It’s highly likely that your social networks are bigger and more powerful than you realise. Review your individual social  network connections and personally invite those who might be interested to attend your event, or know someone who might want to come along.

3. Send out personalised email invites

Schedule an email campaign with a couple of follow up reminders. To stand out from the crowd, make the email personal – preferably in plain text and follow up on the phone. If a designed invite is more of your thing an effective way to design, send and manage your online invitation is via Paperlesspost.com. Just make sure you are following up on those, as html emails can occasionally get blocked by the recipient’s inbox and go straight into their spam folder.

4. Pick up the phone

Speaking to people is priceless. If you can, follow up on your written invites and reach out to those you’d like to come along to your event. Even if they won’t make it, it’s a great way to remind them about your business and catch up. And if it’s difficult to get through – leave a voicemail. They are likely to listen to it and you’ll make them aware – you never know who they might tell!

5. Use social media groups

Facebook and LinkedIn groups are amazing when it comes to reaching new, segmented audiences. By becoming a member you can post about your event within the group or send out individual messages, even if you are not connected to the other group members. It might take longer, but it’s likely to be much more effective than a generic post.

6. Join online forums

Similar to social media groups, joining and posting in relevant online forums will give your event extra visibility. Share links to your event with other forum members and join relevant ongoing conversations.

7. Include in your email signature

To raise awareness, add your upcoming event with a registration link on to your email signature. It’s a quiet reminder for those who might not be aware and those who haven’t RSVP’d yet. Get your team’s email signatures involved as well – the more people you reach, the better.

8. Send out printed invitations

It’s such a nice addition to all the digital communication. Especially with the recent GDPR limitations. Yes, you will need to spend a little bit of money, but it’s worth it. Pick the key people you’d love to see at your event and get a couple of invites printed and sent out. They are a bit more difficult to ignore and will definitely make your event to stand out.

9. Write a blog

Writing a blog on a topic of your event and telling your readers about your event is another great event promotion tactics. Blogs are also easy to share, giving you the opportunity to reach new people via your social networks.

10. Invite journalists and bloggers

Inviting journalists and bloggers to your event means that they are likely to write about your event and your business. Work on establishing long term relationships with a select PR contacts and it will definitely pay off.

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