Planning a successful local event involves more than just securing a venue and sending out emails. To truly make an impact and draw in a crowd, you need a comprehensive promotional strategy that leverages various tactics. Guest post by Margo Ovsiienko.
Whether it’s a community fair, a charity fundraiser, or a music festival, promoting your event effectively requires a well-rounded approach.
In this article, we’ll present a nine-step plan that combines multiple strategies to ensure your local event receives the attention it deserves.
How to promote a local event — a step-by-step plan
This event marketing plan is a good starting point for an event promotion strategy. It will help you evaluate what resources you’ll need around event promotion and identify possible areas that due to the specifics of your industry might be essential. Use it as a blueprint and adjust it to your event’s specifics and your resources.
Step 1: Define your event’s unique selling points (USPs)
Before diving into promotion, identify what sets your event apart from the rest. Whether it’s special guests, exclusive activities, or a charitable cause, highlighting these unique aspects will make your event more attractive to potential attendees.
For example, if you’re organising a charity run, emphasize that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local children’s hospital.
“If your event includes fitness or wellness components, partnering with a local personal trainer to promote health benefits can attract health-conscious attendees. Workshops, sessions, or warm-up activities led by the personal trainer can enhance the overall event experience and encourage attendee engagement,” says Chris Protein, a personal trainer and business owner.
Step 2: Create an Event Link
Organising a successful event requires meticulous planning and effective communication. Without proper marketing, an event might remain unnoticed, rendering all preparations futile.
You should inform potential attendees about event details, ticket prices, terms, and conditions. Consolidating all pertinent information under a single, customised URL can help with this task. This not only saves time but also ensures that interested individuals can access all the necessary details effortlessly. But how can you create such an Event Link?
Begin by setting up an account with PUSH.fm.
Once registered, navigate to the left-hand toolbar and locate the distinctive pink plus symbol. Clicking on this will reveal the Smart Link option, leading you to a range of Smart Link templates. Among these, you’ll find the designated “Event Link” template, streamlining the process for you.
Step 2: Harness the power of social media
Social media is a goldmine for event promotion. Create dedicated event pages or hashtags on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Regularly post engaging content, teasers, and updates to build excitement and encourage sharing.
Share behind-the-scenes sneak peeks of event preparations and introduce key participants through video interviews. Check out this example of Web Summit utilizing photos of participants at their conference in Lisbon.
Step 3: Collaborate with local influencers
For example, you can partner with a food blogger to promote your food festival, allowing them to showcase anticipated dishes and generate buzz.
The beauty of influencer collaboration lies in its ability to lend authenticity to your event promotion. When an influencer endorses your event, it’s more than just an advertisement – it’s a personal recommendation from someone their audience trusts. This trust transfers to your event, making attendees more likely to engage and participate.
Incorporating influencer collaboration into your event promotion strategy requires thoughtful research to identify individuals whose audience matches your target demographic. Once you’ve established the right partnerships, you’re on track to not only extend your event’s reach but also to elevate its credibility within your local community and beyond.
Step 4: Utilise traditional marketing
Don’t underestimate the power of traditional marketing methods. Place posters, flyers, and banners in strategic locations around town. Consider advertising in local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations to reach a wider audience.
Moreover, don’t dismiss the potential of collaborating with traditional media outlets. “Advertising in local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations brings your event to the attention of audiences who may not be as actively engaged online. These platforms act as gateways to reaching a broader demographic, expanding your event’s visibility and influence,” says Barkev Meserlian, CEO of Barkev’s.
Step 5: Leverage email marketing
While email marketing was just one facet of the strategy, it remains a vital tool. Send personalised emails to your subscriber list, highlighting event details, and offering exclusive promotions to incentivise attendance. Here is an example of one:
However, when collecting emails of participants or those interested in the event, take personal data security seriously and introduce necessary data security protocols.
They should ensure that any personal data collected during the event registration process is handled securely and in compliance with data protection regulations to build trust with attendees.
Step 6: Host pre-event teasers
Engaging pre-event teasers are a valuable tool for building anticipation around your local event. By deploying teasers, you can create a sense of excitement that lingers, keeping your event on the radar of potential attendees. Here are some examples of pre-event teasers:
- Countdowns are a straightforward yet effective method; they remind audiences of the event’s nearing date and encourage early registrations.
- Sneak peeks provide a glimpse of what’s in store, sparking curiosity and prompting further exploration. Sharing brief videos, images, or descriptions of event highlights can captivate potential attendees and entice them to learn more.
- Interactive contests add a playful dimension to your pre-event strategy. Through social media contests, participants can guess surprise guests or answer event-related trivia questions for a chance to win rewards. These contests generate engagement and generate positive word-of-mouth, amplifying the event’s reach.
Incorporating pre-event teasers cultivates a buzz that resonates with your audience, encouraging attendance and setting the stage for a successful local event.
Step 7: Use inclusivity as another reason to attend
Beyond the core promotional strategies, it’s essential to ensure that your event is accessible and enjoyable for all participants. This involves more than just reaching out to your target audience; it’s about creating an environment that accommodates various demographics and preferences.
From individuals with specific requirements to families, pet lovers, and beyond, consider every aspect of inclusivity. Don’t overlook the significance of providing accessible international car shipping options, facilitating a seamless experience for attendees journeying from abroad.
Here is how Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is communicating their accessibility options on the website (assistant gods, accessible bathrooms, and parking).
Step 8: Get ready to handle large traffic volume
Hosting a dedicated website is a pivotal component of your online presence, but it’s equally crucial to ensure that your website can gracefully handle the surge in traffic, registrations, and interactions that your event’s popularity might bring. This is where the importance of secure cloud hosting comes into play.
Unlike traditional hosting methods, cloud hosting allocates resources as needed, preventing website slowdowns or crashes during peak periods of activity. Imagine potential attendees rushing to your event’s website to secure their spots or learn more about the event’s offerings. With traditional hosting, increased traffic could lead to slow loading times or even website downtime. Secure cloud hosting mitigates these risks by automatically allocating resources based on demand.
Step 9: Hire a dedicated event manager
As your local event grows in scale and complexity, enlisting the expertise of a dedicated event manager can be a game-changing decision. An event manager brings a wealth of experience in planning, coordinating, and executing events of various magnitudes.
From securing vendors and managing logistics to overseeing on-site operations, an event manager serves as the glue that holds everything together.
For example, they can come up with unique ideas of arranging some spare space for an event gear shop creating another opportunity for event monetisation. That was the case of iHeartRaves that transformed a ballroom in Luxor Hotel into a rave gear store in the week leading up to EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival).
By hiring an event manager, you can focus on the big picture while entrusting operational tasks to a professional. By hiring a dedicated event manager, you not only relieve yourself of significant stress but also enhance the event’s overall quality, leaving a lasting positive impression on attendees.
In conclusion, a successful local event promotion requires a well-rounded approach that integrates multiple strategies and considers diverse industries. By identifying your event’s unique selling points, harnessing social media, collaborating with influencers, utilising traditional marketing, and more strategies, you can create a comprehensive plan that maximises your event’s visibility and attendance.
Margo Ovsiienko is an experienced Product Marketing Manager who’s worked for fast-growth tech companies for the last 7 years. She often contributes to marketing blogs and shares her experience on topics related to conversion rate optimization, content marketing, and more.