A well planned, well communicated and well attended event can help an organization thrive and a business grow. Yet, I receive event notifications on a regular basis that are missing information, poorly timed, and offer too many reminders. Why is it so hard to get it right? Let’s take a look at a few best practices for promoting an event.
1._Create an event fact sheet. This should include all of the relevant facts such as date, time and location, as well as who should attend, where to park and who to call or email with questions. This list can be used to develop a press release and other forms of marketing communications as well as sharing with people and sponsors you are recruiting.
2. Develop a marketing communication plan at least 90 days out from the event. Your event may require more or less time depending on the event, but 90 days is a rule of thumb as it allows time for event publication by relevant resources and printed materials. For best results, once you have confirmed the venue, develop your marketing communication plan. It is easier to deal with plenty of time than not enough time.
3. Send out a “save the date notice” in plenty of time. The bigger the event, the more notice people will need. For a major fund raiser or “annual event” publish the date on your website 12-14 months in advance and send out save the date notices several months in advance. As an example, an annual charity event may announce the date 12 months out but not release the theme, entertainment and other details until just the right moment to generate excitement.
4. Use “reasonable” frequency. One organization I belong to sent me 5 or more emails about the same event during the 30 days leading up to it and they were the same email. Yuck! First, once a week is sometimes too often and second, the message needs to be different in every email. I wonder why I do not receive an invitation on Facebook or other mediums? Over communication often leads people to tune out and unsubscribe. By using multiple communication channels you can stay in front of people without driving them crazy. Use your website, email, social media, print and mail for really big events.
5. A picture is worth 1000 words. Make sure to use images that tell the story of the written content. This will create the best impact. For an even better impact, use a short video, less than 60 seconds, to promote the event. People will share your pictures and videos if they are done well and are relevant. PDF formats are often used to share event information, but remember they are an image and the details in the image are not searchable and someone cannot cut and paste the details into their calendar.
6. Use a professional online registration tool. It is common practice to offer registrations on your website or through an event registration tool. These tools will increase your revenue and help manage the details. If your members like a hands on approach, you can still take their information over the phone or in person then enter it into the online tool. I have used cvent and Eventbrite, or check out the list by Capterra.
I could list more but I think these are the big ones I see being missed by well-meaning organizations. I welcome your comments, suggestions and success stores.
Good luck with your next event.