Define good reason(s) for people to show up. What’s the draw for attendees? You need to define WHAT you’re doing at the event that will bring those target attendees in the door. For a consumer product it might be a party with entertainment and product demos and freebies. For a business crowd it might be educational content or an exciting, well-known expert speaker. Whatever it is, don’t lose the connection with why you want this particular audience clamoring to get in.
Lay out in writing why your target market should attend – don’t assume the benefits are obvious. When promoting an event be sure to tell your target market what they will learn, who they will meet and why they should be there. Don’t assume your friends will tell their friends. If you are using speakers, give them advertising copy so that they can promote the event to their audiences.
Learn how to talk to the media. Journalists are very busy and always on deadline … they don’t have time to hear a sales pitch. Let them know that the information exists and — for future stories — that you are an expert in that field. Include that information when you reach out.
Use Twitter hashtags. Twitter is terrific for promoting events and for creating a sense of online community around an event. Set up a unique hashtag early on. Search Twitter first to make sure it’s not already in use. Put the hashtag right on the event website, and if you use the Tweet button for sharing on the site, work the hashtag right into the premade verbiage. When people tweet, it promotes the event automatically on Twitter.
Use online social pre-events to promote the main event. To build interest in your event, trying holding a Google Hangout or a Twitter chat a few weeks before the main event. Invite a few of your speakers to participate in the online social event. Give a preview of what’s to come at the main event, by doing some discussion of what speakers will cover, or highlight the activities. It generates anticipation.
Buy advertising on social media networks. Buying advertising on social networks is often overlooked by small events. Social advertising platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter above all) offer in depth targeting options that can significantly help to reach our target audience in our geographical location. The good news is that no large budgets are required and ticket sales can be easily measured.