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Event Marketing Advice

November 18, 2014

Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

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Sitting across the table was a woman who wished an event she recently canceled did not have to be postponed due to low attendance. I felt her pain as I reminisced about the first event I produced for my new company ten years ago. I was confident the event would be sold out! When that did not happen, I remember doubting my decision in creating the event, and also in starting my new company. It rocked me to my core.

What I learned from that disappointing experience and shared with this wonderful woman entrepreneur, was the sentiment that sometimes when we fail, we must get up and try again; and we must market harder. In most cases with events, it takes more marketing efforts than one imagines to gain the attention of prospective attendees in a world full of a hundred options for our time, money and attention.

Today’s post is a simple reminder to entrepreneurs that successful events take enormous amounts of marketing, promotion and advertising to a specific audience to get seats filled. One marketing blast, one social media marketing mention and only one invitation is not enough to garner reservations. You can have the best event in the world planned, but if no one knows about it, no one will be there to experience it. You must become addicted to marketing, sending out more notices than you feel comfortable with, until you have the numbers you want.

Here are 3 of my favorite marketing strategies to help you next time your event attendance numbers are not what you desire:

sponsorshipsun* Collaborative Marking Partners or Sponsors – Sometimes getting more people to attend an event involves asking collaborative business partners or sponsors, within the same market, to agree to market your event in exchange for promotion. You want to ask partners or sponsors who have the same market niche you are interested in attracting. Know what you can give that does not cost you money but gives equal promotional value to a collaborative partner or sponsor. Ex: Their corporate name on your website, their marketing materials at your event, or a display table for their products are nice collaborative marketing suggestions.

raffle-ticket-300x166* Add a Large Giveaway – Consider adding a major giveaway item as a gift to attract new attendees. Make sure the giveaway is something you can easily afford or have in stock and then re-brand and re-market the event with the large giveaway leading the headlines. Ex: Consider giving away an ultimate package of your products and services valued at a high price. I recently added a $2,500 Marketing Package to one lucky winner for an upcoming event. The marketing package doesn’t cost me money and it is attracting a lot of new reservations.

socialmdia* Market on Social Media – Make sure your event is posted and shared on social media so your friends and their friends learn about the event. Ask some of your high powered friends to share the event with their social media marketing friends and offer to do the same for them in the future. Viral marketing is a great way to reach a new audience to fill seats at any event.

Remember, just when you think you have done enough marketing for an event, do more. It always helps the final results.

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