Exams, speeches, essay-writing competitions (even this blog TBH) – I’ve always prepared for these thoroughly. At the last minute. And let’s face it, no matter how many months, or years, we put into planning and preparing and planning again, we always save a few things for the end. Incidentally, these few things have the power to turn the whole gig upside down, which is exactly why you need to read on to discover the six last-minute strategies for promoting your event.
1. Score Before More
If you haven’t reached your goal in terms of number of attendees, you tend to go “This is Sparrrttaaaa” and send out email invitations to each and every person on your contact list (sometimes, you even ask your friends to send those out to everyone on their contact list) which is a big, BIG mistake. Instead of inviting hundreds of people who are probably just attending to save lunch preparations back at home, you should focus on the more loyal ones and take time to send out personal invitations to them as the smallest token of thanks you can give them.
2. Involve Event Participants
This is how marketing works – you tell ten people, each one of those ten people tell ten other people, and so on. The more stages you have, the more you tend to reach out. If you involve people from your organizing committee and keynote speakers in promotional activities, you can increase your reach by a huge factor. And to pep them up, give your people incentives to promote the event. For example, you can offer them a certain commission, or free hampers against the number of registrations they get.
3. So-much-cial Media Promotion is Just Never Enough!
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and even MySpace – promote your event on every social media platform that you have an account on. Swap your profile picture with your event poster on those accounts because these notifications tend to come up in the News Feeds more often than the usual promotional posts. Be active on these channels so that people don’t lose touch with your event. You don’t have to keep calling for action the whole time or you might sound desperate to your audience, instead try to engage them by putting up infographics, comics, pictures, videos, photos of keynotes, their bios, fun facts, behind-the-scenes, bloopers etc. related to your upcoming event.
4. Send Out Emails to Subscribers
Though point one tells you otherwise, give us a chance to explain – once you’re done sending personalized invites to your loyal attendees, you have to start sending out newsletters to the ones who are alleged subscribers. Your initial newsletter should contain the basic details of your event and a call-to-action. In subsequent newsletters, slash down the number of available tickets to arouse a sense of urgency amongst the receivers, so that they register their ticket online in a state of haste. Also, you’ve to make sure your emails don’t find their way to the spam folders. Here’s how –
i. Instead of sending all the emails in one big batch, try to get your server to send one email at a time.
ii. Filter out the “bad” email accounts from your mailing list. These “bad” ones are those that have remained inactive for a long time and repeatedly sending them emails might increase your spam score.
iii. Make sure you provide an Unsubscribe link so that if people don’t wish to receive any more newsletters, they’ll unsubscribe instead of marking you as spam.
iv. Talk your followers into including your email address in their contacts to decrease your chances of getting into spam.
Now that you’ve learned how to dodge being spammed, compose newsletters that are to-the-point and answer most of the “wh-” questions. Make it colorful, but not to an extent where it loses professionalism. Also, it has been found that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (sometime around noon) witness the highest inbox opening rates, so send in your emails during these windows.
5. Be Active on Discussion Forums
Contrary to popular belief, discussion forums are not just for fangirls and geeks. Target a forum related to your event and start a thread about it, but be careful to not have a high sales pitch because it won’t be received warmly on discussion forums. Let it just be a friendly notification to make them aware of the existence of such an event, and if someone is genuinely interested, give specific responses. You can also get in touch with bloggers and provide them with good quality content in return for including a link to your event page and a call-to-action.
6. Press Releases
They are basically open newsletters to attract the media. And here’s how you do that –
i. Even though it doesn’t seem like that, introduction paragraphs are supposed to contain all the necessary information you need to convey to your readers since rarely do people read the rest, anyway.
ii. Have loads of statistics, but make sure your press release doesn’t end up looking like a mathematics textbook.
iii. Include your contact details.
iv. Do NOT have a lot of technical jibber-jabber. Your press release is going to be validated by a media guy, and if he can’t understand it in the first place, he wouldn’t have a reason to believe that it’s good enough.
Yes, these might look like a lot for last-minute preps, and I won’t lie to you, they ARE a lot. But, unless you’re practically dancing all over the place yelling out orders, I don’t think you’re doing a great job as an event manager, anyway!