Marketing Tips and Ideas For Promoting Your Event
I am looking forward to presenting my show at your organization and meeting your patrons and members of your community! We want to help you fill every seat and we’ve seen what other venues have done to do just that.
On this page are marketing tips, techniques, ideas, and forms and templates you’ll need to generate exciting buzz for Patrick Smith’s Florida IS A Land Remembered.
(Click here to download a PDF of this information.)
Here is what we’ll cover:
The first thing you want to do of course is to let the public know about your upcoming event. From past experience, I know that often just the mention of my dad and his book A Land Remembered gets a LOT of interest. But that isn’t always the case.
Here are some things to keep in mind to make your marketing more effective.
You want to use powerful copy in your ads, emails, social media posts and press releases. Good copy will execute the following A.I.D.A. rules of copywriting. [Don’t worry if you are having trouble coming up with these, we have a lot of examples that you can swipe and use at ALandRemembered.com/Marketing-Swipe-Files]
A is for attention. You have to grab your visitor’s attention through a powerful headline, an interesting video and/or an eye grabbing graphic to get them to stick to the page long enough to move to the next step.
When writing a headline for your advertising and press releases, think in terms of the 4 “U” questions:
Is it Urgent? Establish a sense of urgency in your headline. Let the reader know they have to take some sort of action rather quickly.
Is it Unique? You offer something that people can’t find elsewhere. If I do say so myself, this is VERY true about my program.
Is it Ultra Specific? Tell the people what they’re going to get if they show up to your event.
Is it Useful? If you’re promoting an event, will the reader think “this is something that would be enjoyable or useful to me.”
Here’s an example of a good headline that follows the 4 “U” questions:
Discover The Man Behind A Land Remembered in Very Special and Entertaining Event
I is for interest. Ok, you’ve grabbed their attention for a few seconds with a snappy headline or image, now you have to quickly instill interest in the show. I recommend using words like “discover”, “popular”, “special”, “entertaining”, “one of a kind”, “exclusive” in describing my show. Of course due to the popularity of A Land Remembered, using the book title or the title of my show will generate a lot of interest for you.
D is for desire. Now you have to move them from simple interest in the show to making plans to attend. Compelling body copy which promises benefits such as a thrilling experience or the chance to get books autographed are some great ideas.
A is for action. This is not the time to be subtle. You have to ask them to take action – in this case, to come to my show! Or maybe you want them to visit your website or call you to reserve a spot. That is what is known in marketers speak a “call to action.” If you fail to tell them exactly what you want them to do, for those on the fence, chances are they will do nothing. We are a very directed society and respond to being told and shown what to do next.
One of the ways to increase desire and action is to limit something. Let them know that there are limited seats or they need to come early to get the best seats. Here are some ideas:
Act quickly, we plan on filling all the seats FAST!
Come early, we expect a full house
Seats are limited, call now for your ticket
Reserve your place now
Go to www.yourwebsite.com to find out more
Go to www.yourwebsite.com to reserve your spot
Also you need to consistently repeat your marketing message as well. On average, we are exposed to over 4,000 marketing messages every day. Recent research suggests that people need to see your marketing message between seven and twelve times before they even take notice. The best thing is to not rely on sending one email or running an ad once, instead it is better to send repeated messages to them through different marketing channels over and over again. If you are using the poster and flyers we provide, place them in as many places as possible.
You want to schedule and plan your marketing efforts well in advance especially if you have to go through another person or department. Farther down in this PDF I’ve included a spreadsheet to help you with organizing and timing your marketing efforts.
Many of the places I have spoken have requested people to reserve a spot in advance, even if they were not selling tickets. I highly encourage you to do this too.
Asking them to make a reservation is a strong call to action and makes them commit to coming to the event. You also get to assess the interest of people and it gives you a good count of how many you can expect. If you find interest seems to be lagging, you can increase some of your marketing efforts. If you find interest is strong and may make it over capacity, then you can make a decision if you need to move the event elsewhere, expand your room space (this has happened many times!) (Or plan on having me back again…I’ll be doing presentations in January and in March 2015!)
I have used a service called Eventbrite that made this very easy. You don’t have to have a paid event to use this service. If you are interested in using it, send me an email at Rick@ALandRemembered.com and I’ll be happy to assist you.
There are many ways these days to let people know about events, some cost money but many are free.
If you have advertising money in your budget, running ads in your local paper and other media outlets, such as radio and television is one of the surest ways to get the word out.
What to include in your ad:
Of course, you want to include the essentials:
Where (place, address, town)
When (date & time)
Cost (if there is a cost to attend)
Ticket/Reservation information (if applicable to your event)
Make it eye catching and use attention grabbing copy. Display ads work best but are more expensive.
Work with the ad representative to place it in the most appropriate area of the newspaper. For example, our local newspaper has a weekly entertainment insert, yours may too.
Ask your ad representative for advertising specials, ideas for ad placement, remnant space, etc. Negotiate with them on ways to get discounts, they should be able to work within your budget.
Be sure to mention if you are a non-profit because that will get you lower rates.
Arrange your advertising well in advance so that you have time to proof the ad! I can’t stress this enough. Some of the libraries in past years had ads run that stated the wrong information – like the dates and times! On more than one occasion, the date listed was AFTER the event. You can imagine how many disappointed people there were. Some of the attendees come from far away…I’ve had them come down from Georgia, in fact!
The advertiser can send you a proof that you can sign and fax back. I highly recommend doing this as you then have the proof if they mess up your ad.
On the date the ad runs, get a copy of the newspaper, tune into the radio and/or television station to make sure it is running correctly. If the ad is run incorrectly and it’s their fault, you want them to fix it right away, run it again (if there is time), and reduce your cost or refund your money.
Here’s An Idea!
Are you charging for the show? Here’s a way you may be able to get free advertising. There are national deal programs that your local newspapers or coupon magazines may take part in. I have used DealSaver and DoubleDeal programs with great success promoting a local event. This year alone I received over $10,000 worth of free advertising in exchange for tickets, which they sell. In addition, my deal was featured in the paper AND emailed to thousands of subscribers.
There are a lot of ways you can get the word out about your event and not pay a cent (or very little).
Press Releases and Press Kits
Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist, reviewer, or reader. What would you want to know about this event?
What should you send?
Press kits usually include the following:
Press Releases – Essential!
Links to other articles
All of these are available at ALandRemembered.com/Media. We even put together an electronic press kit that media outlets can download.
Submit your press release according to the required guidelines. Most places want it either by mail, fax or email.
If you are sending it email, type or paste your content directly into the body of an e-mailed press release. Many journalists delete e-mails with attachments because they take too much time to download and may contain viruses.
Send your press release to one publication at a time or blind carbon copy (BCC) the recipients to make the news release submission seem more personal.
Some outlets may prefer that you upload the press release directly to their website over a secure submission platform.
Send your contact person a link to our media page at ALandRemembered.com/Media stating that an electronic press kit as well as photos and videos are available there.
Be sure to include your CONTACT information on your email, so that whoever receives it can reach you.
Feel free to use the press release I put together or use it as a template and create a custom one for your event.
Where to send press releases?
Local newspapers – dailies, weeklies
Local radio stations
Local television stations – local news likes to announce upcoming events
Public access television stations
Local organizations that have newsletters
Newspapers out of the area (maybe your town gets a lot of people from other parts of the state who like to go to your area for vacations, events, etc.)
Who should get them?
Look on the website of your local news organizations. Many of them list the email address of editors and reporters. Look for lifestyle or event editors, reporters who cover local events, and columnists who cover local events. I would send to them all if there are more than one.
If it’s a small newspaper, send it directly to the editor. For radio stations, send it to the News Department (or PSA Director if you are sending it as a public service announcement). For television, contact the News Director.
When to send?
Send your press release to them at least 2 weeks before the event. It is also a good idea to do a phone call to follow up with them to see if they received it. Ask if the recipient has received the release and offer assistance or further information as needed.
You want them to run your information early enough so that people have enough time to plan to come to the event. Also that will give you enough time to make sure the media outlets get the information right. Always double check what they ran as soon as you can so that you can have them run a correction if possible. Again, we have seen a few places get press coverage with the date and time of the program wrong so we know this can happen.
If you get a paper or radio station that wants to interview me, that is great! I am available for interviews and want to be able to schedule them with advance notice, whether in person or via phone.
Social media has become a major player in getting the word out about events. The site we use with a lot of success is Facebook.com.
The following are some action steps to publicizing your event through this avenue:
Does your organization have a Facebook page? Make sure the event is posted on your organization’s Facebook page. You can “pin” it to the top of your page.
Is there a local event page set up on Facebook? Where I live there is a very active page called SLO Happenings where I was able to post regarding my event.
Are you active on Facebook? Post on your personal page and encourage your fellow members and employees to do the same.
Set up an Events Page on Facebook.
Photos and videos are more powerful than just posts because they get shared much more. Access and share our videos at YouTube.com/ALandRemembered.
When posting and sharing photos and videos, make sure you add a description that is attention getting and make sure to put in the URL with http:// in the description. You will find many photos to use on our website ALandRemembered.com/Tour-Images.
We also put together some posts you may wish to send at ALandRemembered.com/Marketing-Swipe-Files.
Encourage people to like, comment and share your posts. One of the best ways of doing this is to ask them a question or ask them to like if they agree or share if they like the post.
Again you can find many images related to the show at ALandRemembered.com/Tour-Images.
There are many event listing pages on chamber of commerce, newspaper, radio and television station websites where you can submit your event. Also look for other local websites that focus on listing local events.
Of course you should list the event on your website. If you are not the person who posts to your site, follow up to make sure it was posted correctly. (Again, I have seen many places list wrong times and dates!) We will also link to your site on your special page at ALandRemembered.com. Many organizations have a calendar of events. Make sure you list it there.
We will have a special page just for you where more specific information about the show will be featured. You should use this link whenever possible.
Do you have a member or patron list? Email them about the event. As I shared at the beginning of this PDF, it is best to come up with a campaign and email them more than once. Even a simple reminder email is effective.
Mail Postcards or Flyers
Do you have a list you can mail? If you have time and the budget, direct mail is powerful too. You can print postcards very economically at sites such as PrintPlace.com or VistaPrint.com. Here is one the Tampa Bay History Museum sent out.
Do you publish a newsletter? Announce it in the newsletter. Write an article and include photos. We have article ideas on the ALandRemembered.com/Media.
Post flyers and posters on bulletin boards, in high trafficked areas, print out flyers and have them available to be picked up. Announcements at other events or meetings Mention it to other groups and at meetings. Rotary clubs, Chambers of Commerce meetings, church, book groups, PTA, etc are great places to get the word out.
If you are going to charge for the show, consider donating a ticket at an event or meeting you hold or another similar event. You can do it as a raffle prize, auction or silent auction item or package.
Here’s An Idea!
Add a hardbound copy of A Land Remembered to the package to sweeten the deal. We are happy to sell them to you at a reduced price if you are interested in doing this.
By now you may feel this is a bit overwhelming. Once you have a plan in place though, it doesn’t take as much time as you may fear. I have put together a spreadsheet to help you plan your marketing. You can download it at ALandRemembered.com/Marketing-Tips-and-Resources.
We will help you with what you need – we will provide a custom flyer file, we will host a special web page on our site just for your event, do interviews for press and radio and anything else that will create excitement and bring people to the event.
Here’s to your success … and ours!