Is taking out event advertisements…so yesterday? Today it’s all about how’s your inbound marketing strategy. You’ve just got to be online. Many of you I know are familiar with the myriad of online promotional tools available to event planners. But is there still a place for an advert. The answer I believe is a carefully considered ‘yes’. So how do event planners ensure they get the maximum benefit for from any adverts they place. This blog will discuss why you should (with caveats – see below) continue with this type of event promotion and how to increase your chances of success.
It’s got to be online…really says who
Now there’s no disputing that without some sort of on-line presence event planners are making life unnecessary hard for themselves. Everyone searches for events on line. However in my experience small local events can still be successfully promoted off line using posters, banners, leaflets…etc. assuming the promotional campaign is tackled with enough genuine enthusiasm. Not forgetting, the number 1 of all events promotional tools…’word of mouth (personal selling). It is really important to note that when any member of the event planning team is chatting about your event in ‘public’ they are indeed now ‘Head of event PR’… so must be able to talk up the event with great enthusiasm and knowledge.
On line is NOT the silver bullet: the deliverer of event audiences. It’s just one of promotional tools you will need to use for larger events. Traditional event promotional tools with a modern twist still work.
You need variety. A combination of ‘off’ and ‘on-line’ promotional tools
The truth is few events can be successful if they are purely advertised solely using on-line promotional tools. Today you need a combination of both. As a peoples we are turning to the likes of Google and Bing to find things out – hence the need for some sort of online presence. While I can talk about the promotional tools you can use, I also need to tell you that you will also need a hefty dose of self-belief, creatively and determination. Event promotional plans take time to work. The truth is most of us don’t allow enough time to do the job properly and therefore increase our chances of getting a sell out!
Back to event promotional basics
As with any promotional campaign you must first know who your buyers are – your audience profile. You must be able to describe them accurately. You need to know how they typically find out about events. What media do they use? Once you have found out, go ahead and select the ‘best fit’ promotional media you are going to use. A word of caution here; you must make sure you can communicate your event messages through these media. Not everything works on all types of media.
Here are a few places you can place your event adverts
- On Television – unlikely I know
- Newspapers, Magazines: national, regional, local and specialist.
- Event Directories, Wall planners, diaries…
- Paid for Poster advertising sites e.g. railway platforms, buses, road side hoardings
Before you buy an advert here’s a few words of advice. Decide:
- Would your target audience buy such a publication?
- What do you actually know about the media? Does the publications’ marketing hype match up to what you think you know or have heard?
- What are their actual circulation figures? The number that is actually delivered to a person and not the number printed and left in magazine dispensers in offices or other public places.
- How often is it published?
- What are their advertising rates?
- When are the copy deadlines?
- How do they need the copy – in high resolution format?
My final points are:
- If this could be a potentially costly undertaking exercise then buy a copy of the publication, see who advertises in it and phone up a couple of them and see what they say.
- One off adverts don’t work so you need a campaign to build familiarity
- Advertising is often considered the most costly and least effective form of promotional media as being able to target your audience exactly is difficult. Before committing – make sure you are confident it will be money well spent.
- As advertising revenue has taken a huge hit over these past years there are likely to be some interesting deals to be done. Don’t forget to ask, to negotiate.
How to design the perfect advert
Event adverts need to catch the eye. In this case, less is more.
- Headline statements need to be in big bold fonts. The message needs to be clear and concise, informative and sincere and should tell the why they should attend: followed by when and where. NB: When and where are just facts and are not the information that makes readers want to read on.
- It should outline booking incentives, explain what to do next and signpost them to more information.
- Stick only to the key highlights. You can provide a website or telephone number for those who want more information.
- Copy check it. Let a good few people see it and check it.
- The key objective of the advert is to excite your audience: to get people enquiring, emailing you, buying tickets, signing up.
- Test your adverts, your content (the words, logos and images) before it goes off to the editor.
Chris Powell, The Event Expert
The Event Expert specialises in helping accidental and occasional event planners develop the skills and confidence to design, programme, promote and deliver their own exceptional events. I deliver In-house event management courses and consultancy services and books covering all types of public and business events. www.theeventexpert.co.uk