Friday, October 10, 2014

Event Marketing

In my various volunteer work, I have helped several Not-for-profit groups with their event marketing!

I have come up with a simple formula that seems to work pretty well, so I thought I would share it with you!

So your event is on the Calendar, what now!

One Year to 6 months out:

  1. Create a web site! Domain names are relatively inexpensive and you can most likely post your site on the main charity's hosting account.
    This is a good time to let people know what your event is and generate a teaser of what's to come.

    You can also provide a Paypal button so people can purchase tickets!
  2. Create a Facebook Page (also use twitter, Google plus and whatever social networking you or your board members use on a regular basis) Just for your event, and allow the committee members to be administrators.

    Again, here you will be teasing people about what is coming up and driving them to the web site to purchase tickets.
  3. If you have photos from last years event, get some mileage out of them by posting them!

  4. Make sure your sponsorship structure is in place so you can use this time to help attract potential sponsors. IF you do it right sponsors should start coming to you. Especially when you start featuring each one.
  5. Investigate where you might find matching funds and the steps for achieving them. You may be surprized at how early you have to start!

Five/Four Months Out

  1. Update your teasers with news of the sponsors, hint at the raffle gifts, feature someone participating in your event.

Three Months Out

  1. Now is time to start hitting the Monthly publications in your area. Most of them will give a break to the not-for profit groups and are glad to help!
  2. Continue with your teaser updates
  3. At this point investigate community calendars, and radio/TV stations. Most TV and radio have community service requirements, and if you hit the deadline, you can get your event listed in their community events section (both on the web and on the air - for FREE!)

Two Months Out

  1. Now its time to start hitting the local daily papers with an ad/articles about your event.

    If you have sponsors, it is a good time to tell a little about a sponsor every week - who they are, what they do , and what they are doing for your event.
  2. If you have businesses participating in your event (say its a chowder tasting contest) Get a photo of each restaurant/contestant participating. Each week tell about one of the contestants and what they are doing for your event.

    This is a great way to get the community involves and to feel a since of ownership in the event. It will also get people excited about the given restaurant and give the advertiser more bang for their buck!

One Month Out

  1. Now its crunch time! But since you have been featuring a sponsor and a contestant each month you should have all the marketing materials you need!
  2. Continue updating your Web Site and Facebook - and sending articles to the paper.
  3. Develop your event program highlighting your contestants and sponsors. The more content you have that is NOT an add will add value to your printed materials and increase the likelihood of people keeping them around.
  4. Now its time to get your printed posters out into the community. I strongly recommend including a QR code in ANY printed materials you do. This can send people directly to your web site or Facebook page and INCREASE your follow through on actual ticket sales. Make sure you have a poster Anywhere tickets are available!
Week before the Event
  1. Make sure to contact local reporters and invite them to the event. The cost of one ticket can equal some very valuable press.
  2. Make sure there is an article in the Paper the Sunday Prior to the event - as well as letting people know that if they don't have a ticket now - they had better get one before they run out!

Event Time

  1. Make sure you have someone taking photos of what it going on! This is very valuable for next year - and good for your advertisers!

Day After the Event

  1. Make sure to write up a great article about how fun the event was - who won it (If applicable) etc. Get this to the paper, post it on your social media and on your web site.
  2. You want to let everyone who was there feel great about it AND let anyone who couldn't make it feel like they REALLY want to be there next year.

Week After the Event

  1. Meet with your board. Tally up the numbers. Review what worked and what didn't.
  2. Form your plan to next year.
  3. Update your web site with next years's tentative date, and continue to post photos from the event.

Begin the cycle again!