What is an event without attendees? If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, your incredible, well-executed event may be catering to empty seats. As the Owner and Founder of Lulu Promotions, Ismail Sirdah explains that event promotion is half the battle in planning an event. Having created dozens of successful promotional campaigns, Ismail Sirdah is here to share his best kept secrets on event promotion
IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS
Ismail Sirdah describes event promotion as the practice of using different marketing strategies and channels to get the word out about your event and drive attendance or registration. As such, the first thing you need to do is identify your goals. Is it to attract 500 attendees? Strengthening relationships with business partners? Once you’ve decided on a goal, you can start building your marketing plan, and ensure that everything you do ties back to this goal. Additionally, you will want to think about your target demographic. Where are they located? What are their interests? Where do they consume information? The choices you make in regards to demographic and psychographics will affect the platforms you choose to focus on. Business event? Focus on LinkedIn. Fundraising event? Focus on Facebook.
HAVE A WELL DEVELOPED PLAN
Secondly, Ismail explains that your event marketing and promotion need to seamlessly fit into an integrated plan, or coordinated campaigns across different marketing channels. Whether you’re focusing on traditional print media, digital media, or both, your event brand should be recognizable through every touch point, and as a result, convert. This means using the same visual and verbal language throughout your marketing. Don’t be afraid to spend time crafting an exciting event description and visual language, and ensuring that you answer the who, what, when, where, and why for potential attendees.
ENSURE YOUR INFORMATION IS SEO FRIENDLY
Next, Ismail Sirdah suggests optimizing your page for search engines (SEO). One of the first places that people go when they are looking for something to do? Google. The better your event listing and/or website incorporates search keywords that people may use to find your event, the better it will rank on their results. You might consider off-page SEO as well, posting your event on external pages with links back to your website—this contributes to a higher ranking on Google.
Whether you’re investing in brochures, flyers, out-of-home advertising, or digital initiatives, you might want to consider building anticipation prior to the official launch. Designing various competitions leading up to your event, where the prize is free tickets, in-kind donations, or drink tickets, can help keep your event on peoples radars. You can encourage engagement by asking participants to share the contest on their stories, on a post, or with a friend.
ENHANCE YOUR VISIBILITY
Lastly, Ismail Sirdah suggests sitting down with your team and brainstorming every possible opportunity for visibility. From handing out flyers at local events to running an Instagram contest, the sky’s the limit. As Lulu Promotions grew to become the number one promotions company in Georgia within the Spanish and Latino markets, Ismail Sirdah suggests keeping your eyes, mind, and heart open to new ideas, because you never know what you will come up with.