Have you struggled to get people to your events in the past or are you looking for the best method to fill a new event?
Are you fed up with wasting money on ineffective old school advertising like newspapers and radio?
Do you want to see how we have packed out a range of different events in a range of different niches?
If that sounds like you, this short blog will be perfect for you and if you want to book a 1-to-1 consultation to specifically discuss your own event click here.
Over the past year we have managed a number of successful marketing campaigns on a small and large scale for a range of different clients.
We have managed marketing campaigns for workshops for our own business, recruitment agencies and pharmacies. We have managed large-scale business-oriented events such as the Midlands Career Expo and the Irish Barber Expo, consumer events such as our award-winning campaign for Winterfest Mullingar and Mullingar on Ice, and we’ve managed marketing campaigns for sports events like the Mullingar Half Marathon.
The Old Pay, Spray & Pray Method that Most Event Organizers are Still Wasting Money On
Event organizing is a strange, stressful world. There’s so much to do, so little time to do it and you only get one shot at filling your event and putting on a good show. It’s not like retail businesses or eCommerce businesses where you can launch, test and try different techniques to get customers in the most cost-effective way possible.
You have one shot, one marketing budget and one opportunity to fill your event.
As a result of this unique reality, whether through fear, ego, or a lack of understanding or awareness, most event organizers continue to plough large marketing budgets into mass marketing techniques that they cannot monitor, measure, optimize or control.
As an event organizer, it’s up to you to take responsibility for filling your event. If it doesn’t work out, people will point the finger and you will get the blame. Depending on your personality, this can lead to a great sense of freedom and motivation or a great amount of fear and search for security.
If you’re the kind of event organizer who would rather security and a way to remove responsibility from yourself, you will stick to traditional methods such as radio and newspaper advertising. By doing this, if things go wrong, you’ll say, “we spent thousands on newspapers and radio stations, they didn’t get results” to remove the blame and save your ego.
However, if you are ready to take responsibility for investing in a newer but more cost-effective, more predictable way of advertising then read on to see how we have repeatedly packed out events and won some awards in the process.
The Highly Targeted, Cost-Effective & Scalable Technique We Use to Fill Events
We specialize in using social media and other online channels to reach your target market and convert them into customers. To do this in an effective, scalable manner we use advanced paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger & beyond combined with organic social media management. We create structured sales systems know as online sales funnels, to create awareness, build demand and convert interested people into customers and we have done this for all kinds of events in a range of niches be they small, large, B2C, B2B, free, low cost or high-cost to attend.
What Does a Sales Funnel for Event Marketing Look Like?
For some people, online marketing and sales funnels are a mystery. But essentially, to the consumer, it’s just appears as posts on a range of different social media platforms, through email and on websites.
For the business, you are using a range of marketing techniques and strategies to build awareness, create demand and persuade people to purchase in the same way that you would in any sales encounter. The only difference is that you are doing this in a structured, systematic way with the use of online platforms.
There is an outline of the typical phases that we implement to maximize attendance at events. A person may purchase at any phase and the sooner they do, the better.
Phase One – Creating Awareness
The first thing you need to do is to create awareness within your target market that your event is taking place. This is pretty easy if you are an established event, but becomes more difficult for new and small event organizers. You need to create a range of pre-launch techniques to build anticipation and intrigue before your main launch. High-quality promotional videos work well for your main launch to get people thinking “That event would be something I might be interested in”.
Phase Two – Building Hype
You want to build hype to make it seem that your event is the hottest thing ever to take place. You want to encourage and stimulate people to engage, share and talk about your event online. Competitions, particularly creative viral loop competitions, will work really well at this point to make it seem like “everybody is talking about that event, I should check it out.”
Remember, to make your competition interesting to your target market only. All too often, we see events offering generic prizes that everybody would want even if they haven’t the slightest interest in your event. By doing this, you are introducing a huge amount of people into your sales funnel that will never become customers.
Phase Three – Stimulating Demand
At this stage, you’ve built a lot of awareness and there will be a lot of people who have heard about your event and have a general idea what it’s about. Some will have purchased (the real eager beavers) but the majority will be still making up their minds. At this stage, you need to go deeper into the reasons why someone should attend your event, what the benefits to the attendees are, what can they do or learn, what’s the main attraction, who are the speakers, what’s the reason you are putting this event on in the first place?
The impulsive, interested people have already purchased at this stage. You’re now reaching out to the people who have a more logical approach to spending on and attending events. The people who think “will this really be worth my time and money”. To do this you should use a range of different types of content on a number of different platforms that focus on a single benefit or reason for attending.
The content should make people think “that event looks really interesting, I’d love to go”.
Phase Four – Convert into Customers
By now, your potential customers have all the information they need to make a rational decision about whether they are interested in your event or not. Now it’s a matter of getting them to put their hand in their wallet and take the card out to pay for the event.
At this stage, you need to leverage the hype and social proof that you received earlier. You need to focus on a range of marketing tactics to stimulate action such as urgency, scarcity and fear of missing out (FOMO).
Pricing strategies can be set up to create genuine urgency, scarcity and FOMO. Limits to the number of tickets at different price points can also be used to stimulate demand. It’s also good at this point to announce partners, leverage influencers and announce some additional features, speakers or attractions. Some wise/daring event organizers often hold back some of their main attractions or headline speakers until this point.
Phase Five – Incentivize Referrals
Your customers are an untapped marketing channel. All too often event organizers and business owners, in general, forget to leverage their greatest asset: their customers. These people have shown enough faith and confidence in you to spend their hard-earned money. Humans are a strange bunch. We usually surround ourselves with different groups of people who are interested in the same things as us. The offer of going to an event that a friend recommends is far more compelling than any offer you can make as an event organizer.
Studies show that customers are 70% more likely to purchase from a brand that their friends recommend. You need to harness this power to maximize sales and reduce your advertising spend.
Every customer should be encouraged to share that they’re attending the event on social media. They should be encouraged to invite their friends through email. They should be encouraged to purchase multiple tickets through group discounts. You might give them the opportunity to receive discounts, upgrades, prizes, or become involved in the event in some way. Whatever you do, make sure you have a way to encourage your customers to find you more customers.
Phase Six – The Final Push
It’s 10-14 days from the campaign. You hopefully have enough customers by now but typically, you will see a big jump in sales at this point. FOMO kicks in, people have seen your event been talked about for the last while and with the impending date realize that they need to take action or they’ve blown it.
At this stage, depending on your budget and the size of your potential audience and warm audiences (those that have shown some interest) you will want to focus mainly on converting those warm audiences. These are people who have visited your website, signed up to your email list or maybe engaged with your Facebook page.
You need to make your event seem unmissable. High-quality promotional videos, eye-catching images and a sharp focus on scarcity and urgency should be used here. Ask your partners, affiliates, influencers and customers for one last push. Run competitions. Throw the kitchen sink at it. Your advert copy might look something like this:
“ONLY SEVEN DAYS TO GO!”
“IT’S GOING TO BE EPIC – DON’T MISS OUT”
“DON’T BE LEFT OUT – ONLY 25 TICKETS LEFT”
“IT’S THE EVENT EVERYBODY’S BEEN TALKING ABOUT”
The big mistake most event organizers make is doing this phase first and completely alienating most of their potential customers.
Phase Seven – On the Day
What? It’s not over yet? Not even nearly.
If you are running a free event, you will know that one of your biggest challenges is to get people to attend on the day. It might have been four weeks since they registered for your free event and since then other things have gained priority. The risk with a free event is that unless it’s a really captivating event, other things can rob your priority. This is less likely if they’ve shelled out a couple of hundred euros on a ticket, travel and accommodation.
For paid events, ideally, you should have profit maximization tools in place on the day to boost your revenue. Can you offer upgrades at the door? Can you have products, memorabilia or advertising space to sell? Can you create a competition for people to enter?
One thing you should definitely consider is selling tickets for your next event even if it isn’t next year. People are having a dopamine rush at your event and it’s probably the easiest sell you will ever have…. If your event is good!
And that’s pretty much it. The secret to how we’ve been packing out events and winning awards in the process. If you want to chat with me about building a marketing campaign for your event, click here to book a call.
Why do online sales funnels work so well for event marketing?
Digital marketing and online sales funnels, in particular, are very effective for event marketing for a whole host of reasons. Here are a few of the key reasons that we implement sales funnels for our event marketing campaigns:
- At it’s most fundamental level, sales funnels allow your marketing messages to align with the customers buying process and allows you to accelerate and maximize the number of sales you receive.
- The different phases of your sales funnel can run simultaneously for the most part and people can move through the different phases at their own rate based on their actions and the degree of intent that they show. Your low hanging fruit will purchase quickly, whereas you now have a method to cultivate interest, demand and sales from those people who were initially on the fence or who are more conservative spenders.
- You can generate a huge amount of “social proof” and leverage it to convince people to purchase. Social proof is the positive content generated about your event by other people which in turn helps to persuade their friends and followers that your event is worth taking notice of and hopefully, attending. This can be as small as likes, comments and shares on your posts to original posts about the event by people who are going and are talking about why they are looking forward to the event.
- You have the ability to track people who engage with your content and create highly relevant specific adverts based on their actions and intent.
- You can use a range of content (Video, Images, Blogs etc) and various mediums (Facebook, Instagram, etc) to capture the attention and persuade your target market to purchase.
- You can leverage other content creators to boost awareness and demand for your event through influencer marketing at small and large scales.
- You can track, monitor and optimize performance as the marketing campaign progresses.
- People can purchase directly from their phones, the second they see the advert while they’re sitting on the toilet!
- You can start small and increase your budget as you increase attendance. This is possible but not always the wisest strategy.
- You can test a wide range of content, tactics and sales techniques instantly.
- You can respond to potential customers questions, concerns or problems with booking instantly to prevent any loss of sales.
Now it’s over to you.
It’s time to create your sales funnel for your next event. If you need help with filling your event with attendees book a consultation now to discuss the different options we provide.
“Colm Baker was the man behind the marketing strategy for the hugely successful Mullingar Winterfest 2018. During the campaign, Colm was innovative, tenacious, dedicated while also being very approachable and extremely easy to work alongside. He was open to suggestions and always available to answer queries. He ran an amazing campaign and the event would not have been the success it was without Colm’s hard work. I would highly recommend Colm, I know you will not be disappointed.” Edel Boles, Winterfest Mullingar
Testimonial for Careers Expo
Testimonial for Half Marathon
Testimonial for Barber Expo
“Colm has packed out numerous events for Clarity Locums over the past number of years. If you want more people at your event, more people talking about your event and a cost-effective way to advertise your event, get in touch with Colm.” Anthony O’Neill, Clarity Locums
“We have held a number of successful events over the past couple of years thanks to Colm’s marketing prowess. From a first-aid event for parents to beauty events targeting ladies to 5km run fundraisers to health information evenings, Colm has managed to continually reach different target markets and pack out our events. Most recently, we had a phenomenal response with over 500 people at a local health information evening.” John Keane, Keane’s CarePlus Pharmacy