Last week I wrote about “How to run a memorable business event”. But there is no point in running a faaaaab event, if no one shows up!
Did you know that the #1 reason most people choose not to run live events is the fear of not being able to sell it (get bums on seats)?
There is nothing worse than preparing your best content, your promotions, your ticket sales page and waiting for those sales and guests that just don’t seem to come. It feels embarrassing, exhausting, and a waste of time and money.
I get it. Believe me, it happened to me once. I had to cancel an event because it didn’t sell. It did hurt, but you know what, shake it off (a la Taylor Swift style) and try again!
Second time around, my event sold out! Yep, full room.
The thing is, in business you can’t let one failure define who you are or what you do. You need to learn from your mistakes, ask for feedback, and do it again, differently!
If you would like to run workshops, retreats or other business events but don’t know how to get your audience to your FAB event, here’s a list of 15 ways you can fill out your event using online marketing PLUS 15 websites you can list your event.
Before you dive right in, grab my Event Planner, Check Lists and Templates here. These will help make your event planning a breeze.
15 Ways to promote your event online
PLUS 15 websites to list your event.
Sounds obvious, but boy oh boy, you'd be surprised!
Even if you are selling tickets on another platform, such as Eventbrite, you should display your event's promotion on your website, not only on a page dedicated to your event but on the home page and everywhere you can.
Everyone who lands on your website, client or not, will find out about your event.
What about writing a few blog posts on topics related to the content you will present at your event and place links to your event sales page throughout your blog post?
This will give you two benefits: 1- Everyone reading your blog will find out about your event, and 2- if the content is related, the blog post itself will entice them to buy tickets.
If you have trouble thinking about topics to blog about and planning your content in advance, grab my Ultimate Content Planner here. I swear by this planner, it will change the way you create content forever.
3- Social media business pages
You can and should promote your event several times through social media on your business pages: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin are all great places to promote your event.
It all depends on your target audience and which social channels you use. You don’t need to sign up to another social channel just to promote your event, and you shouldn’t. Just make sure to keep reminding people about it from time to time.
Use different graphics, different copy, different angles, different perks and hooks. Don't just repeat the same thing over and over like a parrot.
4- Facebook Event Page
If you use Facebook (most businesses do), make sure you create an event on your Facebook business page. This is a great way to promote your event because Facebook alerts people to events “near them” and also events attended by their friends and people they know.
So whenever someone click on either “interested” or “going”, all of their friends receive a notification about it, which helps spread the word for you.
5- Social media personal profile
Why not promoting your event through your personal profile?
Even if you keep your profile pretty private, some of your friends and family may know someone who could benefit from your event.
Ask them to share your event on their own profiles too, to help you spread the word. So all of their private network will get to know about your event.
This has helped me. I friend of mine recommended my event to a friend of hers who was starting a business, and voila! She attended my event.
6- Facebook groups
Most Facebook groups allow you to promote your offers once a week. Make the most of it and promote your event.
If you also have the chance to promote your blog posts on another thread, remember to promote those blog posts where you placed links to your event. You might get the chance to promote it twice a week in the same group.
7- Email list
Have you heard that one: “the money is in the list”? That’s because it is.
While you shouldn’t “sell sell sell” to your email list, it’s more than ok to promote your offers every now and then.
Plan in advance and start with those blog posts on topics related to your event content to raise interest. Build momentum before you announce the event. You can even say you have an exciting announcement to make soon.
You can also offer special bonuses to your email subscribers, as a reward for sticking with you. It will make them feel special and encourage them to attend.
For example: you can offer a “bring a friend for free”, or 50% off the second ticket, or yet, a bonus, such as a free book or free online course to complement the live event.
8- Facebook advertising
If you are aiming for big numbers and a new audience, paid Facebook advertising can be highly effective to sell event tickets.
The advantage of Facebook advertising is its sophisticated targeting and retargeting capabilities. You need to be very clear on who your audience is, where they hang out, and which message resonates with them.
Remember that most people will need to see your ads several times before they buy. That’s why “retargeting” is so important.
Scarcity combined with a pricing strategy also works well when promoting events.
For example: You can have different ticket prices, such as early bird, regular and VIP, and put a time limit. There is something interesting about the human brain - when we know we will miss out on something, that’s when we are most likely to act on it.
If you don't know how to run Facebook ads effectively, don't worry, I can help you with that. Just reach out.
9- Google advertising
The BIG advantage of Google advertising is that it will show your ads only to those looking for what you are offering.
It’s really beneficial because people who find your ad will be actively searching for your offer (in this case, your event), and therefore are most likely to buy. It also reduces your ad cost, because you pay per click.
Make sure your ad is extremely clear, so only people who are truly interested in an event like yours will click. If your ad isn't very clear you will waste a lot of money on unwanted clicks.
10- Ask your event's venue.
If you are running an event at a third party venue, ask them if they can promote your event on their social media channels, website, emails, and even at the premises through posters or flyers.
The Cowork Collective, where I held my event, promoted my event on their social media and on their website too.
11- Online articles
Do you ever write articles or guest blog posts? If you do, you can use the same strategy that you would apply to your own blog. Just check with the website publishing your articles if they allow you to include links to your event or links to your own blog.
By doing this, you will attract a possibly bigger audience to your own blog and therefore, to your event.
If you don't know what to write about, grab my Ultimate Content Planner here.
12- Ask your sponsors and speakers
As mentioned in my last blog “How to run a memorable business event”, ask your sponsors to promote your event on their social media channels, emails, website, and everywhere they can.
On the same token, if you are bringing speakers, presenters or/and MC, ask them to promote your event to their audience as well. Be specific. Tell them what you would like them to do, and preferably provide them with a blurb, links and graphics.
You want to make it as easy as possible for them to promote your event for you, so they do.
This is a fabulous strategy, because you are able to tap into other people’s audiences for free, with the bonus of having their endorsement.
13- Your Ticket Sales Platform
Don't just write some dot points and a blurb. Make sure your copy is relevant, appealing and speaks to your audience. Don't leave anything out. Mention what they will take away from it, FAQs, testimonials, any bonuses, speakers’ bios and credentials (if you have speakers), sponsors, and anything that will entice your audience to buy tickets.
Also include photos of previous events if you have. Otherwise use a photo that resembles your event.
Include a professional and interesting organisers' bio. People will want to know who you are and why they should go to your event.
14- Online advertising on targeted publications
I tend to leave paid advertising as my last resource. But, the problem is, that most people buy tickets closer to the date, or when the early-bird tickets are about to expire, or even later, when you are about to close your sales cart.
If you believe you can benefit from a particular online publication in your industry, place some ads on it. Make sure you check your analytics to see if you are getting clicks from that publication. At least, you will know if it’s worth advertising again in the future.
15- Event Listing websites
Last, but not least, there are a number of event listing websites that can help you reach a wider audience. Some are free, some are not, and some have both a free option and a paid one.
Not all of these websites will be suitable to your event in particular. They all have different audiences and serve different purposes. But it’s well worth having a look at some of them and consider what’s right for you and for your event.
All of the names below are linked to their website, so feel free to click through.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have organised events with limited success in the past, don’t let that discourage you. Try different strategies and learn from past mistakes.
Only when we step outside our comfort zone and do things differently, we are able to see the possibilities and grow.
I would love to hear about your events and learn what has worked well for you. Feel free to leave a comment or question below, or email me at [email protected]
I would love if you could help me organise my next event. Would you be so kind? Just click here to answer a quick 1 min survey, it won't take longer than a minute. Promise!
Oh, and if you missed it... you can download my Event Planner and Templates for free here.