Marketing for Event Promotion
How to Advertise Smarter to Attract a Crowd to Your Event
If you’re like me, you’ve noticed there seems to be an event, fair, show or festival for just about everything these days. But if you’re promoting an event, you know this all too well.
Competition is fierce: The concert and events promotion industry is growing by 5.1% annually1, and event-goers may have varied interests, but they have only so much free time. They must choose whether to spend their Saturday at your food festival, a hot concert, the annual town fair, a pet expo, or a fun run.
For event promoters, venue owners and small business owners hosting or sponsoring events, success is all about that number — the number of attendees you attract and how much revenue your event generates, that is. But with more events than ever vying for attention, how can you make your event stand out?
Whether your ideal attendees are local residents, out-of-town visitors, families or nightlife-loving Millennials, you need a highly visual advertising campaign showing how memorable your event will be. Whether you need to bring 50,000 people to the county fair or just a few hundred to your small shop’s holiday bazaar, here are a few ways, including some pro tips, to ensure your event is the place to be.
1. TELEVISION ADVERTISING: GREAT BANG FOR YOUR (NOT-THAT-BIG) BUCK
No other medium has television’s ability to convey the sights, sounds and excitement of your event. No other medium reaches as many people, either — even Millennials spend 66% of all media time watching TV2. And primetime ads are within your reach: Did you know that airing a commercial on a cable network can cost as little as a tank of gas?
With the many options cable TV provides, you can find the perfect programming to attract your ideal audience based on demographics and location — even down to parts of a city. Promote a tattoo show with ads on Spike’s “Ink Master”; a barbecue cook-off on the Food Network’s “BBQ Blitz”; or a bridal show on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress!”
Pro tip: You can begin advertising early to build awareness, offering early-bird discount tickets to people who visit your website and enter a unique promo code. Up to 87% of consumers “second screen” by using another device while watching TV3, so TV ads are a great way to entice them to go online and get more information the moment your commercial airs.
Cox Media can produce TV spots that create an immediate emotional connection with viewers. For example, show competitors crossing the finish line in an explosion of color, plunging into a mud pit or clambering over obstacles at your themed fun run. Show audiences mouth-watering images of culinary delicacies — with a lively soundtrack and footage of happy attendees dancing — to advertise your Cajun festival.
Pro tip: If you promote or host an annual event, consider paying a professional to record footage of this year's event. The experts at Cox Media can help you use that video to advertise next year. You can even use it in your future PR and media outreach — TV stations love when you have footage for their local interest segments — as well as social media teasers and promotions.
2. ONLINE ADVERTISING: MAXIMIZE YOUR VIDEO INVESTMENT
Another way to maximize your investment in video is using it online. You can repurpose the footage for ads that play before other videos that consumers watch online, create a “teaser” trailer for your event website and post short clips on social media.
What’s especially great about online advertising — which includes display advertising on websites and “pre-roll” video advertising that plays before online videos — is how narrowly you can target your audience by demographics, lifestyle, location and online behavior. This helps you find and engage people who will be most interested in your event and, ultimately, more likely to attend it. Are you promoting a travel expo? Target people who search keywords like "luxury vacation,” “cheap hotels” or “vacation with kids,” or research airfares online or visit travel sites. These prospects will see your ads as they surf the web — even on unrelated sites.
3. MOBILE ADVERTISING: LURE AUDIENCES ON THE GO
If you want to boost ticket sales, mobile advertising is also a great advertising option. The average U.S. adult spends more than four hours a day using a mobile device4. For example, if the ticket sales for your home expo are lower than expected, advertise discounted tickets using “geo-fencing” to limit your mobile ads geographically so they display only to homeowners near your venue. Make mobile purchasing easy and include a "buy now" button in your mobile ads and social media posts so prospects can act immediately.
Pro tip: You can even “geo-conquest,” which means advertising to mobile users at competitor locations. Promoting a beer festival next month? Advertise to people who visit local breweries or another beer festival prior to yours. Want to promote your semi-annual parking-lot sale at your business? Advertise to shoppers at your competitors’ locations the weekend before.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING: BUILD BUZZ WHERE PEOPLE SPEND TIME
No event promotion strategy is complete without social media. Use the social media platforms your target audience favors, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, to build buzz and increase attendance.
Suppose you’re planning a music festival. Spark interest several months out by posting teasers — professional videos from the prior year, date and on-sale announcements, and hints about your top acts. Gradually share more details (and more frequent posts) as the event date draws closer — curious fans will follow you, eager to learn more. As viewers “like” and share your posts, they become instant promoters, driving others to your event ticketing page and helping you boost sales.
Build your social community and amplify your reach using social media advertising
1IBISWorld, Concert & Event Promotion in the U.S.: Market Research Report, March 2017.
2Nielsen, “Millennials on Millennials: A Look at Viewing Behavior, Distraction and Social Media Stars,” March 2, 2017.
3Accenture, “Digital Video and the Connected Consumer,” 2015.
4eMarketer, “Top 5 Stats to Know About U.S. Mobile Usage,” April 2016.