Have you ever been to an event where practically nobody shows up? Kind of awkward isn’t it. You’re left in frustration as you glance at your watch or cell phone and wonder why you even bothered attending. It’s unfortunate how often this happens.
If you’re trying to promote a networking session, party, speaking event, class, or mixer of any variety, I’m going to assume that the more people that show up the better off you’ll be. Networking and learning from others tends to be more fun with a diverse group of people.
Traditional word of mouth and advertising can be helpful, but I’m inherently more fascinated with using time and cost effective strategies that are rooted online.
Time is crucial.
Give yourself as much time as humanely possible. Don’t try and make a huge push a week before your event takes place. A month out? Three months out? Great. Use time to your advantage and begin promoting right now. It’s never too early. I’ve been to annual conferences where promotion for the next years event is in full swing during the current years event.
Get the RSVP
It’s no secret that events that are promoted online with a method of putting in a RSVP tend to be more successful than events without a virtual RSVP. Think about it. If someone says yes online they are more likely to actually attend the event. The person has already internally committed to attending and he or she will plan accordingly. DO NOT post an event on your website/blog and be finished. Link back to an Eventbrite, Biznik, Plancast, or Meetup page and get the RSVP. Even if the event is free, it’s still a good idea to get the RSVP. This can not be stressed enough.
Create a Facebook event and invite those who live near the location. Please!!! Stop inviting your friends who do not live near the event and have a 0% chance of attending, especially if they don’t even live in the same state. It makes you look like an inconsiderate jerk. Seriously.
It’s not a bad idea to create a Facebook event, yet still create a way to RSVP off of Facebook. Options are good. Have a way to say yes on both Eventbrite or Facebook.
Don’t spam your followers, but make sure they’re aware of the date and location well in advance. Tweet about the event regularly and send direct messages to those who you think would really benefit by attending.
Create a short hashtag for your event. It’s fun. Twitter people like it. Even if you’re not a heavy Twitter user, others are and will want to use the hashtag. I personally find out about and attend many events just because a lot of people start using a hashtag. It’s free and easy to do.
One more Twitter idea
Have you considered making the event a Tweetup? A Tweetup is simply another way of naming an event and making it special for Twitter savvy people. There are those who will go to your event just because it’s a Tweetup. Networking events are commonplace, but Tweetups are special.
Email is your friend
Don’t underestimate it. If you have a list use it to your advantage. There is nothing wrong with emailing friends and business contacts about an event that is relevant. The key word is relevant. Don’t email me about your book club, because I won’t care and it’s not relevant to my needs. The person you email wants to know what’s in it for them. If you email me about a wine tasting I might ignore it. Email me about a wine tasting event for entrepreneurs and local business owners and you might catch my attention. Always consider your audience.
Some additional ideas to consider:
*Getting in touch with local bloggers. They might just write about your event.
*Give the event a title. Make it special
*Reach out to others via LinkedIn
*Find similar events to yours and reach out to attendees
*Post topics/questions/the agenda online beforehand