It’s the time of year that’s heating up for events. Good weather means everything from festivals to car shows and everything in between. HenkinSchultz has done a lot of event marketing through the years. If you’re the one in charge of promoting an upcoming event, here are some things to keep in mind.
Brand it for the Long Term
Whether you’re Hot Harley Nights, Quarry Days, JazzFest or PeachFest, it’s good to have a logo. Consistency is key to promoting a successful event because volunteers and leadership change from year to year.
Having a good logo, identified font and design template helps you in a number of ways. First, it improves recognition from year to year. In the summer months, there’s lots going on and you need to stand out among the choices.
Secondly, it helps those who promote the event in the future. The logistics of an event can be a real time drain. When your general logo and design materials are in place, that’s one less thing to worry about.
Organize a Street Team
A street team can consist of regular volunteers, staffers, or just people passionate about your event. They should act as ambassadors for your event in the months leading up to it. Their word of mouth is essential to event marketing.
Use your street team to hang posters, hand out flyers, post social media, write blog posts and spread the word at work. Enthusiasm is contagious. Make sure the people promoting your event are energetic and excited.
Of course, they should be branded too. T-shirts are always a great option. Rubber wristbands are inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk. Car decals and vehicle signage work too.
When Make-A-Wish and J&L’s Hot Harley Nights wanted to promote their 2018 event, HS wrapped an entire trailer. Their team parked it at various high traffic locations leading up to the fundraiser. It was a drivable billboard for potential customers and event attendees.
Don’t Forget Public Relations and News Outlets
Morning news shows, radio appearances and press announcements are all great ways to spread the word and spread your marketing budget.
With any public relations effort, remember there must be something in it for the news or media outlet. They are under no obligation to promote your event, but are often receptive when tied to a cause.
Bring something unique to the table. If it’s a music festival, arrange for a singer to make a TV or radio appearance. If it’s a food festival, demonstrate a favorite recipe. Customize who you pitch by the type of event. And if you have a charity tied, get them involved in sharing how much you’ve helped their organization.
But you can’t rely just on news media coverage. Traditional media is always valuable too. Use billboards, direct mail, newspaper ads and magazines to support your message. Depending on the timing and charitable nature of your event, there may be substantial discounts or partial trade opportunities.
Most of all you want to make your event is cool and sharable. When you ask others to share their experience, photos and reviews, you are spreading the word, building hashtags and creating buzz. A good social media presence not only extends your visibility, it builds good will.
Digital is a Great Way to Stretch a Budget
In addition to building a social media presence, there are so many opportunities out there with digital media. Here’s just a few ways to make the most of your social media and digital presence.
- Make your very own Snapchat filter
- Build an event page on Facebook
- Stream your event live on Facebook Live
- Develop a Twitter hashtag
- Keep your mailing list up-to-date
- Boost your posts
- Build a landing page totally dedicated to your event
The tools available are changing every day. HenkinSchultz can help you navigate that fact. Our digital team is constantly researching and consuming new technologies and features.
No matter the technology, make sure you have something to say that is engaging. It’s boring to just keep reminding people an event is coming up. Do early bird discounts, host contests, drip out information and ask for feedback.
Be sure to do the same with your target after the event. Ask them “Who would you like to see next year?” “What was your favorite part?” “Let us know if you’re coming again next year.” These are great ways to use digital to build relationships – and mini little brand ambassadors.
Signs, Displays and Banners
Staging and having good signage is important on the day of the event too. For the GreatLIFE Challenge – LPGA Symetra Tour, we staged numerous event banners and displays. Some of them were directional. Others were just to brand the tournament and make an impression. Signs, displays and banners help everything from parking to concessions to the visual impressiveness of the event itself.
When all the banners and signs are taken down and the party is over, be sure to always say thank you. Attendees, volunteers and donors like to hear that you appreciate their support. You want them to have fun, know you are thankful and appreciate their talent and time.