No matter how convenient the Internet is, face-to-face interactions are still the best way to build trust, create a personal presence behind your brand and gain a loyal following. Maybe that’s why a recent study from Inc. discovered that a whopping 42% of small business owners planned to budget for events in 2015.
Today, business owners can get even more value out of their events by adding social media and other online promotional tools into the mix. When it’s time to take social marketing into the real world, here are 7 tips that will get people RSVPing “Yes”.
Tip #1 – Create an Email Marketing Campaign for the Event
It’s time to utilize your contact list! As soon as you have the venue and date locked down, create an email marketing campaign that will let your contacts know all about the event. The 4 key factors to focus on are:
• An interesting subject line that will convince people to open the email.
• Visually interesting design and layout.
• Making it easy for contacts to share the event details with others.
• Sending a reminder email a week before the event.
Tip #2 – Get Partners to Promote for You
Cross promotion is a fantastic way to increase your customer base and build brand awareness while getting more people to attend your event. Partner up with other businesses to handle the entertainment, catering, etc., and share your marketing materials with them so they can help spread the word. It’s also a great idea to line up a special guest or speaker that can attract a lot of attention and generate buzz.
Tip #3 – Integrate Social Media at Every Stage
When done right, social media can help promote your event before, during and after it occurs. This is a very effective way of engaging with guests and making them a part of the promotion process. Use social media to announce the event, share details about the event and special guests, and give attendees a way to interact before the event and RSVP.
For the best results, take the time to plot out a social media marketing campaign specifically for the event. Reach out to all of your top social media influencers to get them onboard. And also interact with people through social media leading up to the event.
Tip #4 – Create Social Event Signs
You can create custom signs online to use during the event. This will help turn your venue into a temporary billboard for your business. Before designing decide if you want to make your own sign specifically for this event or make something generic that can be used at other locales.
Tip #5 – Send VIPs a Special Invite
If there are particular people that you want to wine and dine at your event you’ll need to get their attention with a special VIP invite. Send custom invitations along with a creative gift to woo them well in advance so they’ll work your event into their busy schedule. Try sending them one of these custom items as your creative gift!
Tip #6 – Blend Online Marketing Into Offline Materials
Bring the web to the streets with your event marketing materials. Create custom social media accounts, Tumblr pages, and even an event website– then find ways to weave them into your offline marketing materials. Add QR codes, include hashtags, give away promotional materials with your Twitter handle – really think outside of the box to get people engaged offline and online simultaneously.
Tip #7 – Swag
Let’s be honest. People love getting free stuff. The promise of a swag bag is often all you need to get people through the door. Sending guests home with a small reminder of the event will also keep your business at the forefront of their mind long after the experience has ended.