To take your event to the next level, you need to attract more people. But that doesn’t just happen overnight; a few Facebook posts and tweets aren’t going to get you very far. Rather, it takes strategic marketing and new technology, like hosting virtual events throughout the year or using drone footage, to entice potential attendees and build brand trust.
Get creative and use these ideas to attract a wider audience to your next big event.
Get the newbies with discounts
If you want a larger, more diverse attendance each year, you need to attract newcomers. The best way to do that is with a discount. Why? Because of the Pleasure Principle, which states that people seek pleasure to avoid pain. In this case, the discount helps them avoid the pain of paying full price.
Also, discounts encourage urgency because customers don’t want to miss out. They fear they may not be able to get the same deal again. To make your discounts as effective as possible, keep the following tips in mind:
Choose the right discount amount: Instead of choosing a random amount for a ticket discount, stick with 10 to 20 percent off. In the 2016 recent survey, Great Coupon Deals: The Simple Secret, 57 percent of respondents said this was the best range for attracting customers while maintaining profit.
Choose a different type of discount: Instead of discounting the price of the ticket, give them something else. Allow all newcomers X amount of free drinks or a discounted stay at a nearby hotel that you’ve partnered with. Just a little something to sweeten the deal!
Distribute: It’s not enough to have a discount. Once created, it’s time to distribute it. Consider both paid and earned marketing options, like Facebook ads and Instagram sponsored posts in addition to email marketing blasts and regular social posting.
Use the right wording: When promoting your discount, use words like “one day only” or “last chance” to boost the sense of urgency.
Invest in drone footage
People want to know what their experience will be like at your event, and drone footage is a great way to capture that while making your brand look fresh:
“Drones lift the image of a brand or event, making it look cutting-edge, trendy and out in front. Helicopters come down to 200 feet at the lowest, drones fly at jib height—about 20 feet—and produce angles previously unavailable,” says Sam Stanton, president of RedButtonTV.
Luckily, drone photography and videography is getting more popular, making it easier for you hire someone to do the work for you, even if you’re on a budget. Use a website like Droners.io to get your event and needs in front of hundreds of drone pilots. With this particular site, you are matched with local pilots and can choose based on price, experience and portfolio.
You may also get a good deal with a photographer that you’ve worked with before, one who is new to drone filming. They need the experience, so they’ll charge less and the good rapport will be appreciated when event-day stress kicks in.
Branch out on social
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been mainstays in social media marketing for a long time, and now they’re adding new features that make it even easier for you to interact with potential event-goers in a more engaging and authentic manner.
I’m specifically talking about video and the introduction of Facebook Live and Instagram stories. Here are a few ways to use them to engage an audience of potential event attendees:
Go behind the scenes: What gets someone more excited about an event than a sneak peak into how awesome it will be? Use video to do tours of the space, introduce people who will be working there, and more.
Challenge your audience: Motivate people to attend your event with a challenge. For example, take video of a specific item, like a sculpture, and pose your challenge: “The first five people who spot this at the event get a free drink.”
Ask what they want: Give your potential attendees a chance to make decisions about the event. For example, ask: “Vote on your favorite band to play at the final cocktail party!” If you use Instagram Stories, you can add videos of each band immediately after your intro. Then, share those band videos on your page itself and ask people to vote by “liking” their favorites.
Build your subscriber list
Email marketing is a great way to reach a larger group of people year-after-year if you actively work to grow your subscriber list. Luckily, if you maintain a blog or have great content on your website, that’s easy to do. With people already coming to your site, your goal is simply to convert them. With the right tactics, you’ll be able to do that quickly and easily.
One of the most effective ways to drive subscribers is by using a tool like HelloBar. Choosing from a variety of styles and templates, you can create pop-ups that are automatically shown to everyone who visits your page.
For example, I used their email signup bar, which populates after five seconds and then sits at the top of the blog I manage. I drove 1,000 subscribers in a year with this.
The trick is to make the subscription enticing. A few ways to do that are:
- Give them something free for subscribing, like an e-book download or a discount on their event ticket. Whatever it is, make sure it’s valuable, or this trick won’t be effective.
- Test sign-ups with and without images.
- Test copy—short vs. long, testimonial vs. standard text, and so on. You want the copy to be compelling, and testing is the best way to find out what compels your audience most.
Host smaller virtual events throughout the year
If your event is expensive to attend, you may be missing out on potential attendees who don’t want to spend that much for something that’s still unfamiliar to them. To combat this, host smaller virtual events throughout the year, by using platforms like the chat-based app Brazen offers. Then, market and present it as separate from your main event.
Because these events are hosted virtually, you cut down on costs—no space, vendors or large numbers of staff needed. Indie Business Network also points out that these events help to build a community and grow your subscriber list. They give people a chance to get to know your brand. You gain their trust and prove your value, making it more likely that they’ll purchase a ticket when a live event comes around.
Attracting a wider audience to your events takes work. With many of these pieces in place, however, you can set it and forget it, reaping the benefits when it comes time to boost ticket sales.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last six years in marketing. She’s been featured on Forbes and has written for sites such as Lifehack, Inman, Manta, StartupNation and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn