When organizing a public event, it is essential to create the right kind of buzz to ensure that it will be well-attended and a complete success. Large multinational companies can afford to spend millions on marketing campaigns to generate interest and draw in the crowds. They’ve used every strategy in the book from enormous billboards plastered across cities or even custom-made public art installations. However, when it comes to social media and the internet, what you get is a level playing field. Every company large or small can compete on equal terms as long as they use the right kinds of tricks to draw traffic.
A dedicated website for event promotion is old news. If you are organizing a public event and are desperately in need of ideas to come up with something new and exciting, here are some successful and innovative proven strategies to inspire you.
Keep events exclusive
Tickets or entry passes may be free but you should get people to fight over them to generate a crackling buzz. All you need to do is create a landing page which may be no more than a dedicated Facebook page. Install a subscription and release teasers in installments to get visitors talking about it and maintaining a constant stream of traffic. Set up a countdown to the actual event and over the days leading up to it, release clips, promo codes or freebies. Make sure subscribers receive these updates through newsletters or social media notifications. Finally, open registrations and watch as visitors fall over themselves to grab the limited numbers of entry passes.
Build some suspense
Contrary to what you might think, a high-octane promotional blitz is not the only way to draw crowds to your event. In fact, some very successful events are powered solely by word of mouth. Of course, their content is top notch and exciting in and of itself. If you are confident that the experience you are offering is enticing enough, try the strategy that’s been so successfully used by Secret Cinema. Secret Cinema conducts immersive one-of-a-kind film screenings at exciting secret locations at regular intervals. When you buy a ticket, all you are told is where to show up and what to wear. It’s all terribly exciting! Tickets are pricey but the extreme secrecy is enough to incite all the curiosity people need to keep coming back and passing on the word to others.
When promoting a product or a service, discounts are a great way to draw customer interest. Take this a step further by combining it with event promotions. Put in place a referral program. For instance, every attendee who registers gets a unique code which they can pass on to their friends. Every time you refer a friend and they register, you get discounts or prizes. Of course, these can only be used at the actual event!
On your event page, set up an exciting treasure hunt. Announce it in advance and explain the rules. Entice visitors with the offer of freebies like discount codes. Get them to participate actively. The final clue is a code that can be entered to win a free pass. This will intensify interest. Get affiliates to carry buttons or banners advertising your treasure hunt and event. This should help to generate a continuous and sustained stream of traffic during that critical period of time. It offers the ideal opportunity for sharing other event-related content or promotional material. Throughout your site scatter “clues” or “codes” to be solved to move on to the the next stage. If you have a mobile app, you could create a variation on this theme by releasing an augmented reality treasure hunt like Pokemon Go, where customers look for hidden clues in select locations in their cities.
Unplan the event
Here’s an interesting idea: Let the attendees set their own agenda, like an Unconference. This is a conference with no pre-decided agenda. Participants communicate with one another on a dedicated forum weeks in advance. They pitch ideas for conference themes and discuss them among themselves. The organizers have a loosely structured plan in place, but the actual content and the particulars are determined by the participants themselves. What could possibly be more exciting?
Of course, online promotions are only part of a bigger whole. They are certainly crucial but they need to be supported by a holistic campaign. Use a platform like Brazen to conduct your chat-based event. Integrate marketing services like Hashtag17 to help you with creating promotional banners and illustrations, and even managing your social media accounts.
Hopefully, this post has helped set the cogs of your mind into motion so that you can come up with some great ideas on how to use the internet and social media to the best advantage. Before you can leverage these tips, you will need to come up with a master plan for the overall campaign. This curated post will show you some interesting and successful campaigns from the past that can offer a template for you to model yours upon.
Meenakshi Venugopal is a guest blogger and the Co-Founder of Hashtag17, a company that provides online integrated marketing solutions covering web development and designing, logo conceptualization, social media management and more.