As a little girl, I was an avid pageant competitor. Not quite the Jon Benet Ramsey type, but I did love dressing up in pretty dresses, dancing in the talent competitions and getting to travel.
Part of the pageant competition included the opportunity to “win” a hostess award for selling the most advertisements for the pageant program book. When I first started competing my mom and I would work feverishly asking families, friends, and local businesses to “purchase” an ad for the program book as a way to sponsor me in the competition. Well eventually we stopped. We stopped because it seemed that no matter how many ads we sold there was always someone else who sold ridiculously more. We’re talking they would raise 10s of thousands of dollars in ads for the competition. At the time, I could never figure out how they did that. Until now...
I realized that the girls who won spent weeks and months along with their families telling everyone they knew and then some about their endeavor. They leveraged their networks to reach people they didn’t know to share with them their goal and opportunity. They understood a marketing principal that my mom and I didn’t yet.
Selling is a numbers game. And selling out an event is no different.
With the speed of social media, the bombardment of emails to our inboxes, and the clutter of the online marketplace, breaking through the noise so that your event marketing message reaches the right people is primarily about strategy and planning. But it is also about taking every opportunity to spread the word about your event or workshop knowing that the more people who know about your event, the more chances you have to nurture them and convince them to buy.
Here are 47 ways to promote your workshop:
get in their inbox
- Send an email newsletter. I know you’re probably saying, Duh?! But as with anything, you have to have a strategy behind it.
- Link to your event in your email signature. Such prime real estate that gets overlooked! You wouldn’t believe how much traffic I drove to my old Easy shop with this little tactic. Think about how many emails you send in a day?
tried and true: content marketing
- Blog. Craft a series of blog post that promotes, persuades, and pre-sells your event.
- Use Social Media. Update your a editorial calendar to account for a big push for your event. Don't stop posting other types of updates just be sure to continuously talk about, around, and to your event.
go traditional: snail mail
- Send a post card or paper invitation. Seriously, who doesn’t like getting actual mail that isn’t a bill. It’s a true standout!
- Send a letter. My friend, Celeste, loves letters, particularly handwritten. And she will respond! Think about the message this sends to someone on your prospective VIP list.
pay for advertising
- Run a Facebook ad. While a campaign works best, setting up a few ads that lead to your landing page could work wonders!.
- Run an ad on LinkedIn. I don’t know much about these, and I’m don’t think they are as popular as FB Ads, but with the right messaging and target audience these could be effective.
- Place an ad in an e-zine or on a blog. Find blogs or online mags that have similar markets to your target audience and place a sidebar or banner ad on their website. Depending on the site, this could get tons more eyeballs on your event.
video it up
- Record a video and post it to YouTube or Vimeo. Video on a landing page has an 80% higher conversion rate. It increases your know, like, trust factor.
- Scope about your event. Broadcast on Periscope about your event topic and then mention your event at the end. Direct folks to your event page to learn more or register.
- Go live on Facebook. Essentially the same as Periscope, but way better. You can go live from your business page and share inside groups.
- Use Snapchat to create behind the scenes snaps to drive engagement.
- Record an Instagram story. I love that IG is now allowing snippets you can share for 24 hours only, so repetition and variety is necessary.
educate + add value
- Host a webinar. Who doesn’t love a good webinar that is helpful. You can further establish your authority as a thought leader and offer valuable information to your ideal attendee.
- Host a tele-seminar. Very similar to the webinar, except easier to execute. Hop on the phone. No slides. No graphics.
- Host a telesummit. If you’re inviting guest speakers to your event, this is an amazing way to generate excitement. Interview the speakers beforehand to generate buzz.
strategize your social media
- Create a Facebook event. I know this may seem antiquated, but it’s easy to setup up and link to your business page and or group. Plus, it’s another opportunity for folks to find you.
- Tweet about your event. Need I say more? Twitter friendly headlines coupled with short links, and you’re on your way!
- Post on Facebook. Capitalize on both your personal and business networks when appropriate.
- Post in LinkedIn groups. As long as you follow the rules, these groups are a great way to reach targeted audiences.
- Post in Facebook groups. Ditto LinkedIn groups.
- Post on Pinterest. Pinterest has been known to drive an exponential amount of traffic back to websites. Use this visual platform with branded graphics to share your event page.
- Post on Instagram. I heart IG! The more appealing the photo, more interest and engagement. But make sure to offer value via teaching or direct engagement.
- Post on Google +. I hear many people are having great success here. Check it out.
- Create an event on Google+. Similar to Facebook events. Just another way to share your message.
- Create a hashtag. Then share it everywhere!
- Create a #shareworthy graphic to post. The power of visuals for your marketing cannot be stressed enough. Canva is your friend if you aren’t a designer. (Don’t feel bad. As a child my coloring page wasn’t allowed on the wall because I couldn’t color in the same direction. #scarredforlife)
- Create a Facebook group for your event audience. Building a community around your event creates greater buzz and longevity for relationships.
- List your event on online calendars. Most times this is an overlooked, underutilized, and often FREE resource. Almost every town has one.
- Send a press release. Put on your PR hat. Send local reporters a media alert about your event and business inviting them to cover the event.
- Submit an article to your local newspaper. A related editorial or human relations piece can really set you apart from the competition and establish you as an authority in your field.
- Network. This is still a productive way to do community marketing. If you’re still building your online following, getting to meet and talk to others face to face is still the best. What a novel thought?!
- Post a fliers. Do your people shop at particular stores? Find out if they have a community events board.
- Use past attendees to spread the word. Referrals and word of mouth marketing are some of the best social proof around.
- Get on the telephone. Yes, people do still respond best to personal requests. If you’ve got clients, family and friends, hop on the phone and let them know what you’re up to.
- Create a Meet Up. People seek out opportunities to meet like-minded individuals. You’ll find conferences, workshops, networking events, etc. all posted on meetup.com.
- Hand out flyers. I know this may seem like a technique used for college frat or nightclub parties. But depending on your audience this really could help. My church does it often.
- Wear a T-Shirt or tote bag advertising your event. Why? Well, why not?
- Create a contest. Who doesn’t love a chance to win?! There are so many ways to do it. Partner with a similar company. Give away a ticket. Run a challenge. The list goes on.
- Create a scholarship. For someone who can’t afford a ticket, but can benefit greatly from your experience, offer the opportunity to win a scholarship to your event.
- Share testimonials. People are more likely to buy based on recommendation. Testimonials offer social proof that you’re the real deal.
- Throw in a promotional product. Branded tchotchkes can help market your event long after it has ended. Be sure it ties into your topic, theme and brand.
Use Other People’s Audiences
- Book podcast interviews. Share your expertise and get in front of someone else’s audience. Mention your event during the interview.
- Guest Teach or Interview on a Webinar. In addition to hosting your own webinars, you can guest appear on other people’s webinars. Similar to the podcast interview, share your best content and then mention your event.
- Write a guest blog related to your event. Research blogs in your niche and pitch a post idea around the time of your event launch.
- Speak at other live events. Very similar to the above ideas, except you are in the flesh, baby!
- Comment strategically on other blogs. You don’t want to SPAM or take over someone’s post, but thoughtful, helpful commenting is a way to get noticed. When you share your website link, send them to your event page.
And there you have it, 47 ways to promote your event that won't cost your a fortune or a second mortgage on your house.