Event promotion is critical to making sure people know about and attend your event. Whether you’re promoting a corporate event or a social one, this is the first “official” exposure your guests have to your function.
With that in mind, your event promotion strategy is key to the ultimate success or failure – you could put on the best event, but if no one is there to experience it was it really “the best event?” Below are a few questions to ask yourself while thinking through your event promotion strategy.
Paper or digital…or both?
Although there’s an additional cost involved in sending physical invitations, some events require that VIP treatment or customized gift with an invite. Or is it more important to provide links and videos and graphics? Will you want to send a simple print invite with a link for more detailed information (speakers, post-party details, etc.)?
What are you promoting?
Your event, obviously, but what’s it for? Every party has a purpose, so you need to identify the purpose. Are you celebrating an occasion? Honoring an individual? Unveiling a new product? Providing educational programming? Be sure your event promotion is consistent with your event’s purpose (would you send out a parchment scroll to invite people to a traditional investor’s meeting or would a digital notice suffice?)
Do you have a call to action?
How are you going to entice your guests to attend? Saying “come to my event” is a little different than “get an exclusive first look at this new product followed by Q&A with it’s creator.” Your call to action should be emotional and poignant.
What should your guests expect?
Tell them what they can expect from attending…or in some cases don’t! Sometimes an air of mystery can prove useful – creating excitement for your invitees. But don’t be so illusive that no one knows what they’re invited to…or when or where! If mystery isn’t the right approach, be clear and concise about time of day, what’s going to happen, but don’t tell so much that they don’t feel they need to go. Create excitement around the event, but keep a few surprises for the event itself.
Who should be there?
For social events, make sure no one is left out (see Guest List 101), but that you don’t invite you or the honoree have ever known in life! For launch parties, you’ll want key media and influencers who can spread the word and create a buzz. At board meeting, you need a quorum of voting members so you can actually accomplish something. Concert attendees would be the general public and fans.
What is your event promotion timeline?
The event date and number of people you need to attend will dictate your timeline for promoting it. If you need thousands of attendees, chances are you’ll want to start creating a buzz at least 6-8 months before, while a baby shower announcement for 30 should be sent 4-6 weeks prior.
And remember to factor in production time for any printed invitations or booklets, as well as mailing time and event reminders or “teasers” as new information is added.
Event promotion is always key to its success, no matter what sort of function your planning. So think strategically and plan accordingly!