The internet has made a lot of things in business a heck of a lot easier, not least of all marketing and arranging corporate events. Even with all the advantages that the internet has bought, there are some occasions where you just can’t beat the personal touch that is only really achievable when using offline methods to promote an event.
Promoting your event in the right way is crucial in order to attract the right crowd in the right numbers and to deliver on expectations. Below are just some of the ways that you can take advantage of some tried and tested offline promotional ideas which are often overlooked in the modern internet-heavy business environment.
With e-mail so ubiquitous and instantaneous, many of us only use the traditional postal service for corresponding with banks and similar institutions, and for receiving official communications. However, there are certain things that you can accomplish when using snail mail that are harder to replicate in an e-mail.
For example, a well-designed flyer or invitation to your event can be sent over e-mail but it doesn’t have nearly the same impact as opening and holding an actual printed version. Printing allows you to take advantage of senses other than just sight, you can print your promotional material on any material you choose and can consequently give your flyers and invitations a more tactile appeal.
The more localized your event is, the more effective physical post will be. You could even choose to drop flyers through letterboxes in person to give your event a much more personalized and friendly feel.
Finally, unlike an e-mail, an actual letter can be placed inside an envelope and this offers another opportunity to make your promotion stand out.
Networking is an important part of the life of any entrepreneur. Put simply, networking is about meeting new people and expanding your contacts list. It is commonly done via social media these days, and there are now services such as Linkedin that are designed to put professionals from a variety of different fields in contact with one another.
As a consequence of the impersonal nature of online communications, in-person networking is becoming something of a lost art but it is a skill that is well worth honing. It is much more effective to promote an event in person; an in-person invitation is much more memorable than yet another e-mail.
Making invitations in person also allows you to make them more personal, the people you ask to attend will actually feel like they are being personally asked rather than just being added to a list of other names.
Gift cards are an excellent way of bringing in some new customers who otherwise might not have ever come to your business. Loading up some gift cards with $20-50 and giving them away at your event is an excellent investment, remember that not all the gift cards will be redeemed and where this is the case your business has lost nothing. For those that do use their gift cards it will make them aware of your business and they will at least look through what you have to offer. Investing in custom gift card holders will make them stand out even more. These holders can be personalized with custom designs for those wanting to reinforce their brand in a stylish manner and start as low as 17¢.
A great way of drawing more people to an event, and potentially scoring yourself some new customers and clients, is to volunteer to speak at a local event. You can choose any event which is relevant to your business and the event that your business is planning to put on.
Speaking in front of an audience allows you to act as the name and face of your company; you will go from being just another business, to being a member of the local community who is also a businessperson, this is very effective for drawing people to your event.
Industry related events are a great way of reaching other professionals who work in your field but are less likely to attract customers, although there may well be some overlap between the two groups. Instead you should look for events which are more likely to be attended by your target demographic.
Flyers and Leaflets
As well as directly mailing printed promotional materials like flyers and leaflets, you should also keep in mind the other ways in which you can use them to promote your event. Simply handing them out in the street can be effective and costs very little to do, it is more efficient though to hand them out at locations and events that are likely to be attended by the kind of people you are hoping to attract to your event.
It is also not enough to simply print out some bits of paper with the basic information about your event on, your printed adverts will only be as effective as the thought that you put in to them beforehand. Well designed and eye-catching flyers are more likely to be read and retained by those you hand them out to.
If you’re working with a tight budget then be aware that the conversion rate achieved by handing out flyers to passers-by is very low, you can increase your conversion rate, and thus get more for your money, by handing your items out at places where your target audience will be.
Place Adverts in Print Publications
Another great way of promoting an event that is often overlooked by those more used to online marketing methods is advertising in a print publication, be it a newspaper or a magazine. Print publications offer an advantage in that they often have largely predictable readership demographics, this makes it easier to select a publication to advertise in which will appeal to the audience that you are trying to reach.
Another advantage of this form of advertising is that you can tailor your advert to your budget, the available advertising space within publications ranges from a small spot in the advertising section, to a full-page advertisement.
Offering even a very modest free giveaway for attendance at your event is a great way of getting more people through the door. The more creative you are with this concept the more effective it will be.
Raffles are always a popular way of promoting an event, they save money because you only need to buy a small number of prizes rather than giving each guest one individually. By adding a unique number to every ticket to your event you can make entry in to the raffle an automatic bonus of attending.
As well as physical items, you could also give away a discount or even the opportunity to win some free products.
Flyers can be an effective way of informing people about an event, the problem is that most of us barely give flyers a second look before we throw them away. A good way of avoiding this happening is to print information about your company or event on to an item that is of practical use to the holder.
Even if it is just a fridge magnet or a pen, the fact that they are receiving a free item will deter people from chucking it away at the first opportunity. Such items are more likely to be retained even after the event has passed, this means that your company name will stick in their mind as long as they keep the item.
Promoting events offline is every bit as important as online advertising, unfortunately many modern businesses neglect or completely overlook the opportunities it presents.