This is as much a rant as it is tips to help you promote your event on-line in Niagara. Marketing basics and useful sites to list your event.
So many of you know, we operate a community website called Connecting Niagara. The aim is to bring people, business and the community together. We do this through local articles, information, news and in particular, we put together a large events calendar to keep Niagara residents informed of all that is happening on a day to day basis.
We just can't believe how many people try advertising their event with little or no information. We leave out so many events in our calendar because there just isn't enough information to promote the event. Basic things like where the event takes place, the time and how to get more information. Some event organizers do not even put a description - simply a title, like Craft Show or Live Band. Given the number of events that take place, what makes these organizers think, their event will even get noticed, let alone entice someone to attend? WOW!
For this reason, we've put together 8 tips to help event organizers successfully market their local events online (and elsewhere).
Basically it boils down to the 5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why
Pretty basic marketing principles - don't you think?Create a Catchy Title for Your Event
If you run events often, it becomes difficult to create a catchy title each time, especially if the events are similar in nature. However, there will always be something that will pique people's interest. For example, if you are a local bar promoting live music on Friday night - the title Live Music doesn't cut it! Try instead Name of Band Live at Name of Bar. This way you are covering the what and part of the where.
Next up Where and When. How many times have you looked at an event listing and can't find the location of the event because it is not listed, or the location is listed by name only, but no address? Do you track it down, go on a search to learn more, or dismiss it? If it is important to you, you will search it out - if not, you move on!
Where: Name of the location and street address. Do not assume everyone knows where you are. Many may not know you exist, let alone your address....
When: Always include the date (Wednesday, December 6, 2017), including the day of the week and the year. The year is important especially when advertising online, as once it is out there, it is out there forever... Next be sure to include the start and end time... Many people want to know how long your event is so they know whether they can fit it into their plans. People are busy. Make it easy for them.
Your event description should address Who and Why. Write a detailed description of your event outlining who should attend and why they would want to attend. Write the description to entice your audience into believing this is a must attend event giving them play by play details of the event, special features, what they will learn, how they will benefit or just how much fun they will have. Make your event stand out against all the others competing for the same audience and time in busy lives. And if there is a fee or registration required, provide the amount and the link...
We can't count how many events we've run across events with no description at all, or something as simple as Join us! WOW, that's really going to get us to attend. What about you?
Another pet peeve we have is a lack of contact information - just in case we want to learn more. Always, put a phone number, email address and list the website url specific to the event if possible. People have questions, they want to know they can get the answers. People like to visit websites to learn more about the event organizer, see what other information they have to offer. We are in a research era. Consumers do their homework - make sure they can.
Create an AWESOME Image
Again, people are busy. We all know an image is worth 1000 words. So create an awesome image / poster for your event that shows what your event has to offer at a glance. If your event is for a craft show - show the crafts; a band, show the band. Also include where, when and a website at minimum. We get that if your boosting your events on facebook, you are limited to the 20% text rule - create two images if needed.
So now how do you promote your event online and elsewhere?
We're assuming you're using social media to help promote your event, but do remember not everyone uses social media. Know your audience and where you will best reach them. Social media never hurts, but it shouldn't be the only place you advertise your event.
Create posters for your location and possibly have friends and associates distribute for you.
Create invitations and physically mail them and/or use email marketing to send an invite to your subscribers. If you have created an event on facebook, use the invite friends feature.
Enlist the help of your sponsors, the venue, the entertainment to help spread the word. Did you know, many event organizers make it mandatory for their entertainment/speakers to help promote via social media through shares, likes, comments, etc.? It is a clause in the contract.
Share the event through your social media channels daily. Change up the time and the message, but keep promoting. If you created an event on your business page, be sure to share it personally as well. Add updates to the facebook event - give people reasons to check out the event and gain their interest.
IMPORTANT: And when someone else shares or mentions your event - be sure to thank them for doing so and comment back to open the dialogue and reach even more people...
And finally, list your event in as many places as possible. Yes, this is time consuming, but usually worth it in the end. There are numerous avenues open to you for promoting your event free of charge. USE them. Don't wait for these event listing groups to find your event and hope they put it in. Hope doesn't cut it.
HINT: On Connecting Niagara, if you submit your own event to our event calendar, we give you a little more promotion because you took the time to make sure we are aware of it... If we track it down, you simply get added to the calendar, nothing more...
Niagara Event Listings
And to save you some time: here is a list of sites in Niagara you can list your events (that we know of. If we missed anyone, add your site to the comments).. Check with each site to determine their criteria - some are specific as to the type of event they will promote.
- Connecting Niagara: Free to list any event. Paid options are available as well starting at $10/month and up.
- MyNiagara Online: You can email My Niagara Online to be included in one of their local pages: MyWelland, MyPelham, MyNOTL.
- Falling for Niagara: This site will often post about local events particularly if they are food and wine related.
- Niagara This Week:
- Local Newspaper Event Listings: Welland Tribune, Niagara Falls Review, St. Catharines Standard
- Chamber of Commerce: If you are a member of a local Chamber, they will often post your events as well, especially if they are business related. So will other business organizations you may be a member of.
- Niagara Families: family related events
- GoBE Weekly: entertainment
- Get It in Niagara
- Visit Niagara
There are probably more....
We hope you find this information helpful. As we mentioned above, this post was created to help you promote your events, but also as a rant. The rant because we get complaints on Connecting Niagara why we don't promote certain events, or we do not share events via our social media channels when we do others. We spend 1-2 hours every day tracking down events to add to our events calendar. If event organizers add their own events to our calendar, we will gladly give them a little extra promotion as they have saved us from finding the event and entering the information. If everyone did this our event listings would be even bigger than they are currently!