30 Creative Promotion Ideas For Increasing Show Attendance
For any event organizer, maximizing ticket sales is top priority, but at a certain point, it can feel as though you’ve exhausted your toolbox of marketing tricks. Here we look at thirty creative ideas for promoting your next show or event that you may not have considered.
Guest post by Ronnie Higgins of Eventbrite
Selling as many tickets as possible is both a goal and a top stressor for event organizers. If you’ve already deployed all the promotional tactics in your playbook, consider some new ways of getting to “sold out.” Here are 30 creative event promotion ideas to help skyrocket your ticket sales.Here are 30 creative event promotion ideas to help skyrocket your ticket sales.
1. Take advantage of event discovery sites
Eventbrite research shows that over half of urban event-goers look to neighborhood guides for things to do. Reach them by promoting your event on the panorama of online guides and apps that exist today.
Discovery sites like Goldstar, Bandsintown, Eventful, Spotify, and Facebook Events attract people with specific types of events in mind. (Hint: Placement is much easier if you’re using an event ticketing platform like Eventbrite that partners with the best discovery sites.)
2. Enable native checkout
Once your event is on event discovery sites, make it easy for people to buy tickets without leaving the page. The ability to buy tickets wherever event-goers are streamlines the customer experience. This, in turn, eliminates the risk of ticket-buyers getting distracted during checkout or bouncing because of slow site load.
In fact, events that sell tickets directly on Facebook drive 2X more sales and free registrations on average than events that redirect to a ticketing page.
3. Gear your content marketing efforts toward leadership
When it comes to your content — website copy, blog posts, social media posts — it’s easy to go for the low-hanging fruit: search engine optimization. But stuffing your copy with keywords isn’t the long game, for SEO or for your attendance.
Instead, create thoughtful content that positions your event brand as a thought leader, a place people turn to for insightful information. The more people trust your brand, the more likely they are to share and buy.
4. Create an infographic
One of the most effective ways to get your content shared across the web is to develop visually alluring infographics that combines information with entertainment.
The more people share your content, the more event-goers will discover your event. Which is great news, because 10-20% of ticket sales typically come through social media.
5. Launch a YouTube channel
Speaking of search, did you know YouTube is the second-biggest search engine in the world (after Google, which incidentally owns YouTube)?
Via YouTube Live, you can take advantage of the current craze for live video, broadcasting in real-time to your audience. But what to film? There are so many creative event promotion ideas for video: sneak peeks, introductions to speakers and sponsors, insight into what participants will gain, or practical tips for how to make the most of the event.
6. Embrace podcasting
Another creative event promotion idea that people don’t always think of is podcasting. An impressive 67 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. Launch your own podcast, with a theme that’s relevant to your event. Or, for less effort, become a sponsor or guest speaker for an existing podcast that draws a similar target audience.
7. Empower speakers and partners for your promotions
Your speakers, sponsors, and partners have their own audience that are just waiting to be introduced to your event brand. Make sure you empower them with blurbs to share on social and imagery they can use to promote your event to their followers. You’re guaranteed to get at least a few new registrants. Give them a tracked registration link so you can tell where your new guests came from.
8. Step up your email game
If you’re just blasting to your entire mailing list every time you announce an event or book a performer, you might be missing the mark.
Instead, segment your email lists into categories: people who have bought tickets in the past versus those who haven’t, or different demographics within your target audience. Then create email campaigns that speak to those smaller groups with specific messages. This is called email targeting, and it’s made easier with the use of email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Emma.
9. Amplify your online advertising
To make advertising work for you, don’t just spend more money. Get strategic with tools like Boostable or ToneDen that help you zero in on the right audience. Using algorithms and A/B testing, these tools constantly hone and refine your social media and Google ads so you’re making the most impact with your ad budget.
10. Consider ad retargeting
You might not know the term, but you’re definitely familiar with the technology. You look something up online, and days later, you’re seeing ads for it on a completely different site.
People who weren’t ready to make a ticket purchase the first time are often grateful for the reminder to sign up before it sells out. Eventbrite organizers have seen an average of 6X return on investment using ad retargeting.
11. Invest in professional photography
Eventbrite data shows that the top two online spots people bounce to from an event page are YouTube and Google Images. Are they going to like what they see?
Photographs set a vibe and answer event-goer’s questions about your event’s atmosphere. Take well-lit photos that appropriately capture the ambiance and illustrate what people can expect at your event. Photography is also crucial for making the other techniques on this list — from advertising to email — more effective.
12. Empower your grassroots marketers with badges
Your attendees are your biggest fans. So when someone buys a ticket or registers for your event, send them a badge or icon they can display on their site or post to social media. Build HTML into these graphics, and viewers can link right back to your event page.
13. Sponsor a Wi-Fi hotspot
No matter where most people are these days, they are either using their cell data or looking for a hotspot. So sponsoring a wi-fi hotspot in the area of your next event is a convenient way to get people in the area to be exposed to your brand. Consider nearby conference centers, shops, or even food truck areas where people often congregate and pay a few dollars to show your name and display your logo. It’s a simple and subtle way to capture emails and demographic data while promoting your event brand (and it’s upcoming shindig)
14. Zero in on a bona fide social influencer
Your fans are your biggest advocates, indeed. And within those ranks, you might find one or two that are extra influential. Find those folks, and motivate them to help you spread the word online. You can use technology tools like SocialLadder to find, manage, and capitalize on social influencers in your sphere.
15. Hire a brand ambassador
The highest echelon of “influencer marketing” is the paid brand ambassador. Seek out people with vast online influence — celebrities, subject-matter experts, popular bloggers, YouTube stars. Enlist them (typically with financial compensation) to create strategic and timely posts about your event.
16. Turn attendees into event ambassadors
You can spend your money to hire a brand ambassador, or you can leverage your event guests to be ambassadors. Show them a good time and you can bet they’ll be sharing their experiences with their friends and colleagues. Take it a step further and provide them with some swag, or plenty of instagrammable moments that will become conversation starters and promotional pieces that will get them singing your praises long after the party has ended. If they have a significantly large network, provide them with an incentive by offering a personal link to share where they earn a percentage of each ticket sold.
17. Shift the focus from promotional to conversational
Move away from strict marketing messages with your social media posts. Instead, engage potential ticket-buyers in thoughtful conversations. A good balance is the “4:1:1 Rule”: for every promotional post you make, retweet or share a relevant post, and then post 4 pieces of content written by other people or brands.
You should think of it as giving your followers useful content. “Hey guys, did you hear about this?” Build their trust, and they’ll respect your event brand.
18. Tell stories with social media
With Stories features now a mainstay of both Snapchat and Instagram, and live video huge on Facebook and YouTube, ephemeral storytelling is hot. As you prep for your event, and throughout the event itself, engage your social audiences with in-the-moment insider stories. This is an intimate way to make people feel connected to your event and more inspired to attend.
19. Limited-time offers
There’s nothing like a limited offer (that will soon be unavailable) to get people to finally input their credit card information to confirm their ticket and space. Make sure you make it sound enticing and also make it clear that after a certain time and date, the offer will be off the table. You’ll absolutely garner a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out that will help drive sales.
20. Encourage widespread sharing at your event
Make it easy and enticing for attendees to share photos and videos from your event with their friends at home — who could become attendees next year.
Snapchat geofilters are a playful way to layer a branded illustration over photos. Instagram photo booths can automatically post pics to Instagram for your attendees. A Twitter wall displayed on a mega-screen encourages participants to tweet using your custom event hashtag.
21. Look for lookalike audiences
You have a solid list of people who’ve purchased tickets to your events in the past. You want to find more people just like that.
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all have the technology to help you find such lookalike audiences — people who match your buyer profile in terms of demographics, geography, stated interests, and online behavior. Using their algorithms and automated tools, create ads targeted to those exact people.
22. Create an event community
Using social to showcase your past events as well as promote upcoming ones will definitely get people talking. Take advantage of the chatter by monitoring social and engaging with those discussing it and using your hashtag to encourage a larger event community. Create a space where people can gather, network, and develop relationships that can extend past the individual events you orchestrate.
23. Orchestrate a social media ticket giveaway
This might be as simple as your basic enter-to-win sweepstakes, or something more unique and playful: a judged Snapchat drawing contest or a tag-a-friend contest (“Who would you bring?”). People love to share chances to win with their friends. Just make sure you study up on the rules and regulations each social media platform upholds around contests.
24. Network at similar events
You’re organizing a brand new technology tradeshow and hoping to entice some of the crowd that’s usually at Salesforce. Why not purchase a booth at Salesforce? Or sponsor a happy hour?
Find events with the same demographics — but that aren’t necessarily direct competitors — and team up with them to promote your upcoming event.
25. Partner with another event
When you partner with other event organizers you extend your platform and visibility. By joining forces with another event brand that knows how to maneuver the event scene and has an established network, you set yourself up to increase ticket sales just by association. Make sure your brand images overlap to make sure your synergy is recognizable to fans of both event brands, developing a strong relationship that will more than double your ticketing sales and efforts.
26. Invitation-only sessions
An effective way to attract VIPs who might not otherwise attend your events is to offer an elite, invitation-only session. You can piggyback this with free event entry to encourage them to mix and mingle. Having VIP presence at your events boosts the cachet of your audience and amplifies your online promotion, too.
27. Integrate your CRM
Its alot easier to manage your event community as a whole when the data for your event registrants goes directly to your CRM. This will make it easy to segment and market to your attendees and have an organized list of people you can promote to now and later. If your event registration doesn’t have an integration for CRM, it’s time to start thinking about making the switch. Eventbrite happens to offer this feature at no additional cost to you, plus a ton of other free tools that will help you sell more tickets.
28. Connect a web analytics tool to learn from activity
The more you know about how guests found you, the more informed you are in making decisions to promote in the right spaces online. You’re doing yourself a disservice if your registration platform doesn’t offer an analytics report (or allow you to connect an analytics tool) that will give you valuable data like how people are getting to your site and what motivates them to stay or purchase. Make sure you do your research about what platforms offer this feature and do your due diligence to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. (hint: Eventbrite also offers this benefit at no additional cost to you.)
29. Donate tickets
Of course ticket sales is essential to achieving your event goals, but ticket donations can help you develop relationships with other organizations. You’ll also expose your event brand to a different demographic of people who may promote your event and share it with others. What you may have lost in direct sales, you can gain in loyalty and promotion, so set a few tickets aside and offer them strategically as gifts!
30. Recap the experience
While you promote your limited-time offers and induce FOMO ahead of your event, make sure you don’t miss out on the follow up posts. Give your attendees and those who didn’t make it a view into what the experience was like (show all the goodies and fun had at the event) and make sure they don’t miss another one!
You likely don’t have the marketing bandwidth or budget to institute all of these creative event promotion ideas at once. So pick a few and be sure to measure your results, so you can prioritize those that drive the most sales.
For more perspective on how to promote your event, download The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Event Online.
Ronnie Higgins works at Eventbrite, helping event creators level-up their game and connect with one another. Born and raised in New Orleans, there’s nothing he enjoys more than helping people get together—whether it’s for a festival, class, or a city-wide party like Mardi Gras.