Effective Event Promotion: Attracting Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Attendees
Even with decades of experience you’re going to want to read this…..
Organizing a successful event requires careful planning, a keen eye for detail, and genuine marketing promotion. One of the key challenges we all face promoting our events is attracting sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees alike.
Throughout this blog post, we will explore strategies and tactics to effectively promote your event and attract stakeholders.
From creating compelling marketing materials to leveraging social media and networking, it’s all in here. I’ll do my best to provide you with actionable tips to ensure your event is a reliable success.
Understand Your Target Audience
Before you start promoting your event, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your target audience. Identify who your event is geared towards, whether it’s industry professionals, enthusiasts, or a specific demographic. The more niche your target audience is the better chance you have at interrupting patterns.
We want to interrupt patterns because it creates an unexpected jolt of emotions your event goers weren’t thinking about previously. When you think of this think of “new parents” — it’s the easiest way to talk about “pattern interrupts” because their whole life is now one huge pattern interrupt. They just added another human to the mix.
Especially if you’re a first time parent.. marketers all over the world are licking their chops.
This also helps you tailor your promotional efforts to reach the right people and attract the right sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees instead of “everyone.”
Start Developing Your Event Brand
Creating a strong and compelling event brand is pseudo life and death trying to attract sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees. Start by designing a simple logo that doesn’t lose its professionalism at super small pixel sizes.
In some cases, you need images to be as small as 25 x 25.
“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”
Apples first ever marketing brochure headline — circa 1977
Consistent visual identity that reflects the theme and purpose of your event will put you over the hump. Use these branding elements consistently across all of your promotional materials, including your website, social media posts, and email newsletters.
A visually clean and simple brand will make your event stand out and generate more interest from the small tribe of people you seek to make a difference for.
There’s a real opportunity right now for leaders who gratefully “give away value” for free to their audience.
Remember, the sickness of “everybody wants my product” is a real diagnosis and treatable illness. You just have to care about the people who will be attending your event enough to create meaningful moments for them instead of yourself and your own interests.
Leverage Social Media
Understanding a few basic principles will get you far in the social media game. The two things that matter the most creating content are:
- Your headlines.
- Giving your community content they can talk about.
Create dedicated event pages or accounts on Facebook, Instagram, X, and/or LinkedIn. Regularly post content related to your event, use ideas like speaker announcements, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and relevant industry news. Find a gap in the market, and create there.
I guarantee you there is a gap somewhere, you just need to know where to look and how to capitalize on it.
I started growing Socialbout Media’s (SBM) following by showcasing more of what event managers, planners, and entertainers need — but taken a step further into the realm of introducing AI to them as an innovative tool.
The acronym “ADDA” helped me write structured content in the earlier stages of my career. Learn the rules first before you can break them eh.
A — Attention
D — Detail
D — Desire
A — Action
Encourage your followers to share your posts and use event-specific hashtags to properly track how well your engagement is performing.
Collaborate with Influencers and Industry Partners
Influencers and industry partners have their moments, I know. But they are valuable when used properly, and once an honest connection is built with said influencer — it has the potential to turn into magic.
Identify key influencers in your industry or niche and reach out to them to collaborate on promoting your event. This includes guest blogging, social media takeovers, or even speaking engagements. Additionally, establish partnerships with relevant industry organizations or businesses that align with your event’s goals. Their website is a good indicator on their professionalism, and attention to detail.
These partnerships can help you tap into their existing networks and attract sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees who are interested in your event but didn’t know about it previously.
Stop Marketing to Everybody
Design high-quality marketing materials that effectively communicate the value and benefits of attending or sponsoring your event. People all over the world are craving something to be a part of, so give them something to be a part of.
This includes creating visually appealing brochures, flyers, and banners that highlight key event details, such as speakers, sessions, and networking opportunities. Use persuasive writing and compelling visuals to capture as much attention as possible. Make sure to include clear calls-to-action, such as registration links or contact information, to make it easy for interested parties to take the next step.
Note: Create a “swipe file.” When you see something that gets your attention, or keeps you reading. Switch off for a second, and add it into your own notes to reference the creativity later.
Offer Incentives for Early Registration or Sponsorship
To encourage early registration and sponsorship, offer incentives. We all love incentives. Take advantage of human emotions here. This can include discounted ticket prices for early bird registration, exclusive access to VIP networking events, or promotional opportunities for sponsors, such as logo placement on event materials or speaking opportunities.
By providing these incentives, you create a sense of urgency and value, increasing the likelihood of attracting sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees early on.
Remember, you can only ever set the price — never the value.
It’s the exact reason some people buy $10,000 sunglasses, and others scoff at $35. They don’t see the value in buying expensive sunglasses. I don’t either. But, people do. It doesn’t make them wrong, or right.
It makes them, them.
“People like us do things like this.”
— Seth Godin, Author and proud marketer
Network and Attend Industry Events
Networking is not only a powerful tool for event promotion, but it’s essential to creating the life you want, and work hard for. Attend industry events, conferences, and trade shows relevant to your target audience.
Engage with people (a lot) in comment sections, distribute promotional materials, and collect business cards. This allows you to build relationships with potential sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees, and promote your event directly to the people who are interested most.
If you got it, flaunt it. Consider speaking at industry events or hosting informational sessions to establish yourself as an authority in your field and generate interest in your event. This is a big accelerator.
Utilize Email Marketing
Right from day one, start building out your email list. There is no “perfect time” for you to start one, but the sooner the better.
Everyday you’ll hear “email marketing is dead.” And, I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be any further from the truth. There is no shortage of people who are making $10,000+/month because of their email list.
Ignorance isn’t bliss. What you don’t know will hurt you.
Email marketing is a highly effective way to reach out to potential sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees. Build an email list of interested individuals by offering valuable actionable content and/or incentives in exchange for their contact information. SBM trades a “Free AI Event Management Resource Giftbag” in exchange for emails.
If you’re interested, check out our website.
Send regular newsletters or updates about your event, preferably once a week. Social media marketing doesn’t give you the right to spam. Do you enjoy people who are constantly talking about themselves in person? No. The same thing applies to social media and marketing.
Including important announcements, early bird registration reminders, and exclusive offers gives your community something to talk about.
Personalize your emails to make people feel valued and catered to. Take the time to craft a subject line that grabs attention and is visually appealing.
Measure and Analyze Your Promotion Efforts
To ensure the effectiveness of your event promotion, it’s crucial to measure and analyze your efforts. Track metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, email open rates, and registration numbers. This data will provide valuable insights into which promotional strategies are working and which ones need adjustment. Use this information to refine your promotion tactics and focus on the channels and strategies that yield the best results.
At the end of the day
Event promotion, and marketing your event to your small tribe is going to attract sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees who align with you.
By understanding your target audience, developing a compelling brand, taking advantage of social media, collaborating with influencers, offering incentives, networking, and measuring your efforts, you can maximize the success of your event through proper structure.
Implement these strategies and tactics to ensure your event stands out, generates interest, and attracts the right stakeholders. Remember, event promotion is an ongoing process, evaluate and adjust your strategies to optimize your results.
Repeat until successful.