The Internet makes everything so much easier nowadays, including marketing. When it comes to event promotion, however, the need to diversify your approach shouldn’t be ignored, as different demographics can respond really well to that offline touch (including Millennials).
Promoting your event offline just might give you that extra bit of leverage to get your attendance numbers up, so here are 8 different options for you to consider.
- Direct Mail
Snail mail is so old school. However, it’s far from dead. In fact, direct mail may be more lucrative than ever due to people turning away from traditional mail and towards online methods. With less incoming paper mail, that means more attention toward the event flyer or postcard you send.
You should especially consider direct mail if your event is catered towards a local demographic. Direct mail also has another advantage in that it’s tangible. It can actually be held in your hand and not something that can only be read on a monitor or smartphone. For a stronger appeal, the flyer or postcard can be created in the form of a personal invitation, complete with the recipient’s name and placed in a fancy envelope.
- In-Person Networking
By default, social media comes to mind when the subject of networking is brought up. Sure, it’s easy to meet more people through social media, but the quality isn’t the same as someone you meet in person. Think about this for a second: how many friends do you have on Facebook? Of those, how many are actual close friends that you actually get together with on a regular basis?
Exactly, you just don’t form bonds online as strongly as you do offline, in person. So get your business cards out and get ready to hit all those events related to yours for some quality networking that will let you spread the word in a targeted way. Once they’ve met you, how could they resist coming along to your event?
- Speaking opportunities
If you want to scale up your networking efforts to reach more people in one go, then you’ve got to consider speaking opportunities.
Speaking at industry-related events provides a great way for you to reach your target audience en-mass, but still with the personal touch. It also sets you up as a thought leader, which builds trust in your personal brand and this will help you to sell tickets. With prior permission from the organiser of the event you’re speaking at, you could also give it a shout-out from the stage (and a special offer to book there and then).
- Flyers and Paper Ads
This was already discussed a bit in the first step about direct mail. Flyers and other paper ads, however, can also be distributed in other ways. Consider door drops, handing them out in the street or you can also hang them up on the venue where the event is to be held. Also consider shops within the vicinity of the venue.
Don’t expect a high conversion rate since you’re reaching out to a broad demographic in this manner, but it can still be a cost effective tactic and may boost attendance numbers even if just by a little bit. The flyer itself can also double as a coupon to give potential attendees that little extra bit of nudge.
- Printed Publications
Ads these days normally entail methods like Google PPC ads, email newsletters, and social media posts. You can, however, have the same ads placed in local newspapers or in the ad section of industry-related magazines. The latter is especially useful for reaching a niche demographic.
You can have a small section allotted for your ad or even an entire page depending on what you can squeeze into your budget. This is a very helpful strategy if the magazine has a substantial readership. Plus, since most magazines these days are also available in digital format, this means your ad will get plenty of views online as well.
- Promotional items
Offline ads don’t just come in the form of paper flyers. Ads can also come in the form of items that have some sort of useful function. How about an event ad in the form of a sticker or magnet? These are less likely to end up in the recycling bin and may be placed in areas where there’s more chance of them being seen, such as on the fridge. They’re also likely to be kept well after the event, which means they will be constantly reminded of your company.
Another idea is to advertise your event on a company calendar. This can be a free calendar you hand out that contains industry-related key dates. The month of the event, however, can contain relevant information, such as venue location, guest speakers, etc. The date of the event can be highlighted in a big red circle.
- Sign Flipper
You have to admit, those people who stand outside and flip a sign around makes for a nice spectacle. You can hire someone to do this right outside your company facility or the venue of the event in the weeks before. The latter is especially something you should consider on the day of the event if you’re accepting walk-ins.
You can also go beyond the sign flipping. For even more attention, have someone dress up in a funny costume, preferably an outfit related to your event (such as a scary costume for a Halloween bash).
- Guerilla Marketing
There seems to be some confusion as to what constitutes guerilla marketing. The term can be quite broad, but is more or less defined as any unconventional marketing tactic that does not overtly promote the brand. As a rule of thumb, a person who sees a guerilla marketing ad should second guess whether it’s an ad or a non-promotional artwork. The fact that it’s obscure is what draws viewers to it.
So, what are some offline guerilla marketing strategies? Chalking is a good example. Perhaps you can use chalk to write the event hashtag on the floor. This is effective and virtually expense-free (although you have to be careful to get the relevant permission from authorities / local councils first, or you could end up in some trouble). Another method, if you have the budget for it, is to hire street performers to put on a show while wearing company and event-related gear.
Here’s an example of a small street jazz performance in Australia that took place in April to promote the International Jazz festival held the following month in May.
Without a doubt, you need to promote on Facebook and other social networks. However, don’t become so engrossed in social media that you neglect some of the tricks that were implemented in the days before the Internet.