There are about 35,000 people living in Houghton and Keweenaw counties. So, if you play the Kevin Bacon game (for those of you around in the 80s), your message really only needs to get directly in front of about 1,000 people…but the right 1,000 people. Those 1,000 people will tell another 10 people who will tell another 10 people… it’s no secret that word-of-mouth is your most powerful tool.
When you think about targeting a group, think about where to find them. If you’re hosting a $60-a-plate dinner meeting, chances are you’re not putting up posters at the high school – unless it’s in Beverly Hills.
Once you identify a demographic for your event, and where to find them, start to narrow down WHERE you promote your event. Here are a few tips to consider that will kick-start public awareness about your event.
- Create an event brand that identifies your organization with the event. The promotion leading up to your event will include not only advertising your event, but also the organization. While you create your event brand, it is critical to incorporate your business brand design elements into your event promotion materials. It should be obvious that your business is hosting the event. Here is an example of what we created for Aspirus Keweenaw Women’s Health Event last fall. In addition to their logo, notice the green Aspirus “swoosh” at the bottom of the poster. We use these same few elements in their ads, too. We even called the event “Aspirus Keweenaw Women’s Health Event.”
- Describe the Event Experience to the reader.Another critical part of event promotion is to communicate what the event experience will provide to potential guests. For example, if you’re going to have live music, instead of saying “music” or “bands” on your event poster, you would speak to the customer experience and say “Enjoy live Country Music!” Earlier this year we created event promotion for MTEC SmartZone for a 6:30 a.m. breakfast (yes – I said 6:30 a.m.). During a creative meeting, Jordan came up with a fun event heading for the invitation: “There’s WAFFLE-LOT to learn about MTEC SmartZone.” While the title is fun and catchy – it’s obvious what the breakfast presentation is about.
- If you have a $200,000 event advertising budget, don’t read this point. I say this over and over again: “There is no silver bullet – otherwise marketers like me would not exist. Promotion has to happen across all mediums to be effective.”
No one can afford to depend on one advertising tactic to create awareness for your event. BUT, you probably don’t have a $200,000 advertising budget, so you will have to depend on opportunities that require people’s time to spread the word: posters, social media, email blasts, invitations, presentations, and more. Whatever the mix is, make sure your message is consistent across all mediums! Make sure to start with that core demographic (see above – Kevin Bacon). In our small town, it doesn’t take much to drum up some awareness if you start in the right place.
Good Luck with your event and remember, if you need a little help — the event geeks and Kevin Bacon lovers at Marketing Department Inc. are here for you!
Play the Kevin Bacon Game…http://www.findthebacon.com/.