Marketing your event is the new task at hand. The date is confirmed. You’ve booked an exclusive venue, made arrangement on hiring a life-changing PA system, and even gone an extra mile to plan on all the innovative extras to wow your attendees with.
Now what remains is reaching out to the kind of people that you’d want to show up for the event. Whether it’s a free event or you’re planning to sell tickets, it’s crucial that you reach out to potential attendees and lock them in in great numbers.
This is something to worry about, especially if you’re a first-timer in all this. Or maybe NOT — with this simple guide, you stand a chance to host an epic event and prove all the naysayers wrong.
Thanks to online marketing, the event landscape is on an entirely new dimension that’s favourable to all. All you need is an internet connection and a few platforms to take advantage of, and you’ll be presented with scores of potential attendees from all parts of the world for you to reach out and invite to your event.
Of course, the internet is saturated with all kinds of posts on how to use online platforms to market the event, but they’re all generic – regurgitated from the same old post that someone wrote years back, and which can’t actually be actioned.
In this post, we try to focus on actionable pointers that you can use to stretch out your guest list or sell as many tickets as you possibly can.
This is your ultimate guide on how to market your event in Singapore if you’re completely clueless on how to go about it. Read this bearing in mind that it’s possible to pull this off with a just a small budget and without any kind of celebrity endorsement.
In other words, this is your ultimate guide list on how to market your event in Singapore. We encourage you to read through it and use some of the pointers we’ve highlighted to come up with a solid marketing strategy for your event.
Before we jump into the marketing strategies, there are a few things you need to consider when planning an event.
What Is Your Goal?
Before you start the marketing process, you need to determine what your goals for the event are. Ask yourself what you want to achieve once the event happens. Most organisers usually expect a return on investment. This can be done through ticket sales.
As you identify your goals, ensure that everything is set for the event. If, for instance you’re planning to have dance crews in your events, you have to prepare by contacting them early enough. The same applies to sponsors of the event. You need meticulous planning to ensure that your event runs smoothly on the set date.
Know Your Target Audience
When organizing an event, your target audience is vital. Do you have a target audience for the event? If let’s say you’re planning a weight loss event, you will probably target individuals who portray poor eating habits. If you want to get the best out of the event, the specific group you’re targeting must to show up in large numbers.
You must identify some of the strategies you can use during marketing to get the intended audience interested in your event. If you want to sell products during the event, you can find some ways you can make attendees want to purchase them.
What Are The More Popular Events Being Organised In Singapore?
Networking, both online and in-person, is a type of event that is very widely hosted these days. In Singapore, various professional networking sessions are held every week wherein professionals from every industry gather to meet with new people and make connections. Networking events require no keynote speaker and you only need an appropriately sized venue and catering.
Conferences are important to B2B and B2C brands and are typically hosted by one large company or corporation, and sponsored by many small businesses. Compared to other types of events, conferences are expensive to host as the hiring of speakers, accommodation for both speakers and attendees, costs incurred if travelling is involved and, of course, enough food for everyone. These are the reasons why tickets for conferences are usually pricey and also why many sponsors are required in order to cover costs.
For us in Singapore, mention expos and trade shows, and what immediately pops into mind is the Singapore Expo where majority of such events are held. Expos and trade shows offer businesses an opportunity to display their products and services, and is a great way to increase leads. Some of the more popular expos that have been hosted in Singapore include the NATAS Travel Fair, IT Expo, Baby Fair and the Food and Beverage Fair.
While the format of seminars is similar to conferences, it is usually a half-day event and tickets for seminars cost considerably less than tickets for conferences. Attendees at seminars attend lectures, discussions, talks by invited speakers and networking sessions.
Use Other People to Market the Event
You don’t have to rely on your sole effort or that of your team to market your event, NOT when it’s absolutely possible to bring other people on board to help you out.
Run a Contest
Run a simple contest whose requirement for participation is sharing the event’s posters or tagging some of your friends on a status update or comment. They could even share it on their timelines and help you spread out the message.
Another approach would be to encourage potential attendees to share the best photo of themselves suggesting that they’ll be attending your event followed by the event’s hashtag you’d have created. Of course, the photo with the highest number of likes and shares is the absolute winner.
Also try inviting some of the attendees to vote on some minor event details, like the kind of speaker they’d like to have or the dinner theme they prefer the most from a list of options you’re offering.
As for the prize, you have the option to offer free tickets, access to the VIP, or anything else that’s relating to the type of event you’re organizing. Whatever it is that you settle on, keep in mind that a better prize selection is more likely to attract more participants.
You also have the option to run the contest on one social network or multiple of them or directly on your website.
Make a Point to Reach Out to Singapore Influencers if You Can
Influencer marketing is one of the surefire ways to drum up some serious publicity around your event. The only limitation is finding an influencer that will be willing to do it at low cost or absolutely free. Odds are also good that the few affordable ones may be already bogged down by requests.
So instead of mass-shooting your requests to a number of influencers, use that opportunity to draft a more personalized request and send it to the influencers you’re so certain of. Or the ones you think have the much-needed clout and influence to convince scores of potential attendees to consider checking you out.
You can start by doing some due diligence on the type of influencers within your locality. Check their following and most importantly, the kind of interaction they have with the people that follow them.
If your plan is to provide them with a guest post, then you have to find an angle that’s most suited with the kind of audience they have. If it’s a tweet, come up with a list of tweets for them to choose from. In other words, the less work you have them do, the better the chance that they’re more likely to warm up to your request.
Give some of your followers some incentives to share your posts. In addition to serving them with complimentary tickets, you’re allowed to pay some of them to share your event around.
Just create a special URL for every single one of the affiliates who shows interest in the event and let them use the link to promote your event. And with each ticket they manage to sell, the affiliates are allowed to earn a portion of the sales amount.
Create A Website/Event Page
Sell your event
Use engaging and captivating content on the event page/website to market your event. Include details of the event such as date, location, notable speakers and target audience. Hire a professional graphic designer to craft quality images that will appeal to users and quote positive endorsements and testimonials from attendees of previous years.
Create some buzz
Curate or customise interesting marketing materials that will be handed out to attendees of your event. These can be T-shirts, badges, backpacks, caps and/or stationery. This is not only to add value for your attendees but also to effectively promote your event.
List your key speakers
Have a page dedicated to presenting the speakers who will be at your event. Include their photos, a quote or two from them, some information into their background and their credentials.
Add a blog
Take users behind the scenes at how your event is coming together as the big day draws nearer by posting articles and photos on a blog for your event. Make the stories conversational and personable with funny anecdotes and stories. This will bring you and your audiences closer together to form an interesting camaraderie that may increase the number of registrants to your event.
Marketing for an event when you aren’t yet established in the industry can be quite difficult. This shouldn’t be a worry because you can use bloggers who are viewed as experts in your industry. Bloggers usually have huge followings on their blogs and on their social media handles.
All you have to do is contact them and inform them of your event. Some will charge for it but this shouldn’t discourage you since you stand to gain a lot. They will market the event directly to the target group and increase the number of attendees.
If the event has been hosted before, it will be beneficial to have photos taken of the event then posted on the event website/page. As the event gets underway, hire a photographer to take pictures and to post them up on social media in real time.
If you are able to build a sizeable email list via your event website, the next step would be to put that list to good use in the months leading up to the big day. It would be a good idea to split your email list up into different groups in order to customise your emails so that they will create a bigger impact on the receiver. This type of email targeting can be easily done with services like MailChimp and Active Campaign.
Start sending event emails at least 3 months before the date of the event and resend it once every 3 to 4 weeks. You can choose to include early bird specials to recruit early registrars and remember to send a reminder email a few days before the day of the event with information such as time, date and location.
Build a list
A great way to build a useful email list is by having interested parties register on the event website/page. Be sure to have a prominent “Register Now” button on the site to allow users to easily register their interest by providing their name and email.
Almost every adult who has access to the internet in Singapore uses social media. The number of social media users has increased steadily over the past few years and will only continue to do so. Some of these platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Note that all these platforms are unique so you have to tailor content for each one. If you’re using Instagram, for instance, focus on creative images because it is mostly used for sharing photos and videos. For LinkedIn, ensure that you explain to the users how they will benefit by attending the event.
You can engage the users by posting industry news or having a question-answer session. Ensure all your social media accounts are active. This way, you will attract more people and sell more tickets.
Leverage the hoopla that comes with buying a ticket to spread the word around even further. Every time someone makes an effort to buy a ticket, direct them to a page with social sharing buttons that they’ll be clicking to share your post across different social media platforms.
Don’t complicate it – just a simple line along the lines of:
“Thanks for purchasing your ticket. We can’t wait to see you at [your venue] on [the date of the event]. We guarantee you’ll have a blast. But you can make it even more fun by stringing a friend along. Here’s a link to stretch the invite to all of your friends.” This should be followed by a list of pre-populated social media actions that they can click through to share your event to their friends and family.
It is common sense, more of your attendees and the influencers you approach will be more willing to share or respond to your request in the affirmative if you’re offering something in return.
Simple, create a refer-a-friend promotion, where an attendee gets to earn a portion of their ticket cost back by referring a friend. Or you could offer a VIP experience or a swag bag or snap-back for anyone who registers as a group or gets one of their friends to buy a ticket.
Marketing Your Event on Social Media
Look Beyond Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitters are among the two key players in the world of online marketing. But there are NOT the only ones – NOT anymore.
Your options stretch far and wide, including Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat to name a few. You also have live-streaming platforms such as Blab and Periscope to look into.
The point is to try to optimize your content so it can be shared across multiple social networks so you can extend your reach. You want to reach as many people as you possibly can. So why NOT structure your content in such a way that it can translate well across different social media platforms.
Also, try to tailor the approach you’re using to match the strength of every social media platform and maximize your returns.
Consider Holding a Pre-event Event
Let your attendees have a taste of what the real event will be like by hosting a pre-event event. This can be in the form of a Twitter party or the event’s behind-the-scenes coverages in a Periscope broadcast. Another approach would be to host some of the key speakers on Blab.
Take your time to market the event, making sure you have advertised it on almost any imaginable social media platform you can think of.
Your special target should be the people that abandoned the registration process without purchasing an event ticket. By hosting a pre-event event, you’ll be giving them a free opportunity to get a taste of what the real event will be like and what they’ll be missing out should they choose NOT to attend it.
The plan is to get them to change their mind. So make a point of making the pre-event as exciting as it’s actually possible so you can get the bulk of your attendees to make up their mind and consider buying a ticket to the main event.
Another trick would be to try combining the pre-event with a contest to create some desirable hype around the event.
A Private Facebook Group to Attendees
Let it be known that you’re offering your attendees an opportunity to network. And the easiest way to do this is by creating a private group on Facebook where the attendees are allowed to engage one another and pal up before the main event.
Simple, every time someone registers, send them an exclusive link inviting them to join the event’s group. Also, consider making periodic posts to the group to keep your group members engaged.
If you find it fit or relevant to the type of event you’re hosting, consider creating documents that the attendees will use to request for a ride or room shares.
Influencers – you either love them or hate them. Nevertheless, one has to admit that they do attract attention, both positive and negative, and motivating or hiring influencers does work in creating awareness for your event.
Create a Stellar HashTag
Take your sweet time to think over your event’s idea and figure out a stellar hashtag to use. The hashtag you come up with must be short, unique and easy to memorise. Don’t overthink the whole thing. Just go through the event’s idea, and you’ll come up with something really creative within five minutes of reeling it through.
It’s also crucial to research on the keyword you’re using to make sure it’s entirely unique and that there’s no other person already using it.
Once you’ve identified the hashtag, the next thing you do is use it alongside the social media posts you make. Remember to also encourage your attendees to use it in the posts they make.
Also, with their permission, of course, you have the option to repost some of their content. And lastly, make sure the hashtag is plastered all over – be it in your social media bios or on every single one of the branded materials you make. The point is to keep it fresh in the mind of every potential attendee that crosses your path.
Create a Stunning Video about the Event
Social media users love videos, particularly those on Facebook. It’s for this reason that you’d want to create a professional video about the event.
Whatever you decide on, refrain from making the video overly promotional, but fun. Your end goal should be to garner the much-needed attention around the video. Make your fans be interested in watching the video all the way to the end without losing interest somewhere in the middle.
And while at it, make them feel like checking you out or digging out for more info regarding the event.
You have the option to upload the video directly on your Facebook page in the hopes that it might go viral and garner an impressive number of views.
Remember to also upload it on YouTube and Vimeo to extend its reach. Lastly, go ahead and upload the video to your website so that your site’s visitors can also view it, besides boosting your SEO score for a favourable ranking in the SERPs.
Follow Relevant People
Your Journey in this doesn’t end with you posting some video content around the event. You have to make a point of following relevant people within the industry you’re in.
This is the perfect timing for this. To satisfy their curiosity, especially after seeing your event posts a few times, most of these people would be tempted to click on your profile and find out more about your brand.
Dig for related posts within your niche and follow the people you encounter. If anything, these are some of the influencers that will be helping you spread the word further. Also, don’t forget to pin the posts on Twitter and your Facebook page and make the event the first thing people see upon checking you out.
Learn To Schedule Social Media Posts
Posting on social media can be overwhelming at times. There’s also a fair chance that you might forget to post it altogether. So why NOT take advantage of scheduling tools such as Tailwind, IFTTT, Buffer, and Hootsuite to save yourself a huge chunk of your precious time.
However, with this approach, remember to keep in mind that your presence on the platform is also cherished. Your social media following also want to feel your presence and even get to interact with you on a one-on-one basis in some of the posts you make.
So at the time of the day, you want to create some time where you’ll be signing into your social media accounts to respond to their questions and make timely updates. You want to make sure that you’re part of some of the conversation your attendees are making concerning your brand or the event you’re organizing.
Leveraging Your Network to Market Your Event
Promote Your Speakers
In case you plan on hosting some talks, make a point to promote them prior to the event. Use their names and stories to attract attendees and sell more tickets.
You can even interview them on your podcast or give them the opportunity to guest post on your page or site. Another option would be to create a round-up post featuring all the speakers you’ll be hosting during the event. Just a random post of the speakers airing their views and opinions on a pressing issue you suspect your potential attendees might be interested in.
For instance, you could ask every single one of the speakers to submit the title of a book they’d recommend to your followers, accompanied with a short description as to why they think the book makes a great read.
You can thereafter compile the recommendation into a long post with a title such as “a Top 10 List of Must-read Books as Suggested by Some of the Most Influential Business people in Singapore.”
It’s also important that you link the post to your speakers’ website and social media accounts to get them interested in sharing it out. That way, your speakers get the much-needed exposure, your readers get something that’s worth a read, and your sales swell. A win-win situation for all the parties involved.
Help Your Speakers to Promote Themselves
Use the services of a graphics designer to create a series of posters featuring the speaker’s name and photo, with details of your event. Once delivered, you can send these posters to the speakers and ask them to share it around on their social media accounts and websites.
Another approach would be to create an image of their face followed by one of the best quotes they ever made, followed by your event’s hashtag. Share it on your social media accounts, remembering to tag them in the post just in case they may also be interested in sharing it on their timelines.
Offer Free Tickets in Exchange of Free Marketing and Services
If you don’t have the budget for professional photographers and videographers, you can offer free event’s tickets to concerned parties in exchange for some of the necessities that they have to offer.
Ask them if they could provide you with a photo or video that you could use to market your event. Don’t be shy while at it as this also comes as a nice opportunity for them to promote their businesses.
So unless you have the money to spend on hiring a professional photographer or videographer or the skillset needed to bootstrap it, then there’s nothing wrong with approaching someone you know with the offer of giving them a free ticket in exchange for some of the services they offer.
Ask Some Your Email Contacts to help You Promote the Event
Don’t mass shoot a single email inviting every single person on your email contact list to the event. Instead, write a genuine email to every single one of them asking them politely to help you promote the event.
You can start by announcing the event to your email contacts and thereafter asking them to forward the message to some of the people on their contact list as well.
You could even come up with a pre-written tweet that you’ll be including in the email you sent, asking them to help you retweet it.
Don’t forget to thank them in advance for supporting you with the event, and should they need you to extend the same courtesy in future, let them know that you’ll always be willing to hop on it with a warm heart.
During the Event
Your promotion doesn’t end with the start of the event. You have the option to keep pushing for more attendees even as the event rolls on.
Make good use of your smartphone while at it. Take pictures of what’s happening during the event, tweet some of the quotes your speakers are making, and even make live videos of impromptu interviews amid sessions as you interact with some of the attendees, interviewing them about the event.
You can also ask the attendees to be social by providing them with some of your media handles on a cheat sheet or the event app.
Follow the event’s hashtag while retweeting or re-posting some of the posts people are making concerning the event to create some buzz and heighten the hype.
Let’s wrap it up
It’s possible to promote your event and make it a huge success with online marketing alone. Speaking of which, you’ll never run out of options on how to go about it. It’s upon you to let your creativity fly and figure out the most suited approach to go with.
The point is to keep testing every approach that strikes your fancy until you come across one that works best with your type of audience. Your options are NOT limited. But just in case you’re strapped for choices and would use some outside help, MediaOne is always glad to step in and help when contacted. Let’s chat.