The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted people from their jobs. It is estimated that as of April 2020, about 87% of events professionals have cancelled events due to the pandemic, according to data by the PCMA. With 70% of businesses moving face-to-face events to virtual platforms, it is undeniable the hardest blow was dealt to the events industry.
Still, the industry prevails. Even through several lockdown cycles in Canada, businesses have learned to bounce back from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
Once you feel that you and your company are ready to tackle the situation and come out on top, you will need to focus on advertising your event planning business and get back in the game.
Consider Traditional Media
Advertising on media like printouts, newspaper ads, and billboards is a mainstay in traditional advertising that comes with a steeper price compared to its digital alternatives.
The pandemic, however, is likely to have affected advertising in general, allowing you to find ad packages that will give you more exposure for a lower price. Contact your local paper regarding their newest rate and see if it works for your event budget.
Another way to advertise with traditional media is by partnering with media outlets as sponsors or PR partners. Sponsorships entitle you to advertise a few days’ run on the paper in exchange for mileage.
PR partnerships mean media outlets will write about and promote your event for free in exchange for a free ticket, which leads to the next tip…
Influencers are great partners to have when it comes to promoting products and events since they are involved before, during, and after the event.
Payment arrangements can range from monetary to X-deals (goods/service exchange). Influencers you know personally are likely to agree with the latter.
For example, you can offer influencers round-trip transportation to and from the event. Consider how much you pay for a bus rental compared to paying for endorsement. Chances are, the former would save you money and earn you brownie points with the influencers.
Earn bonus points by hosting an after-event party with these influencers as your exclusive guests. For high-calibre meals, hire reputable catering services. Toronto, Vancouver, and other major cities are home to a number of top chefs offering these services. After-event parties can come out as backstage-access entries that can be viewed by their followers through social media accounts and blogs.
Get into Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a popular method for advertising events. It works similarly to a media partnership but in digital format.
You will allow the creation of affiliate links, which will then be promoted by third-party promoters. You do not pay them a huge amount for doing this but instead receive a small cut from the ticket sale.
The price you pay is small, but it buys you time to focus on other important things related to the event.
Before the pandemic, you likely had a long list of email addresses collected from attendees who signed up for particular events. Prior to setting up new events, consider keeping in touch with these attendees by giving them “free access” to content you own to keep them interested.
The value of having newsletters is the regular contact with a customer base to whom you can smoothly promote future events when restrictions are lifted.
Free Ticket Giveaways
Now that face-to-face events are currently inadvisable, many event planners take their events to paid online platforms. Compared to physical venues, the fees on these platforms are lighter, allowing you greater freedom and budget to promote your event in more ways.
One popular way is to give away free tickets to increase engagement.
Hype things up by hosting contests for followers and their networks to participate in.
You can have bundle promos like a 5+1 deal, where 5 paying people are entitled to 1 free ticket. You can also give free tickets through a raffle system to previous attendees.
Image Credit: Magnus Mueller | Pexels
Use the Power of Social Media
The costs for putting up social media ads are considerably lower than traditional promotions, and you can better target the audience meant to see your ads.
When taking the social media route, consider the following characteristics of each platform to maximize your ROI:
Use Facebook ads to reach a wide audience. As the largest social network in the world, it has 2 billion active users monthly. This platform is best for general interest events like cooking demos, storytelling events, and performance arts.
Instagram comes close second to Facebook in terms of reach as it is now owned by Facebook, with cross-posting and messaging features in place. This platform is perfect for photo- and video-based promotions, great for businesses that offer party and events planning.
TikTok’s sudden rise in popularity has attracted marketers in its potential to advertise to a younger audience. If your business caters to the youth, this platform might be the best place to set up an ad in.
Twitter has been a popular hive for online events recently. Its Twitter Live feature can rival Facebook’s albeit for a younger segment of the market.
LinkedIn is the best place to advertise for corporate or business events. People on LinkedIn want to expand their network to potential business partners or employees. LinkedIn has hosted digital job fairs in the past and can come in handy for event businesses focusing on the corporate scene in the future.
Good Old SEO
Do you have a website? Use it to advertise your business and upcoming events. Seek the help of Local SEO Search Inc., an online marketing provider, and implement strategies that can help you rank in search engine results pages. Their strategies can be implemented for the long term if you want to maintain your website’s standing, or you can choose a shorter timeframe if there is a specific event that you want to hype up. Despite the pandemic complications, the events scene is not defeated. Skilled planners have found ways to keep themselves relevant by adapting to change. Even without a face-to-face audience, your events can be successful with effective advertising platforms and smart planning.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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