Summer is here and people are ready to be out of the house! That’s great news for small business owners, especially the ones who are taking advantage of this year’s event season. If you’re looking for a way to increase your business’s exposure to your local audience, an in-person event might be just the ticket!
One of the biggest hurdles that small business owners face in executing an in-person event is marketing it online and getting people there. Online marketing tools are your biggest asset for something like this, so let’s dive into HOW TO MARKET YOUR EVENT ONLINE!
This goes without saying, but it’s important to create listings for your event on websites where people will actually see it. In our experience, the most successful platforms for this have been FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, AND EVENTBRITE. There are loads of other websites that you could promote it, but these are the ones we use for our clients with upcoming events. Let’s start off by breaking these down:
When making a Facebook event listing there are a few things you should do:
Make sure you’re creating the event on your business page
Fill out all of the available spaces throughout the event form
Use Canva to create a free event heading so that it pops when users are scrolling
Make sure your header photo fits correctly into the space provided
Provide as much information as possible
Invite any other companies you’re partnering with for the event to be a co-host to the Facebook Event so that it shows up on their page too
Google My Business is one of the most underutilized resources for small businesses (but that’s for another blog post). Updating this profile is a great way to stay on top of your SEO and at the top of search results. It’s also the only way to come up in Google search results when someone searches for “events near me”. Just like Facebook, Google makes it really simple to plug in the information for your event and post updates leading up to it. Log into your account to get it set up!
Not as popular as it once was, Eventbrite is still a really smart place to create a listing for your upcoming event. Eventbrite.com is a website dedicated specifically to helping you find events to attend- both virtual and in-person. Eventbrite listings rank crazy high in Google search results, so users who use Google to search for events are likely to click it. Just like Facebook, Eventbrite makes it super easy to plug and play the info into the listing. Note: when you’re sharing your event on Facebook, be sure to use the Facebook link rather than the Eventbrite or Google link. Facebook will show your post to more users if you’re keeping them engaged on their platform.
Now that you have set up your event pages on Facebook, Google, and Eventbrite, you can actually get to marketing. The size of your event will impact the amount of time you’ll need to spend marketing it before the big day. If you’re hosting a small, intimate event, you won’t need to promote it for as long leading up to it. If it’s a large event, you’ll need more time to get the word out and get people to commit. For most clients, we recommend setting up event pages and beginning regular posting 1-3 months prior to the event date.
Once your pages are set up, we recommend that you stick to a regular posting schedule. Post updates to the Facebook, Google, and Eventbrite listings at least twice a week to get people engaged. Ask people questions like which parts of the event they’re most excited for, what else they’d like to see from the event, and encourage people to post photos they’ve taken at past events (if possible).
Most importantly, SHARE the listings! Invite your Facebook friends, text the link out, email your business email list, and link it to your stories. You’ll need to post more often than you think to get the exposure you’re looking for, so be ready to promote what feels like constantly. Here are some ideas to get you started on posting in your event:
Exclusive news (example: Your Favorite Band has been added to the lineup!)
Updates (example: a vegetarian option has been added to the menu)
Giveaways (example: tag a friend to be entered to win a free pair of tickets!)
You’ll be able to check on your event analytics to see what kinds of posts are helping increase your exposure so you know what content to make more of.
Planning and executing an event is a ton of work with lots of moving parts. Take the marketing for your big event off your plate by working with Millennial Marketing to promote it online! We’ve worked with lots of events like the Susquehanna River Running Festival, Charm City Countdown, and Hops2Grapes. Click here to get in touch with the Millennial Marketing event team!
Cheers to a great event!