When you host an event, “build it, and they will come” isn’t the mantra you want to follow. The reality is that marketing is a vitally important step in planning any event. Effective marketing can create awareness and, in turn, boost attendance. This is especially true in the summer as it is quite likely that you are competing against other events and the possibility that potential attendees have plans to travel. In order to help your next event succeed, we have put together a few tips to help you boost attendance.
1. Choose the Perfect Venue
Summer isn’t the time to hide inside or in a boring space. Consider a location that offers scenic views or a wide outdoor space in order to take advantage of the warm, inviting weather. For example, WSHE & Windy City beer lovers will be in hops heaven at the Chicago Craft Beer Fest this July. Hosted in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, this is a location with much to love during the summer months.
2. Establish Partnerships
Don’t be afraid to ask for sponsorships from local brands. You may build interest in this way, by appealing to fans or followers of these brands. This can be a winning proposition for all involved as cross-promotion will drive traffic to the event which benefits all parties.
3. Tap Into Local Radio
Radio advertising is one of the best ways to reach a local audience. The great majority of the listeners will be in the geographic region that could easily attend your event. You can also leverage influencers who can help you draw a large crowd. Plus, you’re reaching a “captive audience” as many people listen to the radio while in their car and free from distractions.
4. Book Live Entertainment
Providing live entertainment at your event can attract larger audiences and encourage these people to stick around longer. For example, WTMX is inviting listeners and sponsors to hang out with Eric In The Morning for the FIRST EVER “Grab Your Bags Tournament.” This event will also offer a LIVE performance by Mix Artist Andy Grammer and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Mix Kids for Lurie Children’s Hospital. The performance provides a reason for many people to attend, even if they aren’t participating in the tournament.
5. Maximize Digital Ads
Online ads are an important tool for getting the word out about your event. Make sure you create ads that are eye-catching, on brand and consistent with your other forms of advertising. Also, take the steps necessary to ensure the ads reach the right audience by leveraging advanced targeting features.
6. Use Social Media
Take advantage of social media to reach your audience and build excitement. Not only can you use keywords to reach audiences directly, but you may also get viral shares that reach additional interested individuals.
7. Create a Share-worthy Ambiance
Speaking of sharing, this only happens when you go the extra mile to make your event (and marketing collateral) share-worthy. Build a space that is inviting and encourages attendees to share and post photos from your event. Modern decor, fun installments and awe-inspiring backdrops can draw people in. It can even spark interest in future events, while giving people a reason to want to share your posts.
8. Give Away Free Products
People love free stuff! Whether you’re giving away samples, promotional items or hosting a contest, giving something away is a great way to promote events and boost attendance. For instance, WDRV will be drawing crowds to Chicagoland SMB’s in August and September to qualify for the chance to win Shed Zeppelin, the ultimate Man Cave.
9. Leverage Word of Mouth
Word-of-mouth advertising is free and one of the best ways you can reach many people. After all, when someone hears their friends talking about your big event, they will be much more inclined to want to check it out themselves. Encourage interested individuals to tell others about the event and make it a “must do” among your target audience.
It is impossible to over-emphasise the value of event marketing, particularly during the summer. Work with a local marketing partner, like Hubbard Chicago, to promote and draw a crowd to your upcoming summer event. Reach out to us today and a representative will contact you to answer any questions and share more details on how your brand can be featured on-site, on-air, online and on-social with premier summer events!