Build Your Email List – Your number 1 marketing priority should be maintaining and growing your email contact list. Email marketing is a highly effective and low-cost way of getting the word out about your event. Make it easy for visitors to your website to subscribe to your email newsletter. On event day, make sure you provide a paper newsletter subscribe list when you are checking everyone in. Make sure when you design your email newsletters that you include a very clear call-to-action for the recipient to “Share this Email with a Friend”.
Social Media – Build a Facebook page for your event and include references to it on your website and all marketing materials. Offer incentives for those who become a fan of your Facebook page. For example, offer a deal where those who are on your list of Facebook fans will receive a special commemorative t-shirt when they check in on event day. Your Facebook fans have their own circle of online friends who will notice their association with your event and naturally want to learn more.
Recruitment Incentives – Offer registrants a gift if they can convince their friends to participate. Group discounts are also a great way to recruit people who may be on the fence about attending. A common group discount would be a family deal where 4 people can attend for the price of 3.
Discount Coupons – With a down economy, if your potential attendees are on a tight budget, they may be thinking about waiting until next year to attend. Help them out and offer promotional coupons for a registration discount.
Early-bird registration fee – Offer discounts for those who register early. Collecting more attendee data early in the registration process will also help reduce the amount of work for your staff in the last days prior to the event.
Offer Online Registration – Registering for your event online can be as easy as just a few clicks saving your attendees a stamp or trip in the car down to the event office to submit their paper entry. With online event registration, participant data and payment are collected instantly and a confirmation email is automatically sent out saving your staff time and resources.
Send one last email prior to the close of online registration – Make sure to identify those email list subscribers that have not yet registered and send them one last reminder about 1 week prior to the event.
Partnerships with other event organisers and clubs – Seek out other organisations that cater to the same types of people that would be interested in your event. If you’re planning a cycling event, do some research online to find all of the cycling clubs in the area. You may be able to work out an arrangement where the club manager will promote your event to his members if you in turn promote his club to your event participants.
Post-Event Festival – Considering how competitive the events industry has become, event organisers are doing everything they can to make their event stand out above the rest. One way of doing this is to host a party or festival after your event and offer additional activities beyond the main event. Activities could include a concert, prize draw, games for kids, booth space for your sponsors to hand out free samples or food tasting from local restaurants. Allowing your attendees to bring friends and family to the party is a great way to recruit new participants for the following year’s event.
Make it a fundraising event – Your event is sure to provide your attendees with an unforgettable experience but why not also send them home with a feeling that that have done something for the greater good? Choose a local charity and donate a portion of event proceeds to the cause. If you want participants to be more hands-on, organise a fundraising competition and ask that they solicit their friends and family for donations. Those who are asked to make a contribution may also decide that they want to participate in the event.