NETWORK MARKETING the new world of promotion
– over 100 ways to promote your event or gig
By John Winkler, F.Inst.M Winner of International Award Communauté Européene des Experts en Marketing et en Vente.
Some of these techniques of event promotion are very old – theatre managements since the Middle Ages have followed these principles. Since then we have just become more sophisticated.
Most event promoters and venues have established successful routines for bringing in the crowds to a gig. A few become very active, and enjoy filling out the hall. That is the fun for them.
I’ve based this on smaller Events staged somewhere such as in a Village Hall serving a community, but it could as easily be a Golf club, or a small local theatre group. Please cherry pick from these techniques, and modify them to suit you.
1 Target those groups who can send several people to your event.
2 Use the pub to sell tickets for your event, or the tourist office, or the local shop.
3 Events do much better when they are part of a sequence, say once a month a similar event is run. You build a loyal audience.
4 Everywhere they look people should see your event promotion, put up road signs everywhere.
5 Make sure your venue is registered on website directories, which will also publish your event.
PRICING These schemes start with the pricing structure for your event. Don’t price it too low
GETTING OTHERS TO SELL YOUR EVENT TICKETS FOR YOU
Suppose you use a standard Ticket price of £15. You can then have a “special” price of, not advertised, of say, £14; a Concession price of £11 for groups; You advertise only the main price, and the group price.
You can then give a local sports club, or a charity, or social clubs that use your hall £2 off every ticket their members buy. They need to email or notify their members about your event. Charities will put this £2 into their funds. As an incentive, they can also offer their members a “special” price of £1 off the Ticket price, so their everyone gets a good price, and you have to do virtually no work . Supply them with the wording for their emails perhaps, that’s all.
It is worthwhile your reducing the money you receive per ticket but only so long as they will produce bulk ticket sales which you would otherwise not get. Groups which might be interested in this could include.
All the groups which book your village hall during the year, perhaps
Sports clubs, all kinds
Residential home staff
You can adapt this idea in several ways. The local pub can offer special price tickets to its customers after putting an event promotion poster on the wall. You collect all the names from them, and the people can pay at the door by having their names ticked off the list.
THE BIGGEST PULLER OF ALL IS TO HAVE A LOT OF DISPLAY SIGNS ON ALL THE ROADS.
Put them up for two weeks, make them very simple, eye catching, and take them down the day after the event. Very simple design, placard typeface, very few words just price location date- don't use colour on colour. Drivers have a millisecond to see them and register the details. Always take them down immediately afterwards otherwise people get very upset.
PAYING SOMEONE TO SELL TICKETS AND DO DOOR TO DOOR DROPS
You can advertise that advance tickets can be bought from someone, (a local shop, café, individual person you know, perhaps) and you give these sellers £1 per ticket sold. The right person selling your tickets might be willing to do door-to-door leafleting, getting the enquiries back to themselves and they then get £1 for every ticket they sell.
Never be afraid of setting higher prices, if there is quality being offered. Events are not so price sensitive as people imagine.
Offering events free is a bad idea only because they become tainted with the idea of having no value, or poor quality. Just use it for offers such as “Buy 5, the 6th comes free”
The last week before the event is very important. Have a plan in mind to get the word out again to everyone during that week. Many people make up their minds late – they need a reminder. Using text messages on the mobile phone, Facebook, and your own email list is excellent for this. You will sell a large number of tickets like this, on the second round of publicity. If the event has not sold well you can advertise that you have a few last minute concession tickets left.
TIE IN YOUR EVENT WITH A BIG NATIONAL EVENT
For example, Guy Fawkes night, Valentine's night.
Put the event on your high traffic index page, not just on your events page. Link from your index page to the inside Event page. A week before the Event, blast it all over the index page. People come to your website to look for your event.
OTHER EVENT WEBSITES
More and more people are using Event websites to find out what is going on in their area. These will allow you to post the details of your event on their site for nothing. Responses are weak at the moment but they are increasing. we got tickets This is a very ethical web site to sell your tickets at no cost to you. Ticketmaster also have an online sales agency. Take care with other ticket selling online agencies, many of them are scams. You can list your venue and event for free on these following which are the leading websites for local events.
In order of marketing power, we use:
This is a very good site. Where can we Go.
This site has a lot of traffic and covers a wide range. Gig Guide
A big very popular site for venues, artists and events. All gigs co uk
Another very good well used website for venues, artists and events. Reverbnation
Venue and events and artists are listed free. The site is called Ents 24
BUILDING EVENT MAILING LISTS
Your most responsive market will always be the people who have come to your events before. With their permission you need to maintain them on a mailing list, an email list, a Facebook list, a mobile phone list (for text messages)
Older people prefer to receive letters, they have authority. Mailings cost more than £50 per 100 so they must be targeted to people who can influence a lot of business, Chief executives, Local Authority chiefs, high level Professionals by name. Emails don’t carry authority, but they can be friendlier.
To build your email lists just Google all the clubs in the areas around you. Websites of local communities close by will usually list their clubs and societies, with links to their websites. You can also use Google search to find the club websites. Frequently they will publish the name of their Secretary, or Chief Executive. The websites will usually have a general email address or link. You can often use the web Directories of, say, Golf Clubs to find the email addresses of each club’ssecretary all on one page.
WHAT TO SAY IN YOUR EMAIL
Make it gentle and easy. Just email them asking them to post the email on to the right person or give you a name. You will find that 20% of the email links on the websites will be wrong, and reject your email, 40% will not reply, but the rest will help. If you are aggressive then they will put you on their spam filter, so take care.
40% of people already have a Facebook account, and one fifth of them are avid users. But that is only 8% of the population seeing your messages at any time, max. Facebook is much weaker as an advertising medium that its publicity would warrant.
If you can build a proper community which goes on to Facebook frequently and uses it for all sorts of community purposes then it will work for advertising. Otherwise, t is usually not worth the effort. You can set up an Event page on Facebook. We have not found Twitter to be of much use except where the event/artist has a national reputation and an established following.
Approach the Chief Executives/Owners of the local businesses for sponsorship. But you need to do something for them in exchange. They will be saying to themselves, but not to you, “What is my organisation getting out of this apart from a nice warm feeling?” Can he bring his customers as VIPs, can he put up a display, are the people attending in his own market, will his company name go into the title of the event?
Think small, too. Will the local butcher chip in some money, if he supplies the hog roast? Look at your suppliers to your organisation. Make a list of them, even the plumbers, decorators, stationary suppliers, and approach them to help in return for publicity. They can email their customers for you, or put up a poster. They supply things to you after all. Use them.
A good idea for a big event such as a Music Festival, for example, is to invite the Advertising department of the local paper to run a special feature half page, with editorial about your forthcoming event. They will sell the advertising to your suppliers and the contacts you give them. That gets you free large scale publicity and your sponsors get publicity too.
PROMOTING EVENTS AND GIGS IN THE LONG TERM
VOUCHERS for repeat business. Instead of giving away £1 per ticket, you can give away a voucher for a half price ticket for your next Event. You could give everyone in the audience a £1 Voucher for the next event.
PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR GIGS Look at the local press for the page which Lists the local events each week. It will have a specialist person hired to do it (from home). Ask the paper for their name and contact number and they will be delighted to hear from you. They want to publish all your events and they need your information. People read them.
CELEBRITIES Local ones are good for press, television and radio, just ask them to help.
LIST THE JOURNALISTS covering your area and send them an advance press release. This itself will generally not appear in advance, but if you follow it up with a photograph and news report afterwards then it will usually go in. This builds your reputation for the long term, and they get used to receiving information from you.
If you have an unusual photo idea related to the event and send it to the picture editor, that might go in before your event happens.
RADIO This works well for unusual human interest stories involving people. Just ring the radio station with the story and they will respond often with a phone interview. These two will list you on their website and may mention you.
http://www.spiritfm.net/contribute/whats-on/ Very helpful to local organisations. They list you in their local events guide, but you'll need to have a special angle for radio.
http://www.heart.co.uk/sussex/events/events-sussex/ Good one for listing local events free.
TELEVISION, WHY NOT? They want unusual local stories with a strong visual moving element. Just telephone their editorial department.
REACHING OPINION FORMERS
It is very valuable to establish connections with important Opinion Formers in the area. An invitation as a personal guest is very useful - they’ll pay for any friends.
The long term advantage is that they will spread the news by word of mouth and your reputation grows.
County, District and Parish councils
John Winkler, Jazz Smugglers band