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6 Easy Steps to Market Your Local Event Online

Event marketing is a tricky business. I don’t claim to know how to put together an event from A-Z, and I commend those who are able to pull off events so flawlessly.

I’ve always been on the outside of actual event planning and have been tasked more so with assisting in marketing the event online. In my years of experience and helping to attract attendees for around 50+ events, I’ve taken a few things away that I thought might be helpful to other local organizations putting on events.

Here are 6 easy steps to marketing your event online that you can set up in just under a few hours.

Step 1: Create a “One-Sheet” for your Event

You’re probably ready to jump right in and add all event details to Facebook, your website, etc., BUT I highly encourage that you first begin by creating a simple one-sheet about your event.

You’re going to be putting the same details in many places, so it will save you time to prepare these details before you begin. At that point, you’ll have all the details ready and in one place, and you’ll make sure that your messaging is cohesive among all channels.

Step 2: Add the Event to Your Website

All too often, there have been events I’ve wanted to attend, but I’ve had a hard time finding the information for it. When you’re planning a public event, the first thing you are going to want to do is post it on your website.

If you’re an organization that holds events frequently (like a brewery), you should have an events calendar on your website. We use a plugin for our WordPress websites that makes adding new events very easy. Make sure you include:

  1. The date
  2. The time
  3. An overview
  4. A schedule of events (include any vendors to make sure to can appease them, too!)

If you do not have an events calendar or an easy-to-use plugin where you can post events, then a simple landing page will suffice. Make sure that the URL is simple and easy to remember:

www.atilus.com/open-house (this isn’t a live page and is just an example)

I also always recommend including an area for attendees to RSVP. Even if your event is open to the public, it’s beneficial for you as a business to have a log of attendees’ emails for future marketing purposes. Offer an incentive for RSVPing in advance, like a special coupon or a small freebie.

Bonus: when you collect those emails, you can use them for Facebook Advertising and future email blasts.

Step 3: Add the Event to Your Facebook

Facebook should be your next stop. Take the details you’ve compiled in your Event One-Sheet and add them to Facebook.

Facebook is a little trickier than adding it to your website, as you’ll want to make sure you set everything up properly so other Facebook users can see your event is happening. I won’t walk through every field because it’s mostly self-explanatory, but here are a few things I’ve noticed that people miss when adding events to Facebook.

  • The event cover photo should be this size 1920 x 1080 pixels with a 16:9 ratio. Try, if you can, to make no exceptions here.
  • Make the event name the same as what is listed on your website and everywhere else.
  • Add a co-host if you are hosting this event with another organization.
  • Check off all options that apply to you – make sure you fill in the event category and add if it is “kid-friendly” or if there are “volunteer opportunities.”
  • Add a link to your event page on your website.

Step 4: Add the Event to your Google My Business Profile

Google My Business might not be the first place to think to add an event since it mainly serves as a way for people to just find your business. But Google has taken a few steps in their search engine results pages to provide more information to users without ever having to leave the page – and the same can be said with events.

To add an event to your Google My Business profile:

  1. Make sure you are logged into the Google account that is associated with your Google My Business profile
  2. Click this link https://business.google.com/locations
  3. Find the location that is hosting the event (if you manage a few)
  4. Once you click on the location that is hosting the event, navigate to and click on Posts
  5. Once on the Posts page, you’ll see an option to Add an Event

Step 5: Plan & Schedule Your Social Media Posts

By this point, you’ve covered most areas where you can list your event and people can begin to find it. You should also plan to promote your event on social media (mainly Facebook and Instagram) by posting about the event leading up to the event. Note that this is just posting about the event and not using advertising.

For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to refer only to Facebook. It’s safe to say that whatever you do on Facebook, you’ll want to pull some of that over to your Instagram promotions.

By posting the event to your Facebook, it will show up automatically on your profile. I usually recommend that you should start posting ABOUT your event at least 6 weeks before the scheduled event date/dates. This first post is an introductory post simply announcing the event, stay tuned for more details, etc. From there, this is a formula that has worked well for us in the past:

  1. 6 weeks ahead – post once about the event and introduce some details
  2. 5 weeks ahead – announce another facet of the event, say a vendor or list of vendors (make sure to tag them so they can then reshare to their audience – and do this always)
  3. 4 weeks ahead – post twice this week (one post topic can be that the event is “officially” 1 month away and/or announcing some other new detail about the event)
  4. 3 weeks ahead – post once this week (announcing some other detail about the event and/or posting a photo or video from the last event if applicable)
  5. 2 weeks ahead – post twice this week (one post can be a 2-week countdown and the other can be something related to the event setup)
  6. 1 week ahead – post twice this week (use your best judgment about the content-type based on previous engagement)
  7. The week of the event – post each day leading up to the event and remind people to RSVP
  8. Day of – post live stories and photos/videos throughout the day

Step 6: Plan & Schedule Your Email Blasts 

If you have a cleaned-up database, use your preferred email marketing platform to send email newsletters promoting your event. Similar to the above Facebook plan, you should start to promote your event via email at least 6 weeks out.

  1. 6 weeks ahead – save the date
  2. 4 weeks ahead – a reminder to RSVP, more details about the event
  3. 2 weeks ahead – a reminder to RSVP, more details about the event
  4. Week of – a final reminder to RSVP, more details about the event
  5. Post-event – send a thank you email

Digital Marketing for Local Events & Beyond

There you have it! It may sound time-consuming to start all of this upfront, but I strongly recommend planning and getting these things in place ahead of time to avoid any stress down the road. You’re going to have your hands full with other last-minute event details, so getting your digital marketing up and running at the forefront will help!

To learn more about our digital marketing services, contact us at (239) 362-1271 today.

 

Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Additionally, Kristen has worked in digital marketing for 6+ years and has helped create digital marketing plans for most of our clients.

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