There’s something undeniably magical – if a little old school – about opening up a carefully penned paper invitation, but for every letter your painstakingly calligraph, there are dozens of people who you’ll never get around to inviting to your upcoming shindig. When the event in question is your child’s mermaid-themed birthday party this isn’t such an issue; when your event marketing efforts are focused on your company’s event, a healthy RSVP list is essential to both brand building and overall entrepreneurial success.
Talk it Up on Social Media
Remember in high school when the cool kids would hand out flyers for the end-of-school beach party blow out? Social media works in much the same way, except now you’re the cool kid and the methodology behind the typical word-of-mouth strategy has gotten a little more sophisticated. Learn how to create a Facebook event and explore sites like Tweetvite that streamline the invitation process while also providing a place for you to post promotional event marketing materials like videos, links to event-inspired blog posts, and enticing updates about featured performers or celebrity guests.
Make a Video…
…and if you can, make it funny. Avoid going “we we we” all over prospective attendees and skip the shameless self-promotion in favor of creating something they’ll actually enjoy watching. Post the video on sites like YouTube and Vimeo, share it on your social media sites, and put a snippet in your weekly newsletter or monthly email blast with a link to your event page or website. Experts have found that the longer a video drags on, the lower the view retention rate goes. Video engagement is as high as 80 percent through the 30-second mark, but it drops to 60 percent once your video grows to 5+ minutes in length. Make your point, advertise your event, and give viewers some place to go afterwards – your website, Facebook page, something – to capitalize on the interest you just created.
Create an Event Landing Page
This event is important to your business, right? Of course it is, so act like it. Give your event its own landing page on your site, complete with appropriate and effective keywords and SEO optimization out the wazoo. By doing this – versus just adding your event to an existing online calendar or tacking a paragraph onto your homepage – you’re exponentially increasing the likelihood that John Q Internetsurfer searching for “business events Boston” or “networking party Tampa” will find your page. Any chance you have to build your brand while also increasing your visibility should be grabbed with both hands.
Bring Your Event Online
People are busy, perhaps busier than ever, and be it for scheduling, personal, or geographic reasons not everyone will be able to physically be present at your event. Schedule a webinar or broadcast all or a portion of your keynote speaker’s address online and let people attend on a virtual basis. Encourage interaction by allowing online attendees to send in questions that you can feed to the speaker during the Q&A portion of the evening.
Think Ahead and Build Your Momentum
A savvy businessperson is always thinking ahead. While an event-related hashtag can (and should) most definitely be used to get people talking in the time leading up to your event, you can also build momentum between events. Capitalize on the mid-soiree excitement by giving your guests a similar hashtag to use as they post during and after the party too. Put it on the invitation, add it to signs near the buffet and bar, and put it on the corner of the podium placard. Getting something like #BobsBash2015 to trend on Twitter piques user’s curiosity instantly; fear of missing out is a powerful thing, and if the public feels left out of the first part of you event you can be sure they’ll be clamoring to attend the next one. Remember, you attendees only have 140 total characters at their disposal and they don’t want to use them all up on your insanely long vanity ta. Keep the hashtag short, unique, and memorable, and you’ll have a way to engage people across the Twittersphere and keep your business in the social media spotlight long after you’ve cleaned up your marketing materials.