Paid promotions can of course help you cost effectively promote your next event. They are not only a way to drive event attendance but can also be used to help you build an attendee list – getting new names into your database that can be used over and over again. Here are some marketing platforms and paid promotions ad networks and/or processes you may want to test for your next event.
Banner and Display advertising networks – these types of ads can be setup easily using Google’s PPC Ad Words Advertising or third party networks such as Buy and Sell Ads. Simply put, these types of ads enable you to either advertise via keywords using a Google Ad Words campaign (they also have a Content Network that enables you to select web sites) or buy a demographic target.
You may also want to consider Facebook paid sponsorship of posts ads (which can be very targeted, especially if your event is local) and/or LinkeIn’s network, which also has good targeting. Facebook Ads can be very cost effective and like Google, they have very robust reporting for your ads that lets you track your costs and understand who you are reaching.
Think “local” when using Google’s Ad Words – if your event is locally targeted by a specific area or region use keywords that have some type of local name; i.e. the city, county, or area where your event is located. Try to avoid very generic keywords, as these can be much more expensive.
A great tool that we recommend using to understand where your direct competitors are advertising and what keywords they are targeting is SpyFu.com – their low cost service (under $100. a month) lets you “spy” on your direct competitors – enabling you to generate a list of keywords they are using, what their media spend is (total costs) and even where they are advertising.
Listing and Advertising your Event Online – can be a great way to drive attendance. Try Craig’s list ads – they are either free or low cost depending on your geographic area. But, be aware, you may have to keep uploading a new ad at least once a week or more frequently. Be sure to list your event web site, contact information and utilize a short 2-3 sentence description of your event that is informative and compelling.
Don’t forget to list your Event within your Facebook Business or Fan Page and you can also list your Event in your activity feed with LinkedIn A Facebook listing can drive significant traffic, depending on how engaged your Facebook presence is. And, you should also list your event with your local newspaper and make sure they give you a listing for the event via their web site.
Mobile or SMS Advertising is emerging as a great way to advertise an event. There are many mobile ad networks to choose from – make sure you have very good targeting capabilities with whoever you choose and they have some kind of integrated analytics that enable you to measure your media costs.
To summarize – there are a tremendous number of services to choose from. One of the most important marketing processes you should integrate with each is testing your marketing “return on investment.” You may find significant differences from one platform or process versus another – stringent testing will save you marketing expenses!