Best of Marketing Genius: Successful Event Promotion (Pt. 1)
Keys to Successful Event Promotion - Part 1
[first published here in July 2006]
In our increasingly saturated, information overload world, it's getting harder and harder to get people to attend events. It doesn't seem to matter whether it is a party, an educational seminar or a demonstration. People are busy, to be sure. It also seems that the people who we want to come to our event are getting hit with tons of other invitations from people urging them to come to their events. Not to mention the fact that our invitees are working longer hours, and they're busy parenting their active, involved kids.
So what's a marketing genius to do? Before you raise your arms in exasperation, try the 'RSVP' approach. It's the smarter way of promoting events.
R - Repetition
You have to send your message multiple times. That busy invitee may toss the first invitation. The second one might come at the wrong time ... but that third request catches her just when she has a free moment to focus. If your budget allows, plan and deploy a series of communications to promote your event. Start with a teaser, then send a "Save the Date" message. Continue with the official invitation and follow it with a news clipping about your event. Later, send a friendly reminder, followed by a blurb along the lines of "Look Who's Coming!" If you are operating on a shoe-string budget, you would be wise to send the exact same invitation two or three times, simply to ensure that it gets through. A repetitive communication series gets results. A one-shot invitation gets ignored, misplaced or trashed.
S - Simplicity
How simple can you make it for your invitee to attend your event? I mean, really, really simple. Can you make it so easy that all she has to do is show up? Ask yourself: Is the response step really necessary? Could we go with "Regrets only?" Do not require an RSVP, unless it is truly needed. If you are inviting via e-mail, make it simple for them to just click "Reply" to register. Avoid using a complicated Web form, if possible. Simplify your process; it will make things easier on you and your guests.
There you have it: the "R" and the "S" of the RSVP approach. We'll share the rest with you over the next couple of days.