Sell Your Event Early, Keep It Alive Late

Remember those “save the date” postcards that went out before a company’s holiday party or other special event? They’re still out there, in both print and digital form, but they’ve become just one of many ways to keep your name — and your happenings — in front of clients and potential customers.

Planning an open house to showcase your products or offerings? How about a one-day seminar on changes in the way your industry works, and how your company has adapted to operate successfully in the new climate? Sounds good, but first and foremost, you need to get people in the door.

How do you do that? First, map out a series of rolling awareness activities online:

  • Email: Six weeks out, send an email to your client list with an event invitation attached. Four weeks out, follow up on that email. And if necessary, do it again two weeks out.
  • Website: Revise your home page to feature the event prominently. Better yet, create a landing page specifically for attendees to visit so that they can register, leave comments and ask questions. Direct visitors there from your home page.
  • Facebook. Six weeks out, start posting about your event on Facebook. Once a week to start, and go light on the details to keep readers coming back. Four weeks out, send Facebook event invites to your friends and followers on the site. Two weeks out, step up your posts to 2-3 times a week, and present as much detail as possible. And in every posting, attach the link to your event page.
  • Twitter. Six weeks out, announce the event on your Twitter feed. Four weeks out, step up the Twitter announcements to at least twice a week. Two weeks out and through the day of the event, post an update at least every other day. Be sure every post has a link to your event page.
  • Blog. If you have a corporate blog, follow these same timelines to start talking about your event. Here’s where you can get personal, get the point across about why you are doing this, and tell your followers why it’s important for people to attend.
  • Print. Here is where you stand out by keeping part of your plan traditional. Be sure that you send out at least one print piece. It can be a “save the date” card or a more formal invitation. This will keep your event in front of people who don’t use social media, or don’t use it very often.

Next, be sure to have a team dedicated to event coverage while everything’s going on. That means a videographer, photographer and writer. You want coverage from local media, and so they should certainly be invited, but also have your own professionals in place.

After everything’s wrapped up, keep your efforts front and center with clients and potential new business by not only linking to media coverage of the event, but also by posting your own stories, photo scrapbooks and videos. You’ll have all that material at hand, thanks to your own team’s work during the event. Use it over the coming weeks and months to showcase your expertise on your own sites. You can also maximize the effect by using it in promotional materials you’re sending out for new and existing lines of business.

An informational event is a great way to expose your company to a new audience, as well as reinforce your skills and abilities to existing clients. With careful thought and planning, you can create a multilevel engagement strategy that allows you to reach the right audience and raise your company profile.