Now that fall events have been advertised, it is a perfect time to think about your associations’ winter and early spring events.
Associations need to have a strategy for marketing upcoming events to drive attendance and communicate the benefits of sponsorships.
Take the time to look at the marketing plans for your fall events and summarize which tactics have been working so far and which ones haven’t.
The most important factor in developing and evolving effective strategies—whether the goal is to increase membership, event attendance or sponsorship dollars—is a thorough analysis and understanding of your associations’ marketplace, target audiences and the competitive and organizational influences.
A well-thought event marketing plan gives your association a competitive advantage, helping to identify and analyze the relationship between your association, your competitors and the criteria used by your members and prospects in making membership, attendance and sponsorship decisions.
In addition to traditional promotional strategies like e-newsletters and mailers, use your fall events as promotional vehicles for your winter and spring events. Make sure the hosts or moderators tell attendees about upcoming events and sponsorship opportunities in their remarks, upcoming-event flyers are on tables and save-the-dates are in the programs, as well as post-event surveys and communications. Put flyers in welcome packages, swag bags and include all hand out materials.
Social media is another marketing tool. At your associations’ fall event(s), reveal the social media hashtags for the winter and spring events. Follow up by using the winter and spring hashtags during fall event thank-you posts on social media. Consistently use them and talk about them in all event communications.
Leveraging networks is also key to successfully marketing events.
In addition to thanking event sponsors and promoting them as early as possible, ask your event sponsors to help spread the word within their networks. Ask your associations’ board to help spread the word about the upcoming events and task them with sharing on social media and among their networks.
As in all marketing, consistency is key and multiple touches are needed to get your message through.