Promoting Your Next Big Event with Email Marketing
So any of you that know me know that I'm really good at getting myself volunteered for various events and activities. Whether it's a water ski tournament or a cycling event, I've found my way into the thick of organizing and promotion. In my defense, I will say that my volunteer involvement has opened some large doors for my business. In fact most of my clients are either friends or referrals from friends - huge thank you by the way!
I've been in Big Bear full-time for about 9 years now. Over the course of time I connected with Dede Hermon, a local event organizer, production coordinator and all around great lady.
Dede quickly recognized my pension for getting involved and hired me to develop and promote the Grizzly 100 Mountain Bike Race website as well as her personal site, ddandAssociates.net. She then roped me into working with her on the AMGEN Tour of California Big Bear Lake local organizing committee and managing that website, which then evolved into working with the Big Bear Cycling Association (BBCA) and the Tour de Big Bear (also websites that I've redesigned and manage). Oh and the Big Bear Valley Community Emergency Response Team (BBV-CERT) website. And now I'm on the Board of Directors for the BBCA and BBV-CERT. Thanks a lot Dede! (I drew the line at getting my HAM radio license.)
But through all of that volunteering, I've gained more experience, exposure and opportunity. Dede and I have a great working relationship and she has become a dear friend. She is an absolute wiz at email marketing and together we've found a real niche in event promotion and marketing.
Following is a great proposal that she wrote to a prospective client recently. I thought it would be appropriate to share for any of you who are trying to figure out how to promote your business or event and how to generate engagement with your followers. Enjoy!
We have spoken briefly about how Constant Contact could help bring more excitement to the event and help bring it into the next decade. As event coordinators ourselves, we understand your challenges and would like to offer some assistance.
Events are unlike any other business! You have a short time to capture enough interest of a select few potential participants to have them fork out good money to register for the event. A lot of times, it is a numbers game. And the more people you can reach, the better the registration numbers. After working on your email list, continued communication is essential. How are other events handling this challenge? Many use Constant Contact to simplify email marketing and communication. d d and Associates is a Certified Partner with Constant Contact. We specialize in marketing and communication for events of all types.
Sure, you have your email lists from previous events and people who have expressed an interest over the years, many of whom are fortunate enough to still receive your messages. After a while, that list of contacts becomes stagnant. With staff changes, contacts are often lost.
Adding new addresses to your contact list can be as simple as adding a button on your web page to “subscribe.” A box on promo pieces can encourage people to “text to subscribe.” And you know all of those presentations where you collect business cards (and perhaps lose them) or have a sign-up sheet (and you cannot read the handwriting), instead try using a tablet for them to sign up.
You always mean to follow up, but that isn’t always possible. Each of these options allows the information to drop directly into the correct group for future reference. No more sending the coordinators a name and email to add to a list of potential participants or volunteers. They will be welcomed automatically with instructions on who to contact for more information…or whatever you want to say.
IS YOUR EMAIL LIST OUTDATED OR UNORGANIZED?
Just how old are those email lists that are lying around? Clean them up! With Constant Contact, you will know who is opening your messages, which emails are no longer valid, and who chooses to unsubscribe to future emails from you. You will even know which links in your email the reader clicks for more information.
Group your lists for best organization. Not everyone wants to hear the same spiel. You can set up as many groups as you choose and target one or all of the groups. You might have: Participants, Media, Sponsors, Vendors, Volunteers and General Information, to mention a few. Want to send out special follow ups? Set your list up with tags to notify you of, well, whatever you want to be reminded. You can send reminders something like: It has been three years since we’ve seen you and we’d love to have you back! The lists are the heart of an event. See how simple that was to organize?
SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? We make them less scary! Whenever you send out a press release or fun update, link to your social media accounts! It will reach many more people and allows your information to be shared. New people will learn of the event and reach out to be added to the list.
Communication is key to the success of an event. Participants or volunteers or sponsors may forget about you if they don’t occasionally hear from you. They may need a reminder of the date of the upcoming event. Nobody particularly likes the term email marketing, but that is just what has to be done to keep your name out there. Remember the group lists above? Pick one, pick more. That’s who you will target.
Add a “REGISTER NOW” call to action button right on the email. This will link the reader straight to your registration page and he’ll be registered before he ever closes the email!
Feature a participant when they register or when you send out a call for volunteers. Within your emails, you can add photos, links to articles, links for a YouTube channel or other videos. We all love to access videos right from the email. Share the excitement from the last event.
Send out your press releases and your official notices to participants. Call for volunteers. Include the post event link for your photographer. He’s going beg to return for the next event after receiving those extra sales a few weeks later.
The schedule of events is something you want to get into everyone’s hands. Have throngs lining the streets, joining the parade and attending the banquets and dinners.
Where can they purchase merchandise? Yeah, remind then where they can spend the money! Create your email so your contacts can purchase shirts, mugs, decals and other merchandise directly from your email and Shopify account. For many events, merchandising is a hefty portion of the profits.
Have your email drop right into your social media accounts for wider distribution. They can even be added to the blog posts on your website.
Did you remember to say “thanks” to all of those who volunteered? You certainly did not have time to see them following the event! Have that email prepared weeks or even months ahead and scheduled to go out immediately after the event. Remember that group thing? All that is needed is to download the current list of active volunteers and the email is ready to go.
Automating your communication to groups is starting to sound easier and easier, isn’t it?
Following the event, is it time for the board to pat themselves on the back? Well, maybe or maybe not. Do you really have a clue how the event was perceived. Yeah, there was a lot of talk from the regulars about how great it was, but what about the “newbies” who may have ideas for updating?
Survey the groups to find out about the event, safety, communication, social activities and more. Did the volunteers receive the necessary information about their inclusion in activities? Anonymously survey the staff and board for suggestions they may not want to include in their after action report.
This is starting to sound expensive, right? Wrong! With a regular staff person, all of this can be handled in-house. There are training videos and lots of support for the non-professional to learn to manage the email lists and communication/marketing. The only cost then is the cost of the Constant Contact account, which is dependent on the number of unique email addresses you have in your account.
d d and Associates can also be retained to complete the initial set up: create the account, uploading all of the email addresses, putting them into appropriate groups, and creating a couple of master templates to use for monthly emails or press releases. You’d be responsible for adding content.
Another alternative is to bring on d d and Associates for a nominal monthly fee to track and report on your campaigns (opens/clicks/bounces/new adds/unsubscribes) and to add your content to the templates or create new templates as needed. Our affiliate Shoreline Web Marketing and the West Coast Cyber Chick can also be retained to update the website, review your “brand,” write blog posts, create podcasts, develop videos for your YouTube channel or do Facebook Live from the Start or Finish, post to your social media and a whole lot more.
OTHER FUN STUFF
What are some other fun things to consider sending to your contacts? Send a coupon for an entry to a special social activity or discount on merchandise. Do your sponsors want to offer specials? Let your contacts know about that. There are a lot of “extras” you will be able to offer!
These are just some of the things that Constant Contact and d d and Associates can do for you. We have been working with Constant Contact for about ten years now and producing events much longer. Using our program allows you to showcase the professionalism of your team and to target the marketing and communication exactly where you want it to go.
We would love to work with you to set up your Constant Contact account and to answer any questions you may have going forward. Please contact me at (909) 878-3456 or via email at ddA.BigBear@gmail.com
d d and Associates
Big Bear Lake, CA
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Laura Nowak Brown
aka The West Coast Cyber Chick