Event organisation is synonymous with multitasking – and I challenge anyone to deny it. Even if you’re one of those people who can’t operate without checklists, you should still always be ready to change your event plan and take on hundreds of new challenges at the very last moment. The reason is that there are always things you just can’t control, from low conversion levels to poor engagement on social media.
This, of course, doesn’t mean you should forego planning in any way. What’s more, there is actually a good way to plan your last-minute promotion strategy that helps to ensure you stay safe, no matter what happens.
What is last-minute promotion and why do you need to plan it?
Building a last-minute marketing strategy means having a back-up plan. Apart from your regular activities, you can create some promotion ideas that will be used at the very last stages of event organisation. Here is what you can gain by promoting your event at the last minute:
- Additional buzz. The buzz that your event initially creates will shape attendance experiences in the future. By building some positive pre-event buzz, you will add a lot of value to the image of an event. Set up a last-minute contest on Facebook, or start a heated discussion in a forum—it’s all about prompting extra engagement.
- New registrations. A smart last-minute marketing idea can help you sell out your event. Even if there’s only one week left, you can still encourage people to sign up.
- Getting the audience excited about what’s coming. One more great benefit of last-minute marketing is that it keeps your audience tuned in. Such activities also help to ensure that no one drops out at the last moment.
Isn’t it too late?
Never. If done right, last-minute marketing can produce a lasting effect on your target audience. Let’s say that you’re doing some last-minute promotion for TechCrunch Disrupt. You could possibly post on Quora to start a discussion about a specific attendee group and build some extra buzz:
The great thing about this thread is that it will have a long life, and even if it doesn’t bring you any immediate benefits, it can play into your hands in the future.
Basically, if you can invest some time and effort into last-minute marketing, don’t hesitate to do so.
7 working strategies for last-minute event promotion
Doing last-minute event promotion shouldn’t be stressful if you know exactly how to tackle this challenge. Here are some foolproof ideas for last-minute marketing that you can embed in your back-up plan:
Advertising via Google AdWords
The use of paid ads is a casual practice for event marketers. Advertising via Google AdWords requires some spending, which is why there is a tendency to avoid this activity, especially with a tight event budget.
However, paid ads can be a perfect last-minute solution if you have some unsold tickets you’d like to unload. The beauty of the Google AdWords approach is in how quickly you can implement it. Simply pick a few relevant keywords, define your investment, and lead a campaign that will reap new signups.
When it comes to event attendance, you and your sponsors have a shared goal – reaching the widest audience possible. In case your sponsors have a large client base in a target niche, go ahead and ask them for help. You can create an email promotion campaign or an attention-grabbing contest for social media that your sponsors will then take and share with their audience.
Quality is king
Go back to the mission and the major goals of your event. Whether it’s a tech conference or a charity gala, event organisers do their best to bring value to people attending it. Accordingly, you should stay focused on those who need this value. Instead of doing generic pre-event email blasting, go for personalisation. Target several attendee segments that are the most valuable for your event and treat them to some special offers or engagement activities.
Promoting on social media
Social media is one of those channels that one would be unwise to ignore. If you want to generate some virality, LinkedIn connection building and creative Facebook advertising should be your best friends at any stage. For last-minute marketing, think of new ways to strengthen your social media efforts. Here are some suggestions:
- Create some social media polls
- Expand your reach
- Increase the number of posts
- Set up an online contest
- Use live streaming
Yes, forums are still alive and well. There’s a wide array of active forum communities on such platforms as LinkedIn, Google+, and more. Event-goers appreciate forum discussions, particularly because they provide capabilities for direct interaction with an organising team. Start a few threads on niche-related forums, and stay actively engaged before an event to drive some valuable conversations and attention.
The power of a press release
What? I need weeks to make a press release work! If that’s what you’re thinking, let’s make it clear that we’re talking about a paid press release here. There are many platforms for press release submissions that will optimise and promote your release within a very short time frame. Here are three elements that your last-minute press release should include:
- A worthy value offer (ideally in the first paragraph)
- Contact information
- Some social proof or numbers, which add value to your event
Ticket scarcity tactic
Tickets that are going fast can go even faster if people know about it. What we mean is that by demonstrating ticket scarcity before an event, you tell your target audience that this might be the last chance for them to sign up. Create a last-minute email campaign or a social media post with a “you have to act now” message to prompt registrations.
Last-minute event promotion strategies can maximise your efforts, not only for the upcoming event but over the long-term as well. All you have to do is prepare some effective “change of plan” scenarios beforehand.