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How to pick the worst ways to promote an event?

- Eventory Blog

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There is a question that every event organizer need to ask at least once during the career. What are the ways to promote an event? To successfully give your event proper hype you need to think through various aspects and cover a lot of ways of promotion. While it’s good to have an idea on how to promote your event learning from the best, there’s no better way to avoid marketing blunders than by learning from the others’ mistakes. In this article, I will tell you something about the worst ways to do an event promotion.

Why should you bother with finding the worst ways to promote an event

Someone once said to me that the only person who did no mistake is the same person who never tried to do something new. Personally, I think we could change that a little bit, saying that it’s the same person who did nothing at all. Ever. After all, mistakes are one constant thing in our lives along with the change. So, why not learn from it? Let’s apply it to the event promotion.

To avoid the marketing blunders while promoting your event you should look for the ways proven to be a fail. Knowing which ways to promote an event are not efficient you can conclude why it doesn’t work and what can you do to make it better. You can think it through and better understand the problem and therefore you’ll learn how to promote your event in the best way possible!

How to say which ways to promote an event won’t work

When looking for the worst ways of promoting an event it is vital to decide what one mean by the term. This is a subjective matter as everyone sees the success of an event differently.

For me, the least adequate ways to promote an event would be those which contribute to the event’s failure both in financial and branding aspects. I would put on this list all of the methods that can cause the company’s image loss, repulse the audience. I would mark out for example:

  • Communication mismatch
  • No targeting
  • No partners involved
  • Chaotic actions without a proper plan
  • Last minute actions
  • Inadequate online promotion
  • Mobile incompatibility

 Also, events are meant to be profitable so the promotion actions should enhance this aspect as well. After all, you go through the trouble of organizing the event to gain profits, right?

How NOT to promote your event? These are the worst ways to do so

As I mentioned before, there are a great many real-life examples of the marketing blunders when it comes to methods of event promotion. To avoid them you need to be aware of their existence. Remembering that usually, one size does not fit all I specified for you a list of a couple of the worst ways to promote an event.

#1 Lack of targeting

lack of targeting

When you organize an event and have specified goals you want to attract as big audience as possible. However, you don’t want to have a gathering of a random bunch there, do you? That’s what I thought. So, do everything that’s possible to interest only people you’re interested in yourself. Determine the target group and choose the ways to promote an event that will fit your audience profile and preferences. Not doing this is one one of the worst direction you can take while promoting your project.

The Culprit

It is very common that organizers forget to ask themselves who is the audience they want to invite to the event. This way they spend money on the marketing campaigns that will not give any result. The news about the event won’t get to the interested audience.

Why is that bad?

Because of that, the costs increase and, in general, the event is becoming less profitable. After all, how can you attract people who might want to attend the event if you didn’t name the addressees of the campaign?

Also, the lack of a specified target significantly limits the business and sale opportunities during the event, both for the organizer and the attendee. If you do not target the promotion on the people with certain features the event may transform into a networking fiasco. A gathering of different people not interested in lectures and the conference in general.

Summing up, the lack of targeting has some serious consequences. Because of it, the participants’ list is chaotic, fewer people will decide to attend the event and what may be the most important – organizational costs are rising.

#2 Communication mismatch

Another disastrous one of the worst ways to promote an event is strongly connected with the one I mentioned above. Without setting one specified target group for your promotion effort, there is no way to get the communication process right. The audience either won’t understand the message or they won’t care about it.

Communication is one of the pilar aspects when it comes to promotion. The whole plan of how to promote your event is based on different communication channels. It may be a social media campaign, website content, personalized emails and so on. However, every form of communication is based on the content which needs to fit the readers’ interests and needs.

This can’t be done without knowing who is the audience.

The Culprit

On the other hand, even with the whole targeting plan, you can miss the interest of your customer. There are multiple reasons why the message you prepared for the potential attendee won’t do the work. There’s always a communicative buzz and subjective perception of what your target wants to hear.

Why is that bad?

The negligence of the communication layer of promotion generates multiple further problems. Without the content suited to the addressees’ preferences you won’t gain attendees, won’t attract them with your brand, the return of the costs won’t happen and it’s even possible that it’ll create a bad company image. Therefore, it is vital to precisely determine what your communication content will look like. Believe me, a proper throughout analysis of your target group can work wonders!

#3 No partners

One of the factors that give any event a little bit of hype are big names involved in the organization. Nowadays, almost every conference is sponsored or co-organized by big companies or the industry celebrities. This itself is one of the ways to promote an event. With partners, the event gains credibility and thus it becomes more attractive. Promoting an event without partners is not the best option.

via GIPHY

The Culprit

Organizing an event and managing its promotion is a complex and, let’s face it, difficult task. So why make it even harder? Many are unaware that partnering have a salvific impact on the event awareness across the target group, on its promotion and therefore, it’s profitability. Just imagine, joining forces with other companies or personas can significantly increase the reach of your communication and promote the event to the wider audience.

Why is it bad?

Another important thing that you lose by not having partners is the financial contribution. Partners or sponsors can save you from a great deal of the inevitable costs. Also, this way you can make sure that the event is organized with the top standards which later is beneficial to attendees’ satisfaction.

Partners are one of the efficient ways to spread the news about your event. Choose them wisely to make sure that their recipients match your target group. The history remembers some marketing blunders of mismatched partners, but trust me it’s not a reason to resign from the benefits the partnership has. Not using its potential would not be wise!

#4 No plan

It goes without saying that when it comes to organizing an event you have to be super organized. Otherwise, you expose yourself and the whole enterprise to chaos and probably a failure. The whole process should be wisely prepared and well thought through. Same goes when you’re wondering how to promote your event – plan it! Doing it spontaneously is the worst thing you could do!

The Culprit

Imagine your event is buttoned up, the agenda is filled with the celebrities, everything looks perfect. Now, this ideal image can be easily destroyed by unplanned promotion process. The chaotic promotion process is, unfortunately, very common mistake of young and inexperienced organizers. Not everyone is aware that such actions can be visible even from the attendees’ perspective.

Why is that bad?

While the event itself may be a big hit, incorrect timing of the advertisement may result in low attendance. The communication process is not coherent and therefore it may confuse receivers. Now, wouldn’t you agree that it can cost you a great image damage? Also, because of the lack of planning the whole information transfer is being put at risk.

The ways to promote an event are numerous, basically limited only with your creativity, but I would say that planning the whole process is vital. Here is an example of the steps you should cover:

  1. Schedule your promotion actions
  2. Write down all the channels you want to use to promote an event
  3. Decide who is the audience you want to attract
  4. Decide on the tone and context of the communication.

This all will give you a clear view of the whole process and this way you’ll be able to eliminate potential bugs.

#5 Last minute action

I won’t surprise anyone saying that there are millions of things that can unexpectedly happen while organizing an event. What is more, you can be sure that this will be the case with your event, emergencies occur almost every time. There are many ways how to deal with them and for example how to attract crowds even you have little time left. But last time actions are reserved only for the surprises and unforeseeable problems!

The culprit

One of the worst ways to promote an event is to leave promotion activities on the last possible minute. It’s connected with previous marketing mistake, where you don’t plan the whole process.

Why is that bad?

Starting a promotion campaign too late can cause you serious problems with reaching your target group, obtaining a desired number of attendees and therefore making a good profit out of the event. Also, last minute promotion action may make a negative impression on your customers and thus your brand’s image will suffer.

The easiest way to avoid the implications of the last minute actions is to prepare the list of possible scenarios way before the “zero hour” come. Planning is crucial not only when it comes to the whole event in general, but also in every aspect of its organization including promotion. There is no one perfect guide on how to promote your event but I can assure you that promoting it in chaotic, not prepared way is not a good idea.

#6 Inadequate online operations

Sometimes even the best, meticulously planned promotion can be weakened by the wrong online activity. Why? There are cases when the timing is not working in your favor or the channels of communication are not suitable for conditions and the promotion doesn’t reach the target group. Therefore your promotion is becoming one of the marketing blunders with a very poor effect.

The Culprit

What cause such situations? First of all, the random choice of the time in which you publish promoting posts. Secondly, wrong campaign settings (which funnel the communication to the wrong audience), inadequate landing pages that don’t contain vital information about the event. Generally speaking, marketers tend to forget about using dedicated tools to measure the promotion and they don’t know what actions are needed and which ones are useless.

Why is that bad?

While working with the events I see different examples of inadequate online presence. There are events that go without being noticed by the target group and ones that are overhyped and later don’t meet the attendees’ expectation. Both ways take a toll on the organizer’s image and the event’s profitability.

Using just one selected social media platform to promote the event can considerably limit the message outreach. Also, it increases the possibility of choosing the wrong platform if you don’t know who is your audience. Starting a whole campaign on your own without proper knowledge could be like an own goal for you. It would not only ruin your whole promotion campaign but also would adversely affect your event success.

Nowadays, we have a lot of experts and professional online marketers who can arrange how to promote your event online. There are tools which can assure that all the vital information needed to thoroughly plan the promotion process are in your hand. Eventory with gathering data about the event attendees, Facebook with the event promotion options – it’s all here ready for you to use it.  

#7 Mobile incompatibility

Another one of the marketing blunders is creating an event website that doesn’t cooperate with potential attendees’ smartphones. According to the recent survey, this year the usage of the mobile devices took over the desktop. About 60 percent of the website traffic is from mobiles, so not making your event site mobile-friendly can really kill your promotion.

The Culprit

A website is a fundamental element of organizing and promoting the event these days. It’s the place that gathers all of the information and presents the event’s value to potential attendees. Often, organizers button up every inch of the website. They prepare a user-friendly and good-looking design, making sure that the content perfectly fits the target they want to reach and all the information sound inviting. But then, they forget to prepare the mobile version of this masterpiece. And that’s where they expose the event to failure.

Why is that bad?

Neglecting this aspect of promotion can create serious problems in promoting an event. After all, how to promote your event if you don’t give your attendees access to the event’s website in every possible way? It’s difficult, isn’t it? What is more, such a bummer can reflect on your company’s image and present it as unprofessional. To avoid such consequences, make sure that mobile first web design is your priority and the website doesn’t have any bugs.

Okay, these are just a couple of the worst ways to promote an event I could think of. Let’s see how you can choose something for your event promotion!

How to avoid marketing blunders in event promotion

Ok, but how can you even tell if the event was a success or a failure. You need to spot the weak ways to promote an event, right?

First of all, you need to know why you organize it. Many organizers fall into the trap of undefined goals. By setting a concrete, specified aims that are to be achieved through the event you get the chance to tell whether it was efficient and successful or rather the opposite.

The easiest way to evaluate the events’ effect is to, after the goals are specified, set the KPI’s. Key Performance Indicators will help you monitor the benefits of the event regardless of your position – organizer, partner, exhibitor or simply attendee. How should it work? You choose KPIs referring to the certain method of your choice. By measuring indicator’s result you can qualify the method as good or one that doesn’t work in overall.

How to pick the WORST ways to promote an event?

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

The choice of, even the worst, promotion method isn’t the easiest one. There are multiple factors you have to take into consideration in order to do it. Every event is different and rarely the same rules apply to organizational aspects. Nevertheless, I tried to approach the problem in the most universal way and present to you a short guide on how can you pick the worst ways to promote an event.

Start with unmeasurable goals!

To know whether something worked in your favor or rather the opposite way you need to know what your aim is. Exactly the same goes for event promotion.

Finding an event aim is fundamental, but let’s not bother the mind to much. Choose the goal that’s unmeasurable and not very specific. It will save you a great deal of time – you won’t waste it analyzing the general effect of the event. After all, what you don’t know won’t hurt you, right? Nevertheless, if you feel like you need a goal – think about one that you’ll apply to every further event you’re going to organize. The time-saving solution, isn’t that great?

Setting the goal that you want to achieve is vital to determine what you mean by the success of the promotion process. Don’t feel like it’s one and only way. Improvisation is popular now! Well, if you want to gather hundreds of young talented programmers in one place you’ll know for sure that your promotion failed if half of your attendees will be sales managers, right?

Choose the unrelated KPIs!

When you know what is the purpose of the promotion next step it to choose the right performance measure. Key performance indicators are here for you!

If you thought that KPIs are useful only for the high ranked officers who like to dive into statistics, you’re wrong. When it comes to measuring the event’s performance KPIs can be applied almost every person engaged in the event. Starting with the organizer, through exhibitor, ending with the attendee.

However, if you’re looking for the worst ways, there’s no need to be very hard on yourself. Look for the KPIs in a random way. Luck is probably on your side, so you’ll choose the most useful ones! Maybe try those which names sounds nice to you. And remember – DO NOT make up your mind on KPIs that correspond with the goals and methods you chose!

Thanks to properly set KPIs you’ll be able to notice which ways to promote an event did the work and which failed completely. This way, you’ll later easily determine the worst ones!

Forget about measuring the performance!

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

If you’re looking for the worst ways to promote an event make sure they’ll be totally useless in terms of measuring the performance. Or even better – in terms of measuring anything!  

When you’re deciding how to promote your event you really don’t need to think through whether you’ll be able to evaluate the performance. When you make up your mind on the method you can measure it during the campaign, but what for? First, It’ll give you hard data for your KPIs analysis and you’ll have no excuse to neglect it. Do you want to spend your time doing it? Secondly, you get the whole picture of the effectiveness and why bother yourself with all of those statistics.

If you’re the ambitious type, you can keep a track on the statistics through applications and event management platforms, such as Eventory. It offers you features that will measure the event performance. You can, for example, find out what industries participated in your event through the mobile attendee list updated through online registration. Also, it gives you many options for obtaining a proper feedback about the event which can later help you decide on the effectiveness.

Thanks to all those features you can be sure that you’ll pick the worst way possible! Otherwise, you’ll be just guessing which was the marketing blunders!

Evaluate the whole process

Okay, so here we are! This is the part where you’re finally finding out which are the worst ways to promote an event! How? After determining what is the goal of the whole process, measuring the actions and setting a KPIs you can combine it all and evaluate the effect of single methods.

Knowing your goals you have to check the KPI results. Don’t bother with determining which is more important than the rest. You don’t want to be discriminating, do you?  Do not give every KPI a separate rank. This kind of hierarchy can affect your choice of the worst possible ways to promote your event and can show you the best ones. More important, it can make the whole process easier! Scary thought, right?

Also, you can evaluate the efficiency of the methods by analyzing post-event statistics. You were gathering the data while measuring the actions and the event. Now you just need to put it in one place and prepare the reports. This can also be done by the web tools for event management,  like Eventory. But comparing all the gathered information can be really tiring, so don’t pay to much of your attention to the analysis. The platforms prepare for you user-friendly graphs, statistics upon which you can build your reports and later conclusion so just take a quick look and make sure you’re not analyzing anything!

My proposition of defining the worst ways to promote an event is mostly based on making sure that you’re not paying too much attention to details. Sure you have to measure some things, but spontaneity is the key here. It may sound like a hard task but believe me with determination and technological help you’re on the straight way to determine true marketing blunders!

Summary

Working in the event industry, I often see projects with great potential that eventually turn out to be an organizational failure. The reason is often the wrong composition of the ways to promote an event. Therefore, I think it’s vital to learn how to determine marketing blunders both in our careers and others mistakes. Across those mistakes the worst may be promoting an event without a specific target group, mismatching the communication content or, in general, wrong channels of promotion. To name the worst ways to promote event it’s good to analyze the goals and, with specific KPIs, decide which methods don’t help in reaching the aims. When we finally discover what and why is not doing our event promotion any good, we’re free to avoid the mistakes in the future.

Need help with effective event promotion?

What would you determine as the worst ways to promote an event? Did you fell in a trap of wrong decision on how to promote an event? Let me know in the comments