Promotion · Advertising

How to best Promote Local Events? FB? Twitter? Eventbrite? others?

Wayne Caswell IBM Market Strategist, Futurist, Consumer Advocate, Entrepreneur

March 8th, 2016

I’ve been trying to use social media (mostly Twitter & Facebook with paid boosts) but with little to no success. For example, my paid ad reached 2,600 people, but so far just one person signed up for this important and free seminar: me. What other promotion tools should I explore? Eventbrite? Others? Radio & print ads seem overly expensive. 

FYI... The recurring free event is about the need for better sleep, the many things that get in the way of sleep, and the various personalized treatment options we offer. While it's an educational event, we do intend to use it to introduce people to our sleep center products and services. Everyone we speak to personally is interested, especially entrepreneurs with lots on their minds, but generating interest online has been a challenge. Thanks for your reply. 

Tom Matzen Entrepreneur, Business Golfer, LION (15,008+) International Speaker, Founder of Strategic Alliance Summit.

March 8th, 2016

Hi Wayne, We do a ton of this, suggest that you have people grab a free gift first, and on the landing page (ie thank-you page) offer the webinar as a deeper dive This way you get higher opt in on the first, and done right 30-40% of those sign up for your webinar Tom Ps email if you'd like to see some samples

Pradeep Mohan Business development & Client Account manager, Customer experience lead.

March 8th, 2016

Hey Wayne, Would suggest not to mix knowledge with product sales through the event. People tend to be cynical and would see the seminar purely as a sales promotion. If the seminar is helping people sleep better, focus on just getting that right.Good luck

Katy LaFleur Founder, Olliu LLC and Professor of Saxophone, Kalamazoo College

March 8th, 2016

Hello Wayne,

Thanks for posting your question. I hope I may be able to help you. To better understand why there is a disconnect, you should think about the following questions.

Is the value of the event enough to get people over the hurdle of actually coming out to see you? Either increase the value, or decrease the hurdle. I suggest both and really looking at what this event serves for you in the first place.
  • Is there any way that an online webinar would be helpful for you? Or better yet, short, informative Facebook videos, Youtube videos? These are easier, lower time-investment ways for a potential customer to engage with your brand. People with sleep issues are often overworked and exhausted. They don't want to go to another event.
  • Customers are not valuing your event enough to actually attend. How can you make it more valuable? They are not going to come just to hear a long, winding pitch to your product. If you host some truly engaging discussion on sleep hygiene, etc, with local leaders in sleep health, this is potentially valuable.
  • Does this event really give you more value than having a booth at a trade show? Sounds like you would be putting a lot of effort into marketing and shaping this event, and if you were at a trade show, you would have a curated audience for potentially much lower cost than you are putting towards marketing.
Social media really works best when its social. It depends on personal relationships and trust -- even personal relationships people feel that they have with their favorite brands. When you are just starting out your brand, you do not have this trust established yet. So if you can get the endorsement of some leaders in the sleep community, I think this would go further for you. Be a brand someone can trust and social media will work better for you. Trust is built by consistency, honesty, and value.

Kyra Reed Digital Marketing Consultant, Cannabis Marketing, Social Media Training and Educator

March 8th, 2016

First...STOP doing boosted posts.  They don't work.  If you run an ad go through your Power Editor, otherwise you are wasting money.  Ads do work, as long as the copy, photo and target of your ads is right.  I suggest signing up for the newsletter of an ads specialist.  I like Adrienne Richardson.  Second, it depends on where your audience hangs out.  For example...just because  Twitter works better for one company doesn't mean it will be the case for you as well.  Facebook ads really are the best for reaching a large, targeted audience.  If you are only targeting your followers, hit them up on all your platforms.  I also suggest that you seek some professional assistance to help you get a strategy in place so that you aren't wasting your time and money trying to do it on your own. A good strategist will set you up with a plan you can execute on that will cut out some of the wasted money and effort on things that don't work and maximize the time you do spend for the best results.   Good luck!

Wayne Caswell IBM Market Strategist, Futurist, Consumer Advocate, Entrepreneur

March 8th, 2016

GREAT ADVICE. Thanks for all of your responses. Here’s a summary so far:

  1. 1.     Offer a free gift (our “70 Tips for Better Sleep” white paper). At landing page, give thanks, promote monthly newsletter, and/or extend invitation to seminar, possibly with another free give (orange nightlight) for attendees.
  2. 2.     STOP boosting posts, and instead use FB Power Editor. I’ll start watching their educational videos today.
  3. 3.     Solicit professional digital marketing help to craft a more effective plan.
  4. 4.     Order & read Jeff Walker’s book, LAUNCH.
  5. 5.     In an educational seminar, keep sales pitch to an absolute minimum. ‘Probably OK to say “sponsored by… with description of what they do and how to engage them.”
  6. 6.     Launch a PR campaign, pitching an article about the events and the value offered.
  7. 7.     Current ad posting was not exciting/compelling enough. Consider drip mentions of upcoming event a week or so before, to ramp the excitement and encourage comment.

I’ll add to this list if addition ideas come in. Again, thanks for your time.

Andy Catsimanes Owner, Principal Consultant at DayByDay Marketing

March 8th, 2016

Hi Wayne,

Several great suggestions in the replies, here.

One thing we do in this kind of situation is to ask ourselves "what level of awareness are we addressing?"

We have a short acronym we use, O.A.T.H., which stands for:

"Oblivious - someone who doesn't know they have a problem." 
"Apathetic - someone who knows they have a problem, but the pain isn't enough to cause them to take action."
"Thinking - Someone who is actively engaged in information gathering"
"Hurting - Someone who is actively looking for a solution."

My guess is that your message isn't reaching the right people, which would be those in the last two categories.

So I would work on better targeting, and some of the suggestions above should be helpful, and also mapping out the customer journey and offering content and products addressed to those who are at each different stage. 

Think of your customer as being on a journey from know >> like >> trust >> try >> buy >> repeat >> refer

Do you have a profile created for your ideal customer? And are you mapping your marketing materials to the journey above?

What I've found is that the issue you've brought up here usually indicates a bigger problem, which is lack of an overall strategy.

Hope that helps, and if I've presumed too much, take it with a grain of salt.

Henry FRSA Managing Director, Positive Profile Limited

April 10th, 2017

Why not place an interesting story about the ill effects of a lack of sleep and the benefits of getting enough rest with the local newspaper(s). If written as an article of general interest and importance to the readership, rather than a plug for your own products and services, you've a good chance of free publicity which people will actually take notice of, read and react to. A simple mention of the free seminar at the end of the piece is all it should take!

Hope that helps.

Kind regards,


Chuck Bartok Social Media Consultant, Publisher, and Contrarian Curmudgeon

March 8th, 2016

First of all Tom's suggestion is spot on.
I could not see behind the curtain...
My question is was the ad targeted to your geographic reach.
How far out from Seminar did you target?

Jessica Viamari Community Leader

March 8th, 2016

All suggestions above provide great advice. I will say that if it's a local event, I've always had success using Eventbrite. If you make the event public, it will be shown to all those who in the local area who have attended similar events in the past. Another idea is to co-work with someone in your network who could help spread the word to those in their network. Using sites like Alignable can be very impactful to because you will be able to target a hyper local audience of small business owners. But all in all you can't go wrong with any of the above suggestions. (note: I do work for Alignable)

Wayne Caswell IBM Market Strategist, Futurist, Consumer Advocate, Entrepreneur

March 10th, 2016

Jennifer -- We regularly use MailChimp (sample newsletter) to reach our ~3K present customers and followers. The use of FB was to expand beyond that. I've since been warned to stay away from paid boosts since they don't really work well. Instead, I'm exploring the Facebook Blueprint educational videos. 'Any experience with that?

Jessica -- We already have a Brain Wave Fitness meetup group but didn't post there, again since we wanted to reach a New audience. But posting in some other meetups we belong to wouldn't be a bad idea to augment FB.

ONE TOOL -- A concern I have with using various different promotional channels is that visitors don't see wide interest or the total number of attendees if people can signup with FB calendar, Eventbrite, Meetup, or our own landing page enrollment form. Plus, posting multiple places is time-consuming. I'd hope to find the best ONE and just post there. 

TIMING -- Our low attendance issue might have more to do with the day/time than which promotion channel we use. 'Will examine that for sure.

VALUE -- It's also possible that we're just not offering enough value to get people to come, and Katy suggested webinars instead. We discussed that idea and are making plans. Thanks, Katy.