Each day, I work with dozens of event makers to help build their marketing campaigns and develop a sound online marketing strategy. I see many campaigns come into my hands that have been meticulously thought out and planned to perfection, but I also see a fair share of campaigns that leave me wanting. Here are the 5 most common online marketing mistakes for events that I see, with solutions that will turn your campaign around.
1. Missing Call To Action
Every effective ad will contain a call to action (CTA) - a specific phrase intended to induce a viewer or reader to perform a single act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive (e.g. buy now, get tickets, sign up today). When this vital piece of ad copy is left out of the advertisement, it leaves the reader directionless, and they will view your ad more as informative rather than directive. A simple call to action ties the whole ad together and encourages the reader to take an action. Including a call to action in your ads will improve your click through rate and increase conversions (a specific action you want ad viewers to take).
2. Lacks Urgency To Buy Online
Often, I’ll come across an event advertisement that is informative, relates to me, and has a clear call to action - yet doesn’t drive me to click on the ad. So, what’s it missing? In these cases, the ad lacks a sense of urgency to get me to complete an action at the exact moment I read it. All online advertisements should create a feeling of urgency within the ad viewer and provide an incentive to act now as opposed to waiting until the day of the event. Plus, a person who buys a ticket to your event in advance is much more likely to attend than somebody waiting to buy a ticket at the door. Luckily, there are a few easy tricks to create that urgency (or if you prefer to think about it this way, a sense of discomfort in your reader):
Use a promo code with an expiration date in your ad so they save money on tickets if they buy before your event.
Announce limited seating or that tickets sell out fast so they better buy today.
Mention Early Bird pricing. If people can save money by buying a ticket today, it will encourage them to act now. Create 3 pricing tiers with tickets getting gradually more expensive the closer it is to your event. This allows you to create urgency multiple times throughout your campaign.
Implement a countdown on your ads. Using phrases like “Only 10 more days until the event” or “Last week to purchase tickets” clearly lets readers know they have a limited time to act.
3. Ad Links To Irrelevant Landing Pages
Even when an event ad entices me to click on it, I frequently notice that I am lead to landing pages that provide little information about the event. If you want to have better results from your ads, your landing page is the place to sell your event. Many of your ad viewers are hearing about your event for the first time and want to learn more about it. As a general rule, the most common reason somebody clicks on your ad is to learn more about your event since your ad can’t tell the whole story. Your landing page is the perfect place to share that story and explain why people should attend your event. This will give ad clickers the convincing reason they need to go ahead and buy a ticket. Your landing page should always include an option to buy tickets (if you sell tickets) or say how to attend your event.
4. Targeting Too Broad Of An Audience
One of the benefits of advertising online is that you have the ability to narrow your marketing to focus specifically on the type of people who would be interested in attending your event. However, too often, I see event makers try to paint with a broad stroke and don’t narrow their targeting, or worse, they simply say that their target audience is “everybody”. The problem with targeting everybody is that your ads become relevant to nobody. No matter what your event, you can narrow your audience to target the people who would be most likely to attend it. Get specific. The more specific you get, the more likely you will get the right type of people to your event.
Here’s a common example of broad targeting that I see fairly regularly. An event maker is hosting a concert and wants to get people there, so they target people who are interested in:
Simply put, that targeting is far too broad and won’t attract the audience you truly want. Most every person in the world is interested in one of those three things, but not all of them would want to come to your concert. Take a moment and envision the person that you know would love coming to your concert. What are they interested in? What type of music do they like? Where do they shop? What websites do they visit online? What radio stations do they listen to? How old are they? These questions will improve your targeting and lead your ad to better results.
5. Not Enough Budget
I’ll try to step gingerly here as budget can be a difficult issue to address and is by far the most difficult of these steps to change. However, I do have a few suggestions that you should implement even if you have a meager budget to work with. Before I jump into the solutions of how to do online marketing effectively with a small budget, let me illustrate why I made this a point on my list.
I frequently come across online marketing campaigns that don’t have enough budget to make a significant impact on an event. I see people spend $15 on a three day campaign. That is not enough budget to create the awareness your event needs.
At SpinGo, we recommend a minimum daily budget of $25 per day for each campaign that you want to run. This type of budget will increase the number of people who see your event ad, the number of people who click on it, and the number of people who purchase tickets for your event. Spending $5 per day simply isn’t enough budget to get the word out to enough of the right people.
So how do you fix this problem? Here are 3 solutions:
Plan Online Marketing Into The Budget From The Start
Decide how many days you want to advertise your event, on how many different platforms, and do the math. If you want to advertise your event on 3 platforms, for 10 days each that would be 30 days * $25 to equal $750. Write that into the budget. You can adjust this to how much you can realistically spend on marketing.
Ask For More Money
This one is pretty straightforward. If you need more money to market your event, reach out to whoever is in charge of the budget and ask for more. If they say no or if you are in charge of the budget, reach out to sponsors and ask for sponsorship.
Consolidate Your Budget
If neither of those options work and you are stuck with what you currently have, consolidate your online marketing spend into bigger groups. Instead of spending $50 over 10 days, spend it over the 3 days leading up to your event. You will get more bang for your buck.