Apple versus Microsoft. Ford versus Chevy. Harvard versus Yale. All of these rivalries pale in comparison to the heated battle that occurs in malls across America: Elevators versus escalators. Each carry their individual strengths and weaknesses, but which one truly reigns supreme? For event makers and for the event industry, escalators are truly championed.
Elevators are all about starting over. Load up at the bottom, deposit at the top, return to bottom, repeat. In comparison, this is where escalators truly shine. Though the process may be similar, loading at the bottom and depositing at the top, there is no “repeat.” By the time someone exits on the next level, someone else has already started their journey below. It’s all one continuous loop. Bringing it full circle, pun intended, this same cycle is what separates a successful event maker from a mediocre one. The first is constantly loading his queue, carrying out his current event while fully aware of what comes next. The second treats his current project with tunnel vision, leaving him in a position to completely start over the minute the event ends. Not only is this inefficient for his business, but he is also missing out on key opportunities to promote. Take a break and think about this for one second: What place could be better for promotion than a current event filled with the demographic you’re going after? No other place. That’s the answer.
Below are a few simple ideas to be used at your next event. Again, these are only beneficial if you’ve adopted the escalator mentality and have your next project queued up.
Have promotional material ready.
- This may seem old hat, but try to go beyond the flyers under car windshield wipers.
- Find small knick knacks that relate to your next event. Sunglasses for a beach party, mini flashlights for an EDM concert, etc.
Find a way to collect contacts.
- Connect with the venue to give away free stuff. Have a conetest or drawing where the entry form asks for basic info.
- Setup a rewards/loyalty program using text messaging or an app. Rewards could be as simple as free food and drinks. Merchandise tents could offer discounts to those that have opted in.
- Re-connect with the venue afterwards to share contacts gained. This allows them to push out their upcoming events and allows you to beef up your contact list with names you might have missed.
Collect media material for your OWN demo reel.
- This may not be directly promoting your next event, but it never hurts to have material to promote your business as a whole.
- If the event is big enough, one that you’ll brag about for years to come, hire a video guy or photographer. Even if it’s out of your own pocket, it will more than pay for itself in the future.
- I’m a videographer myself, and the “I can’t pay you, but it will be great for your reel” doesn’t work with us. In the least, offer to exchange services. This could be free concert or event tickets or it could be promotional work for their business. You don’t work for free, they shouldn't have to either.
Set up your own promotional space.
- In exchange for discounted fees, ask the venue for a space to promote yourself.
- Display a looping demo reel of footage from past events.
- Bring someone along to interact with attendees and to distribute material. Choose wisely, as this person represents you and your brand.
These are just a few ideas to start, but each could easily be expanded. One last thing to be careful of is the sensitivity of your current venue. Avoid promoting your next event if it’s being held at a direct competitor. Set expectations by explaining the “escalator model” that you’ve set up. Let them know that you will be promoting their event at one you are currently creating, and then casually ask if you might be able to do the same at theirs. It never hurts to ask, especially when led with “free” promotion. Again, with this list being far from exhaustive, add your own ideas in the comments below. Just like you, we’re always looking for ways to make our next event better than the last.