Get people to your event and keep them coming back!
Getting people to your event is probably one of the hardest parts of putting on an event. Without people your event can shrivel and die a horrible death. I do a lot of magic shows for colleges and I’ve picked up a few great ways to help get the word out about the show. Here are 6 ideas for you to use to get people to your next event.
Show tonight at 8:03 pm!
Why the heck is the show at 8:03 pm tonight? That’s exactly the point. People take a second look and remember the time because it’s a weird time. So use a weird start time and start exactly at that time. Don’t over use this one, people will get used to your clever gimmick. Or use it every time and make it “a thing” and start exactly at a different weird time for every event.
Students tell me all the time the hardest genre to get people to is music. People are less likely to go see a musician they know nothing about than say a magician. So next time you have a musician you need to think of clever ways for people to hear their music multiple times so they can decide if they like them or not, before the show. The week of your concert play their music in the dining hall or other place students hang out and have a recording play after the song telling them about the show. Or set up a sound system and have someone from the activities board play DJ for a couple hours everyday in a high traffic or hang out area, after you play a song from your upcoming artist say something like “Like that song? That’s (insert artist here), they are performing live on campus Friday night at 8:03pm and it’s free!”
I try to do a teaser (close up magic table to table) in the dining hall for every show, it really helps attendance. Some genres or performers can’t do that or don’t offer that option. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out and do a teaser in the dining hall the night of the show. Take a few board members to the dining hall armed with fliers, iPads and headphones or a bluetooth speaker with youtube videos queued up of the performer coming that night. Get over being shy and have fun telling everyone about the event you’re excited for!
Ok you probably already know about free food or currently offer free food or snacks to people that come to your event. Have you tried theming the food to the event? How about music note shaped cookies for a concert? Or chocolate covered pretzel rod magic wands for a magician? It’s more work but people will feel like you really care and they will get excited to come back to events to see what you are going to do next. Or theme a mocktail bar to the event! Have fun putting the menu together coming up with creative names for drinks.
This is obvious but I’m always surprised how little activity boards use social media effectively. First you need to have accounts on twitter/facebook/instagram/snapchat. Any place people are you need to be too. Make sure to tag and include your artist in your posts about their event, use pictures and their youtube videos so people can get a taste of what’s to come. If your event isn’t a performer (you can do this for a performer too)then you and a fellow board member should make a 15 second commercial for your event, or a series of commercials you can post every day for a week to get people interested in coming. This is the fun part, get creative! Promote your event everyday for a week leading up to it. In marketing there is a rule of 7, a buyer needs to see your brand a minimum of 7 times before they feel comfortable enough to buy from you. Same here, when people think of Friday night, your event needs to be at the top of their head.
I’ve seen a bunch of schools do this and it seems to work great! Have a punch card, or a way of swiping student IDs, or other electronic way of keeping track of who comes to events. Then for every 3-5 events they come to they get something free, like a t shirt, or snacks. Also reserve the front row for these VIPs. Give away the rewards right before the show in front of the audience so everyone knows about the VIP club, and people that aren’t getting rewarded will be jealous they didn’t get free stuff, and motivate them to come to more events. These are the most important people, they come to lots of events and help advertise for events by talking to their friends and reposting your social posts. So treat them like royalty! Remember getting a new customer is always more expensive/work than keeping a customer you already have. If someone has come to an event before they are more likely to come to another one over someone who has never been to a single event.
Those are just 6 ways I’ve used and have seen used to promote events, there are countless more and I would love to hear what you use! Post your ideas in the comments below.
Good luck promoting!