I’ve seen small businesses make the same simple mistake when advertising their events a little too often. It’s time to set the record straight about what they (and likely you) are doing wrong and how to fix it. You see, there’s an important fact about event advertising that often gets missed. People need time to plan. It’s a really simple concept, and it gets overlooked nearly every time. Business owners tend to give their events only a week of advertisement leading up. Many of them are still locking in the details to the event in that last week, which is why they’re hesitant and late to advertise. Your clients don’t have time to even figure out what you’re doing, let alone whether they want to come to it.
Thankfully, correcting the problem is simpler, but it takes a much more committed, organized approach. In order for an event – or even a limited time offer – to be successful, you must contact your audience at least seven times via three different methods. And you need to give yourself, and them, 45 days to do so. Sounds like a lot of work, but I promise it isn’t. I’ve even broken down the steps for you.
1. Decide what you want to do at least 60 days in advance.
If you don’t have a plan for your business’ specials that’s at least 60 days out, you’re not thinking far enough in advance to create real strategy. Everything in your business, specials included, need to be planned out early enough for you to have the time to take action. 60 days at a minimum, but 6 months is preferred. Either way, you’ve got to know exactly what you plan to be doing with enough time to actually make it happen. It’s the most important step in making sure your event goes off without a hitch.
Do yourself a favor before you even read the rest of this. Go grab a pen and notepad, find a good thinking spot, and plan your next event 60 or more days out. Not only that, keep a list of the events that you want to hold beyond that so you can check them off as you plan them.
2. Prepare your communications.
You’ve got yourself some time in advance now, thanks to step 1. Plan out several different methods of communication with your clients. How are you going to send the message of your event? Social Media? Text? Email? Snail Mail? Whatever it is, plan to have three of them and know exactly what you’re going to send via each method. Know what every communication will say well in advance so you can schedule the sending, preferably through an automated system.
3. Start advertising 45 days in advance.
You’ve given yourself at least 60 days. That means that you have two weeks to plan your communications until they start going out. At that 45 day mark, you need to make your first announcement. Let people know that you have an event coming. Tease them with a few big details. It’s OK if you don’t know everything that will be happening yet. You can include changes in future communications. The key is that you announce early enough that they can check their calendar.
Your first communication needs to come from the platform that makes the most sense to your target market. Take a look at where you speak to the largest combination of clients and potential clients at the same time, and make your announcement there. It doesn’t matter if it’s on your Facebook, through an email, or by text, as long as it’s the method that makes the most sense to the people you want to come.
4. Stagger your communications and frequency.
For the next 45 days, you’re going to be sending out tons of communications through the three channels you picked. However, you have to stagger it our properly, with only 1-2 messages per channel in the first week, then getting more frequent as the event gets closer. All-in-all, you need to send a minimum of 40 different messages throughout all your communication channels. Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but chances are your target audience will only see 7 to 10 of them. During the last week, you should be communicating with them 6 times per channel, nearly every day.
When it’s all said and done, your audience will have seen the message. Though it may sound like you’re irritating them, it’s going to create more success for your event. You’ll also be ready for those events when they come. Think about it. It’s August. What do you have planned through the holiday season? If you don’t know, you won’t be ready. Plan. Communicate. You’ll see more success.