Throughout my illustrious career as a marketing word weaver (copywriter), I’ve heard some variation of this line: My product is for everyone. My young adult fiction novel is for … everyone. My charity 5K is for anyone who can make it.
Where’s that facepalm emoticon?
Whether it’s an event, a product, or a one-act play, start with your tribe, the people most likely to be interested. Lucy, the thirty-something mother of three might not be into your late-night EDM festival, but your start-the-day, wake-up rave with full juice bar? She’s there. (Heck, I’m there).
Find your event’s target audience and create marketing personas so that you’re serving digital content in the right places to the right audience, and also so that you don’t waste time (and money) pursuing those likely to skip.
Start with Current Attendees
Consider your last event. Who attended? What were they wearing? What were they doing?
Were they glued to phones or carrying around moleskin journals? At the events I attend (book readings, tastings of any kind, live music and comedy), most people are kind of like me.
This isn’t to say they have the same physical attributes, but that they are in the same life stage, consume similar media and generally share interests.
Write an Event Questionnaire
Write an event questionnaire to find out more about your attendees and use the responses to inform your personas and your social media targeting.
Ask what region they live in, what interests them, what they read and listen to. Use this info to tighten up your social media advertising. If people aren’t flying to your festival from out-of-state, don’t waste money on a national campaign. Narrow your advertising to within a drive-able range until it grows.
Lastly, be brave and ask what you could do better. Some feedback might feel like a punch in the gut, but resolve to take a “know better, do better,” approach.
The Data Dig
Use insights from your social media platforms to clue you in on your demographic. The data will tell you what region your attendees come from and you can tell what posts are working and what aren’t based on how many people engage with them. Find out what key terms your attendees used to find your events.
Optimize your Facebook event and your Brown Paper Tickets’ event page to include those key terms and definitely try to use them in the title. Blueberries & Rolling Pins isn’t likely to be found in a search, but Blueberries & Rolling Pins Pie Making Class is much more SEO-friendly.
Write Event Marketing Personas
Before you design flyers or write your event description or pick your marketing channels, create up to three personas using your research.
Include standard demographic data, such as age, salary, location. Look for photos in the public domain that match this fictional person. Give them a name and include their values and motivations.
If you’re starting a series of cooking classes for example, marketing personas will help you identify whether you’re marketing to a “Johnny-who’s-never-cooked-before” or “Cheyenne, a whiz in the kitchen psyched to brush up on her techniques.” Or say you’re working on messaging for a music festival—are you marketing to GenX Jimmy or Micah the Millennial? Jimmy is more likely to see your flyer, while Micah would more likely be brought in by your event’s Insta story.
Sure, you might want both to buy tickets, but narrowing down your audience will help define your marketing channels and the language you use to communicate. Pick one persona as your target and the others as your secondary audiences.
Once the persona is created, speak directly to them in all of your social media posts and in your event description. However, avoid exclusionary language–you’re not trying to make people feel unwelcome, you’re custom-tailoring your marketing.
Rely on what motivates your persona (saving money, helping others, escape) and speak to that.
Here’s an example:
Example: Hey moms, have dad watch baby for a change and relax at our spa weekend…
Hey, need a break? Come in for well-deserved R&R at a special spa event. The palm trees are a’swaying…
The first example makes a number of assumptions and doesn’t feel inclusive. The second speaks to what most appeals to the persona (escape).
Run an A/B test to see what messaging resonates better with your perspective attendees.
Now that you created your persona, keep them engaged by refreshing your content and offers. Make an offer that speaks to their values.
If they’re more budget-conscious, offer discounted tickets. If they’re active on social media, create a ticket giveaway contest on their preferred channel. Consistently post third-party content from websites they’re most likely to read.
What did you name your marketing personas? That’s the most-fun part.