how to use events to market on the Internet
November 20, 2006 8:40am CST
Having difficulty knowing what to offer people online? Worried that your prospects are too bombarded by sales pitches to pick yours out from the hundreds they get every day? Try something different - an event! Events have a number of benefits over standard marketing approaches. Some of these benefits include: * Events are perceived as informational and are often more accepted than sales pitches. * Events generate a sense of urgency as they are scheduled on a certain date with a registration deadline. * By sending an event e-mail, you can reach people's inbox, a place they look at nearly every day. With a web site, people have to remember to visit. * Regularly changing events give people a reason to come back to your web site. * Regardless of whether the event is held online or offline, an event can offer a better opportunity to build relationships than e-mail, mail, phone or a web site visit. Building your list To market your events well, it is important that you regularly build a list of people interested in what you offer and the events you create. Make sure your web site invites visitors to sign up for your newsletter and event schedule. Ensure each contact with a client or prospect ends with an invitation to join your mailing list. You can easily manage your subscriber system, send broadcasts and create professional looking invitation, event schedules and newsletters using an affordable service like Constant Contact. Tips for promoting an offline event Here are some tips for promoting your offline event: 1. Be sure to tell people the benefits of attending. 2. Offer something interesting to get them to come out. 3. Include the address, time, contact info for more information and how to register (if required) 4. Provide a link to a map so they can easily find it. 5. Include a "refer a friend" link so they can pass the invitation on to others. Tips for promoting and holding an online event. 1. You can hold online web conferences or other events using a system like Voice Café. Voice Café lets you bring people together with audio, video and PowerPoint presentation capabilities. 2. If you are using a web conferencing system, try to get people to log in early and test the system. This will ensure they get the best experience from your event. 3. Find web sites and newsletters that reach your target market and post or advertise your event in them. A free place you can advertise events online is The Ryze Network. The Ryze Network is an online community of over 20,000 people that lets you participate in discussion groups, connect with others and list events. Event ideas Here are a few ideas for your events, whether they are online or offline. * Offer contests and door prizes * Have a guest speaker or a way that people can connect with experts * Offer "how to" demonstrations * Open houses and customer appreciation days * Free food is often a draw. Or unique food - I used to go to an ethnic festival primarily to try the different foods, even though the food wasn't free. * Provide information and resources * Entertain - Include hypnotists, magicians, clowns, singers, dancers, etc. * Inspire - Offer inspiration speakers and stories * Let them network - One unexpected benefit of my both my offline and online courses is that my students meet each other and often start doing business with each other or form strategic partnerships. So add some urgency to your marketing - schedule and promote a memorable event!