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6 event marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them

By April 29, 2020 Stories
Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash_event pitfalls_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Want to know one of the unexpected benefits of working with so many different events over the years? We get to have a bird’s eye view of how really good events run.

The flip side is we also get to see the most common marketing pitfalls not-so-good events seem to fall into.

The perplexing thing about these marketing mistakes (like these small business ones we wrote earlier), is they are usually totally avoidable and don’t cost money, just time.

Our belief is that being forewarned is forearmed. So, if you’re looking to take your event to the next level, we’d suggest you double-check you’re not falling into one of these simple event marketing traps.

Pitfall 1: Not getting your tickets online soon enough

Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash BRB_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Did you know for some regional towns in Australia, the lead time for a customer to consider booking and planning their trip, is between six to nine months?

Put simply, if you’re not online at this time, you’re doing yourself out of a pre-promote campaign.

In our experience, the dates for the following event are usually set at least 12 months in advance. But the ticket sale functionality is not added to the event website until much later.

The solution:

  • Choose a web-developer that you know and trust, but more importantly, actions things quickly. You should be working with someone you’re happy to call and request a new ticket page be built as soon as you have new event dates.
  • Retain a skeleton events committee between event years to oversee tweaks to the website, like updating the ticket sales.
  • If you don’t have the skills within your committee, appoint an advisory board so you have someone to recommend when your content should be online.

Pitfall 2: Hiding your checkout behind copious website pages

Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash Busby Marou_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Do you know the secret to a really good website sales funnel? Only a couple of clicks between thinking about the product, purchasing it and its postage.

Why then do so many events bury their checkout behind unnecessary website pages and make it so hard to buy tickets?

A good website points to the very thing you want people to do – buy from you.

As fun as treasure hunts are, they’re not so good when website design stands between you and getting patrons to your event.

The solution:

  • Work with a web developer who understands consumer behaviour and the need to have your cash register front and centre (especially for Facebook ads).
  • Count how many clicks it takes for a customer to purchase a ticket on your website. Better yet, time someone doing it.
  • Once you know how long it takes for someone to buy tickets, measure it against your website’s bounce rate. If it’s taking too long, chances are you’re contributing to that data.

Pitfall 3: Not arranging a community manager to answer customer questions during the event

Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash hands up_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

We know firsthand how hard event organisers work. When it comes to the day of the festival they are busier than a termite in a sawmill answering everyone’s questions.

Therein lies the problem – who is answering the questions, comments and spot-fires which might be burning online?

The committee can’t be two places at once, so you need to resource accordingly.

The solution:

  • Allocate someone in the event committee or your social media manager to sit in a media centre/war room to respond to any questions/queries online.
  • Batch answers to commonly asked questions e.g. Lost Property for your community manager to share with people online.
  • Task just one person with the responsibility of online comms during the festival to ensure messages aren’t being lost and the notification disappears.

Pitfall 4: Spending more time making sponsors happy than consumers

Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash_boarding down Big Red_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

We’ve seen too many times events focussing on getting the sponsors logos correctly placed, rather than connecting with their customer and building a community at their event.

Don’t get us wrong, sponsors are important.

But the thing about sponsors is, they won’t be so interested in sponsoring your event unless it’s got consumers at it. So don’t lose sight of your number one stakeholder, the customer.

The solution:

  • Allocate one person to be the sponsorship relationship officer (more for bigger events, of course). The rest of the team can get on with marketing to the consumer.
  • Ensure your marketing plans are created and executed with the customers’ needs first. Your sponsors logo placement is important, but it shouldn’t sit before delivering an incredible experience.

Pitfall 5: Losing your passwords between event years

Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash_view from Big Red_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

If you’d have asked us at university what we’d spend most of our careers doing, we wouldn’t have said untangling social media accounts where people have lost the passwords. No sir, but here we are.

Losing your social media passwords is the same as losing your car keys, only there are no locksmiths on the internet if you don’t have a username or a password. It’s a nightmare!

The solution:

  • IT people: block your ears – write them down (somewhere safe).
  • Given event committees change hands frequently, it pays to set these accounts up with a generic username that’s not attached to a person e.g. admin@yourevent rather than janesmith@gmail. When you add a person’s private email as the admin to your Facebook account and they move on, no amount of ‘forgot my password’ is going to trigger the password to come to you.

Pitfall 6: Letting social media lay dormant between event years

Media Mortar_Birdsville Big Red Bash crowd_Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

If you’ve read Social Skills, you’ll know that organic social media is built on momentum. Just like a snowball gathering more snow, you need to keep your social media engagement rolling.

The most common trap we see is that most events only talk about themselves on social media six months out of the event.

That leaves a downturn of six months of the year where your channels are sitting completely dormant, with your engagement rate gathering dust.

Your job for the rest of the year is to build consideration; consideration to visit your destination and consideration for your style of event.

The solution:

  • Build a content calendar for the entire year using content that’s less about you and more about where you host the event. Schedule your content so it goes live without the committee needing to work their regular hours (although note, you will still need someone to community manage the account)
  • Share behind the scenes to create anticipation of the event
  • Make sure you have someone employed to keep your social media channels running all year round. If you get stuck coming up with 52 weeks of event-related social media content,  check out our 365 Day Content Calendar designed to cure content-block.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like our blueprint series: how to market your event. It takes you through a step by step guide of how to market your event.

If we’ve missed a pitfall you think you’ve fallen victim to, drop us a line or comment below and we’ll send you our solution.

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.