Woohoo! Your first post-COVID tour is planned (or nearly planned). Now comes the fun of marketing it.
As things open up again and tours start rolling, getting butts into seats is goal #1. However, if you’re looking to effectively market in this new era, some things have changed since pre-pandemic. What worked in 2019, might not work as well to attract consumers now.
Whether you’re marketing your newest tour, looking to attract potential clients to a consumer night, or hosting a virtual information session; here’s the social marketing essentials you’ll need to be successful.
Event Marketing Checklist
- Leaving nothing to chance will boost your event success. Start by surveying your intended audience to better understand which social sites they hang out on. Make that top social site the starting point for your marketing efforts. Chances are that Facebook will be at the top of the list.
Study your social and Google Analytics, so that you have a clearer snapshot of your existing audiences. This will help you pinpoint the social sites to focus on.
- Create marketing images and animated videos that suit your corporate image, brand, style, and appeal to your intended audience. Here’s some tools to use to create these powerhouse graphics.
Keeping in mind your own unique look, maybe this is the time to adjust your brand image for this new post-pandemic era. Perhaps your niche has adopted a focus on sustainable tourism. If that’s the case, adding some green into your brand images, logo and video will help to visually showcase this change.
- At least 1 month before your event, create a Facebook Event on your business page.
- Maximize your exposure by including an Event cover image—1200×628 pixels, about a 2:1 ratio.
- Use the Event page to invite your Facebook ‘friends.’
- Promote the event by sharing it to your page and relevant groups.
- Draw people to your event page thru your blog and e-blast.
These tactics will help strengthen relationships with your existing fans, and position you as a tourism leader within relevant Facebook groups. Re-engaging past clients thru your e-blasts and blog posts will help to build buzz in a cohesive style.
- Develop a # (hashtag) and consistently use on all social posts
- Research #’s on Instagram, so that your new # is unique and easy to type.
Once you establish a new #, remember to consistently use it in your social posts. Take this up a notch and mention it in a video or live stream, and invite people to use your #.
- Create a series of social posts for your upcoming event.
- Start with a series of ‘teaser’ posts to create buzz for your event. Run these posts for about 1-2 weeks prior to the roll out of your regular event marketing posts. These teaser posts can take the form of short videos or titillating graphics.
- Create event marketing social posts with a clear call to action. Interchange calls to action, so that you can test which ones work best.
- Direct readers to your Event page on Facebook for more details. Remember, each Event page comes with a unique URL.
- Include a link to a sign-up form to capture names and other relevant contact information. Use a simple, but effective tool like JotForm to create your sign-up form. The best bet is to keep your form simple, so that people aren’t put off by providing their contact info. Research shows that asking for a first name and email is sufficient. Plus, this is the basic info you’ll need to add them to your email list. NOTE: Skipping this step leaves you only with minimal contact info provided thru the Event page. #Fail
- Build buzz by creating posts that give people an insider look at your tour or event. This type of post gives potential clients a sense of being a part of your process.
- Create video that goes behind the scenes of your event planning process. Check out the tools I use when shooting video.
- Design graphics that give a glimpse of tour or event surprises.
- Begin sharing these ‘behind the scenes’ images as part of your ‘teaser’ posts, and continue throughout your marketing campaign.
- Post on all social sites that potential clients use and have indicated in the survey.
- Consider LinkedIn if you’re planning to attract a demographic that’s currently in the workforce.
- Create highly targeted ad audiences that target early adopters of travel after COVID.
- Consider these travel audience targeting tactics.
- Create a series of social ads.
- Split test ad visuals, copy, and audiences. Here’s a quick guide to show you how.
- Incorporate video into ads. The Facebook algorithm prefers video ads, over ads with still images.
- Tune in to learn which words to avoid using in your ads, so that the Facebook algorithm will maximize ad delivery.
- Compose an email sequence to market your event.
- Split test subject lines and graphics.
While email may seem ‘old school,’ it still performs really well. When creating an email sequence, strive for weekly or bi-monthly communication—so that the audience develops a relationship with you and your content.
- Write a series of blog posts highlighting the destinations covered in the upcoming tour or consumer presentation.
- Create social posts that link to these blog posts and intermix these informational posts with your marketing posts.
If you hate to write, or don’t have the time, consider creating blog posts that are more like ‘show & tell’ using photos. The process is simply choosing a collection of images that tell a story and writing captions for each. Polish off your blog with a catchy opening and closing paragraph.
Note: Don’t forget to link to pages within your website or other blog posts to earn valuable SEO.
- Make the most of live stream video broadcasts on sites your potential clients visit.
- Go live on the sites that matter to your audience.
- Invite a guest to go live with you. Consider a past client, supplier, or staff. Here’s how to do that from different locations.
- Share your live broadcast socially and embed in a blog.
- Upload your live broadcast to YouTube. You can do this even with a Facebook Live broadcast. Simply save the Facebook live to your hard drive, then upload to YouTube.
- Weave posts about your upcoming event into your regularly scheduled content.
- Maintain consistency, but don’t post so often that your audience become apathetic about your event.
- Reach out to dedicated clients, staff and, supplier; ask them to share your content or create their own.
- User-generated content and testimonials lend social credibility, and remain powerful marketing tools.
Nurturing relationships is easier with help from others. Consider reviewing past comment cards from clients and reaching out to them to reconnect, asking them for photos or memories of their time on tour with your company.
Quality over Quantity
Event marketing can seem daunting. Yet, when considering your overall strategy, the most successful campaigns are ones that appeal to a select audience and sound authentic.
Avoid These Mistakes
Don’t you hate it when you see social ads that clearly don’t fit your own needs. As a woman, I laugh at the money that’s being wasted showing hair loss ads to me! Fix this with highly targeted ads.
Don’t you hate it when you see the same ad multiple times in your feed or on TV. Avoid this by budgeting effectively and understanding your ad analytics. The fix: optimize ad delivery, turn off ads when the delivery frequency doesn’t match your goals.
Working hard to create your plan makes executing your plan so much easier! Using this checklist, you have the heavy lifting done for you.
So go on out and have a successful tour or event! You deserve it! You’ve earned it!