So you’ve designed your flyers, you’ve organised the ad in the newspaper, but what about the online marketing of your event? “We’ll get it up on our website eventually” I hear you say. Or maybe you don’t have a website yet either. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Hundreds of events are probably planned for this weekend that never make it online.
Why should I advertise my events online?
Here are several reasons:
- It meets the searcher where they are looking. The fact is, many, many people are looking for events online that might never see your flyer or newspaper advertisement. “Hmm, I feel like going out this Friday night…I wonder what’s happening around town? Let’s Google it.” This is pretty common in my household. The internet has become THE place to look for information.
- Advertising online has the potential to reach a much bigger audience. Many thousands of people are probably using the internet in your very own neighbourhood. By using keywords that people commonly search that relate to your event, you can reach people nearby who are specifically looking for events like yours.
- Provide extra information. Featuring your event on a website can also work well in combination with other more traditional methods of advertising, enabling you to provide extra details such as parking, childminding, etc. People increasingly expect to be able to find these details online without having to call or email you and wait for an answer.
- Collect useful data. Websites also give you the capability to collect data about the number of visits to your site, where those visits came from (e.g. Facebook advertising or a Google search), etc. This will help to inform your future advertising efforts.
- Collect registrations or feedback. You can also ask people to register for the event in advance or send them an email after the event asking for feedback. This helps to inform your planning of future events.
- Add people to your email “mailing list”. Asking people to register for the event also gives you the opportunity to ask if they’d like to be added to your mailing list to be notified of future events. This means you can build a list of contacts who are interested in your product. Adding them to your mailing list happens automatically if you integrate the registration form with an automated email campaign platform such as MailChimp.
If you’re a small group, it can seem daunting to launch a website just to advertise your events. One idea is to band together with other similar groups and create a single landing page. If done well, a landing page can be a particularly effective way of promoting your events, and this option lets you share the costs rather than having to maintain event details on your own website.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is like a web page, but it is simplified and has a very specific purpose, without other information to distract from that purpose. It is similar to a flyer in its layout and simplicity, allowing a simple focus without distractions. Its intent is not to overload the visitor with extra information, but just to provide the information people are seeking, with a visual appeal that encourages people to respond.
An effective SEO strategy for similar events
Because of its singular purpose, the landing page name, headings, and content are written with a clear focus on a specific topic. Search engines like to see this kind of focus and are much more likely to rank your page higher in search results for keywords relating to your topic. Using a landing page therefore increases your potential to reach those who are seeking info on your topic.
It is a particularly effective SEO strategy for advertising multiple events at different venues that would appeal to the same audience or interest group.
One central web location
Where you have similar events being held at different venues, but in the same city or vicinity, it is a good idea to provide just one web location to advertise those events. Even where these events are hosted by different groups. This puts the needs of your online seeker front and centre in your plan.
The benefits of this approach are:
- It’s easier for people to share events with friends and family who might live elsewhere in the surrounding area.
- Instead of joining multiple mailing lists people can join just one mailing list to be notified of all future events in your vicinity.
- People could return to the site after the event to view a video or audio replay.
This also means that groups hosting individual events would not need to worry about maintaining event details or embedding video or audio files on their individual websites. They could simply put a link to the landing page.
Shared analytics setup
Analytics reporting can also be set up on the page to measure the effectiveness of various advertising campaigns. This centralises the efforts required to undertake analytics reporting.
Collecting useful data through registrations
A further benefit is the ability to allow registrations for events. This would only work if the page were simple enough with no other information distracting from the message, such as on a landing page. The registration form should also be quick and convenient.
Registrations would provide the following benefits:
- People would be automatically added to the mailing list.
- Interest in an event or topic could be gauged.
- Useful data could be collected such as how they found out about the event, what future topics they would like to see, and feedback about the lectures, venues, etc. This would make planning for future events better informed and more focused on meeting the needs of the community.
Presenting your event as community-focused
Due to its simple focus on the upcoming event(s) and appeal to search engines, the landing page also provides the potential to present your event as community-focused.
Featuring your events on Google using Structured Data Markup
A landing page also makes it easier to “markup” your events using Structured Data Markup. This tells Google where to find key information (date, time, address, title, image) on all events on your website. Google then uses this data to list your event, along with other events in your vicinity, that relate to the keywords people are searching on. This article on Forbes.com explains a bit more about marking up.
For example, I marked up this lecture event to be held in Brisbane, and it appears like this whenever anyone Googles “inspirational events Brisbane” or “spiritual events Brisbane” with a handy map and directions, and link to the website:
The great thing about structured data markup is you only need to do it once. If the data is structured correctly, Google will know where to find the information and will automatically pick up new events whenever it indexes your site.
If you’re interested in exploring a landing page or website for your organisation, please be in touch. RedJanet Web Design specialises in web design and online marketing for small businesses and groups.