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13 Don’ts of Promoting Events

13 Don'ts of Promoting EventsHaving worked with dozens of large, medium and small companies in planning and promoting their marketing events, I’ve learned what can make events succeed or flop. So when investing your time and money promoting your next event, consider these tips to avoid learning the hard way.

Events are a great way to increase leads and move prospects along the sales cycle. But you’ve got to promote them well to maximize the number of prospective customers who will attend.

  1. Don’t use a writer within the company just because they’re an employee, if they’re not up to the task. Freelance writers may get better results.
  2. Don’t hire a freelance writer who doesn’t have experience with direct marketing or promotional writing. Having an experienced writer will have a direct benefit in terms of attendance.
  3. Don’t assume your audience already understands the value of participating. Provide thorough copy and detailed benefits to show there’s valuable information and that your event is worth the time and energy to attend.
  4. Don’t let grammatical errors or typos slip through.
  5. Don’t assume URLs, phone numbers, email addresses and directions are correct and working properly until you test each one.
  6. Don’t focus on selling the company, sell the event to bring in the attendees.
  7. Don’t leave out positive comments from others who’ve attended.
  8. Don’t have a dull headline without clear benefits. Generate excitement and interest to make a good first impression. For example, “7 HR Mistakes That Can Cost You Big Bucks– and How to Avoid Them.”
  9. Don’t use formal invitations or postcards. Generally, registrations plummet with these types of pieces because there’s no room for details.
  10. Don’t wait too long to start promoting your event. Get on decision-makers calendars before they commit themselves elsewhere.
  11. Don’t promote too early, then fail to keep in touch.
  12. Don’t rely on only one method of communication. Emails get caught in spam filters for unpredictable reasons and direct mail may not be delivered properly or thrown out accidentally.
  13. Don’t forget to remind them your event is approaching as time draws near. Follow up with key prospects via telephone, and sending last-minute, “See you there!” e-mails to registrants.

Do you have any “Don’t”s to add? If you’ve worked on a project like this before, inevitably there’s something that could have gone better. Add a comment, I’d like to hear about it.


If you’re doing an online event, another consideration is:
Don’t forget to provide an archive. People will want to access the archive to review the content or see it for the first time.


Good point CeCe. Archived, recorded webcasts or webinars, available for on-demand viewing are essential.

I often sign up for a webinar knowing that a conflict will prevent me from attending the live event, but hoping that I’ll be sent a link to access the archived recording at a more convenient time.

  1. Don’t forget the opportunity to nurture your existing customers/clients. Treat your customers like gold in front of prospects and your prospects will want to become part of the crowd.

For the average company or association’s B2B event, don’t count on free publicity via media coverage — an experienced reporter will rarely write about ‘XYZ will hold a seminar.’ Instead I’ve found better ROI on pursuing ‘afterglow’ coverage. On this approach we poll decision makers who attend the event about hot button issues, then offer an exclusive on the results to the single outlet that has the best reach for the clients’ executive audience. Also the client can add value for attendees after the event by getting in touch to report the results. I’ve seen such emails really engage, leading to higher than average click throughs and response rates.


Nice tips, and definitely ones to follow.

As an event planner, I would also say don’t forget to engage your audience. Make it interactive, and have attendees feel like they’re part of the experience. That might be via Q&A sessions, networking opportunities tied to the event, prize/raffle giveaways, etc.


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