It might be a course you’re running, an event you have coming up next month or even a whole schedule of children’s holiday activities that need booking up, but without any promotion it will be hard to sell any tickets. Alongside traditional methods of marketing such as posters or leaflets, many local authorities are now embracing the digital marketplace and advertising an upcoming course or event online. It facilitates promoting to a much wider, more responsive audience that can be immediately directed to your website and encouraged to purchase tickets.

For this month’s blog we’ve outlined five ways to help promote your course or event online –

Your website:

You may have written a very informative, helpful description of your upcoming course but without ensuring your copy is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly it is likely to become hidden in a search engine’s results. This is because sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo all use algorithms to find and filter search results. When writing online content, it is a good idea to imagine which words your audience will use to search online. You can use tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner to see what phrases are being searched online. By setting up an Adwords account, you can look for relevant key words or phrases, and how frequently they are searched for online. Using these results, put together a key word list and incorporate a few into your website copy – ensuring it still reads well and doesn’t sound too SEO focussed as Google will penalise a website for this.

Social media:

Social media has become a popular platform for advertising business services, products or events online. Social platforms allow organisations to attract new customers from across the world and direct traffic to their website, connecting with thousands through use of topical #hashtags. Developments in advertising on social media has also encouraged traffic to websites and increased sales conversions. Through sponsored social posts on LinkedIn and Facebook, or promoted tweets on Twitter, organisations can target advertorial posts to specific demographics. Promoting an event using social media or sponsored posts, and including a direct link to your online event page will encourage more tickets to be sold. It is also worth considering ‘retargeting ads’ – where a customer has visited your website without making a purchase and clicked off onto another website, your advert will appear encouraging customers to return to your website and continue with their purchase. Retargeting people who are already interested in your publicised event are 70 per cent more likely to buy your tickets.

Content marketing:

Content marketing is one of the most successful ways marketers advertise their services and connect with an audience online. Creating compelling copy to help advertise your course, event or kids holiday clubs should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. Try writing a few topical blogs relevant to your upcoming course or event, including a link the event webpage. Promote your blogs and other pieces of online content surrounding your event through social media and let followers share and raise awareness of your event for you.

Newsletters:

Another easy way to connect with audiences through content is through publishing newsletters. These can be as regular as you like and could either be a roundup of all council activities including upcoming holiday activities, or more specific such as focused solely on advertising a training course for adults. Creating an online newsletter has been made simple with platforms such as Mailchimp or HubSpot, allowing a user to select a template and import contacts. Encourage readers to click through from your newsletter straight to your online booking system with a ‘buy tickets’ button to help streamline the booking process. If you have photographs from previous events use these to help attract customers – however if you are running an event for the first time, you could use images from copyright-free stock websites such as Pexels.

Online brochure:

Creating an online brochure is similar to your traditional offline marketing techniques however unlike paper copies, it is less likely to get lost or destroyed and can include interactive features such as embedded links or images. Advertising your upcoming course, event or holiday activities inside an online brochure can link readers straight to your online events page to find out further information and to buy tickets. Using platforms such as Issue, Flickread or PageSuite you can create easy-to-use and effective online brochures to promote your upcoming course or event.

Directing viewers to your event page is one thing, but what’s the likelihood they will just click off your website within a few minutes? They might intend to phone up the number advertised and book tickets at a later time, but what’s the probability they will never get round to it? It’s important to increase the likelihood that a visitor to your website will become a customer, by creating a fluid and simple booking process.

Integrating with software systems such as Stopford’s Course and Event Booking system will streamline your booking process and help keep audiences engaged with your event online. Unlike other course and event applications online, Stopford does not charge you or your customers when you buy or sell tickets. The control really is in your hands. To find out further details please contact us or discover more on our course and event booking system here.