September 19, 2012 | Alyson Stanfield

Promoting Events 6 Months Out

If I were asked for advice on promoting my workshops, these are the actions I’d encourage organizers to take. Please use this format as a guideline and adapt it to any event.

At my social media immersion workshop in Philadelphia. Photo by John Pitman Photography, ©John J. Pitman. Used with permission.
At my social media immersion workshop in Philadelphia. Photo by John Pitman Photography, ©John J. Pitman. Used with permission.

6 Months Out

It’s never too early to start promoting an event! People need to see a message at least 7 times in order to act on it, and that message should occur over time and across multiple platforms. Start now!

  • Develop an incentives package, such as deep discounts and bonuses, for early registrations.
  • Create your website sales page. Ensure that online ordering is working.
  • Make an announcement about the event in your organization’s newsletter.
  • Add the workshop as an event on Facebook and post it to your Facebook timeline.
  • Start contacting potential partners that can help promote your event to their lists.
  • Create a postcard and/or inexpensive flyer. Identify key locations and happenings for placement of handouts or flyers.

3-6 Months Out

This is when you might be tempted to slack off. You think you’ve already done a bunch of marketing and that you should allow your message to percolate with recipients. Don’t do this! Ramp up your marketing efforts even more!

  • Mention the event 2x a month in blog posts (ask me for a guest post or interview!).
  • Post it weekly on your Facebook page – varying the time of day you post.
  • Tweet it several times a week during high-traffic times.
  • Cite the workshop in each issue of your newsletter.
  • Send at least 5 personal emails each week to encourage other organizations to spread the word about your event. Follow up as necessary.
  • Make phone calls to key alliances that can attract attendees.
  • Follow up all online registrations with confirmation welcome letters. Always remember that these people are your guests and should be treated as such.

1-2 Months Out – Early registration ends

There should be a big push to sell seats right before early registration ends. This is when you will receive the majority of your sign-ups.

  • Continue all of the promotions you’ve been doing for the last several months. Don’t let up!
  • Send a press release and reminders to all alliances to announce the end of early registration. Don’t forget to include the key arts bloggers in your area.
  • Schedule a series of 2-3 emails to your list with the early registration deadline reminder. These emails should be specific to the workshop and include no other offerings or announcements.

1 Week to 1 Month Out

  • If you haven’t sold out, expand your efforts to fill the seats. You want it to be a success, don’t you?
  • Send at least two more emails to your list.

5 Days Out

Relax. You’ve done the best you can, and you have a good crowd coming! Kick up your heels and relax – but only for about an hour. Then you can start tending to workshop details for your guests.
Any details you would add to this list?

19 comments add a comment
  • These are great tips! I’m printing this out so I can refer to the timeline when I’m planning my next art class. Thanks Alyson!

  • Thanks Alyson! I also will print out this list. I am always organizing and helping with events and think we need better planning. I have started a “Round Table Group” which is about marketing and organizing only … no techniques allowed for the art itself. We meet quarterly only… and have an Open Studio Tour scheduled for Nov. 3 in our Northwest Atlanta area — have 25 artists participating with about 14 or 15 locations. So, this is good stuff for them to read and hear. Thank you again! I always enjoy reading what you post.

  • Great advice as ever. If I ever want to organise events I know where to go for help!

  • Alison,
    Great information in this post. Your timeline is easy to understand and can easily be adapted for any event. I curated this into my Scoop-it newsletter “Social Media Art” even though it isn’t directly related to social media art. Your timeline is so well written that I feel compelled to give it this attention and share it with others.
    I am sure going to save this post to refer to for future events that I plan. Thank you.
    Warmly, Susan

  • Anne Belov

    Great list! Thanks, Alyson!

  • Great outlne! Thanks. I will share it with the groups I work with as a Peer Advisor for the WV Commission on the Arts. Folks should remember that good promotion needs to be backed up by good event content and, as you say at the end, delivering for your guests.

  • Laura Bucci

    I too have printed this out! This is very useful, thank you!

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  • Victoria Pendragon

    This was such an excellent post that I sent it to the folks who will be hosting my collage workshop in February! Might as well double the light!
    Thanks!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Victoria: I suggest not just sharing, but communicating frequently with them to ensure that they are putting it to use.

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  • Evelyn Suarez (Eveline)

    Hello Alyson,I asked my friend Tanya to create another art printing class event and she laughed and said,you’re an art teacher and artist; you should have your own event.She then sent me your very well planned post. It’s given me the courage to believe I could possibly have my very first workshop. Do you have a specific post for”Events for first timers” like myself? Look forward to hearing from you.

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