The holiday season is one of the biggest opportunities in the marketing calendar. This is why, every year, as the leaves start to change and pumpkin spice again reigns supreme, event planners go to work on their holiday event planning.
With retail sales kicking into high gear and so many celebrations taking place, it’s hard to be heard above all the noise. But, obviously, to solicit donations or sell tickets to your event, you need to get noticed.
These creative holiday event marketing ideas can do just that! They will help you stand out in 2019 and put you well on your way to increasing revenues and hosting a truly successful holiday event!
Understanding Your Audience
Before you can really determine exactly which marketing strategy to use, you need to understand your target audience.
To do this, you will have to do a little bit of exploring. How does your audience behave during the holidays? Do they celebrate widely and attend several events, large and small? Or, do they stay close to home, preferring to spend time with family?
Answering these questions will help you create, design, brand, and market an event that is suitable for your target. If, for example, your audience tends to focus on family time during the holidays, consider a family-friendly event and marketing campaign. If your audience has a fully packed schedule this time of year, consider having an online, or remote, element to your event. In the case of fundraisers, this could mean an online raffle or some other form of mobile fundraising.
Your marketing campaign should be tailored to speak to, and address, the unique needs of your target. At a time of year when there are a lot of great campaigns to contend with, one of the ways you can most stand out is to speak directly to people, instead of at them.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would like to see. Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to strike a chord.
Holiday Event Marketing Ideas That Stand Out
Holiday event marketing isn’t drastically different from retail marketing. Much of retail marketing will focus on sales or discounts, which isn’t necessarily appropriate for events promotion, but many of the principles of retail campaigns can be applied to your strategy.
It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Draw inspiration from the list below, but also from past marketing campaigns.
Here are some holiday event marketing ideas to get you started:
Free Ticket Giveaway
Obviously, this idea isn’t a new one, but it’s a good one all the same. After all, who doesn’t love being a winner? People love getting something for free, especially if they’re feeling strapped for cash around the holidays.
But just because this idea has been used before, doesn’t mean you can’t find unique, creative, and engaging ways to pull it off.
In the last few years, brands have been using this type of campaign to engage users on social media. We’ve all seen the posts captioned with: “comment on this post tagging someone you would bring along, like our page, and share this post and your name will be entered into a draw for two free tickets.”
Encourage people to participate by reminding them that tickets to your event can serve as a unique and creative gift. What does one give the person who has everything? Tickets to your event! And given the more and more people are gifting experiences over objects, your event may perfectly fit this need.
These actions will not only grow your Instagram or Facebook page but the shares create awareness of your event and your brand. The post will be seen by more people, and because you do not have to pay for ads, you’ll get increased exposure without paying a dime. It’s a win-win!
Use a giveaway to further develop your event brand. Create an Instagram story or go live on your social channels to tell people about your event and how they can enter. Seeing a real person behind the brand can help your audience connect on a deeper level. Forming a connection is likely to increase participation and boost ticket sales overall.
Once the giveaway has closed, contact all of the participants. Thank them for their interest and mention that if they still want to attend the event, tickets are available for purchase, and include all of the sales links.
Create an Online Event
Your social channels and event website are great tools for generating excitement and separating yourself from the crowd. Instagram stories, for example, are the perfect way to create awareness and draw people to where you want them to go.
This can work in a couple of different ways. You can use an online event to draw attention to your main event, or, you can run one alongside your main event to accommodate folks who may not be able to attend in person.
Online events as part of your ad campaign can be incredibly effective. Have exclusive content like video sneak peeks or teasers. Consider putting a Santa Claus tracker on your page over Christmas Eve or finding some other reason to attract people to your page. While they are there, you can prompt them to make an online donation.
As we all know, the holidays are an insanely busy, hectic time, full of shopping and social engagements, so offer your audience something that may better fit their schedule. Use social media and/or your site to share a live feed of all, or part, of the actual event. If you are doing a raffle, use content marketing or online videos to encourage mobile ticket purchases then broadcast the actual draw on all of your channels.
Tell a Story
Storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool to connect your event brand with your audience. A solid blog post, for example, can be used to provide value to your audience while showing them what you are all about.
This time of year, ads come at all of us at an alarming rate and after a while, we stop paying attention. Use your site and your social channels to be more substantive. Content marketing allows you to promote your message or goals while being more than just a tagline, logo, or one more organization looking for money.
The right content can pique curiosity or evoke emotions that will make someone more likely to donate or purchase tickets. The holidays and the warm, loving spirit they bring with them make this the perfect time of year to bring in a heartfelt story to your marketing efforts.
Write and publish blog content relevant to your brand or cause, post images and videos, and encourage followers to share with you as well. Share any user-generated content you receive on your social channels. Involving your audience in this way will increase your exposure.
To encourage greater participation, consider tying an audience content request in with a ticket giveaway. Ask people to share their favorite holiday memory or explain how they plan to spread “holiday cheer” in exchange for being entered into a drawing.
People love to feel involved and they love to have that involvement acknowledged. The goodwill this can generate is likely to increase your sales and donations far more than purchasing an increased number of ads ever could.
Why use a hard sell when you don’t have to?
Personalize Your Marketing Strategy
A personalized marketing strategy will stand out. A voice that speaks directly to you and your needs will be much louder and clearer than one speaking in general terms!
Personalization ties in easily with a well-developed content strategy and can significantly improve your sales rates.
Aim to offer value. Post a short quiz and then offer an ebook or guide as a reward for those who complete it. Think “Holiday Survival Guide” or “Unique Holiday Meal Ideas,” whatever speaks to your brand, your goals, and your target audience.
If you are collecting user-generated content, use that data to determine what resonates most with your audience, then turn it into something they can benefit from.
If you are an established brand, segment your email list. New email sign-ups should be getting a different message than your loyal customers or clients.
The more targeted you can make this campaign, the more engaged people will be with your brand message. And, of course, engagement often precipitates participation and sales.
Partner with Local Businesses
The holidays are the perfect time to connect with the community. Partnering with local businesses can really set your marketing campaign apart. In fact, it will help you extend your reach beyond your current audience.
Ads and promotions can be directed at both your audience and your partner’s. And it is likely that you will both benefit from the partnership. Heck, they may even have some of their own promotion ideas to add to the mix. The more the merrier, right?
Even if your brand is new, people will take notice if you’ve got an established local business on board. People who support that business will be inclined to support you as well.
Find a business that aligns with your values and is appropriate for your target audience. If your goal is to attract a younger crowd, you might want to think twice about partnering with the local BINGO hall, for example.
Try to think outside the box and look to businesses that might not be immediately obvious. These partnerships can manifest in a number of different ways.
Whether they provide the venue, cater the event, or offer special prizes, these partnerships can display the type of unity and sharing that takes center stage during the holidays.
People want to spread joy and goodwill over the holidays but it isn’t always easy when there are so many demands on time and money. Supporting two local organizations provides people with the opportunity to feel like they have done good in their own community.
Don’t forget that the relationships you build with local business owners can also come in handy when you’re looking for event sponsorship in the future!
Be Mobile Friendly
Meet people where they live: on their phones.
By using a mobile platform like Accelevents, you can make it easy for interested parties to donate without having to attend your event or stay for the duration of it.
With text to give options and online donations, people who would love to support you can do so from wherever they are — whether that’s from the event itself or their kids’ Holiday pageant.
Making it easy to give to your campaign, or connect with your event, will definitely set you apart from the rest. Time is a valuable commodity, especially during the holidays, and so much of what goes on during the season will require time spent in various places and on various tasks. Being mobile-friendly shows that you respect and value your audience’s time when so many others are simply wasting it.
And don’t forget to optimize all ads and web pages for mobile viewing. If consumers can’t properly see your content, they are likely to ignore it.
Sell Tickets on Multiple Channels
With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, and even Festivus, December can arrive seemingly out of nowhere. This is why it is important to make things easy for people, even those last-minute holiday shoppers!
If you make event tickets available across multiple channels, you not only make purchasing easier, but you also have more marketing avenues.
Obviously you will want to sell through your website and social channels but don’t forget more traditional media options as well. Consider newspaper ads or community event boards to increase your reach. Have tickets available at the venue, if appropriate, and sell some through any businesses or sponsors you are working with.
We’re all used to having things when and how we want them. The more options you give people, the more likely they are to notice your event and purchase tickets at their own convenience. This is especially true if they see your event posted in multiple places.
One of the best things about the holidays is the opportunity to connect and share with other people. Your holiday event marketing campaign needs to give your audience “all the feels” and make them excited to participate in your event.
These holiday marketing tips will not only foster that type of anticipation and connection with your event brand, but they will also help you stand out from the crowd!