Social media is a great tool for ecommerce sales, but what if your business is trying to accomplish something more abstract than just an online transaction?  A lot of our clients are trying to create societal and community change, they’re not selling a product but offering a service, trying to fundraise for a cause, or implement a community support system.  A great way to engage your local community, donors, or target audience is to host an event to draw in new people, gain their trust, and generate future interest.  After helping to facilitate over one hundred of these types of campaigns here are four key tips I learned to make your outreach the most successful it can be. 

 

Make It Fun 

When planning your event it can be easy to get caught up in insular thinking. You’re eager to introduce your community to your cause and may try to create an event that dives deep into what you want to offer. This is a great idea for a second or third event, but not for a first point of contact. The purpose of an outreach event is to have mass appeal, so the average person who has never heard of your organization still feels drawn to attend. A trivia night, festival, holiday party or anything that offers free food is always something that will draw people in. Avoid things like lectures, conferences, documentary viewings, and guest speakers and save those for a follow up event after your initial outreach. 

 

Make it FREE 

An outreach event is not the time to try to turn a profit. These events do incur costs, so sometimes a small fee is necessary, but whenever possible making the event free will double and even triple your sign ups. 

 

Collect Data 

The value you gain from an outreach event is data. While hosting a free event has a cost, your gain is something incredibly valuable in the marketing world – an engaged email lead. Every person who signs up for your event goes from being a cold audience to a warm audience, and you have their personal contact information. The value of this can not be understated! The best way to collect sign up information is to run engaging, exciting ads on social media that lead people to click through to a registration page. Make sure the registration page asks for their name, email, and phone number. When it’s all said and done you’ll have a robust, engaged audience email list ready to use for future endeavors. You can also use a retargeting audience for future outreach events to retarget anyone who clicked on your ads, which is an even bigger pool of people than your new email list. 

 

Follow Up Funnel 

Now that you’ve run a successful event and have a warm email list of new contacts, it’s time to put that list to good use. For any future ads you run, specifically ads with a call to action, you can now specifically target anyone who clicked on your ads in a retargeting campaign. It’s also recommended to create a compelling email funnel that keeps your audience engaged and informed, and most importantly, invites them to the next follow up event you host.