Event organizers and planners are constantly looking for better ways to sell out their events! This is especially important in the Paranormal and Supernatural industries, where both the market and profit margins are much smaller than in other genres.
Organic Marketing, spearheaded by consumer enthusiasm is the most affordable, effective and targeted way to get the job done! Yet, it takes time, a bit of work, persistence, commitment and diligence! It also means developing a strategy that is targeted and smart! Needless to say, it will certainly pay off when done correctly!
The two most important strategies for marketing paranormal events are: 1. “Digital Marketing” and 2. “Boots on the Ground”. But before we dive into these areas, we must preach a cardinal rule that seems to be a major reason why many events don’t do well. We are speaking of lack of stakeholders team work.
Cardinal Rule: Get your stakeholders involved
The number one mistake in event management success is the lack of engagement and teamwork amongst all the persons that stand to gain something from your event! We call these folks Event “Stakeholders”.
Remember, for any type of success … “It takes a Village!”
“In managing successful events, it is essential to engage event stakeholders throughout the event planning process to gain community satisfaction and support for the event: resulting in competitive advantage.”
“The Organization (of the event) is a system of stakeholder groups and a failure to retain their participation will result in the failure of the enterprise”
Who exactly are the Stakeholders?
Simply said, stakeholders are persons/locations that are set to receive a gain or merit from a planned event. Primary stakeholders include the event manager and organizer (you!), members of your organization (employees or volunteers), the Property Owners or Venue Managers, Celebrity/Guest Speakers, Vendors/Sponsors and the hosting Community.
Secondary Stakeholders include the local council, tourism divisions, chamber of commerce services and contract providers (catering, equipment rentals, etc.), transport services, the Media and the companies that sell your online tickets.
Working with Primary Stakeholders
Time after time, we hear (and witness) the same story. “The location is not pushing my event!” “Our guest speakers are MIA with our event!” Why is this happening? They stand to gain AS MUCH as you do, if not more! They could very well increases their “congenial-reputation” that will strengtheattracts future bookings and continuous revenues!
Why does this happen? Because many of these guest speaker/celebrities and locations may be stuck inside their own box! Show them the light!
Some celebrities feel that pushing your events would be promoting themselves and not “look cool”. On the other hand, some of the most respected and seasoned celebrities don’t hold this conviction and are constantly sought after for events … because they help to promote! We hear this from event managers all the time!
Helping to promote events separate the Professionals from the Want-To-Be’s! Professionals will never feel they’re “too popular”, abstaining them from pushing the events. They help to promote those that support their public appearances.
Some properties have the attitude of “Well, I’ve done my job, booked the night and got my deposit.”
Not so! If the event doesn’t sell out at their venues, locations will grow a community of regrets and distaste for the property. This will spread the word and bookings will stop. On the other hand, we hear from many event managers gloating of how great their property owners/managers are! “They want us to succeed, so they are actively sharing our events! They are awesome!” This will eventually lead to a better event attendance and a fabulous relationship between the venue and the event manager!
Bottom-line, when bookings are not successful, those that had a stake in the game and did not help … will lose relationships and bookings.
Make this understood and committed early.
Get a commitment for their active engagement when you first negotiate the agreement. In most cases, you are hiring them and this should be a requirement you should be expecting. Choose your venues, communities, speakers, celebrities, sponsors, vendors, etc. by their spirit and willingness to be part of the promotional team.
Don’t forget about the “other” and (often) un-spoken stakeholder that is very important, current ticket holders. They want to be sure your event is successful so it does not cancel out. Have them be part of sharing the experience they look forward to, luring their friends to consider getting tickets as well. Make your event socially popular! You may also give them an incentive to bring you more ticket buyers!
With that, we bring you…
Digital marketing is using electronic media to market your services, in this case, your event. You’ll probably want your new event announcement to go viral. In order to do this, most folks establish a smart digital marketing plan right from the start.
First things first … You must first ask them to come to your event with the most powerful tools … Images and Videos! This is what we refer to as a …
“Call to Action” Media:
Create a poster/banner that is clear, engaging and simple, with a powerful “Call to Action” display. In most cases, your CTA will be …. “Buy Tickets Here” or “Buy Tickets Now!”. The CTA will lead them to your landing page that has information about the event including the an actual “BUY” button!
Too many times we will see posters that are cluttered with too much text and photos, all wanting to grab someone’s attention! They feel that the more exciting and info the poster has, the more enticing it is. Wrong. These cluttered collages often get over-looked, for the brain wants one simple message with one simple request (your CTA).
A background image on the poster needs to deliver the mood or concept of the event wants to capitalize on. Make sure it does have the date(s), location (including city/state) and the names of the principle speakers/celebrities. That’s it!
Avoid excessive “TMI” stuff (such as times, description of the event, and even ticket prices). When they go to your CTA landing page, you can fill them in with all the details. The Poster should get them to your Point of Purchase. The Point of Purchase is the landing Page that will provide all the needed content to make them buy the tickets!
This is the newest (and least used) digital platform. And boy, is it successful! Folks love videos! It is said that 60% of folks would rather watch a video than read text (when both offered). In addition, other statistics tell us that 73% of US Adults are more like to purchase after watching a video!
Be sure to make it just 30-60 seconds long! Remember, most people are very busy and have a short attention span. Sell your event in the first few seconds of the video and then pull them in with the CTA.
Both Images and videos are amazing lures to grow interest in your event! Now, let’s use them on your Digital Marketing plan!
Give it up to social media for helping us sell stuff! They do a great job with events, since engagement and communication are their pillars for their existence. And we all need engagement and communication to sell our tickets! Let’s start with the mother of all, Facebook.
Some Facebook Tips:
Let’s just say it. Facebook is the universe that paranormal and supernatural enthusiasts live and thrive in. So here are some good tips to maximize your presence on Facebook without opening your wallet.
- Banner for your event page. Needs to be as simple as we described above with a strong call to action. Since you don't have an embedded URL capability, you may need to spell out the www.url on the banner itself. The perfect size (and you want perfect so that all the info is seen/read) is 785x174 pixels.
You may also wish to consider using the power of a video here!
- Provide all the details on the FB Event Page. Too many times we will see no location, inaccurate dates/times and no detailed description. Complete all the blocks when building your event page. Pay special attention to the description block, for this is where Facebook will select you from when folks are searching for an event on your areas. Use Hashtags that are commonly used for your event type. In addition, be sure to put in the ticket URL. (Also check to make sure it is NOT a private event -should be public- otherwise NO-ONE is going to see it!
- Create a Facebook Event and make your stakeholders Co-Hosts. Hosts that sit on an event page and do not engage are not taking opportunity of an amazing way to create the awareness for an event. Make sure to invite your friends (within the geographical area) to the event. Choose to use the Private Messaging options, since alerts sometimes go unnoticed. BUT ABOVE ALL, have your Stakeholders do the same, as well. Unfortunately, Facebook only allows up to 50 invites, but if you have 10 stakeholders, that’s 500 invites!
- Post and Tag: Do routinely share it on your timeline. Tag the stakeholders, so that they can share on their timeline!
- Celebrate your Guest Stars: Create a post with a bio and photo for each of your celebrities/speakers guests. Tag them and make sure to post on the FB event page.
- Facebook Live: Facebook Live is on fire! Facebook wants to grow this product, so they will reward you handsomely for using it! FB’s Algorhythms will give your FB Live post a wider audience than just a regular post.
- Run Promos/Contests: Contests and Promotions are always fun and engaging. Use these features to build more likes/shares/comments. You may also drive them to a landing page that need their contact info. (There’s the sound of your email list building!)
Don’t forget about the other Social Media platforms!
Even though Facebook continues to be the most preferred Social Media engine for paranormal enthusiasts, don’t forget about the other platforms! Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest are getting many new followers, due to some of the frustrations that Facebook has posed in that last few months. In addition, you are more apt to get an extended interest list that are not exclusively into the paranormal. This is a common goal of every event manager we speak to!
It’s likely you will find a Nancy Drew on Pinterest that likes your eerie photo of your event and may be looking a fun event that engages mystery, spook and with strange stories and drama! You may not find Nancy in Facebook!
Search Engines: Promote OUTSIDE of Social Media
There is a world outside Digital Marketing outside of Social Media. This is where most event managers fail to do and leave their work incomplete! Here’s your competitive edge!
Create an Article and let it spin around the Google search engine!
Make an article about your event, and share it with industry-related blogs/websites. Make sure to compose the title and some of the content (especially in the beginning) using keywords that will drive people to your article.
Please don’t make your article a walking infomercial. People are turned off with being sold. It should be cover interesting things about the event. You may want to discuss the location’s haunted/documented history. Perhaps you want to discuss some of the interesting investigation tools that you use. Midway and at the end of the article, give them a “Call to Action” to explore the event that you are promoting. This CTA will then lead them to your event’s info landing page. WHAM! You have reached an interested and targeted lead!
Do Podcasts and Internet Radio Shows
These have been the game changers in the electronic digital world. Some folks are adding the lure of listing to information through digital media, as oppose to engaging in the social media platforms.
Take advantage of this growing phenomenon.
Post on national and local event calendars that offer the service at no cost.
There are tons of local and national event calendars that will take your entry at no cost! This is important, for it will do much to your efforts! When people are looking to do something next weekend, they will do a search in one of these platforms! They maybe not even thinking about a supernatural event, but when they see your event … they will be intrigued!
It is also a fabulous method to increase your Google Analytics (better known as SEO), so that when folks Google Search for an event in XYZ town, yours may be on top! Let Google give you the organic interest-pushed exposure you need, by just sharing your event everywhere electronically!
While everyone is circling Social Media, emails could be a very effective way of telling folks about your event. Start a mailing list and use one of the affordable Email Manager companies out there.
Build your mailing list by asking all that have attended your previous events to join. In addition, there should request them to join with all your digital marketing. Include it in articles you write, a web site you have built and on your Facebook pages. These are targeted folks that love what you do.
Emails are not “old school”. They still remain one of the best way to promote your events and keep your organization in their minds! (This is called “branding”!)
Local Boots on the Ground
By far, this is one of the strongest promotions you can do. Don’t join your competitor and ignore this vital method in getting the word out! This will give the edge that no one else has. Event managers are all swarming in the digital space, but no one is doing “old-school” pushes. These strategies target a very sizeable list of your prospects! Time after time, this will make/break your efforts! So start making!
Media: Press Releases, Local Radio and Television Shows
Whether you are a creating a press releases or talking points, the same standards should be followed. Always offer “Press Passes” to those that publish your request. You may get a nice “After The Event” article or a time to come back and speak about the program.
Be aware! Be Attractive to them!
Media is looking for content, human interest content! Keep in mind, as much as YOUR event is very special to you … it is probably not enough to get air time. Some topics you may wish to attach would include:
- The historical and haunted history of the location
- Historic Preservation efforts you are using your event to help the property you are engaged with
- Special paranormal investigation tools/gadgets your organization will be using to retrieve evidence
- Folklore or local urban legends that involve the property that is involved
Local Business Community
Engage with the community. Remember, your event will produce revenue for your town. Just to name a few resources, hotels, restaurants and shops. While you are there ask them if they would display your banner (that you happened to have with you!
Remember, your event HELPS that local community. Make sure that they know this and you want their help.
Community Stakeholder Management Credit Slideshare
Speak to Folks that are interested in bringing tourism/revenue to your event's community/town!
Speak to local groups that are invested in promoting the business community of the town. This includes Tourism Groups, Chamber of Commerce and other community based organizations.
Is All This Work Necessary?
Yes. Absolutely yes. (Unless you have thousands of dollars for paid ads on Google and Facebook!)
We realize that this is a lot of work!
Why? We know the pain, because this is what we do every single day at Haunted Journeys. Promotion takes daily efforts in order to be successful. By using all these tools, spread out until the day of your event, you are sure to see an increase in ticket sales and attendees. This is the plan the big guys use, generally all without cost … just a bunch of sweat equity.
Need a Partner … at no Cost?
If you want a partner to help you with this, at essentially no cost, we can do this for you! We use all these strategies, but bring it to the next level … one we call Focus Marketing!
You see, by only promoting Supernatural, Haunted, Metaphysical and Paranormal events, we are able to focus target a segment of 140 Million people in the USA (based on 43% of entire USA population that state they believe in ghosts and the paranormal). Of these, if we could just stir up 10% … our viable market is a healthy 14 million. There are NOT enough paranormal events to fill the mysterious appetite of this population!
What we are missing in the paranormal field is industry representation, driven with a focused strategy using interactive modalities.
Meet Thriller Events!
Consider our sister company, Thriller Events, to promote (via TARGETED Digital Marketing) your event … at no cost to you! How do we do this? By simply replacing your current ticketing agency (who knows NOTHING or has done nothing to help the paranormal industry), list with us! We get our revenue from a partial percentage of the ticketing fee as paid by the consumer.
Keep in mind, you are still responsible in executing the BOOTS ON THE GROUND. Letting us do the digital marketing will provide the extra time to get this important task done!
Want to learn more?
Visit our informational page to see how you can become one of us … the promoted and celebrated Paranormal Industry!
We close with this quote that sums up all the efforts and strategies outlined in this article.
“Event do not take place in a vacuum – they touch almost every aspect of our lives, whether the social, cultural, economic, environmental or political aspects. The benefits arising from such positive connections are a large part of the reason for the popularity and support of events.”
To sum it up, you are making a difference in the paranormal/supernatural industry. With this, we thank you and hope you will join in our efforts to bring it up to the next level of success!
Remember, the 15 million that we are waiting to take part in our industry's event market!
How to Videos for your viewing:
Event Stakeholder Management