You have slaved over the event planning process for weeks with your organization, trying to make sure all of the details of your event are at the quality level of perfection. But you have forgotten one important piece: the marketing. You decide to slam together a few words about your event into a Word document, and quickly print it out. Day of, you post flyers around the Student Union. Good enough, right?
Your event start time rolls around, all of your volunteers are in attendance and prepared. Five minutes pass, no one trickles in. Ten minutes, and you start to become nervous. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. Finally, in desperation, you text a few of your friends to see if they are coming. At this point, a lost student finds their way into your event, and they slouch around for a few minutes as you eagerly watch, then disappear from wherever they came from. A few of your friends show, along with two people who have seen your flyer. Before you know it, your event is over, and the turnout was lackluster.
Questions of what went wrong to cause this low turnout circulates your brain, and you come to the realization: Your marketing may need some work.
Let’s review a bit. Your readiness for the event is a very important part, and was achieved. Everything was in order. You could plan the greatest event of all time, but without any effective marketing, no one will know it was the greatest event of all time because no one but the event planners attended.
Marketing Tip #1: Be Socially Active
Announce your event on Social Media a few weeks before it starts. Social Media is a very cheap, inexpensive way to get the word out about events on campus. Friends can share your posts to gauge interest from the student body by getting THEIR friends excited about the event.
Good avenues of Social media to use: Facebook (you can schedule posts), Instagram, and Twitter.
(Pro Tip: use #WrightState and the Wright State Social Media account might retweet you!)
BUT, to make sure that the marketing sticks out, you should have an eye-popping flyer already made, which moves us into our next tip.
Marketing Tip #2: The Word Around Town: Don’t Use Word for Flyers
Depending on if you have access to Photoshop or not, you may only be familiar with using Word for making flyers. Microsoft Word is OK…But Photoshop or Canva.com is BETTER. It makes the information more visually appealing to an audience, and more interesting to read. If you have a friend who knows how to use Photoshop, ask them to teach you. If you play around with it for a bit, you’ll soon get the hang of it. (Tutorials are also on YouTube)
Canva.com is a great website for people who want to make eye-catching marketing. It’s almost like an easier version of Photoshop. I recommend it for people who want to make something quick, but also look good.
**Also if you do printing through printing services, .PDF files work the best for them.
Marketing Tip #3: Fon’t Do That
While editing flyers, keep in mind that some fonts are better to use than others. Script (handwritten looking) fonts are great…if they are readable. They should also only be used for the TITLE/NAME of your events, and not for a whole paragraph of details about your event. Simple fonts like Arial or Times New Roman (if you want to spice things up) are better for your date/time/location/details of your event.
While analyzing some marketing around campus, I have also seen some areas that could be improved on the font section.
For example: If you have a font that is an outline font, don’t place it over a pattern. It makes it hard to read. Also avoid putting light font color on a light background because it makes it unreadable.
Font size is also important. The biggest font size should be the title of your event, followed by a smaller font size with details if needed.
Keep in mind that having a picture on your flyer adds flavor, but that the picture shouldn’t be THE BIGGEST element on your marketing. If the picture takes up so much room and squishes your details, it makes your marketing look more like a photograph in an art exhibit than marketing for an event. If you have an upcoming Halloween event and the pumpkin photo is ¾ of the page, people will think it is a photo of a pumpkin and go right on past. Not very effective, unless you are into pumpkin appreciation art pieces.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t want to go TOO CRAZY with fonts. A limit to 3 different fonts per marketing is good, and having 1 script, 1 font with feet (Times New Roman), and 1 font to use as a Header Font (your event title—Use sparingly, and this one you can go a bit crazy with.)
White font with a stroke of black outlining it is the best route to go when marketing, as it can pretty much be readable on just about anything depending on the stroke weight (how thick the black is around the white). This works best on fonts similar to Arial, otherwise known as fonts that are thick around without feet (added marks under certain characters to give the illusion that the font has “feet”). Times New Roman is an example of a “feet font”.
Remember: Dark font color on a light background, or light font color on a dark background. Do not mix and match. ALWAYS be wary of putting font over a pattern—make sure you have a stroke around the font if you choose to do this so it is readable.
Marketing Tip #5: Organization is Key
Organizing the information of your flyer is important. You want most important to least important, so
Brief explanation of what it is
Social Media/Website promo
Fun fact about flyers, people tend to take in information by having their eyes follow the pattern of the letter Z. So left to right, down, then left to right again. If you can sort of organize your flyers to match this, you have the audience at your fingertips.
Marketing Tip #6: Don’t Just Let the Paper Talk
Another way of marketing that is really effective is face-to-face marketing. This requires you to break out of your comfort zone and talk to students. Invading high populated areas like the Student Union Market and The Hangar with your marketing (hotcards work better for this) will make a personal connection with the people you want to attend your event.
Introducing yourself, telling them which org you are a part of, and inviting them to your event will create a lasting impression on students.
Marketing Tip #7: Think Out of the Box
Of course, there is the social media route, paper marketing, and face-to-face route, but after a while those get boring. Grab some sidewalk chalk (read rules of chalking here: https://www.wright.edu/student-support-services/student-handbook/student-organizations-policies-and-procedures/sidewalk-chalking-policy ), a onesie/costume, or a video camera, and market your little hearts out.
You only get back what you are willing to put out, so marketing every possible avenue for your event is going to give back great attendance. There is always at least ONE person out there who will enjoy any crazy, off the wall event, you just have to market until you find that one person, or group of people.
Now don't give up, don't back down, because you are on a journey to improvement.
Brought to you by,
UAB Director of Marketing