Marketing and Promotion
The marketing and promotion of any event is essential in making sure members, potential participants and the wider public are aware of the event. Building awareness and excitement for your event can help to attract people to it as well as providing longer term benefits such as increasing your attendance at future events or the number of members within your club.
There are a variety of marketing options available and it’s worth spending time exploring the benefits and limitations of these before deciding on the best ways to promote your event.
In the past, more traditional marketing has been effective such as sending out leaflets and flyers however with digital marketing options readily available there is plenty to choose from to suit your needs and budget.
If you haven’t done much marketing before, or don’t use the latest social media platforms, this can seem like a daunting part of an event but there are a few things you can do to make it a little easier.
A few key questions you can ask yourself to get started are:
What is it you are trying to achieve from your marketing ? Do you want to attract participants, spectators or new sponsors, are you looking to provide exposure to those already involved or communicate to other water users that the waterway may be busy?
Who are you targeting and where can you find them? Once you know the answer to what you want, you then need to consider who you need to communicate with to achieve that - e.g. if you are looking to attract existing paddlers to a competition, then you may want to use existing channels that paddlers use, e.g. Facebook groups for particular disciplines. If you want local spectators, you could use community groups or local press.
What methods can you use to communicate? There is more detail below but some key methods may be:
Promotion through the British Canoeing event finder
Using Social media - e.g Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Producing a press release for local media
Club Matters have a page detailing marketing options that you can consider for an event.
British Canoeing Event Promotion
British Canoeing has an event finder on the website which promotes paddling events across the country. You can register your event with British Canoeing to make sure it appears on this list by completing the online form on the British Canoeing website.
Once the form has been completed, the information will be reviewed and uploaded to the event finder. As well as appearing on the event finder, events will also receive additional promotion where possible, this could include:
Social media posts
British Canoeing members’ newsletters
Social Media Guidance
Social Media can be a fantastic tool for marketing and promotion, which can be done with no financial outlay.
If you are new to it, then the Sport England Club Matters resources (Social Media, Making the Most of Facebook and Twitter Tips) cover some basic information but, as an initial introduction, some of the main platforms you could use are:
Facebook - This can be used to share information, pictures and videos. You can also set up an event which people can then show they are planning to attend and share with other people
Twitter - This is ideal for short updates and pictures
Instagram - This is mainly for sharing pictures.
Once you understand some of the basics, here’s 10 tips for promoting your event on social media:
Compare social platforms and make use of the most effective one/s for you
Create a #Hashtag to engage audiences
Create a buzz - get people talking about it
Link your social media so that people know about what is available where - e.g. will you provide live updates on twitter - if so, tell people on Facebook
Encourage shares for maximum engagement
Set up a Facebook event
Use social media live from the event for engagement with people not attending
Share, RT and respond to people engaging with you via social media
Publicise your Facebook event, and # at the event
Post event promotion to gauge everyone's experience
More detailed explanations can be found via the PDF link below.
Local Media and Press Promotion
Local media outlets can be a great way to engage your local audience. Whether they are sports fans or not, sporting events can be a great way to encourage new people to engage with the sport, particularly on a nice summer's day!
Local media outlets such as newspapers, local tourist information websites, local authority publications and local magazines could be useful for getting some content out there. You could also look at local or regional radio coverage, TV coverage, and university media.
Once you know your target audience for the event, the method of media and press promotion can be decided and implemented. It would be useful to have a promotion plan ahead of the event so, if it's possible, use as many of the above methods to maximise coverage of the event. It’s important to keep in mind the timing of when you approach the media outlets, to ensure that both parties have sufficient time to review the information, and the promotion is conducted at the right time for the event.
Press releases are a way of contacting your target media so spend a little bit of time looking up the relevant contact details and deadlines at the outlets you think you could help market the event then send over the press release to them, following up a day or two later with a phone call.
The important elements of a press release are to provide detailed, yet concise information to sell the event to the media. Useful information should include:
What is the event?
Where is the event?
How can you include the public (volunteering, spectating, local business opportunities)
Background of the event
Any endorsements from previous events
The event hosts & Information of the organisation hosting
Key contact information for the event organisers
Remember to make it relevant to their audiences too and that more traditional media will be looking for a story which is interesting to their viewers, readers, listeners etc.
Try to keep it to one page and don’t forget to include a good headline to get their attention.
Copy and paste the text of the press release into the body of your email to the journalist and then attach a copy as well. If you want to include a photo don’t forget to add a caption and keep it below 1MB.
More information and advice can be found within the linked document within our templates ‘A guide to engaging with local media’
Merchandise is a useful way of generating some revenue from your event, but you need to be mindful whether the attendees are going to translate to interested customers, otherwise this could result in leftover stock and lost revenue. The bigger the event, the more useful merchandise will be as a method but you quite often have to underwrite the purchases before knowing the income.
Another thing to consider is the detail on any products. Including event dates, for example, would be a nice touch, but would be event specific. If you were not to sell all stock, there would be little other opportunity to sell this afterwards. On the other hand, merchandise without dates would allow for the merchandise to be sold across multiple events, giving you a much higher chance of recouping maximum revenue.
Some benefits of creating merchandise are:
Social media interaction during and post event (sharing their experience and new merchandise with others)
A great way for spectators and members to support and engage with the hosts
Custom event merchandise can strengthen brand value and awareness