Event Planning

The 5 Big Mistakes Scottish Organizations are making with their events.

I want to start by stating that I know many Scottish organizations doing a lot of things right! In fact, I’ve been to so many well-organized events that I have a small collection of things that each event does so well that it’s worth sharing with other organizations. So this is meant to help those who aren’t seeing attendance at their winter ceilidhs, Caledonia Balls and Burns nights…and maybe even monthly meetings. In this article, you’ll get 5 actionable tips that you can use for your next event.

1. Your Website does not reflect an up to date design and functions like an website from 1999:
One thing that surely keeps people away is when organizations and businesses don’t have a responsive website with current information, and a person to contact. Have a solid and reliable website and even better a landing page for that event alone. A place where everyone can get all of the information about the location, date, time and how to get tickets. When you are 3 months away from your event, their should be a VERY clear call to action on the home page of your site to get more information about the upcoming event.

***Please do not use your facebook page as your website.*** Not everyone uses Facebook and Facebook is not set up for people to easily navigate to find the event. Also, Facebook is always changing and keeping up with it is hard enough for social media specialists but for the common user and the volunteer coordinator of your event the likelihood of facebook being used to leverage your event is highly unlikely. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t be on facebook. You actually do need social media in some way, but it should not be your main promotional outlet.

Your website and email list should be your number one focus. There are so many easy to use and free website builders out there such as WEEBLY (which we just love!). Take a critical look at your design to make sure it’s responsive to devices and take a moment to understand SEO (search engine optimization). Don’t let the tech scare you, they are super easy to implement with just a few quick tutorials. In our HE Membership program, we have tutorials on how to set up free pages in some of our favorite website builders, understanding responsive design and SEO.

2. You aren’t selling online tickets
On your webpage you MUST have a way for attendees to buy tickets directly via the internet and a phone number where they can call for more information about tickets. Sending an email or a check in the mail will result in the loss of a lot of potential sales. You don’t want to make the purchase process difficult or something that may be put off for a later date. Keep it simple and easy for everyone to buy tickets. Eventbrite is a VERY easy option for ticket sales and it’s what we use in Highland Echoes. You can then send all the ticket buyers emails to follow up with them if there are any event changes or to notify them of another event!

3. You are forgetting to target your current audience
Let your people know about the event without spending your marketing money – your email list is a good place to start, and your social media is second. Building up your email list should be your number one focus. The statistics currently show us that an engaged email is still THE best way to market and sell your products and services.

There are many ways to list build that you can explore and that we help with inside of the HE professional membership. It’s important that you continue to provide value to your list (and to your social media followers) in between events and product sales. If you are already sharing about your event and never share anything else that interests your followers, then they will never be engaged and will not be as likely to buy when your event is coming up. For example, I get an email from a business every month about what they are selling. It’s great because they are sending emails, but they have never sent me an email with how to use something they are selling. If they did, I’d be way more likely to buy. Just a simple change that would increase sales.

4. You are trying to compete with your competitors rather than working together for greater success
Reach out to other organizations who have similar lifestyle interests – and partner with them. There is strength in numbers and when you reach out to other influencers it just increases exposure to your event. For example, for our show Highland Echoes we invite local dance groups to come and be a part of the show in a way that makes sense because it increases exposure for their own dance school and it shows the community how they can get involved If they want to learn how to Scottish Dance. It increases the value of our mission which is to promote Scottish culture and it brings out more people to the event and creates more conversation in the community. The biggest thing I’m seeing out there in the Scottish community is that organizations are busily competing with each other instead of standing strong together. The data is unequivocal when a business in your genre is successful it increases your chance of success in your own business! Support each other!

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