Deborah Knight, Event & Venue Management Department Head, shares her top five tips to promote events in Toronto.
Toronto is the most diverse city in the world, with a population of 6.4 million in the Greater Toronto Area, which is double the population of Nevada, according to City of Toronto, 2021. Being the largest city in Canada, it is also the hub of many of the country’s largest annual events, particularly in the entertainment industry.
The event industry in Toronto hosts thousands of events every year, with Ontario alone generating an annual revenue of more than $40 billion, according to Oxford Economics. Toronto also has the largest conference, convention and trade show industry in the country, with live music venues generating a substantial revenue of $850 million a year (City of Toronto, 2021).
In 2019, Toronto hosted 1,124 total meetings and conferences which were attended by 574,000 delegates. The economic impact of those meetings was nearly $1.24 billion, according to City of Toronto, 2021.
The event industry was hit hard by the pandemic as tourists stopped travelling, venues lost all bookings and many venues even lost a year’s worth of advance revenue. Additionally, according to Tourism Toronto, event suppliers and hotels suffered losses of millions of dollars on cancelled conferences and conventions or companies opting for virtual networking events.
The #SaveTheEventIndustry hashtag was created to raise awareness and to start a conversation between the event industry and provincial government in 2021 to remind them that a reopening plan would require a much-deserved investment, which was never received.
Now that 2022 is in full swing, experts are predicting that the event industry might not be fully functional until the fall of 2023. Producers are worried about losing more revenue and even fewer in-person events and conferences are being planned in advance, which is crucial for long-term sustainability.
Since the event industry in Toronto, like everywhere else, is slowly but steadily gaining momentum, here are five tips to help you find and develop your perfect target audience in Toronto. This list, although not exhaustive, will help any event planner start promoting their first or next event.
Create a simple email database: Email marketing is the best way to reach out to your audience. Email messages delivered by free software such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp are received by those who have given you permission to contact them, so once you send out an email, there is a strong likelihood that they will open it. This gives you an edge as a professional event producer to attract audiences who trust you and are ready to act on your message to them. Therefore, creating a simple email database through networking should always be an on-going process.
Create a Facebook event: Event pages are free and can be shared on Facebook multiple times to different groups and communities who may have similar interests. You can target people connected to subject-specific, private groups who are interested in attending or have shared details of an event similar to yours. While creating a Facebook event, always remember to add a Call To Action (CTA) in your messaging, such as a link to purchase tickets that goes directly to the ticket service provider or internal box office.
Create a landing page for the event: A landing page is a one or two-page website for your event which primarily communicates information about the event through text and images. You should post all the details about the event on the landing page and provide links to your social media pages, as well as including a CTA button for people to purchase tickets. It is always a good idea to detail the profile bios/work history of speakers or influencers attending the event, alongside the main activities planned at the event. Make sure you add information about you and your company as well.
Create a promotion for early bird pricing and promote group ticket buying: The best way to motivate early ticket purchases is to offer tickets at an early bird discount which are available until a certain deadline. Family packages and group pricing offered at 10% off or more can also help to sell out an event early creating FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Work on branding to attract sponsors and build awareness for your brand: A beautifully designed poster and logo can go a long way in creating brand awareness. A well-thought combination of original graphic design and effective copy that communicates the kind of experience one can expect at your event, can significantly contribute to the success of the event. Make your visual representation memorable, effective and clear so that sponsors are proud to be associated with it. If the audience immediately wants to attend, you have successfully captured their attention!
Looking to pursue a career in the events industry? Check out the Event & Venue Management Program offered by Trebas Institute at the Toronto campus. It is a full-time, 48-week program that transforms you from a novice to an expert event and venue manager in just four terms.
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