Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Advertising & Promoting YOUR Events

Hint: An awesome logo doesn't hurt.
One of the most often asked questions we get this time of year seems to involve promoting or advertising an event. While few things are going to be as effective as good ol' fashioned word of mouth, many of you want to know what else you can do besides wait around for players to tell their friends.

Worry not! You've still got options. We're going to go over some basics and things to consider when decided where and how to promote, your event.  There's lot's to cover so don't shy away from this txt heavy entry. Think of this as a supplement to our most recent War Room video, which by the way is at  the end of this article if you wanna watch.

So read on friends, and hopefully we can give you some new ideas in helping you spread the word.

Your course of action is going to vary depending on the event, your goals, and location, among other things. In any situation, be organized as possible. Try to have a webpage where potential new players or interested parties can easily go to get more details about your event. Make sure that details are easy to understand from a new player's perspective.
We were so happy to have grown!

Your event is probably going to have the most bearing on how you advertise or promote your game. What kind of game are you running here? HvZ? S.A.M.B.O.? NIC? The type of event is going to determine your target audience and how you advertise your game.What age restrictions do you have? Those events probably won't want to advertise in a location that is frequented or primarily consists of those under your age limit. If you're going to have loaner blasters, or dart rentals, or anything that makes entry level easy for a new player, let people know.

The goal of the game will often play into how you promote as well. Are you looking for a few good players, or do you need to fill in a zombie horde? Perhaps you're trying to put a league together and you're looking to find a small band of players. All of these things should factor into how you promote your event.

Location is key to advertising. Sure, focusing on a different state, or country probably isn't going to reliably get you new blood, but the location of the event is key as well. A campus, community center, park, or other locations might change how you promote.

Ok, let's look at some examples. An HvZ event at a college campus seems an obvious choice.

Then the people just started coming...
First off you can advertise and try to garner interest by enticing people who may not even be into Nerf, but just want to come out to be a zombie and eat their friends' brains. The location on campus means a good way of advertising is on the campus itself. Aside from posting flyers on a bulletin board, you can try cross promoting with clubs on campus, or through that schools social media. If they have an event calendar, contemplate using it as a resource so people can easily find your page and get details.

A page can be something as simple as a facebook page, or a custom built website. As long as players can get relevant information, it will help newcomers to prepare for your event. We suggest having a facebook page, meetup group, or something that will allow people to sign up, or join an event, to give you an idea of the amount of people you'll be dealing with.

Ok, HvZ is great, especially for players who aren't even into blaster combat, but what about something else? We can apply the same basic principals. We recommend always looking to see if there are other Nerf groups or games in your area, or close by. If the players are already there, usually they're hungry for more events they can choose from. Syncing up with existing organizers is a sure fire way to get bodies.
Remember our old logo?

Social media is your friend. Putting your event up on forums, Reddit, and Facebook pages/groups is a good start. Don't spam though. Once per event is generally enough. You want to give people enough time to prepare, but not so much that your event gets forgotten. Be sure to put up a link to your page/rules, and answer any questions that potential players or interested parties might have. Very often they'll have you looking at something you might have forgotten.

Creating your own Facebook group is a great way to get potential players together and build hype. It gets people talking about plans, what they're bringing, trading, selling and more. Plus, because it's YOUR group page, you can feel free to post up event reminders leading up to the date scheduled. This also allows people to invite their friends to the group, so they can get updates and info about your events.

Don't be afraid to talk to people. Putting things on a public calendar at a park or community center is great, but often times people have questions. Consider creating an email account for your group/event. This should probably be up on calendars or event postings, or at the very least, on the rules page. Don't use your personal info, but creating an email specifically to handle any questions, concerns etc, is a good idea.

It's not about numbers, it's about fun.
Talking to people can also be during an event. Sometimes the best advertisement is having fun. People often see a group having a good time but are interested in learning more. Be approachable and explain the hobby and event that is going on to bystanders that have questions. Often times even if they don't have an interest they know someone who might. Also, be sure to make them feel safe, their curiosity could just as well be placed in concern.

Most importantly, don't get discouraged. Even if you don't get the numbers you might have hoped, go out and have fun with your friends and other people who have similar interests. Don't be afraid to let things grow organically, and take all feedback into consideration.  It doesn't matter how you enjoy the hobby, maybe you end up having duels and shooting contests, or just a fun mod day. As long as you're out there enjoying yourself, you're doin' it right.

So what about all of you? How have you advertised your events? Community centers, conventions, work, yard sale signs? Let us know what's worked for you!

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