"Location, location, location!"
Location, location, location ... that's a common phrase used in the real estate world. In short, a piece of property's value can be primarily influenced by location. The importance of location is also directly applicable to the event world. Specifically, when it comes to where you geographically advertise for your event.
Over the years, I've seen local event organizers (including clients) insist on expanding their geographic advertising campaigns. e.g., You have a local event, and you want to market in an adjacent town that is a 60-minute commute away.
To date, I have yet to see a local event that's successfully implemented (and here's the BIG KEY) a profitable out of town advertising campaign. That's an advertising campaign where ticket revenues far exceed out of town advertising spend.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure someone has done it. Probably a national event promoter with a multimillion-dollar advertising budget. That's not practical for most local event organizers.
In short, if you have a local event, the best location to spend your advertising dollars is local! (That sounds horribly cliché and is also spot on.)
What if you REALLY want to try out of town advertising for your event?
Provided you know your target market well (detailed demographic & psychographic profiles), you can geographically target your event marketing, out of town. Out of town advertising success is predicated on three essential factors ...
First, are there known out of town buyers and how much revenue do they generate? You'll have to look at your historical customer data for insight. If you have no data or poor out of town return on ad spend, don't waste your advertising data out of town.
You might want to consider mapping out of town buyers. An online mapping service I use for client projects is BatchGeo.com.
Second, you must be able to track every dollar of advertising spend to a ticket sale. Seriously, no more excuses on this one!
Years ago, a client spent thousands of dollars on out of state advertising. Fortunately, we were able to put advertising tracking in place. Their result was a few hundred dollars in ticket sales against an investment of thousands of advertising dollars in cash. After seemingly abysmal results, they no longer spend out of state.
Third, if you're going to spend advertising dollars out of town, do so online only. This is because online advertising is usually trackable (provided you're selling tickets online) and you can turn off online advertising campaigns in a matter of minutes. Thus, if a campaign isn't working, you turn it off – no long term contracts.
If you're going to spend event advertising dollars outside of your local market, make sure you target your advertising spend and track everything to ticket sales, without exception.
If you can't track it, don't do it!
Additional Event Marketing and Advertising Resources: