There are many ways to promote events, but any savvy marketer will know the power of search engines like Google to drive high-intent visitors to your ticketing page. Hundreds of thousands of people search on the platform every month to find things do to near them.
We have found that there is a certain type of search result most event organizers aren’t thinking of and it means they are missing out on thousands of impressions and hundreds of clicks and ticket sales for every event.
This article is going to share exactly what these type of search results and why we believed in the power of these so much that we built an automation tool to submit your events to them with minimal work for your team.
The Elements of a Google Search for Events
Below is a big screenshot of what results for a typical search for events on Google looks like. Each result is color coded and there are descriptions in the following section for each of those colors.
In the screenshot of a Google search for “events in Dallas” we can see all of the different elements and results there are.
The first is the search query. What exactly is the user typing in. Google now adds some additional suggestions after the query, like “Tonight” and “Free”.
The second element, and first real result, will often be a Sponsored Result.
These are Google Search Ads and often the Visitors Bureau and other tourism agencies will be running ads here. If you’re a non-profit, you could also be running ads here for free through the Google Ad Grant program.
What is great, as we’ll cover later, Vesta’s promotion strategy will also get you considered for the event calendar of these sites that are being advertised at the top.
Next is the Google Events Module. This is technically part of what Google calls “Rich Results” which are different modules that come from Google’s scraping.
The space is pretty limited, but we’ve seen events get thousands of click-throughs when they make it onto this module. Want to learn how? We have a full post about how to optimize your events to get into the Google Events Module.
In short, though, these events are pulled in through Google’s scraping of the other sites we’re about to look at.
The blue sections in the screenshot are all the local community event calendars. Each one of these are publications and websites that curate local events, usually into a calendar format.
We know from SimilarWeb and some of our own data that these websites often reach hundreds of thousands if not millions of locals and visitors per month.
The people that come to these websites are high-intent event-seekers. That means they are actively looking for something to do and will convert at a much higher rate than other clicks.
As you can see, 10 out of the 14 results on that search are these local community event calendars.
Keep reading to find out how to optimize your events for these calendars and why using Vesta to automate submitting to these calendars will save you hundreds of hours, ensuring you see a positive ROI on using them as a marketing channel.
Google Search isn’t the only way for people to find your event through these calendar listings either.
Many of them have large audiences of their own that come directly to their websites. Some are tied to local television stations, newspapers, radio stations, and newsletters. They drive traffic to those same events listings from their own sources.
Before we move on from this screenshot though, there are two other types of results.
The red results are ticketing companies. You’ll likely be represented here if you use one of these companies as your primary ticketing software or they are reselling your tickets.
That means if you’re ticketing through one of the sites that is listed near the top of the “events in [city]” search for your city, you’ll be getting extra reach too.
The green result is an event aggregator site. There are a bunch of these that pull in events from any where and try to display them. They specialize in search engine optimization and you’ll probably be listed on these sites by default because they scrape the internet to look for events just like Google does.
These sites can be a bit clunky and the user experience isn’t great, but there’s no problem being on them.
It’s another listing for your event and another way to be found!
What are local community event calendars?
So lets go back to the community event calendars (the ones in blue in that screenshot).
We call them local community event calendars, but that’s just a category we made up to describe them.
Within that category are lots of different types of websites that are doing essentially the same thing:
They’re connecting event-seekers with local events.
Like we described above, they also drive a lot of website visitors from their other promotion channels like television, radio, print, and email newsletters.
Personally, I used to work at a radio station that covered local news. Over time our biggest driver of traffic to our website (where we featured local events prominently) was our daily email newsletter. There was even a section in that newsletter that featured a few top upcoming events every day.
Hopefully you can see by now how valuable local community event calendars are for promoting events.
What’s the upside of posting to local community event calendars?
Lots of high-intent visitors sells tickets
Oftentimes, just getting your event onto a few of these calendars will get you some extra high-intent clicks to your ticket page, but won’t sell out an event.
However, every once and awhile an event gets pulled from the calendar and featured in a “Things To Do” article or resonates particularly well with viewers of the calendar and it can make a huge difference for those events.
We’ve seen single events get 100,000+ clicks from some of these publications after previous events from the same organizer getting only 10 or 100 clicks per event.
Because these clicks are so high-intent, many of our customers see conversion rates in the range of 20-30%.
If you do some quick back of the napkin math, how much in ticket sales + food & bev sales would an average of even 15 of these clicks be worth for your events? What about 50 or 100?
Want to learn more about how we do it? Schedule some time to see Vesta in action.
It’s really about utilizing these website as consistently as possible. You should submit every event you host to the top calendars in your city.
Valuable backlinks for events is good for SEO
Another reason posting to these websites is valuable is to earn backlinks from reputable sites to your website.
Backlinks are an important part of good search engine optimization for your events business.
Basically, Google and other search engines consider how many other reputable sites have linked to your site as a very important factor in how high to rank your website in the search results.
A handy number to help you understand the reputation of a website is the Domain Authority of the website. It is a 0-100 ranking relative to other websites on the internet.
Domain Authority scores over 25 are typically considered trustworthy. Sites with scores between between 50 and 60 are considered very good. Anything above a 60 Domain Authority score is excellent.
Some of the highest Domain Authority websites in your area are always going to be the local publications like the radio station, TV station, newspaper, and other community organizations.
For example, VisitDallas.com has a Domain Authority score of 74 at the time of posting which is excellent. Earning a backlink to your website from VisitDallas.com is very valuable.
Brand awareness for your events builds affinity
Finally, the value of appearing regularly on local community event calendars is the brand awareness.
As we previously mentioned, these websites get hundreds of thousands of visitors per month. Plus, these visitors tend to see their local news, community outlets, newsletters, and visitors bureaus with a positive affinity.
Brand affinity is something every marketer should be taking into consideration. It’s tough to measure when you’re a small, scrappy company, but that doesn’t make it less important.
Not only does appearing regularly on these local community event calendars increase your brand reach, it creates the association of your brand with these trusted local brands. Through that association, you are increasing your local brand affinity.
How do local community event calendars choose events?
So if you submit to every calendar in your city, your event will get listed every time, right?
No. Not always.
With a few exceptions, the local community event calendars have real employees on the other side reviewing any events submitted. That means there is a bit of editorial decision-making going into what events to accept and which ones to deny.
They’re obviously likely to deny events outside of the geographic area, but there are many calendars with a specific focus as well.
We highly suggest you only submit to calendars that are relevant to your event.
For example, if your event is not a kids-focused event, it will be unlikely that a calendar like Kidsburgh is going to accept your event. One time will probably not be a big deal, but if you keep submitting events to them that are not relevant, they’re unlikely to consider you in the future when you have an event that is relevant.
If its relevant though, submit away. They’re usually happy to have the content.
That sounds like a lot of work. Should you just pick the top ones?
It is a lot of work.
In fact, we interviewed hundreds of event organizers when first starting Vesta. We found that many of them know the value of these local community event calendars, but can’t find the time to submit to enough of them to make a difference.
Each calendar takes time to setup an account with them, understand their guidelines, format your event correctly for them, and submit every event.
The forms are often not the most user-friendly and can sometimes crash half-way though. So it’s a tedious and often frustrating process.
If you’re thinking “well my marketing person does that”:
- They probably aren’t. Go check and see if your events are on those calendars. It’s too tedious for most busy marketers to keep up with.
- There might be someone doing it, but they likely hate that part of their job and could be doing other more creative marketing if they didn’t have to do it.
We also find that people tend to cut corners when promoting to 10+ community calendars for every single event. Don’t blame them, it’s miserable. Trust me, I used to do it manually for most of the events I promoted.
The real value is getting on ALL of the possible calendars you can. You never know which one is where your event will pop off.
Best way to include local community event calendars in your event marketing
The value of promoting events to local community event calendars is clear.
Reach high-intent event seekers, increase your events’ SEO, and gain valuable brand awareness by leveraging local community event calendars in your event promotion.
As we mentioned earlier, consistency is one of the most important things. Whether you are hosting just one event per year, a few per month, or close to a thousand per year, you should be submitting all of them to all the relevant local community event calendars every time.
If you were to make all those submissions manually, it would take hundreds of hours per year. You still may see an ROI, but you’re likely to end up cutting corners or the value of the ROI might be diminished when you consider the cost of your time or the time of your marketing team.
Vesta was built specifically to solve this problem after interviewing hundreds of event organizers to find a problem nobody else was solving.
There are two ways to use Vesta to easily promote to about a dozen local community event calendars per event.
- Input your event details into the Event Vesta website and choose the websites where you want to submit. Click the submit button and it will be submitted to those websites.
- Point Vesta to your ticketing page or event calendar on your website. The auto-import service pulls in the events from that page automatically and submit them to the best websites for those events.
The value of the auto-import is that you can achieve that consistency without having to think about it.