The AKC’s Digital Marketing 101 Webinar closed with a section about promoting dog club events. Most dog clubs start because their members wanted to host an event where people can show and share their dogs with other dog enthusiasts and the general public. A great event needs people and your promotions can make a difference in entries and attendance.
Email Marketing for Dog Clubs
The webinar included an entire section I blogged about earlier regarding using email to promote your dog club. Events can also leverage email for promotion. Clubs can communicate to people on their email list list before and after events to gauge interest and reactions. If the email recipients have questions, be very clear in your response. Be welcoming and let them know what to expect. Make sure you mention rules they need to be aware of such as events where no un-entered dogs are allowed on the grounds.
Content Marketing Ideas for Dog Clubs
Dog clubs are full of dog experts. Clubs should leverage their members’ expertise to establish your club as an expert source. Ask your members to find and create articles, photos, and videos that promote your event. The AKC and any other event licensing body can be a great source of information. Unique, interesting articles by and about members will make your club stand out.
Give an overview of each competition you offer and how to watch it. Describe how to get involved in that sport and how to enter events. Upload photos and videos of your events to your website, and share them on social media. Share guides for spectators so they know what to expect on the day of your event. Create lists of things for people to look for or do when they visit your event.
Creating Dog Club Facebook Events
It is both free and easy to create Facebook events to promote your club’s activities. The Facebook event format makes it easy to share specific information about your event. You can specify the times for different activities within the event, sell tickets, and more. In most cases your venue will already have a Facebook presence, which will provide a map and directions.
When you set up an event you can include co-hosts, who can help edit and boost the event. I usually include several people on the show committee. The AKC recommends adding AKC as a co-host, which I just did for our September specialty show. I’ll be curious to see if they interact with the event. Ask me how it went!
Social Media Marketing for Dog Club Events
Boosting, or paying to promote or advertise your event on Facebook is easy. Facebook may suggest you should boost the event several times as you create it. You can share your event to an audience you choose, you can also, with a few photos, create a video slideshow ad for your event. Creating a Hashtag, a short acronym or phrase, like #AKC #DogShow, #Your Breed, #YourEventType, is a tactic that can help draw more attention to your event. Hashtags allow you to search on the hashtag and find where people are talking about your event.
“Look into using Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, If your club has Junior members, they are probably pros at this and can assist”AKC Digital Marketing 101: Marketin you AKC Club & Events Webinar
Speaking of hashtags, try searching on each idea you come up with before you add them. Instagram is a great place to search on hashtags to see which ones that relate to your event are getting the most mentions. Adding a popular, relevant hashtag can attract people online. One tag I highly recommend is #dogsofinstagram, which is used in millions of dog related posts, but also include more specific tags like #akcdogshow or #purebreddogs which show up in the thousands. If you are a specialty club, #yourbreed as well. Hashtags specific to the location of your event, both the building and the town can also be used.
Facebook Advertising for Dog Events
You can also create paid ads on Facebook, always include a good photo relevant to your event. If you want to get creative, it’s easy to take several photos and make a video ad. I have found these to be highly engaging, and you can even add a soundtrack from inside the ad creation tool. You can then select a target audience that is interested in dogs, including specific breeds, and lives near your event. You set the budget limits and can connect the ad to a club PayPal account to fund it. Experiment with different amounts and time periods to see what works. My specialty club has seen results spending around $25 per event.
More advanced topics include re targeting people who visited the club website (if you have ever felt a product you shopped for online is stalking you, you’ve been re targeted) and using your own email list to target those people or people like them on Facebook. The webinar recommended a Facebook educational page about event advertising.
Promoting Dog Club Events in Print
You can also promote your dog show in print in magazines and newspapers. Although print newspapers are in decline, many have online classifieds and event bulletin boards, and many communities and even your venue may have online event listings you can use. Clubs in Michigan should take advantage of a free listing in the Michigan Canine Resource Guide.
Contact local dog businesses and ask to be included in their customer outreach emails. Create a flyer you can share an post on bulletin boards. If you have a Facebook event it’s possible to create a QR code that people can scan and connect to the event online. Creating a shortcode, or short version of the URL that includes event information online. A web-savvy club member can add a tracking code so you can see if people followed a link in a print piece. Bit.ly is a service you can use to make a long web address into a link that is short and easy to copy.
Dog Club Event Public Relations
Public relations is the original source of free or what’s sometimes called “earned” media, that attracts attention to your event. The AKC has a lot of resources and templates available online to help you develop a press kit, along with suggestions on how to use it. Public relations includes tactics like:
- Creating a press release
- Contacting local media outlets
- Including a “Press” page on your site so reporters can easily reach out
Brandi Hunter, AKC’s Vice President of PR and Communications, gave a presentation at the AKC Educational Summit which you can watch at AKC.TV.
Promoting Your Dog Club Events in Your Community
Many communities host community dog festivals and events. My all breed club provided judges for a fun community “dog show” held at a local library for several years. Sign up for a booth, create an “About Us” flyer or brochure, have post cards with upcoming events. Invite people to sign up for email notifications and have forms that they can fill out to collect their names for future campaigns.
Just Get Started Promoting Your Dog Club Events!
Your members already have most of the materials and expertise you need to promote your event. They have photos, they have knowledge, some of them have written articles about dogs, many of them are on Facebook.
Start by gathering some photos from past events. Look for some that would appeal to general dog lovers as well as the event participants. Funny, endearing, beautiful, are all good. Create a Facebook Event with that material. If you don’t have a club PayPal account, create one so you can pay to boost your event. Set a small budget and see how it goes, I’ll bet you see people commenting, asking questions, and sharing the post, which should encourage you to do more.
If you have a website (and you should) ask your members to share articles they have written to put in an information and resources section, or use them in your blog. If you don’t have many authors in your ranks, assign someone to explore the AKC’s resources and find articles to share. There are a lot of people online looking for information about dogs, and a lot of poorly informed and written content chasing those eyeballs. Quality information is needed, will get read, and will attract people to your website and in turn, your events.