Tip Sheet: Use Creative Event Themes Tailored Out to New Audiences

Want to increase traffic to your site? Reach out to new audiences? Designing events that create experiences specifically tailored to your target audience will increase traffic to your site and expand your base of supporters.

Where to start:

01. Know your audience

Is there a specific demographic you want to reach out to? You’ll get better results if you create an event designed to suit a specific demographic than to try for something more generic that appeals to a broad, catch-all audience that you hope will include that target group.

Let’s use these examples: young families, seniors, and New Canadians.

02. What’s the experience?

Think about what your visitors will experience at your event. Don’t think about it in terms of what you think your target audience should experience. Put yourself in their shoes. What experience are they looking for?

How do you find out? Canvass your family and friends, ask your volunteers, talk to people who have attended your events in the past. If you regularly survey people who visit your site, you should find some answers there.

Let’s look at our examples:

  • Families may be looking for interactive activities that everyone can enjoy and share in.
  • Seniors may be looking for social occasions where they can meet and visit with old friends.
  • New Canadians may be looking for opportunities to reach out and meet new people in their community.

03. Tailor the experience to your target audience

Now it’s time to think outside the box and create an experience tailored to your target audience.

Look around your community at what types of events other organizations are doing – and then do something totally different. Think about something distinctive, unique, and creative that can only be experienced at your site.

Here’s some ideas:

  • For families, an event that takes them back to another era and let’s them experience first hand what family life was like then. There’s lots of opportunities in this scenario for interactive elements. Billing it as “time travelling” gives it an “out of the box” marketing plan that will catch attention.
  • For seniors, an afternoon tea, maybe channeling the summer teas hosted at Buckingham Palace, or the old-fashioned afternoon socials with parlour games. Have a contest for best decorated hat. Present a demonstration on the proper etiquette of partaking in afternoon tea.
  • For new Canadians, a community picnic where everyone can share the food and history of their different cultures. Present live music and entertainment distinctive of the era of your site, and characters in costume interacting with your guests. Be sure to work with organizations in your community that can help you arrange culturally appropriate entertainment and activities to ensure you connect with your guests.

04. Tell your story

Yes, you want to be distinctive and creative and “outside the box” but you also want your guests to relate to your historic site. So be sure to weave your stories into your event, whether through games, competitions, historical re-enactments, demonstrations or entertainment.

The event doesn’t necessarily have to relate strictly to the historical significance of your site, but you do want your visitors to leave with an understanding of what you do and the curiosity to come back.

05. Did it work?

Performance measurement is an important part of any event. You’ll want to know if you attracted the audience you were aiming for and built a connection that made them want to come back. So be sure to build in performance measurements that will tell you if the event met its goals.

Who attended the event? What feedback did your volunteers get? If you gave out a discount coupon for a return visit to your site, what was the uptake on it?

Did you get contact information from your new visitors? Whether through a door prize draw, a newsletter sign-up, or volunteer interactions, knowing how to get in touch with them is key to building a relationship with your new visitors. Who knows, maybe you’ll find some new donors or volunteers among them!