Ready for your Melbourne Cup Promotion this year? Whether you’re holding an office soiree, or a ticketed garden party, the ‘Race that stops a Nation’ is going to need some planning to get the word out, everyone excited and most importantly; their fascinators prepared!
In this post, we’ll walk you through a Melbourne Cup promotion timeline that we’ve tried and tested!
When planning your Melbourne Cup promotion, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a competitive event. The State of Victoria has an official Public Holiday to celebrate; with the majority of people from other States scheduling either the day off, or at least an office shin-dig.
And for most venues in the hospitality industry, the Melbourne Cup is one of the most profitable days of the year – so make sure you’re ready!
The following tactics work best when executed together. However, you can get started with picking and choosing one or two ideas from the relevant stage of the event timeline.
Your Melbourne Cup Promotion – Everything You Need to Know
Let’s walk through all the ways you can nail your Melbourne Cup Promotion by breaking down some essential things you need to do before, during and after the event… starting with “Before the Event”.
Melbourne Cup Promotion: Before Your Event
The key to a successful Melbourne Cup Event is preparation. It’s important that you start your Melbourne Cup Promotion at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to the main event. Let’s start by looking at how to get the word out (and the prep you need to do) before the event:
1. Establish Your Goals
This is important if you are going to have your best Melbourne Cup Promotion Ever. Some goals you might need to consider here are:
- ticket sales for the event
- social media metrics including shares, check-ins and engagement
- competition entries (if you run a competition)
- advertising results – including conversion rates for any paid advertising that you run.
Look at any promotions you have completed in recent years and set new goals. Make this your best Melbourne Cup Promotion to date!
2. Plan Your Menu
As you know, it’s important to have the major elements planned early so that you can better promote your event. Food and drink is a major element!
By having your menu locked in early, you can use it in your marketing – from your flyers and posters to emails, social media, competitions and paid advertising. You can always fine tune the details of the dishes later.
Use Easil’s Menu Maker to start mapping out your menu, so you can post it online and print physical menus for the day.
Creating editable menus with Easil is easy. Simply:
- Select Your Menu Template
- Add Your Menu Content
- Edit Your Menu – Rearrange items on the menu, add/delete rows, or resize tables
- Check Your Menu with the Chef
- Publish it – add it to social media or your website in a few clicks!
- Repeat the process for accompanying menu items like Drinks Menus, Cocktail Menus, or Dessert Menus.
Note: our Menu Maker makes it super easy for you to make edits closer to the event. Anyone can edit in Easil (including the Chef, and that keeps the Chef happy!).
Now that you have your menu planned, printed and ready to go, your Melbourne Cup Promotion is much easier! You not only have the menu items to share, but also the graphics and designs to use along with it. We’ll share more about how to do that below!
3. Prepare Your Posters and Flyers
It’s important to start thinking about designing and creating quality promotional flyers and posters early for your luncheon or sweepstakes. Easil’s Flyer Maker will catch the attention of everyone from Race Fans to Fans of the “Long Melbourne Cup Lunch”.
Choose one of Easil’s extensive range of Melbourne Cup Promotions in flyer or poster format, edit the template to switch out your date and venue details. With a few edits to the colors, text/font, or even image, you can showcase your event in a one-of-a-kind way.
You’ve just saved save time and money by avoiding all the back-and-forth with your designer! Then order your printed flyers and posters directly within the Easil dashboard.
Now that you have your flyers and posters designed, printed and ready to go, you can focus on other ways to get the word out!
Hot Tip: Remember to add “Bookings Essential” to your poster if it is a pre-booked event. It adds a sense of scarcity or urgency for patrons to book tickets soon.
4. Start Your Email Campaign
Your email list is your most important asset and you should leverage it early in your Melbourne Cup Promotion. Be sure that you get the word out early to your existing customers. They are the people most likely to snap up early tickets to your luncheon or event.
Think about how you can highlight your event in your email marketing campaign. Here are a few ways that you can do this:
- Send out a series of emails. Email marketing doesn’t work in a silo – send a series of emails instead of a one-off blast as part of the Melbourne Cup Promotion. It helps to keep your event top of mind.
- Use catchy headlines. Share a different feature of the event in each email.
- Draw your readers in with images. Make your email content stand out by adding an image or even a GIF.
5. Plan and Announce Your Competitions
If you are running a competition around your Melbourne Cup Promotion, it’s time to think about it now. Maybe offer free tickets to your event via a Facebook competition, or do an Instagram competition for the same prize.
This is also the time to announce any Race Day Competitions you are running. Maybe you’ll have the traditional sweepstakes where you offer customers a chance to win prize money or prizes with a small donation for entry (ensure you meet any competition guidelines for your State). This will enhance the vibe of your event and bring your patrons together!
Fashions on the Field with prizes is also a popular way to celebrate Melbourne Cup. Maybe you’ll break from tradition and do something different – either way, it’s good to let your guests know what’s coming!
Create your promotional images for your competition in Easil – whether it’s one you are running leading up to the event or a competition for Race Day, we’ve got you covered. Then share your images across social media, email and paid advertising.
One example of a competition could be to post an entry under a particular hashtag for the chance to win a free ticket in a premium area. Or maybe a VIP ticket/package!
6. Plan Joint Venture Promotions
Is there a supplier or partner that you can team up with for your Melbourne Cup Promotion? A co-operative promotion with your suppliers can be as simple as a free glass of champagne on arrival or something bigger.
Could you team up with a partner to co-sponsor your “Fashions on the Field” Fashion Parade? Or perhaps feature local produce from a supplier as part of your menu? Whatever it is, explore your options early so that both you and the supplier can promote the event and their participation.
7. Set Up Paid Advertising Campaigns
If you want to reach your target demographic in your local area with the right message, then paid advertising on social media can be very powerful, especially Facebook Ads.
With Easil’s Resize Tool, it’s easier than ever to create one or more Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads or even Instagram Story Ads. Simply search under Sizes: Facebook Post + Melbourne Cup and Easil will generate a whole series of possible Facebook Ad templates for you to use for your ad.
8. Generate Buzz on Social Media
Social Media will likely be an integral part of your Melbourne Cup Promotion at any stage – before, during and after. So let’s start with some of the “before” actions you can take to generate buzz on social platforms.
At all stages, remember that taking advantage of location marketing can be very powerful for venues promoting events – especially when your customers have their mobile phones at the ready!
Here are 10 Ways to Generate Buzz on Social Media before Race Day:
- Share your menu on social media. It’s easier than ever with Easil – you can cover it to different sizes or choose an element of it to share. Maybe highlight one feature of your menu on a shareable image.
- Show Behind-the-scenes – of your chef preparing canapes for a staff tasting night for the Cup menu.
- Share a Sneak Peek – it could be the decor, the menu, some of the prizes. Generate interest by sharing your preparation for the day.
- Use Instagram Story Polls – to generate buzz (ask people to vote on food, drinks, activities, competitions).
- Use the Questions Sticker on Instagram Stories to encourage your followers to engage with you about the event.
- Promote and share the any competitions you are running leading up to the Melbourne Cup. For example, followers can post an entry under a particular hashtag for the chance to win a free ticket in a premium area, or a VIP ticket/package.
- Post a “Throwback Tuesday” post for Melbourne Cup. Have some fun with this and do it in lieu of the popular “Throwback Thursday” in honour of the Melbourne cup being on a Tuesday. Share a carousel or Instagram story with photos and videos from last years event.
- Post on Instagram Stories using Location Stickers leading up to your event. By adding a location sticker to your post, you also have a chance of being found under Instagram’s automated Location Story for that location. This means more eyeballs on your event and more people finding out that you are holding the event in their local area.
- Add easy links for your followers to book tickets – via your profile links on social media.
- Add updates to ticket sales including early bird pricing and/or if there are only a few tickets left! Adding a scenes of urgency or scarcity will usually move people to action!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Start out by sharing content to the platforms you most feel comfortable creating content on (and where your audience hangs out) and go from there!
Every piece of content you share on social media will ultimately maximise visibility so don’t be afraid to try new things!
9. Plan Your Decor and Themed Areas
The gardens and parties at Flemington Racecourse don’t just happen and neither does your spectacularly decorated venue!
Just like the Flemington gardeners making the course and gardens look beautiful for the Melbourne Cup, you can make your venue (even if it’s an office) look gorgeous with attention to detail. It’s all about adding finishing touches to your party venue. It could be:
- Bright splashes of color – be inspired by the horses, the jockey’s uniforms, even turf/grass.
- Flower arrangements that turn heads!
- Melbourne Cup-themed decorations – everything from tableware, window dressings, balloons and more.
- a Photo Booth with Melbourne Cup themed props for photos at the event.
- Decide on any theme areas – will you have a VIP “Bird Cage” at your venue?
Hot Tip: If your event is during the day, take advantage of natural daylight where possible – try to capture a “Spring” feeling wherever possible.
Melbourne Cup Promotion: During Your Event
It’s Race day! Your patrons are in the room… now what? If your “Before” prep has been a success you’ll be ready to give them a great time and maximise the social sharing (and sales) opportunities you have on the day! Let’s break them down!
10. HDTV Screens at the Ready
There’s one thing you need for a fabulous Melbourne Cup Promotion and Event…
The Melbourne Cup!
Make sure you check (and double check) that your TV reception is set up and ready to go, because the Race that Stops a Nation does so on time! You don’t want to be messing with cords and remote controls 5 minutes before the horses bolt out of the gate.
One way to ensure you are set up and ready to go is to run Melbourne Cup related content on your big screen throughout the event. It can scroll away in the background while your guests enjoy their lunch.
Easil has a huge selection of HDTV screen templates if you wish to create some pre-match content. These screen images can include:
- a summary of the menu or drink specials
- Fashions on the Field announcements
- Information about Sweepstakes
- How and where to tag and share for social media on the day
- and more!
You are only limited by your imagination! If the TV is out ready for the race, you can leverage it, is all we are saying!
11. Social Media Sharing During the Event
Your Melbourne Cup Promotion doesn’t stop when the event starts! Social Media has really stepped up the opportunities we have for in-person real-time sharing at an event. Let’s walk through a few of these that you can take advantage of.
Note that the social media opportunities you choose to focus on, will depend on the platforms that your audience tend to hang out on and the platforms you are focusing on for your venue. So choose the patforms that suit you the best. For many venues this is likely to be Facebook and/or Instagram, but may vary.
You don’t have to do all of them but by the same token you can choose to do more than one if you like!
- Create an Instagram Story or Facebook Story about your event. For example, post an Instagram Story including photos and 15 second video snippets throughout the day. Be sure to include:
- Location Stickers so that your story can be found on Instagram’s wider Instagram Story.
- Hashtags for your venue.
- Tags for any guests that you take photos or video of (if they are Instagram users). Tag them first. If your audience is primarily on Snapchat, choose to do a Snapchat Story instead.
- Add in-venue signs to remind guests to post about about your event and how. For example, ask them to share on Instagram Stories and share your event hashtag and your location sticker. Be specific!
- Offer incentives for sharing on the day. This could be a free drink or bonus entry in a race day competition.
- Share posts by your guests on the day of the Melbourne Cup. If they tag you on an Instagram Story you can share that story to your own Instagram Story. Don’t forget to engage!
- Develop unique and fun Facebook Frames for your event. Use minimal or non-obtrusive branding or they may not get approved. These are definitely a cost effective way to get your guests involved with an event and increase brand awareness around your venue.
12. Add-on Sales
Your guests may have their tickets purchased early, but there are still opportunities for them to make additional purchases on the day of the Melbourne Cup:
- Promote additional drink specials over and above the included drinks in the pre-booked package for the day.
- Promote Champagne by the bottle at the table and the bar!
- Promote your after-party or evening entertainment after the Melbourne Cup luncheon finishes.
- Got an event coming up? Promote early sales for tickets. The best time for people to be excited about another day out is when they are already in the moment, enjoying one!
- Add a small flyer to the bill folder, table or bar at the end of the event to offer a drink voucher for a return visit. It’s a great way to remind them to come back again soon!
What to Do After Your Melbourne Cup Event
13. Follow Up Contact via Email
If you have a database of guests for this event, definitely reach out to them with a follow-up email. Include photos from the day, congratulate winners and perhaps offer a voucher for a return visit or announce another event.
14. Showcase the event on Social Media
Add a photo album to your social media account so your guests can check out the photos from the day. Add a small watermark to the photos to highlight your event venue, but ensure that it is subtle and doesn’t overpower the images.
That’s a lot of preparation and sharing in order to run a successful Melbourne Cup Promotion and Event.
But it’s worth it when you see your happy customers enjoying the day!
Get Started with Your Melbourne Cup Promotion
Now that you know what you need to do, you can get started with your Melbourne Cup Promotion easily with Easil. Any design or template you’ve seen in this post is available in Easil as well as dozens of other Melbourne Cup designs.
Over to You
Can you think of any other ways to promote your Melbourne Cup Event? Have you been inspired by the ideas in this post? Please tell us in the comments below!