Your event marketing toolkit is different from your wilderness first aid kit, yet American Outdoor School Founder Eliot Goodwin knows both are important. Since 2019, American Outdoor School has been offering knowledge-based nature programming in the great outdoors. This means classes like Foraging, Wildlife Tracking, Tree Identification, and Survival Skills, where you’ll learn to start a fire with a hand drill and sharpen an ax.
The goal, says Goodwin, is “to become the world’s most non-judgmental, outdoor community, connecting people that are nature curious with those who are nature knowledgeable. It’s really about getting people outdoors, getting them connected with the outdoors, and getting them connected to each other.”
Those connections have been flourishing – even in the pandemic, when outdoor event options saw a boon. What began in the Boston metro area has expanded to New York. Over the last two years, American Outdoor School held more than 500 classes.
To manage all these events, Goodwin uses Eventbrite Boost. Boost lets him put his event marketing on autopilot so he can spend his time “helping folks get their outdoors on.” As he admits, “I don’t even have to think about that side of my business right now.”
Success: Knowing how to advertise your event online
Running an urban outdoor school for adults wasn’t always in Goodwin’s cards. He founded a successful marketing company out of business school but quickly realized he was most fulfilled out in nature with his dog.
“I had a kind of come-to-whatever-your-spiritual-belief-is moment,” he says. ”And I realized I had an opportunity. I looked around and was like, ‘I’m 15 minutes outside of downtown Boston. There’s a population of 3 million people in the greater Boston area. And I’m alone out here.’ I put those two things together.”
From the outset, Goodwin’s mission was to connect with like minded people, people who might be “a bit nostalgic for their outdoor clubs in college.” He started with two highly-qualified, local instructors, who committed to teaching a handful of classes. He began using Facebook to market his events. “And lo and behold, people were signing up.”
Eventbrite Boost: American Outdoor School’s event marketing plan
Marketing an event on Facebook may not be as difficult as detecting poisonous from nonpoisonous mushrooms, but only maybe. Goodwin soon realized his costs for running ads on Facebook were high – too high. And though he was busy, wearing all the hats any event creator wears: the ROI for his Facebook ads couldn’t justify adding a dedicated marketing person.
“I was desperately looking for solutions,” he says, “to ease that burden of running so many ads for so many different events.”
Enter Boost, Eventbrite’s all-in-one marketing platform. With Eventbrite Boost, Goodwin discovered American Outdoor School’s Eventbrite catalog would be automatically posted to Facebook (no more duplicating hundreds of event pages). “There’s no other platform out there that does that,” Goodwin says, “so this was a huge win.”
“The ease is the value,” Goodwin says. “[…]That’s the beauty of Eventbrite Boost.”
Eventbrite Boost has also helped Goodwin run Facebook ads that target people. With the click of a button, he’s able to reach targeted audiences: folks who’ve attended American Outdoor School courses, as well as folks who’d be likely to attend. And with Eventbrite Boost’s Budget Optimization tool, he doesn’t have to worry about monitoring how those ads are performing.
He’s also used Eventbrite Boost to help him grow his following across social media (dozens of Instagram followers in a matter of weeks) He’s reached new people and seen increased engagement with Eventbrite Boost’s Instagram Growth Ads, where his nature-centric Instagram Stories ads have been attracting new followers (loyal and legit – not bots) every day. Says Goodwin: “It’s a great next step for a business like mine.”
Event marketing tools to withstand the elements
With Eventbrite Boost, Goodwin is able to focus on what he loves most about American Outdoor School: bringing people together to learn from and appreciate nature. He’s been able to expand his brand without using all his energy on event promotion or social marketing.
“The ease is the value,” says Goodwin. He doesn’t have to worry about the creative in a particular ad campaign or when to serve it to which audiences. He doesn’t have to worry about shifting his budget. “I don’t have to think about that,” he says. “That’s the beauty of Eventbrite Boost.”