Small or big, there are about some 20 odd event categories and event types out there, but none of these events will be successful without the proper attendance and exposure. How do we then get the ticket sales or registrations we need for our events?
Now, if you are a big corporation or a multinational with resources to spare, creating the buzz or rallying attendees for your events may not be a problem. But even if you have limited or no money to spend on promotions, you can do it. This is how.
While you may be spoilt for choice with the amount of free ways to promote your event (not every one of them will be mentioned here), here is a concise outline of what you can try.
Try it for yourself, make it count and let us know.
Get Social (Social Media)
Sure, it is mentioned time and time again and everyone knows it, get your events known and published on social networks! There is no harm repeating it again. They do work and increasingly so, with the amount of personal and pocket computers available and sold on the market. People are widely connected and worldwide. There is always room to extend our reach beyond our own backyard.
Facebook and Twitter, well, okay. Have you tried LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus? And YouTube or Vimeo? Create a small introductory video including links in the description. Create an event page on one of the major social networks and use the rest to promote and link the page and don’t forget to #hashtag the event. Also, these are online communities so you need to participate and show genuine interest, not only post but also join groups, give comments or recommendations, where possible.
Each social network has its own respective strengths. Get to know what they are and use it to your advantage, assuming you know what you want and have identified your target market. These same social networks are also finding ways to stay in the game, by finding their own leverage (e.g. Twitter and SocialBro, where SocialBro is enabling Twitter for business.) Check out the eBooks section of SocialBro, where they offer free guidance on how to effectively use Twitter to advertise.
More with Social media:
- 10 Surefire Ways to Promote Your Event on Social Media
- Social Media X Events: Making Your Events Buzzworthy
- How to promote your event on Social Media
Share what you know & have (Content Marketing)
Nothing will just happen instantly if you don’t invest the proper amount of energy even if it is free. Blogging and sending regular (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) Newsletters are tedious but do not give immediate results, not unless something viral is created. It is something that event organizers should look at as a powerful, free and long-term promotional strategy.
Blogging helps potential attendees to make their informed decision on whether or not to buy their tickets, through a simple search on Google and browsing through social networks, which by themselves alone, occupy a fair source of the current free promotional traffic.
Check out: How to Guide: Blogging for Events Marketing
Create and include infographics as well when and where possible. There exists nowadays some free and easy to use design tools, such as Canva, Piktochart & Venngage. You can also use the same designs for your social media posts and other promotional channels.
Ebooks, Podcasting, Webinars. It is likely that you already have the content – you can use some of the knowledge and expertise to produce good quality Ebooks, Podcast and Webinars for free. They have the potential of generating new leads for your upcoming events when they sign up with their names and emails. They also allow the people who attended or downloaded the content to follow up, having had a good idea of what you can offer or what is being offered. Ensure regularity!
Post it out for Free (Event Listings)
So, you post it on Facebook. Where else?
There is a number of other channels where you can have access to free listings online including event listing websites, community groups and local and international press. A simple search on Google can give you the list of event listing arenas available for your purpose. It can, however, be time-consuming to pick and choose, and effectively do all the listings.
You can consider the following:
- Evvnt – for bulk listing submission and is integrated with Eventbrite
- Eventbrite – allows you to create, post and list for free for people to register and buy tickets. If not you can also try Picatic
- Lanyrd – focused toward professionals, it is a relatively new addition to the free event listings crowd and is easy to use and works with the existing social networks
- Meetup – another type of event site although not use by and for professionals
- Yelp – list your event in their event section that has a community calendar with the closest big city
- Eventful – streamed toward entertainment such as film, music, festivals, sports, family fun and nightlife, community and educational events locally, it is also a consumer-based website and can be used for fundraising events, free promotional events or even networking events
The Classics (Direct contact)
Email and Cold Calling will stay in the classics – they may be old but certainly still reliable and can prove to be most effective too. So, sieve out the right and targeted contacts from your contact lists and send those emails and/or make those calls.
You can also improve the way you craft and send your emails and the way they are read. Take a look at Mailchimp and Really Good Emails. They also have the ability to churn out those Newsletters, adding a layer beyond design. Check out and get started with the MailChimp guide.
More about: 5 Simple Tips for Effective Email Marketing
Look within your backyard and Team up (Partners & outreach)
It can be impactful to look within your own circle and backyard as to who and what you can find to market and develop valuable partnerships for your event – for free or almost anyway. Finding leverage on other people’s audiences and networks can do this. So, seek out partners to expand your reach but you can potentially also see better conversion than if you reached out directly yourself.
By making sure you are clear on what makes your event story interesting to local and trade press, you may be able to land a valuable PR even though it can tough to get.
See if you can get Media partners on board to promote your event in exchange to promote their publication to your audience.
If you are not the only one working on the event, you can reach out to Team members and partners to send a simple post to their own networks. Otherwise, your own Family and friends can be great assets to your promotional campaign and be getting the word out. This applies to your Suppliers as well, practically anybody you are already working with and providing services and products for your event.
Approach Influencers. This can be a way to reach out to people in your audience with help of someone who already has a following and a track record, whom others trust and respect. It is a very effective way to help up your sales. It is to be done with some level of caution however as you must ideally build a genuine relationship first before asking them to do anything for you. What’s in it for them?
How is that for some ideas on how to promote your event for free?
Use some discrimination to select what could work for you and be consistent and patient. It will take time but it will certainly be worth going the extra mile to reach out to those potential attendees.
Let us know what else can be done. Any comments or further recommendations?
Banner credit/copyright attribution: ra2studio/Shutterstock