8 Ways to Promote Your Event Without Breaking the Bank

From social happenings to business functions, events are a smart way to connect with people and achieve a range of outcomes. However, a key aspect of hosting a great event lies in the promotional aspect. Your marketing strategy has the potential to make or break your event, hence it is important to ensure you have a tried and tested plan to ensure your target attendees get the message.

Promoting an event can be difficult, particularly if you haven’t had much experience. In addition to the time and budget invested in planning events, coming up with simple and affordable ways to publicise your event can seem like an impossible task.
To give you a head start, here are 8 ways event organisers can effectively promote events without breaking the bank.

1. Beat your own drum

Ensure you have your event clearly and prominently listed on your website home page which links to its own dedicated page within your website. You should also ensure information about the event is easily accessible on your page. Interesting web content to accompany your event will also help to create buzz.
TIP: Live events and ticketing platform Eventbrite offers a simple way to embed your event listing into your webpage that gives users the ability to book and pay online for tickets.

2. Get social

Perhaps the most obvious and cost-effective way to spread the word is through social media. If you’re hosting an intimate or local event, simple Facebook and Twitter pages plus an official hashtag will suffice. However keep in mind, engaging content is key. Leverage your presence on these platforms to share information, connect with potential attendees, and tell your unique story. If you need to increase your reach beyond your own Facebook and Twitter followers, consider a small paid campaign. For example, you can boost your post with Facebook advertising to reach individuals within your target demographics. You’ll need to spend a little time creating the appropriate advertisements, but this can be a simple way to reach a new, relevant audience.
On the other hand, if your event is more ambitious and you intend to attract thousands of attendees, you must be prepared to invest in a more strategic and detailed social media strategy.
TIP: Plan ahead and schedule: Online tools such as HootSuite will allow you to schedule pre-written content to run across a number of social channels. 

3. Don’t underestimate email

The power of a well-designed email is often underestimated. You can promote your event by emailing your contact list with information about the event that will create excitement, such as new announcements or features, as well as provide helpful logistic details (ex. parking, admission hours). Think about the value proposition of your event: what will attendees gain from attending? Will they learn something new, hear from a thought leader, or experience something unique? Be sure to clearly state these benefits in your email and have a clear call to action within the email to drive attendees to register.  For Eventbrite users, you can read a guide to composing and sending compelling emails to your attendees here.
TIP: 80% of emails are read on a mobile device. Ensure your email is mobile friendly. You can use apps such as MailChimp to guarantee this. 

4. Get in contact with relevant partners

Research relevant websites in your niche and connect with potential new partners to ask in they would be interested in sharing news of your event. If you have a website, this can also be beneficial in boosting your SEO and improving your search engine ranking. If your database is small, bringing a partner on board with a database that reaches your ideal audience can help immensely.  Make a list of the top 3-5 partners in your industry, and then consider what you could offer them in return, such as branding placement, recognition at the event, or a “members only” price discount to their audience specifically. A well-chosen partner can lend significant credibility and help establish your event’s brand.
TIP: Consider organisations that focus on supporting the community. Some examples include your local council, local directories, and business networks. 

5. Team up with a not-for-profit organisation

Partnering with a charitable organisation is a great way to tap into a larger pool of guests.
Supporting a good cause also builds a positive reputation within the community and creates a newsworthy aspect of your event that local newspapers and radio are likely to be interested in.  Not only does supporting a charity expand your reach, but it also gives attendees a feel-good reason to spend their time at your event vs. elsewhere.  Other corporate partners may be more willing to help promote your event, or provide donations or giveaways in support of a good cause.
TIP: Choose a charity that aligns with your event and your corporate values to ensure you attract attendees that fit your target market. 

6. Send the right message

Don’t forget about simple communication methods such as SMS. SMS has a 97% open rate and is a reliable way to send target attendees and registered guests ticket promotions, notifications, event teasers, and PSAs without blowing the budget. 
TIP: SMS providers such as MessageMedia provide cost-effective and simple tools to send bulk messages to attendees, as well as providing analytics and data that can be integrated into CRM systems.

Event Birdie recommends you also check out Textinvite!

7. Keep on top of your campaign

A crucial part of running a successful promotional campaign is ensuring you keep track of leads, opportunities, progress, outstanding tasks, and most importantly, attendees. By tracking each task, you can better oversee the status of your campaign and easily identify which aspects need more attention, which tactics are performing best and what the logistics of your event will look like. 
TIP: Use a CRM tools such as Salesforce to simplify the management process. The platform offers apps such as EventbriteSync, which allow your event data to integrate into the software to optimise your event management capabilities. 

8. Don’t stop when it’s all over

Once your event has wrapped up, keep in mind that you have the opportunity to continue the conversation and add value to the community you’ve built. Make the most of the information provided by attendees by building a database that you can leverage. From sending an email, to thanking attendees, to sharing photos with your event hashtag and useful content such as keynote slides from notable speakers, you can maintain a positive connection with guests and increase the likelihood of them attending your next event. 
TIP: Guests who attended your event will remain engaged as an audience for a short amount of time post-event. Ensure you make contact with them in a timely fashion following the event and establish a form of ongoing communication as appropriate (perhaps a monthly or quarterly email) to ensure you maintain a presence for future events.


Guest post by Laura Huddle

Laura Huddle is Head of Marketing, Australia at Eventbrite, the world's leading self-service ticketing platform for millions of live experiences each year.