You have all of the event details expertly organised and planned, so how do you get people to attend? Event marketing is an aspect of event planning that can be overlooked. Budgeting for event promotion is as important as budgeting for your big event items, such as venue and talent.
But how much do you need in your event marketing budget? The difficult answer is that the amount of money you need is going to be different for each company and event. Even if you do plan ahead, sometimes you still need to market your event on a shoestring budget. Only 10% of event professionals spend the majority of their budget on marketing their event, which could mean that the other 90% of event professionals are getting creative and spending their time on marketing instead of their money.
It’s almost impossible to say which marketing strategy will work best for your event as each one is different. This is why it’s up to event professionals to try new marketing strategies and track progress and success to learn more about their target audience. CN connected with Cara Benson at Eventbrite to put together six event marketing strategies that are inexpensive (and sometimes free) that have the potential to help your event sell out.
1. Blogging and content marketing
As the event planner, you know the ins-and-outs of your event the best. Use your expertise and take some time to write a few articles for your company blog that offers interested customers different perspectives on what they can expect and some inside looks into the talent and experts that will make an appearance. Do you have access to your guest speakers? Ask them a few questions about their work and industry and what they plan to share with the event audience and write a piece that includes their quotes and links to their work. Your speakers will most likely share your article too!
2. Email marketing efforts
Email marketing is a promotion technique that continues to drive results year after year. Event technology company Eventbrite shares research that shows interesting data about event-specific email marketing in their White Paper titled 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Event Online. According to Eventbrite’s research, event-related emails produce open rates between 25-40% and generate 25-40% click-through rates. Both results are above typical email marketing statistics and prove that it’s worth your time to nurture your new and existing customers through email.
When you email your customers about your event, offer them interesting and exclusive content like schedules, interviews, swag, and early access to information that the rest of the internet doesn’t know about yet. Need help managing your email marketing? MailChimp is a well-known email marketing tool that has a free offering to help run your event campaign on a small budget.
3. Create an event page on Facebook
This is a free event promotion tip that can have huge benefits to your bottom line. Having an event page on Facebook allows your customers to find out more information and add it to their events calendar on Facebook. Use this page to share news as you go, link to the blog posts you’ve written, and share interesting industry and speaker information leading up to the event. You can link to your ticketing website from your Facebook event page and there is built-in social proof on this page. Interested customers can see other people in their network who are interested or attending the event.
4. DIY infographics for social media
On the subject of social media, create infographics that highlight the positive benefits of your event. DIY sites like Piktochart and Canva are easy-to-use and offer free account options to create simple graphics to share on your social channels and in your blog posts. Remember, an infographic is supposed to be a visually appealing way for a customer to understand some highlights about your event. Don’t try to cram every detail into a visual, let your event page and blog posts share them. Instead, create a series of graphics that make your event page and social feeds pop and draw interest.
5. Offer social proof
Social proof is a technique advertisers use frequently to sell products. Social proof means showing customers that other people are already interested and plan on attending your event. This is why many ticketing sites show the number of people who have already purchased tickets or sometimes let you know when only a few tickets are left. This technique shows interested customers that other people are interested too and increases the sense of urgency to buy.
6. Tap into your existing network
You already have more people willing to promote your event than you may realise. Ask your co-workers, publications you’ve worked with in the past, vendors, sponsors, and guest talent to share messages promoting your event leading up to it. When you write up contracts with vendors, sponsors, and talent, include a provision that requires them to share messaging about the event too. The cross-promotion is good for everyone involved. In your social media posts and emails to existing customers, encourage people to share event details with a link to purchase tickets.