You’re excited. You’ve organised a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’s going to be incredible!
Now it’s time to tell the world about it. But your budget is tight (read: nonexistent) and you have no idea where to begin. How do you go about advertising your event?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Promoting your event doesn’t have to be complicated, and it definitely doesn’t have to break your bank. In fact, you can come a long way without paying anything at all. Yes, you heard that right: You can promote your event for free.
Whether you’re a social media whiz, a fan of email marketing, or need an online shop to sell tickets for your event, here are some great ways to promote your event online. Feel free to use this as a step-by-step guide to promoting your event or as a handy reference for whenever you need inspiration.
1. Get organised
First things first. (Well, obviously. It’s a bit of a silly saying.)
If you’re serious about making your event a success, you want to spend a few moments planning ahead. It’ll help you focus and see the big picture. Sit down with your fellow organisers and jot down promotion ideas: How will you advertise the event? Which channels will you use first? Who will be responsible for which part of the event promotion?
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. Here’s a handy checklist we’ve put together to help you get started. Simply follow the steps and you’ll have a solid plan in no time.
2. Make your event page shine
It goes without saying that your event page is the place for people to learn about all the “wheres,” “hows,” and “why-should-I-gos.” That’s why you want the event page to stand out and stop people in their tracks. Being noticed is the first step to gaining those precious event sign-ups and selling tickets.
So what exactly can you do? Lots of things, actually!
Your main goal is to keep people on your event page instead of leaving to e.g. YouTube to find videos of the venue or the comedian you’ve hired to perform. Once they’re gone, they might not come back. Embed all the relevant images, videos, and other media directly on your event page.
If you can, get your hands on some professional photos of the venue, the performers, and so on. If you’re short on time and resources, you can always find eye-catching images online. Here are nine sites with high-quality, free stock images to get you started.
Finally, don’t forget the essential details. Is there a dress code? Do people need to sign up in advance? Is the place hard to find? (Embedding a Google Map would surely help.) Keeping your event page both beautiful and informative is your key to success.
3. Help Google find your event
This may surprise you, but plenty of people use Google to find things. That includes – you guessed it – events. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your event showed up when someone looked for “events near me”?
In a nutshell, you want to use some keywords in your event description that help Google point relevant people to your page. If you’ve organised a stargazing event in London, it’s probably wise to use “stargazing in London” to describe it on your page.
You can even find out which keywords are the most popular to help you with this task. There are plenty of free keyword research tools like the – uh – Keyword Tool and Google’s Keyword Planner (you’ll need to create an AdWords account for this one).
And, of course, it helps to have some SEO (search engine optimisation) basics in place. Here’s a great, quick guide to SEO for event managers. You don’t have to become a SEO expert overnight, but learning a few tricks will go a long way.
4. Tap into the event community
Let’s face it: Every city has an active community of people going out to different events. Find them. Reach out to them.
If that sounds easy, it’s because it is. Why shouldn’t it be? It’s the age of the Internet. You’re bound to find active event forums via Google with just a few strokes of the keyboard. Post your event there, encourage people to spread the word, and maybe offer a special discount for that specific community. You can be as creative as you like.
If you create your event on a dedicated event ticketing site like Billetto , it will instantly be seen by the site’s community. That way, you’re getting free exposure as soon as you publish your event. What’s not to like?
5. Embrace social media
You knew this was coming. No guide to free event promotion would be complete without the mention of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.
But it’s not enough to know that these social media sites exist. You must learn how to use them to your advantage. We’re not going to leave you hanging. Our guide to marketing events on social media is a great place to start.
Want more? Fair enough. Here’s another thorough article from Social Media Examiner on using social media to promote your event.
Social media channels are also perfect for running competitions with ticket giveaways or other cool promotions. If you hit the sweet spot with your offer and find a catchy hashtag, your event will spread like #wildfire on all of your social media channels.
6. Be creative with your ticket sales
“What’s there to be creative about?” you might be wondering. “I’ll just set a reasonable price for my tickets and hope people buy them!”
While that’s certainly a viable strategy, you can use smart ticket pricing to promote your event. There are ways to help your ticket sales by offering special “early bird” pricing, selling discounted group tickets, or bundling event tickets with other goodies (food vouchers, for instance). Hey, we’ll even walk you through the exact strategy to boost your ticket sales before the event.
This also gives you extra opportunities to advertise your event for free. Whenever you offer a special ticket, announce it on your social media channels and create some extra buzz about your event. Billetto and other event ticketing sites let you add as many different ticket types to your events as you want. Take advantage of this and start thinking of creative ways to sell tickets.
7. Activate your attendees
Don’t forget: Your guests are your absolute best advocates. No surprises here; they already like your event enough to buy tickets for it. Convincing them to spread the word should only require a gentle nudge.
Encourage them to promote the event to their friends and to actively use your social media hashtags whenever they talk about it. Offer them drink vouchers or other perks. Show them you appreciate them, and you’ll often find they’re willing to go the extra mile for you.
Oh, and this isn’t limited to just your guests. Maybe you have a funky up-and-coming band or a cool new DJ playing at your event. Do you think they might be interested in being heard by as many people as possible? Would they be willing do some promotion for you?
These aren’t trick questions – of course they would!
Make it easy for them to share your event. If you have the option, provide them with a ticket widget they can embed directly on their site. Their fans will be able to buy tickets to your event without having to go elsewhere. Neat, right?
8. Don’t forget email marketing
With all the constant buzz about social media, it’s easy to overlook the power of email. Don’t. Email is still by far the most effective online marketing channel. McKinsey estimate that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter.
Granted, this approach depends on you having a list of people to send emails to. Start building that list right away. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Get your existing guests to spread the word and make signing up for your newsletter as easy as possible. Give people an incentive to sign up.
We have lots of ideas to help you with this, so make sure to check out our article on email marketing for events.
9. Keep your events in one place
Wait. We’re not saying you should promote your events using the same exact channels. A business conference will go over well on LinkedIn, but a paintball battle is probably best left on Facebook. What we are saying is that having your event pages in the same place is a smart idea.
This sounds like a minor thing. Yet if you’re organising multiple events, keeping them all in a single place has its benefits. If a person comes to check out one of your events, there’s a good chance they’ll notice your other ones and get curious. Even if it’s not relevant for them, maybe they have a friend or two who’d be interested.
Billetto and other event sites let you showcase all of your events by sharing your profile with others. In essence, they work as a one-stop ticket shop that makes it super easy to promote your events. If that’s something for you, see how you can set up your own online ticket shop.(It’s free and takes almost no time.)
10. Track, learn, improve
Knowledge is power, or – in your case – a way to better promote your event. You can gather a lot of data using tools like Google Analytics. Try to track as much as you can: What tickets are selling best? Who typically buys them? What are your most successful marketing channels?
Getting this data doesn’t cost anything and makes you better equipped to successfully advertise your event. You can decide which tickets to discount (or discontinue), which marketing channels to use, which customers to retarget with your banners, and so much more.
Culled from Billetto