You know the saying: “When a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a noise?”
Well, event promotion is similar. If you are hosting an event but not promoting it, will it even happen? Without advertising, you probably won’t get attendees because no one knows it’s happening.
While event promotion is theoretically easy, planning a successful marketing strategy and promotion plan is not.
Of course you’ve seen large-scale event promotions. But you’re probably thinking, “We don’t have that kind of budget” or “What are more creative ways to increase brand awareness and lead generation?”
Well, that’s what we’re going to discover in this post. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite ways to creatively promote your event without breaking the bank.
Event promotion ideas
- Offer early bird registration.
- Place a sign outside of your company.
- Create a creative landing page.
- Get involved in content marketing.
- Have event-specific branding.
- Use email marketing to reach your audience.
- Post behind the scenes before the event.
- Retargeting of ads on social media.
- Create an event hashtag.
- Collaborate with keynote speakers, influencers, other brands, and sponsors.
- Run a social media contest.
- Create a social media filter.
- Advertising on social media.
- Post on Facebook and Community Groups.
- Host a social media challenge or takeover.
Free event promotion
1. Offer early bird registration.
A great way to promote your events is to offer early bird registration. This will encourage your audience to sign up for your event early.
It also gives you a good idea of how to further promote your event – are people interested? What are your objections? Is your current marketing plan working?
Early bird registration is a great way to measure your audience’s interest and marketing tactics. It also encourages people to buy tickets for the discount as soon as possible.
2. Place a sign outside of your company.
Of course, good, old-fashioned banners are a great way to raise local awareness of an event.
You can publish this outside of your company. If you don’t have a brick and mortar business, you can post banners throughout the region where you are hosting the event.
3. Create a creative landing page.
The landing page for your event is the primary way to communicate information about your event. You should post all the details about the event – day, time, location, topic, goals, etc.
In addition, you can post an agenda so that attendees know what the content of the event will be. This page is also where you can post information about speakers or influencers you’ve attended.
It’s also a good idea to include photos or videos from your most recent event and have an FAQ page that answers any repetitive questions.
And of course you want to link to your social media pages and place a call to action on the page so people can buy tickets.
4. Participate in content marketing.
It’s a good idea to post about it on your content marketing channels before your event.
You can post CTAs on your YouTube videos, discuss the event on your blog posts, talk about it on a podcast, or post on social media.
Regardless of which channels you use to post content marketing assets, you can promote your event.
5. Have event-specific branding.
Another great way to get the word out about your event is with event branding. Make your event a brand of its own. This is how HubSpot promotes the INBOUND event. INBOUND is a separate brand from HubSpot. It’s not just an event for our customers. It’s an event for any marketer, sales or service professional who wants to learn more and get further education.
To do this, separate the event brand from your company brand. Have a different website, different colors, different messages, etc. This will help attract people who don’t know about your business and are just bumping into the event.
6. Use email marketing to reach your target audience.
Of course, email marketing is an important way of reaching your current audience. You should promote your event to various segmented audiences via email.
This way, everyone who knows about your company can be informed about the event. You can also offer email subscriber discounts to encourage current fans of your company to participate.
Social media event promotion
7. Post behind the scenes before the event.
Social media is another important way to promote your events.
One of my favorite event promotion strategies as a consumer is to see posts behind the scenes. I love a good BTS Instagram story or post that shows a company preparing for an event.
Post on social media in advance of your event. Post about the people you come to your event or cool decorative items. This will get your followers excited about the event and persuade them to buy a ticket.
8. Retargeting of social media ads.
We all know that a lot of time is spent on social media. If they came across your business or any other event promotion, social media retargeting ads are a great way to keep track of things.
You want people to continually come across your brand and remind them of the event. Even if someone thinks an event is a good idea, they may not buy a ticket right away. Retargeting is a great way to get these customers in later.
9. Create an event hashtag.
While promoting your event, you can use an event hashtag to talk to attendees or people considering registering. This is a great way to keep track of mentions and keep in touch with people who want to attend your event.
This could also help you set trends and increase the number of people who know and see your events.
You can also ask questions and interact with the participants here during the event.
10. Collaborate with keynote speakers, influencers, other brands, and sponsors.
Working together is one of the best ways to promote your event. Consider event sponsors looking to promote the event.
You can also forge brand partnerships where you work with other companies to educate their audiences about your event.
Also, promote your keynote speakers or any influencers you work with the heck. This is a great way to reach out to the audience to make your event even better known.
It is important to leverage others’ following so that people outside of your audience know about your events.
11. Run a social media contest.
If you’ve run social media contests before and have had success, a social media contest or giveaway might be a great way to get the word out about your event.
You can run a competition where the winner will get tickets. Maybe they need to like your posts or comment and tag some friends. Either way, social media competitions will help you raise awareness.
12. Create a social media filter.
A fun way to promote your event is by using a social media filter. You can create one specifically for your event and present it on your social media.
If you get other people to use the filter, you will automatically promote your event to their target audiences.
13. Social Media Promotion.
We can’t discuss event promotion without talking about social media ads. Again, people spend a lot of time on social media. Running ads with similar audiences on Facebook is a great way to advertise to a cold audience.
14. Post on Facebook and community groups.
Social media communities and groups are also fantastic places to promote an event. It can be a Facebook group or a subreddit.
Additionally, you’ll want to create a social media event page so you can share it with different groups or communities.
15. Host a social media challenge or takeover.
Social media challenges and acquisitions are a fun way to engage your audience. A social media challenge allows your audience to engage directly with your company or brand. If you do a social media takeover with an influencer, you can reach the entire audience again.
Social media posts, challenges, live streams, and acquisitions are great ways to promote your events.
Now that you have some ideas on how to promote your event, it’s time to start thinking about the timeline. When are you going to do these things? How close to the event should you be promoting? Let’s discuss below.
Event promotion timeline
3-4 months before your event
- Email marketing: email previous attendees, grant early bird discounts, etc.
- Post in social media groups
- Create a Facebook event
- Promote influencers / speakers / sponsors
- Start the website / landing page
- Create event-specific branding
- Post banners on site
6-8 weeks before your event
- Promote influencers / speakers / sponsors
- Set up search engine campaigns and online ads
- Produce content marketing assets
- Run a social media contest
- End early bird promotions
3-5 weeks before your event
- Email Marketing Drip Campaigns
- Retargeting of ads on social media
- Have partner brands / sponsors posted about your event
- Create a social media filter
1-2 weeks before your event
- Create a social media hashtag
- Post behind the scenes on social media
- Use the last call message
2-6 days before your event
- Send an email reminder to prospects
- Apply on social media
- More BTS content
Day of your event
- Run your hashtag
- Be active on social media
- Take photos / videos and post them online
- Get in touch with your attendees online
After the event
- Thank you for coming
- Check out the success of your event promotion
- Did people talk about your event? Did Content Marketing Help? Did social media traffic lead to ticket sales?
- Send out a survey – to employees and customers alike – and ask how they liked the event, what they liked, what they think could be improved, etc.
Promoting an event is similar to juggling. There are many moving parts to manage. While this list is not exhaustive, it is intended to help you brainstorm the best ways to promote your event.