Anyone with an internet connection can get the PR wheels turning for their event without spending a penny. The key is to utilise the resources at your fingertips wisely, instead of blindly posting on social media in the hope that it’ll attract attendees to your event. The fact is, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are awash with people trying to get heard – so it’s important to have at least a few tricks up your sleeve when it comes to rising above the white noise.
In this article, we look at the seven most effective ways to market your event for free. But first, a quick word on:
The key to getting more attendees to an event
Whether you’re spending thousands on marketing or nothing at all, the secret to attracting attendees to your event lies in knowing your audience. Or, more specifically, in only targeting relevant people with your promotional activity. One of the biggest downfalls of marketing strategies in general is taking too broad of an approach. By targeting everyone and anyone with your marketing, you’re essentially diluting your promo activity and wasting resources.
On the flip side, if you make an effort to create an event marketing strategy that’s tailored specifically to a niche group of people, the rewards will be far higher. Read our article on determining a target audience for your event to learn more.
Let’s get started.
7 best ways to promote your event for free
Build a recognisable brand to use on social media
Using social media to promote your event all starts with building a recognisable brand. That doesn’t mean you need to hire an expensive branding expert – just that it can really pay off to put some time into thinking about these two things:
What kind of imagery inspires you and speaks to your event? Try putting together a mood board of things you like so you’ve got a general scheme to go with for your social posts – this might be things like abstract and colourful imagery, or imagery that includes people for a human connection (check out our article on free stock image sites to get started).
What kind of things will you mainly post about and what will your general tone be? Fun jokes and all things tongue in cheek? Inspirational quotes and imagery? Or will you go for a strictly edgy, underground vibe?
Jotting down some ideas before you start marketing your event will help shape your brand personality, making it more recognisable in the long-term.
Use social media to its full potential
We’ve got guides to help you with that, which cover everything from creating a Facebook event page to running competitions and maximising relationships with influencers:
Find free places to list your event
There are lots of free places to list events, and utilising them is one of the best ways to make yours more discoverable. Start by researching ‘What’s On’ sites for your local area, or for sites that cater to your specific type of event. Here are some to get you started:
Make your event registration page or website visible to search engines (SEO)
There are some pretty easy (and free) things you can do to give your event registration page a better chance of showing up in Google search results. Read our article, 13 ways to improve SEO for your event, to find out more.
Money-saving tip: Pass your event registration costs onto your customers through booking fees.
Build beneficial relationships
Don’t think of interacting with others as a happy side-effect of using social media for event promotion. Treat it as its own task by setting aside time to nurture valuable connections. Something as small as tagging relevant people or organisations in your Tweets can really pay off – you only need one retweet from someone with a large following to vastly increase your audience reach.
Being active on Instagram and Facebook can also help get valuable influencers in your corner – by being generous with your likes, comments and shares (to relevant people), you’ll be more likely to get the same treatment back.
Find your event’s newsworthy angle
Sometimes websites and publications will be happy to shout about your event just because they like it. But a lot of outlets need more motivation than that. Finding a newsworthy angle for your event can be a great way to entice publications into writing about it – this could be something like:
A unique inspiration story – are you running your event to drive change because of a moving or important experience you’ve had?
Giving to charity – maybe you’ve decided to donate some of your proceeds to a relevant charity?
A story of triumph – do any of your key performers have an unusual or particularly interesting backstory?
Give guest blogging a go
If you’re good at writing or knowledgeable in a certain field, it could pay off to offer to guest blog for sites relevant to your event – that might be a trends prediction piece for a particular underground music scene, or a topical piece on feminism. Either way, you’ll get a chance to plug your event and raise awareness about an area you're passionate about. If writing’s not your forte, try approaching relevant publications and offering them an interview with you.
With these solid free marketing techniques, you should see a massive difference in engagement with your event – and ultimately, in the amount of tickets you sell. Bingo.