Group Gordon’s James Seaton offers organizations three ideas for promoting an event without breaking the bank.
Many in-person events are returning after the pandemic put them on pause. For nonprofits, these gatherings offer an opportunity to connect with key stakeholders, raise awareness of the issues at the heart of their work, and raise funds – but they often come with a hefty price tag. You may not be able to cut some event production costs, such as venue rental fees and speaker honorariums, but you can build significant attendance through a variety of free and low-cost digital marketing options. Here are three strategies for promoting an event that will get people in seats without breaking the bank:
First, make your event as attractive as possible to your target audience. For example, choose a reasonable time for the event, have recognizable and credible speakers present, pick an easily accessible location, and offer valuable information or unique perks at the event. Some of these components, like choosing a convenient time, are free, while other aspects, like a prime venue location, may require investment. You want to make sure that your event is tailored as much as possible to your audience and offers a value proposition your audience can’t refuse.
Let’s say you’re targeting working parents across New York City for an educational event about government benefits available to them. For this audience, you’ll want to make sure your event is after working hours and the location of the event is as accessible as possible from all boroughs. You might want to have it catered by a popular local restaurant. You could also ask a trusted local council member, well-regarded reporter, or prominent community organizer to moderate. Event logistics should be a key piece of your promotion strategy.
Make the event prominent across your owned media channels, including your website, social media pages, and newsletters. Add a link on your website’s homepage to an event page, create social media posts leading up to the day, and send out email newsletters regularly with a clear call to action asking people to register for the event. These tactics will go a long way in driving people to your event. It’ll be important to diversify your announcements to keep people’s interest. For example, you can announce the confirmation of new speakers, share a how the event helps achieve the organization’s vision, film a video on your phone to give prospective attendees a sneak peak of the venue. Feel free to get as creative as time and capacity allow.
Finally, tap into community resources. There are several free local options that you can explore for promoting an event. For example, you can post your event on an online community calendar. Local media outlets like Patch and broadcast outlets like PIX 11 offer space to share upcoming events for free as a listing. This gives you hyperlocal reach and fills in any gaps in marketing that social media posts or website updates can’t fill. You can also reach out to local organizations like your public library or community center to see if they would be interested in posting a flyer of your event on their physical bulletins.
The small details like establishing the best time for the event and updating your website can have a big impact on attendance. It’s crucial to take advantage of all the free or low-cost marketing options at your disposal for promoting your event to ensure it is well attended, at a reasonable cost. With a cohesive promotion strategy, you can produce your next successful event in no time!