Whether you’re new to event planning or an experienced creator looking for new ideas, finding effective promotional strategies is important. Identifying and implementing the best event marketing strategies can help you improve your event’s visibility, attract a crowd, and maximise the success of your event.

Using creative event branding and marketing strategies doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. However, these strategies can take time and effort to implement, and this hard work can lead to results that you’re pleased with, even if your budget is limited. Whether you’re planning a small local event or a large festival to inspire and connect with your local community, Eventbrite can help you identify event marketing trends and determine how to use them for your next event.

Read on to learn about creative ways to promote an event so that your next event is a success.

Let’s talk size

As you begin designing a marketing plan for your event, start with the basics. By establishing the basics for your event, you’ll have a better sense of how it will play out and what marketing and promotional strategies will work. First, consider how big your event will be. Are you hosting a small class, a workshop, or a large community festival? You’ll need to target your marketing toward the right audience, so the size of the event is an important consideration.

Next, think about how far along you are in the planning process. If you have your venue booked and your date set, then you’ll have all the basic information you need to start marketing. Finally, consider your expectations. Do you want to kick off a community-wide event that attracts thousands or host a small pop-up event in your business? Identifying your goals, including how many attendees you want to have and what you want to achieve for your event, can help guide your marketing strategy.

Let’s talk budget

Budget plays a role in every element of your event, including its marketing. So, setting your marketing budget early will allow you to implement an effective, budget-friendly strategy. When you’re building a promotional budget, consider the overall budget at the same time. Perhaps you can identify ways to save costs in other areas, which can give you even more money to spend on promotion.

Similarly, look for the resources that you have around you to find ways to garner free or low-cost marketing opportunities. Try partnering with local businesses at your next event so that you can cross-promote it. Use free event websites like Eventbrite and social media to broadcast information about your event at no charge. Mixing and matching marketing strategies with your budget in mind can help you promote your event in an effective way.

Let’s get creative

Now that you’ve kicked off event planning and budgeting, you’re ready to dive into these creative ways to promote an event. Start designing your event marketing plan with these tips.

1. Competitions and giveaways

Everyone loves free stuff. So, host a competition or giveaway that can attract a crowd with free prizes. Giveaways are easy to implement, and every ticket purchased can serve as an entry to win a prize. Select the winners at the event to drive attendance – you might even choose to say that people have to be present to win.

If you can incorporate a fun and easy-to-implement competition into your event, you can award prizes to the winners. Choose a competition that’s relevant to the theme so that it makes sense. For instance, if you’re hosting a cooking class, you could add a competitive twist to it by having judges select their favourite dishes. Organise bronze, silver, and gold medals – the more prizes you can offer, the better. After all, with lots of prizes come lots of winners, which can increase your attendance and awareness. Finally, if you don’t have the budget for prizes, seek out donations like gift cards and products from other local businesses.

2. Work with local influencers

Influencer marketing can be an inexpensive and effective marketing strategy. Using influential individuals with a broad audience base to promote your event can be highly impactful – if done right. Even micro-influencer marketing – using individuals with smaller but engaged and loyal followings – can promote your event.

Reach out to relevant influencers, such as those local to you, and offer incentives or cash in exchange for their promotion. Be sure to finalise a promotional strategy before you sign with the influencer to confirm that both parties agree on the promotional plan. You can use influencer marketing to promote your event through behind-the-scenes video tours, social media posts, or even a private kickoff event with the influencer in attendance.

3. PR stunts

PR stunts are sure to generate some buzz about your event. However, they require some careful planning so that they go off without a hitch. Think through the logistics before you commit to any one idea to ensure it’s something that you can realistically pull off while sticking to your promotional budget. PR stunts can be effective because they can raise awareness about your business and get people talking, and a little buzz can go a long way in building your customer base.

To maximise the effectiveness of your PR stunt, invite journalists and influencers ahead of time for some free promotion. Plus, you can record it yourself and post it across your social channels. For more inspiration, check out our Complete Guide to Experiential Marketing.

4. Early bird discounts

Boost your ticket sales as soon as they become available with early bird discounts. Offer up generous discounts – around 20% to 25% – to build interest. Consider offering a family bundle where you can get bulk tickets at a discounted price. Or, bring-a-friend deals can offer a discount on multiple tickets purchased. Early bird registrations are proven to be successful because a discount code can be an effective push for buying tickets early.

5. Advertise in free neighbourhood guides

If your community has free neighbourhood guides, advertise in them. Build a relationship with the publishers of these guides so that you can include your event in them. Doing so can broaden your reach and raise awareness across their channels and mailing lists. When creating a listing, include as much information as possible, and make sure it’s included well in advance of your event. You might even offer an exclusive discount code in the publication, which can drive ticket sales and offer an incentive for participants to snag their ticket.

6. Gamification

Make earning tickets to your event fun. Incorporate a game into your event promotion. For example, you can host a treasure hunt around your community, leaving clues that participants have to find. Start the hunt at your business, where participants can pick up treasure maps. This game, which families and kids will certainly enjoy, can take them around the community looking for local sites. Offer prizes for returned maps – give away discount codes, free entry, or small prizes. Use a hashtag to build awareness of the event, and encourage participants to share photos and videos on social media to get the word out.

7. Invite local journalists

Work with local media to promote your event. If you’ve networked with local journalists, you’re in luck – having them attend your event might be easy. Offer up some exclusives or VIP tickets if you can, which can make the event more enticing. Reach out well in advance of the event so that your contact can keep their schedule clear for your event.

If you don’t have a contact in local media, don’t shy away from reaching out. Pitch your event with enthusiasm and excitement. When you’re discussing your event, make it truly personal to the publication or journalist to increase your chances that they attend. For example, if you know a local publication regularly supports charitable causes and your event benefits the greater good, use that angle to pique their interest.

8. Awards

Incorporate an awards ceremony into your event to extend its reach. The awards ceremony should make sense of your event so that it fits into your theme. For a general occasion, keep your awards focused on the local community and areas worth celebrating, such as sustainability, environmentalism, community involvement, or commitment to charitable causes, for example.

Welcome local citizens and business owners to the awards ceremony, focusing on those who have had a positive impact on your community. Prizes or awards are a must for this event, so choose awards that fit into your event budget. An awards ceremony can easily attract local media as well, so be sure to share details in advance so you can get some free media coverage, too.

Find out how to plan an awards ceremony in 12 steps.

9. Photo booth

Promote your event using a photo booth positioned in a prominent location in the community. Before the event, passersby can drop in to get their picture taken while learning about your event at the same time. You can set up your photo booth outside your business, on a busy sidewalk – with fellow business’ permission, of course – or in a local park. If you’ll be printing photos or photo strips for people to take home, include your logo on it for easy promotion. Incorporate other relevant information into your setup, whether you have signs featuring your event’s hashtag or other important details like time, date, and location.

Ready to get promoting?

Event marketing shouldn’t overwhelm you. With these ideas for promotion, you can enter your planning confidently knowing that you have plenty of ways to promote your event within the community. Creativity just takes courage, so step outside of your comfort zone and embrace developing creative and effective marketing strategies for your event.

Eventbrite has plenty of tools to help you with event marketing. With these resources, you’ll be ready to develop creative ways to promote an event.

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