While companies usually have a decent budget for the execution of their events, their event marketing budgets… may be tiny by comparison – which is a shame, because even the best events will be useless without audience participation.
As event planners, how can we help our clients (or your bosses) to fill up seats, especially on a shoestring budget? These ideas should bring lots of participants to your events, without costing you much money.
1. Get bloggers, influencers and advocates on your side
We hope you’re on good terms with the bloggers, social media influencers, brand ambassadors and advocates in your area, because they are your lifeline in situations like this. Plus, (unless they’re superstars) they’ll generally only demand a modest fee or even partner with you for mutual benefit instead of a fee.
2. Utilise your mailing list (if you have one)
Don’t have a mailing list? It’s time to start one. A good mailing list can be a powerful ally when you want marketing that’s both low cost and effective. And since the people on your mailing list will (preferably) be people who have either attended your events in the past, or have shown interest in them, they’re considered as “hot leads” who are more likely to respond positively to your marketing promotions.
3. Connect with the right sponsors
Look at the profile of your next event’s prospective audience, then look for potential sponsors who are looking to connect with that audience. If your event can a bridge between sponsors and the people they want to speak to, they’ll have every reason to support your event – either with financial sponsorship, or by helping you to promote the event.
4. Leverage on platforms that you own
Does your brand or event have a Facebook page that has a legion of fans? Or an Instagram account with lots of followers? What about a website? If so, you can utilise these platforms to spread the word about your upcoming event – without spending a cent on ad placements.
5. Use popular hashtags
While many social media specialists will advise creating a unique hashtag to “spread your movement”, that requires quite a bit of effort (and sometimes, a decent budget). By “hijacking” a popular hashtag, you can reach bigger audiences with little effort or money spent.
6. Run a contest on social media
Get more eyeballs by running a contest on social media. Be sure to make the rules of your contest simple, such as liking and sharing a post, tagging a friend, and others – to encourage users to share your contest with their friends.
7. Use a chatbot to speak to prospects
Place a chatbot in your website to increase interaction with prospective participants. You chatbot should be able to answer questions, chat with prospects and encourage them to register for the event all on its own, without any human intervention.
8. Create interesting posts on social media
While you may not be able to create viral posts at will, you can certainly improve your chance of a post going viral (or at least being shared a lot) by creating posts that are interesting, funny and fun to share. These post can be photos, videos or inspirational messages.