2 Part Series: Part 1 The Best Free Strategies for Marketing Your Event Online
Unfortunately, many people running events spend so much time focusing on paid marketing efforts, they forget that there are several easy and effective strategies that work either independently or in conjunction with paid efforts — that are completely free.
Larger or first-time events often overlook these free strategies because event organizers either don’t realize the options exist or feel like they aren’t effective for the event that they’re running.
The good news is, these free marketing strategies are beneficial for all types of events, regardless of their size, location, or audience. Most importantly, they can all be done with a few simple tools, you may already be using.
Ready to see what free strategies you can start using to market your event today?
Let’s dive in.
Use a Simple Email Marketing Campaign that Sells Tickets
Email marketing is single-handedly one of the most effective free tools you can use to help promote your event. And they don’t say the money is in your list for nothing. In fact, “not only is email a direct line to potential attendees, 91% of people check their email every day — making it an optimal channel to build your audience.”
If this is your first time running your event, building a list of emails addresses may take a little bit more forethought and planning, but it will be worth putting together in the end.
However, if you run a reoccurring event or have an email list already in place, you can begin sending simple campaigns in the weeks or months leading up to your cart opening for ticket sales.
To create an effective email marketing strategy for your event, the first step is to think big. While many people send their first email right when their tickets go on sale — buyers need more time to plan and think about their purchase.
This is why it’s so important to email regularly throughout the year, or in the months leading up to when your tickets go on sale. This helps keep your event top of mind, build anticipation, and allows buyers to plan for your event when it does come time to purchase a ticket.
These campaigns can include:
- Pictures of last year’s event,
- Sneak peek into your venue or event features
- Speaker releases
- Changes coming up in for this year’s event, etc.
Once your tickets do go on sale, the next step is to plan a simple campaign to sell tickets.
This doesn’t have to be complicated and could be as simple as 10-20 emails that are teased out over the course of a few weeks while your cart is open.
While the content you choose to put in these emails is up to you, each email needs to highlight the benefits of joining the event and include a clear call to action that entices readers over to your landing page and to buy.
Create a Sales Page that Converts
Creating a well-converting sales page for any event is one-part art and one-part science. There are so many different pieces that can go into a sales page, it’s always difficult to know what is going to appeal best to your audience, and get them to buy tickets.
As a general rule of thumb, here are some key features that every well-constructed sales page has:
- It’s clean. Messy sales pages don’t convert. Keep your page as clean as possible by incorporating lots of white space, using simple styling, and easy to read text. This will allow people to find all the important information they’re looking for, without getting lost or distracted before they find your buy button.
- Make your buy buttons big and bright. This can’t be overstated. If no one can find your buy button, no one will buy. Make sure you have clear calls to action that stand out. Likewise, it can also be a good idea to have more than one button on your page.
- Keep your text short. There is a misconception that buyers like long paragraphs when it comes to a sales page. However, you really need to capture your audience’s attention quickly and with as little effort as possible. This means writing crystal clear, short paragraphs, that are easy to skim is the best way to go. It can also be a good idea to use bullets and images to help break up your page.
- Remove external navigation. The minute a prospective buyer leaves your sales page, the harder it is to get them back on it and buying your tickets. So, make sure you remove any external navigation buttons (home, about, work with us, etc.) to help keep them on your sales page.
- Include an FAQ section. FAQs are one of the most commonly missed parts of a sales page, especially for events. Remember, you want to leave people feeling like they’re making a great purchase and the only way to do that is to answer any of the questions they have ahead of time. A simple FAQ section can clearly outline all the parts of the event, what your participants can expect, and alleviates any fears they might have about buying their ticket now.
Capitalize on Existing AudiencesWhen it comes to getting the word out about your event you want to reach as many people as you can, with little effort. Click To Tweet
One way to do this is to try and gain access to the audiences that have been built up by your sponsors and your speakers.
If you’ve done the work to choose sponsors and speakers that align with your audience and are on brand for your event, then their audiences will be a good fit for you too.
Remember, as active participants, they want your event to succeed just as much as you do, which means they’ll be eager to help you promote and sell tickets.
For your sponsors, <<it can be relatively easy to tap into their audience by offering a bonus incentive>> if they promote your event out to their mailing list, out on their blog, or out to their social media followers.
And the same goes for your speakers. Speaking at an event is a good opportunity for them to build brand awareness and be seen as an expert. So don’t feel shy asking speakers to help you promote it. If you feel uncomfortable, make it easy by giving out some branded social media or newsletter materials for them share online.
While social media is a great paid tool to use for your event, it can be a really powerful free resource to use as well, especially if your existing audience is well-developed.
Here are a few great ways to get started:
- Create your own event hashtag — Hashtags are a great way to get started building buzz around your event. Viewers can go back and see everything you’ve posted with your hashtag to view your progress, and to track events they might have missed.
- Invite speakers or sponsors to share your posts — We spoke about it above, but using your speakers’ and sponsors’ social media networks can do a lot to elevate the status of your event.
- Use video — Video is really changing the landscape of social media, so if it’s on-brand with the type of event you are putting together try to use it. You can share a highlight reel of last year’s event, hop on Facebook Live and share about your progress, or even create behind the scenes videos of planning your event and use them as your Insta Story.
- Encourage followers to share your posts with a giveaway or challenge — Much like your speakers and sponsors, your existing audience is a great network of people that can promote your event for you. Challenges and giveaways that invite them to share your posts or tag their friends are a great way to get your event seen by more people.
With so many ways to approach advertising, it’s difficult to know which methods reach the most people, what tactics will work for you, and all without breaking the bank.
Creating the right free strategy for your event may take some planning, but in the end it can help save you from spending more money than you really need to to sell out your event.