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All successful event planners know that no matter how well you plan the D-day, that alone can’t guarantee a sell-out. For it to become the talk of the town, it’s all about finding creative ways to promote your event far and wide.
Successful event and virtual event promotion is a mix of art and science. It’s a highly competitive activity with several event promotion strategies to help spread the word. This, of course, brings the problem of plenty.
It’s easy to be seduced by the allure of these tools and strategies, but how do you know which ones will actually work?
Sure it takes some amount of time and effort. But once you are comfortable with the ins and outs of how to promote an event, you can avail the actual benefits of virtual and hybrid events—which is being an easy solution that offers your attendees an immersive experience with no travel costs necessary.
Now there are all sorts of ways to promote an event online, but we’ll focus on the ones that work and don’t take much time. The key to success is knowing how best to leverage your time while staying within budget restrictions.
To help make your next virtual event a sell-out success, here’s a list of 30 places to promote your event for free!
Whether you’re planning a webinar, a concert, a conference or anything else, these ideas will help you get noticed by all the right people. These tricks are creative, impactful and help you target all the places where your potential attendees spend their time.
Gone are the days when you had to rely on traditional media to promote your event online. With the explosion of social media and other channels, it’s possible to sell out your show for free simply by being a little creative and going off the beaten path. So without further ado, let’s jump right in.
A lot of people have begun relying on online event guides to decide which online/offline event to attend next. Some of these popular event discovery websites let you list your event entirely for free. Check out sites like Yelp, Eventful, Eventcrazy, Eventbrite, Eventseeker, Allconferences, Youreventfree and Bandsintown.
So you can always increase your revenue by knowing where to post events for free. Here’s the best part. You don’t need any financial investment but may see great ROI on every event listing (at no cost of entry with better odds of being seen than paid ads.) It only takes a few minutes of research to find where to post events for free and get the ball rolling on your next event.
Creating a custom Facebook group for your event is a great way to drum up interest and encourage attendees to interact and stay engaged. Invite your friends to the group and encourage them to do the same. Post pictures, videos and exciting aspects of the event in the weeks leading up to it to whet their appetites even more.
Another powerful thing you can do on Facebook is to enlist key people and like-minded FB groups as co-hosts of your FB event page. This allows them to list your event on their own profiles and inform more people. For, e.g., if you’re hosting a rock band’s online/offline gig, look out for groups consisting of rock music lovers.
If you want your event to pop up every time anyone searches for events near me on Google, then use the right SEO keywords in your online event pages, event listing, and other promotional material. Use Google’s Adword planner and keyword tools like this to look up the most relevant keywords, and then insert those on your event page.
Pinterest is a popular event marketing platform. Most users on Pinterest are planners, and they’d love to know about your event well ahead of time. About 75% of pins are saved by users 1-2 months before an event, and 25% even pin it with 2-4 months to go! Make sure to brand your Pinterest page properly, with beautiful photos of the venues, line-up, schedule, and other behind the scenes snippets. And don’t forget to use the right SEO keywords to attract the right target crowd.
Plan a free tickets giveaway ahead of your event on social media, asking people to tag their friends, repost your stories and posts to qualify. Give people an opportunity to win free tickets and promote your events in the process. This will go a long way in generating heavy pre-event buzz.
Create an eye-catching event graphic for a WhatsApp broadcast, and share it with potential attendees on your contact list. But be careful not to spam unnecessarily. Create a targeted broadcast list, and share no more than one save the date message and another post closer to the event date. Don’t forget to include the ticket link with the message!
Use your event’s Twitter page to spread the word and tag influencers relevant to your theme, especially if it’s for a noble cause. If they retweet the event to their followers, you get free publicity. Twitter is, in fact, the best place to get some free event advertising. The platform offers an easy-to-use interface and a substantial base of people who will be interested in what you’re promoting all across their feed.
The key to social media is understanding your audience and where they hang out. Once you do, you’ll begin to realize where to post events for free to reach them. Instagram is one such example. By using the right hashtags, your stories can even be seen by people who don’t even follow you. Share your event creative, schedule and other details on your Insta stories by using the relevant hashtags to reach a bigger audience.
If you’re hosting a business or networking event, then LinkedIn is THE place to promote it. Aside from posting about your event on your own page, share the details on relevant LinkedIn groups as well. Don’t forget to share the sign-up/ticketing link.
Planning a music/cultural event? Compile a Spotify public playlist showcasing your line-up’s repertoire! Also, mention the event details in the bio so that people are encouraged to sign up. Spotify’s algorithm can help you reach not only your line-up’s followers but new listeners as well.
Creating a custom email signature is a nifty little way of reinforcing your event’s details into the recipient’s mind. Make sure to add the event date, time, and ticket link details in the banner. Ask everyone in your team to adopt that signature till the D day.
Use your YouTube channel to share quick and fun video teasers of the event. Make sure you use the right tags, write a catchy title and an engaging video description with all details of your event. But remember, the penetration of virtual events places is intensifying pressure on companies to attract audiences. So don’t go overboard on YouTube with long teasers. Keep it short and sweet for maximum effectiveness.
Video shout outs add a powerful and personal touch to your promotion plan. These shout outs can be shared both on the event page and by the participating speakers/participants on their own profiles. Ensure that the shout out includes key details like the event date, time, ticketing details etc.
With over 3.2 million weekly active podcast listeners in the UK alone, they are a fantastic way to promote your event to a brand new audience. Setup a channel and share podcasts about your event’s story, background, speakers, and more.
Also, get in touch with an influential past attendee/participant and do a guest podcast on their channel. This will also add credibility to your event, as well as promote it to their listeners.
Planning a local offline event/flea market/gig? Get in touch with local Airbnb hosts, share posters/flyers, and request them to spread the word to guests who check-in around the event date. This will benefit everyone and also help the hosts offer a more culturally rich experience to their guests.
Instagram live interviews are a great way to engage with a new audience and spread the word about your event. You could request Instagram pages and influencers that list local events and speak to them about your event’s philosophy, story and more.
With the inrush of virtual events places, the free promotion tactics on social media can backfire. This is because most of these free platforms are not as targeted compared with physical spaces. That’s precisely where email marketing can be very effective, but only if you use it correctly. Instead of spamming your entire list, take time out to segment your subscriber list according to their interests, geography and demographics. Once you have narrowed it down, create a short, informative and creative event mailer with the sign up link right in there.
You can turn your attendees into your event ambassadors with some easy tricks. Send them a custom event cover photo and event badge with their name on it, and encourage them to post it, along with other event details. This will make them more emotionally invested in the event and attract the attention of their network.
If your event is around a noble cause, then you have a shot at roping in big influencers in your field to do a shoutout on their page. Maybe a post or even a story can make a difference.
Use all your social media platforms and tools like - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest to share teaser stories that cover different aspects of your event. This will help create a buzz even before you announce the event’s concrete details. As you put this idea into practice, the real-world experience will teach you how to promote an event online and which platforms work best for your use case.
With 144 million users, Snapchat is the place to lure millennials to your event. It has a fantastic feature to help promote local events. You can create a Snapchat Geofilter - that overlays graphics on the image. With this simple trick, you can interact with potential attendees in a fun yet informational way.
Amplify the power of your mailing list by inviting them to tell their friends about your event and offering a referral discount if any of them purchase a ticket. You can also offer group discounts for bulk ticket bookings.
It helps to know what the competition is up to. Keep an eye out for events similar to yours being hosted a few weeks or months in advance. Check them out and network with the attendees and let them know about your event—probably the best way to advertise around the world.
To ensure effective on-ground coverage, invite journalists and offer free tickets and request them to write a review of the event and share posts/stories on their own profiles as well.
Partner up with fellow event blogs and organizations, and do a guest blog post promoting your event on their platform. In exchange, you could offer tickets or brand visibility at the venue.
Encourage your line-up of speakers/performers to post personal stories about why this event is special to them and urge their followers to attend it. Send them custom cover photos that list out event details and the ticket link. You don’t want to miss a straightforward free event advertising opportunity that’s out there!
Get in touch with upcoming local pages relevant to your target audience, and collaborate on a social media takeover of their profiles. This means that you’ll be posting engaging stories and sharing videos about your upcoming event, which is accessible to their followers. In return, you could offer them free passes or brand visibility.
If you’re hosting an on-ground event, you can use the venue/hotel to place event standees/posters a few weeks before the event day. This will help you get noticed by anyone attending other events in the venue.
Striking up a barter deal with local businesses is a powerful and cost-effective way to promote your event. Why not offer them a few free tickets in exchange for promotion at their storefront/cash counter/social media pages?
So, there you have it. It isn’t easy to believe, but you can promote your event for free, and it works! As you can see from this list, there are plenty of powerful, effective and highly visible places where you can promote your event for free. All you need is a little bit of prior planning, foresight and creativity!
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