Event Marketing on a Budget
Events come in all sizes and all budgets. Designing, promoting and delivering an event on a tight or non-existent budget is a challenge – but it can be done! Our tips for event marketing on a budget require your time and energy and brainpower – but not a lot of money. Whether your event is for your business or a nonprofit, and your marketing budget is $1oo or $1000 or more, you always need ways to get more out of your event marketing budget.
3 Musts for Event Marketing on a Budget
1. Write Down a Strategy
A blog, a Facebook page, a mailing list, Twitter and an Instagram account are your tools to run a successful and FREE event marketing campaign.
Social media and a blog are (mainly) free – but require time and brain power to develop an attention-getting digital media strategy for your event. The key to getting your event noticed online is planning: without looking too planned!
What you DO want: When you’re juggling 23 things and trying to plan and run an event, it’s hard to come up with fresh ideas every day for your event’s blog, newsletter and social media.
- A content calendar helps you plan your content marketing strategy in advance so that you know what you need to post or send out, and when you should do it. Get our FREE content calendar template to help you create and manage content to promote your event. Do your content planning up front so you don’t have to come up with fresh ideas every day – but always be ready to adjust your calendar as details surrounding your event change.
- A social media calendar helps you plan what you’re going to post every day on your social channels, and when you’re going to post it. Planning your social media in advance helps you stay organized and save time. Download our FREE social media planning calendar so that you don’t forget to spread the word about your event.
What you DON’T want: To hold your iPhone in your hand and try to figure out something clever to say about your event on Twitter while those 22 other tasks are also demanding your attention.
tip: Spend a few hours each month planning your event’s monthly content calendar and weekly social media schedule so you stay organized and don’t forget to share important information about your event.
2. Ask for Support
What’s the #1 reason a business or individual doesn’t get involved in a cause or event? Because they weren’t asked! One thing is certain: if you don’t ask for it, you will not get it.
Let supporters and the public know what you need, why you need it and when you need it:
- Tell your network you need a graphic designer to design a logo and promo materials for your event, and if there’s a budget to support it. Tell them when you need someone, and ask for recommendations. Post your need on your personal social media channels so your contacts are aware and can help you spread the word.
- Many agencies do pro bono work for causes they care about – so let entrepreneurs, businesses and service agencies know you need help.
- Often companies are willing to sponsor your event or donate in-kind services to get positive publicity from being associated with your event. Have a list of what you need – everything from refreshments to t-shirts to volunteers to help you plan and execute your event.
- A business who wants to help promote your event may not be able to sponsor or provide in-kind services, but they can promote your event to their audiences:
- tell their employees about your event and authorize them to say the business supports your event
- post about your event on their social media channels
- tell their clients and vendors about your event in their newsletter
- put your posters up in their business
If you ask an organization to help promote your event have your event marketing materials ready for them, including #hashtags, links and graphics. And don’t forget to publically say thank you after they help you spread the word!
tip: Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help: people who may want to help you can’t if you wait too late.
3. Don’t Forget Traditional Media
Your event may be the perfect fit for TV or news outlets in your area – so let them know about your event and ask for their help in letting the public know.
- Identify journalists or producers who have an interest in your topic, and send give a short pitch. Pick up the phone and make a call, send them an email, or reach out on social media.
- Be professional when you pitch the media: their time is as valuable as yours, and help them understand your key messages: how your event solves someone’s problem, provides a needed service or information, or how it supports your community.
- List your event in the community service page or calendar of events of your local media outlets – usually this is an online form you need to fill out with all the details.
There are many inexpensive and free ways to promote your event. But each of them requires planning and time to make sure they’re done correctly and on-time. Even last-minute, brilliant marketing tactics require preparation so that you’re ready to take advantage of an opportunity that presents itself.
Event Marketing Tips and Tricks by Amanda MacMaster, Managing Director of MacManda Media