The stress of organizing an event can often seem unparalleled. Yet, when that schedule is finalized, the caterer arrives on time, and the festivities officially kick off, the same can be said of the satisfaction. There is truly nothing quite like seeing something you have spent so much time on come to fruition.
However, even when you have spent every waking second pouring over and perfecting the minutiae of the day itself, there is always one thing that threatens to ruin every event: attendance. Or, rather, the lack thereof. Without people, the investment intended to grow your business could easily turn into a money pit, making good marketing an absolute necessity.
But, we understand. Advertising an event can often seem daunting to small business owners, as many see it as yet another cost to add to an already costly affair. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. To demonstrate this, we’ve put together a short list of key considerations to incorporate into the marketing strategy for your next event.
Social media is one of the best ways to reach a big audience with little upfront cost. Facebook events, for example, often travel far and are completely free to make. Invite all fans of your business’ page, and make sure to promote your social media pages during the event itself to grow your invitee list for the next time. If you do have some extra cash to put towards online advertising, the number of options widen immensely. Both Facebook and Twitter have tools which allow you to target new customers based on their interests, location, and other demographic specifications, allowing you to grab the interests of individuals who might not yet be included in your consumer base. If you decide to go this route, though, do make sure to set a budget beforehand to make sure your expenses don’t spin out of control.
If you have an Instagram page for your business, then be sure to post a few teaser photos of the venue, decorations, or some goods that will be available during the event to get your customers excited for what’s to come and to even make them feel as though they are a part of the planning. The same goes with Twitter - posting the occasional update on your progress (for example, “Just received confirmation for our entertainment! Can’t wait to see them perform live at our event”) can often make your audience feel as though they are a part of the planning, and they are more likely to carve time out of their busy schedules to attend something they feel invested in.
One of the best aspects of being a small business owner is being a part of a strong, proud community of other entrepreneurs. Find another organization which shares your values to support your event by sponsoring or helping to market it. In exchange, you can offer their consumers a discounted rate or incorporate them into your promotional materials. This way, the relationship is mutually beneficial: both businesses are exposed to a broader audience and can develop positive relationships with the event attendees.
Social media is extremely useful, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the more traditional mediums. There are plenty of people that don’t have social media accounts, or don’t check them regularly, and even those that do might not see your event through the noise of all the other advertisements and articles with which they are constantly being inundated.
To reach these individuals, send out a press release to local reporters. One might even offer to cover your event at no cost. Also, be sure to look for any other free or low-cost advertising options that are specific to your area. Many restaurants and breakfast nooks, for example, will have community boards for precisely this. If your budget allows, you might also consider paying for some short TV or radio ads to maximize your impact while minimizing your cost.
Marketing is crucial to the success of your event, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money for successful marketing. It’s entirely possible to advertise your event well, without blowing your budget out of the water. Just keep in mind some of these tips, and your next event is sure to be a success.