Event marketing on a budget

How to Market Your Event On A Budget

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If you’re an event planner and need to market your event, you might want to take advantage of some free marketing techniques that can really help promote your event. It’s possible to effectively market your event while sticking to a budget, it just takes a little planning. Before we can dive into this, your brand first needs to identify how much you can spend. Your event marketing budget will be distinct from your event budget, and you’ll want to map out how much you can spend for each. Here’s how you can market your event on a budget:

Identifying Your Event Marketing Budget For Marketing Events

If you’re limited to a strict fiscal amount, then you’ll have to work around that. However, you can limit your marketing budget to a percentage of your event budget and then plan from there.

  • You might find that you save money with an event platform and therefore, you may have more room for marketing than you initially thought.
  • You should identify where your target market is best reached in planning your event budget. For example, if your entire demographic is on the social media platform Instagram, then your marketing budget should start with that, and then branch out to other avenues or pipelines depending on costs. Some things can be done on your own accord as well, so try to be smart about what you need.

You might want to switch to an online event or hybrid event (with more attendees online) to save on venue rental costs. Online events are more cost-effective and have a broader reach. Mix up your physical events to improve your bottom line and decrease the event costs. Other event budgeting tips to consider:

  • Ask if the marketing materials can be used for another upcoming event or as evergreen content
  • Identify how useful your event technology will be and where it can save you money ( i.e., ticketing, integrated fundraising, sponsorship ideas, digitization for trade shows, analytics)
  • Consider ‘free’ ways of promoting your event through content marketing, like writing a blog post, going on a podcast, or self-promotion on social media
  • Create an event hashtag and encourage presenters to promote it during the live event

Developing Your Event Marketing Plan

How to market event on a budget

Once you have an idea of how much you can spend, start to look at your marketing strategy. Your strategy will, of course, depend on your event goals, unique demographic, and other features of the event. If you are hosting a hybrid event, then you might want to consider buying PPC campaigns and analog billboards. However, if you’re hosting a virtual event for a younger crowd, then you know that you only need to market online and you maybe shouldn’t go with a PPC campaign. For budgeting purposes identify:

  • The main event goal(s)
  • Event outcomes that you are looking for
  • Data that you need from the event
  • Your target audience demographic
  • Whether you are using sponsors
  • What each attendee is expecting from your event
  • And the price you need to sell tickets at to break even

With this information, you can roll out:

  • The primary ways that your event needs to be marketed
  • The items that you can do on your own accord without having to pay for the marketing yourself
  • Avenues for word-of-mouth marketing, free marketing, or social media strategy
  • Your event marketing strategy

Event Promotion While on a Budget

event budgeting tips

While every event is different, there are some distinct ways that you can market your event on a budget. Here are some event promotion ideas that might fit into your budget:

1. Find a Virtual Platform With Marketing Materials Included

As mentioned above, some virtual platforms come with marketing materials. From an event website to a landing page, event logo, and more, you may be able to cut costs here. A good virtual platform may also offer add-ons that are unseen at other events.

  • This naturally puts your event ahead of competitors. Find a platform that offers live chat tools, Q&A and live polls, one-on-one and speed dating style networking, virtual venue spaces, and unique sponsorship branding opportunities.
  • By having these features, you may find that you have more sponsors sign up because they see that your event has more opportunities for lead capturing or sales. You can also host larger virtual booth sessions as a portion of your event, which could offset your marketing costs.  
  • Other features like an event app might be something that you want to promote during the marketing, as this can boost audience reception towards your event.

2. Choose Marketing That You Can Do Yourself

Marketing events on a budget can be difficult, but there is a lot that you can do on your own.

  • If you want to roll out a social media campaign, then you can come up with the designs and copy on your own, through a design software like Canva, and then schedule it out well in advance with an intuitive software like MeetEdgar.
  • You’ll have help with this software, but you won’t need to hire a social media marketer to do all this work for you. Taking on some of the work yourself will boost overall event ROI as you will also save on hiring writers for copy or graphic designers for design work.

3. Put All of Your Eggs in One (Paid) Basket

Sometimes brands market in multiple avenues, such as PPC campaigns, email marketing, and influencer marketing. While this is an effective strategy, it is also costly.

  • If you’re on a budget, try to pick one avenue that would work the best for your brand and stick with it. You can then invest more money in that marketing strategy, especially if it starts to work.
    If you use analytics tools like Google Analytics or the performance metrics that came from your last event, then you can pick the more effective marketing avenues and reach your audience better.

4. Use Free Event Promotion Tactics

This does not mean that you need to use only one type of marketing.

  • There are other free marketing strategies, like posting your event on forums, in Reddit, or on Quora, and asking for guest blog posts, for example, as a way of promoting your event in exchange for something else.

You might find that your event can be posted on an event community board or through back-channel networks like Accelevents event and speakers webinar series and Facebook group.

5. Bring on Top-Rated Speakers, Presenters, or Keynote Speakers

Sometimes you can let your event speak for itself. If you have a highly sought-after keynote speaker or someone who is influential presenting at your event, jump on it.

  • Sometimes it’s better to invest in the event content and go through some free marketing avenues. If your presenters are interesting enough, you might not have to do a lot of work in order to get the word out.
  • You may want to ask your presenters to promote that they will be speaking at your event on social media. Presenters with large backing could be speaking to thousands if not millions of potential audience members, and this is a great (and free) marketing opportunity.

6. Ask for Speaking Spots on Youtube or Podcasts

Just like asking for guest posts or marketing “favors,” you can reach out to podcasts and Youtubers to see if they would be willing to feature your event, promote your event for an affordable price, or bring you on to talk about your event.

  • You can give them a referral fee for a portion of the sales and treat them just like a sponsor. You might find this to be a more effective way to reach your target audiences.
  • You can also get some more ideas with popular live streaming shows like “ Event Talk Live” where renowned speakers and professionals gather monthly to share their latest insights on creating events that move and inspire.
  • Leaving a lasting impression of your event is also important. Therefore, by putting your event on Youtube channels and podcasts, your name will continue to be out there and potentially viewed through evergreen content. Therefore, you can continue to use this content for a future event, and long after your event has passed.

7. Ask Sponsors and Attendees to Promote the Event on Social Media

Social media is easily one of the biggest ways that an event can promote itself basically for free. Your event attendees, event presenters, sponsors, employees, and more should all be promoting the event on the social media platform of their choosing before and during the event. You can make social media promotion as part of your gamification tactics.

  • Reward attendees for sharing the Facebook event page with awards, VIP packages, and more. Or, take to Twitter and allow select attendees or presenters to do a Twitter takeover and live-tweet a session!
  • Sponsors are a huge part of event success. You can tap into your sponsor’s powers by asking them to market on your event’s behalf. This should be part of their sponsorship contract. Provide them with marketing materials in order to make the process easier.

Marketing Your Event on a Budget!

While it might not seem like the most exciting thing, you can definitely market your event on a budget. In fact, you may find that this process is extremely creative. These event promotions might fit your budget, but they are likely to help you have a successful event. You may even find that you have more fun than just paying for an advertising campaign!

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