Promoting an event can be challenging, as there are now more events than ever, and more people fighting for our time and attention online. That being said, there are a number of powerful and free places where you can promote your event.
Promoting your event on these sites is a great way to get additional exposure and
Eventful.com is a free event listing site that allows you to create an event listing for your event. These listings rank well in search engines and can provide you with great exposure.
2. Facebook Event
Creating a Facebook event builds your exposure on this popular social network. Facebook is the #1 web property in the US and more people check Facebook each day than read a newspaper or listen to the radio. Promoting on Facebook can be a powerful tool.
3. LinkedIn Event
Similar to Facebook, creating an event on LinkedIn can increase your exposure within your audience, especially if your event is targeted at business professionals. Creating an event is simple and free and you can promote it to your contacts on LinkedIn.
4. Community Listings
Most local news sites, like Cincinnati.com in Cincinnati allow free postings of community events. These sites tend to get a lot of views, so listing on them can be very valuable for building exposure and registrations. Plus, they sometimes choose to feature listings, giving you even more free exposure.
This probably isn’t a new one, but public relations can be very powerful in building buzz for your event. The key to success is to pitch a unique or interesting angle to your event. The press isn’t there to advertise for you, but if you can position your event in terms of how it will benefit their viewers you can get pickup.
6. Free Online Press Releases
There are plenty of free online press release distribution sites, like PitchEngine. These sites rank well in search engines and are followed by traditional journalists. It never hurts to post your press releases on these sites to build more links and search engine traffic.
7. Local Chambers of Commerce
Most Chambers have ways for their members to promote their events. If you aren’t a member, maybe on of the speakers or exhibitors is. We list all of our events with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and find that up to 25% of our registrations have come through their event listings.
8. Associations and Groups
Are there other groups or associations that may be able to promote your event to their membership? In creating a partnership it is key to provide them with value in return (perhaps an exclusive discount for their members).
Twitter is also a great resource for event promotion because it allows you to connect with people you don’t know yet (other social networks require them to proactively add you before you can follow them as a business). You can also do searches by zip code to find people talking about particular subjects near you.
10. Your Speakers
Have you asked your speakers to use their channels to promote your event? Chances are that their audience matches yours. This means that if they promote your event you could reach new prospects. Give speakers the tools to help you promote the event and don’t be afraid to specifically ask them to Tweet, Facebook post, email or share on their websites.
Much like speakers, sponsors benefit from promoting the event to make it bigger and better. Leverage your sponsors and exhibitors and give them the tools to promote their participation in the event online.
Are there influencers in your category that you could connect with? Look for the people who influence the people you want to reach and seek out ways to engage them. Maybe it is a complimentary admission, or special status at the event.
A blog is a great way to share news and updates about the event as they happen. Use a blog to keep your audience engaged and direct them towards links that they can easily share with others.
Build an email list of all those who are interested in your event – it could be past attendees or from a form on your website. The reality is that many people who are interested in your event might not be register immediately, so it is vital to get them into your marketing circle.
15. Online Trade Publications
Many trade websites, blogs and publications print notices of upcoming events that are of interest to the community. Find the sites that do event listings and ask that your event or conference is added to the list. We have a few blogs that list our events as a part of their social media training directories.
How else have you promoted your event for free (or almost free)?