Marketing Your Event on a Shoestring Budget

399_2904406By the small business content developers at

When promoting an event with a limited or non-existent budget, passion and imagination are just effective as a generous budget. Keep in mind that it will take effort from your marketing team to hit the ground running, and that your concerted efforts will create a groundswell of support. If you read the phrase “marketing team” and think, “Oh no, I’m the team!” remember that you can do this all yourself when you stay focussed on efforts that garner the strongest results.

  •  Give Yourself Sufficient Time to Promote Your Event

It is challenging enough to do everything you need to do within a generous timeframe, so remove some of the stress by giving yourself sufficient time to plan. Hopefully you have at least a month to promote your event, but if you have six weeks or a few months, you can do quite a bit of the developing of your marketing materials without your deadline weighing you down. If you don’t have this much time to plan, then get to work on bringing together all your marketing resources now.

  •  Create an Event Website

It can be as simple as an event page on Facebook or a simple landing page hosted on an affiliated group’s website. Make sure to include all vital information such as date, time, and location and remember to use images too. It’s easy to overlook the update of this information as you get closer to the event and start feeling pressured -- things can and will slip through the cracks. People will check out your event page, so arm them with the best and highest quality information.

  •  Use Your Email List

You can buy a list or compile one from your contacts and those of your fellow event planners. You can even write a sample email and ask your peers to share something similar with their networks. This removes the burden of labour and makes it more likely that generous souls will follow through, helping you reach even more people with your event. Reach out to this list a few times, once in advance and once closer to the event.

  •  Deploy Your Event on Social Media

Social media is a great way to generate attention for your event. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram generously. Feel no shame in asking for shares and reposts. Social media assists you in creating awareness of your event. You can partner with other people in your industry or locale, which will expand your reach.

  • Offer to Guest Post

Are there prominent bloggers in your industry that will help you broadcast your event? Reach out to them and offer to write a guest post. When you contact them, make sure you have a draft of your proposed post ready to share. Remember that your proposed post should align with the style and conventions of the blog you contact. Your post should not be just about your event; rather use an aspect of the event to gain readers’ interest and then in your bio share your event details.

  • Use Foolproof Flyers and Posters

They might seem a bit of a throwback, but flyers and posters in the right locations can be powerful way to capture attention. If your event is local, you can post printed ads at businesses that resonate with your event’s mission. A natural remedies conference might find synergy at an organic grocery store or chiropractors’ offices. A job fair might find accord at community colleges and coffee shops. Think about what scenes resonate with your target audience and go there to place your announcements.

  • Utilize Media

There are many free weekly newspapers that offer events calendars to the community, and people still do use Craigslist to find things to do, so get your event out there wherever you can. Other resources might be a classified ad in a newspaper or a brief announcement on your local radio station. Reach out to publications and broadcasters and frame your event with a local interest perspective and you can get great results and maybe a little free advertising.

  • Promote Your Speakers or Guests

If your event has the participation of performers or speakers, guess what? You have an additional way to promote your event! Express your enthusiasm for their participation and spread the news to their networks as well. Use images of your guests and information about their presentation or performance to draw a bigger crowd

  • Give Away Tickets

If your event has an entry fee, you can drum up extra interest by giving away tickets to community or industry influencers. You can even entice attendance by offering a free gift or entry to a raffle to those who earn a free ticket. Use all your creativity to come up with relevant and desirable tie-ins that make sense for your event.

Marketing your event doesn’t have to break the budget, as you can see with these shoestring tips.

By Andrew Patricio

October 28, 2015