5 Free Ways to Market Your Event

Whether you are on a shoestring budget or you are looking for a maximum ROI on your event marketing efforts, it always pays to be resourceful.

Here are 5 free ways to to advertise your event.

 

1. Facebook Events

Billions of people use Facebook, and hundreds of millions check their account multiple times a day.

People use Facebook today similar to how they used newspapers in the past. They login, check what is new or trending, and see advertisements for products, services, or events.

Facebook has a section dedicated to events where you can create an event page, invite your friends and followers to attend, and share your event on your wall.

This is one of the most visible ways to get your event heard about for free.

 

2. Email

Emailing your newsletter list doesn’t cost you any extra money, and emails are still some of the most effective ways to reach your audience.

As a bonus, people who give you their email are more likely to attend your event than people you have to seek out and find.

Depending on your list size, this may be the most effective way to advertise your event for free. Here is a guide on how to best use email marketing for your event.

 

3. Event Calendars

For people who don’t use Facebook, but still want to be involved in their community, local event calendars are a great place to show your event.

Most cities have a popular event calendar, and a quick google search can help you find them. Most of these services are free, but some cost a couple of dollars to use. If you are looking for a free calendar in your area, list your event on SpinGo.

 

4. Reddit

Reddit is a giant online forum that covers any topic you could think of. One specific place that you will want to share your event is on local city subreddits. A subreddit is a specific niche group, for example, Movie Lovers, or Dog Owners.

Most major cities have a local subreddit (e.g. reddit.com/r/seattle) that talks about the news, events, and happenings around the city. This is a great place to share your event and let people know of what is happening around them.

You will have to create an account to do this, but it is a free, valuable option.

 

5. Chatbots

A chatbot is an automated chat message that pops up on your website or Facebook page. You can tailor the message to say whatever you need it to say. Some chatbots cost a lot of money, but there are some that offer free versions that you can install on your page with limited service options.

A chatbot can inform every visitor on your site of Facebook page that you have an event coming up.

Brand Your Event in 5 steps

We’ve all heard of the term “branding” but do we really know what it means? According to GEVME, a brand is a “Sign, symbol, words, unique design or a combination of these” that helps consumers identify a company of certain value and benefits. Meaning, your brand is what consumers will associate with quality and satisfaction. 

However, when you are branding an event the meaning differs and it’s important to know that your branding has to go beyond visual marketing. With event branding, you want to create a feeling and vibe around your event that attendees remember long after your event is over. Effective event branding creates loyal attendees and memorable experiences. The better your brand is marketed at your event, the more people will remember your event and associate positive attitudes with it. 

Makes sense right? If I attend an event for Coca Cola and I have an amazing time, I may grab a coke few months later and think back to that experience. The trick is making sure the feelings and vibes established at your event are positive for your attendees.

So how do you create this event brand that evokes positive feelings and wows your attendees?

Here are 5 steps to effectively brand your event:

 

1. Creating your event brand. Bizzabo says it best, your event brand should be your company brand with a little twist. Try thinking of the twist as whatever theme you pick. For example, if you’re a fun tech company then maybe you pick a casino night theme for your event. In that case your event brand could become something like “Disrupting Old Vegas”.

2. Creating an event hashtag. An event hashtag is a hashtag that attendees can use on social media to share their experiences around your event. They can use this to express excitement before the event, share pics from what they’re doing during the event, and share thoughts they have after the event. Your event hashtag can be as simple as putting a hashtag in front of your event name like #techsummit2018 or #coachella. Of course, feel free to get creative with your event hashtag but just remember to give yourself enough time before your event to bring awareness to your hashtag. You’ll want to start using your event hashtag on your own social media channels s month or two in advance of your event.

 

3. Promoting your brand at your event. Don’t just do the same old t shirts, banners, and posters. Get creative with your branding. Here are a couple of ideas:
1) Try edible branding by providing food with your company logo on it.

2) Provided a gif booth that created a gif with your logo in the bottom corner.

3) Use an event app customized for your event to engage attendees.

 

4. Utilizing Social Media. We’ve all heard to be careful what we post on the internet because it stays there forever, but this can actually be a good thing for your event. Having attendees post selfies or pics from your event is great because it doesn’t just promote your event for the time being, it will also stay in social media history so that if your company is throwing another event next year and people search for it pics from the past event will come up. This establishes credibility for your event, if attendees can see all the fun people had at the last event they’ll be more interested in attending your upcoming event. The best part is, you can encourage attendees to post on social media during your event with social media printout props like the one shown above. CrowdSigns is just one of many places you can order customized social media props for your event.

5.  Following Up Post Event. Appreciation goes beyond just saying thank you. Your attendees have taken the time to attend your event and you want to show them that you are thankful. Try sending a handwritten thank you card or a small treat. You want them to remember their experience with your event fondly. It’s also a smart idea to add something like “See you next year” somewhere in your thank you card. You want them to start thinking about attending next year’s event and a thank you card can go a long way.

How to Set Up an Event Website in 5 Minutes

If you’re planning an event, you need a website. It’s as simple as that. Nowadays, people tend to discover things to do online, and your event website is a place for them to learn all about ticketing, venue info, and everything else that will convince them to attend. An official online destination should be the first thing you create when marketing an event.

Building a website doesn’t have to be a complicated, drawn-out process—especially for event makers who are strapped for time. At SpinGo, we’ve helped a variety of events create or optimize their websites, and we consistently recommend WordPress and Bluehost to build out their sites. This article will show you how to get your website started in just a matter of minutes using these two platforms.

Why WordPress?

WordPress started out as a blogging tool, but it has evolved into one of the premier content management systems. In fact, some of the most popular websites in the world are powered by WordPress, including TechCrunch, The New Yorker, and the Dallas Mavericks. Here are some of the benefits of using WordPress:

  • Thousands of themes and plugins – Choose from a bunch of free or paid templates that are designed just for events.
  • Easy to use and learn –  Most users aren’t web designers or programmers.
  • Search engine friendly – WordPress is written to make your website SEO friendly.
  • Easy to manage – A built-in tool gives you the ability to update plugins and themes from your admin dashboard.

 

Why Bluehost?

The first step to building your event website is to find a web host, which is how you will store your site’s files and deliver them to your audience through their Internet browsers. If you’re using a WordPress site, there are many web hosting platforms to choose from. However, WordPress itself recommends Bluehost. In fact, it has been their top recommended hosting service for more than 10 years. With Bluehost you get:

24/7 WordPress support – You can reach out to them anytime by phone, email, or live chat.

1-click WordPress installation – They’ve made it dead simple to setup and manage your website.

Money-back guarantee –  You aren’t locked into a contract, there are no hidden fees, and so you can try it without any risk.

True scalability – As your website grows, it’s easy to scale your options to fit your needs.

 

How to set up your event website in 5 minutes:

Creating Your Bluehost Account

To get started, click here to go to Bluehost’s home page. Next, click on the “get started now” button and select which hosting package you need.

 

 

The next page lets you choose a domain name for your website. If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one during the signup process. Your new WordPress hosting account comes with a free domain. If you already own a domain name, you can also enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost.

 

 

After you’ve entered a domain name, enter your account information.

 

 

The signup section presents you with a few other offers, including Site Backup and Search Engine Jumpstart, which indexes your site faster on search engines.

 

After you’ve filled in your information, click the “submit” button to complete your purchase. Now that you are all signed up and are able to login to your account, you can get started installing WordPress!

 

Installing WordPress

Bluehost has made it super easy to install WordPress. Login to your Bluehost account, click on “hosting” at the top, and go inside cPanel.

 

 

Find the Website section and select “Install WordPress.” Click the “Install” button.

  

On the next page, Choose the domain name to install it to and hit “Next.”

Click “advanced options,” and you can edit your email address, username, and password for the new WordPress installation. Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes. Select the “Install Now” button.

WordPress will now begin installing. Make sure not to close the page until it displays “Processing complete.” The installation will take about a minute. After the installation is complete, you’ll receive an email with your WordPress dashboard login and password.

And that’s it, you’re all set up! From within your dashboard, you can control everything you need for your website. Build pages, write content, and manage its appearance.

How to Create a Free Marketing Video for Your Event

Video content is a useful way to pitch sponsors, announce your lineup, or give an audience a taste of the event experience. You can put videos on a website or share them through online channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In fact, including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%, and 92% of mobile video watchersshare videos with others.

Many Event Makers overlook web video for more cost-efficient tactics. Shooting high-quality footage takes quite a bit of effort, and hiring a production team is pricey. Moreover, once you’ve finished your shoot, you still need to have the skills to craft your video with editing and motion graphics software.

The good news is that consumers crave video content—YouTube alone now has over a billion users, for example. And that means tech and media companies are building tools to make it easier for brands to share info and tell stories through this medium.

One of these tools is Adobe Spark, and it looks to be an attractive option for Event Makers.

What is Adobe Spark?

Earlier this year, Adobe released Adobe Spark, a set of free web and mobile apps to “turn your ideas into impactful social graphics, web stories, and animated videos – in minutes.” It’s aimed at individuals who don’t have much design and video experience, but still need to create:

  1. Posts: memes, inspirational quotes, announcements, invitations
  2. Web stories: ideal for photo journals, event recaps, portfolios, catalogs
  3. Animated videos: lessons, pitches, presentations, greetings

Intrigued by the promise to turn ideas into a meaningful piece of content in minutes, I decided to give the video tool a try. Using the web app, I put together an announcement video for Pogopalooza 2016, an event that SpinGo helped promote online. I was able to create the finished product with minimal time and effort:

If you’d like to try creating a video for yourself, here’s a quick guide to help get you started:

Outline your message.

The app makes it easy to jump in head first, but I think it’s a good idea to do some prep work before you begin. At a minimum, make a rough outline of what you want to say, and then flesh out your message using a voice and tone that matches your brand. A good place to start is thinking about the 5 Ws—What, Where, When, Why, and Who. Determine the objective for this video and make sure your call to action is clear. What do you want your audience to do? Buy tickets? Visit a website for more info?

Gather images.

As of this writing, you can use photos and icons with Adobe Spark Video, but you can’t yet utilize video formats. Using your outline, determine what visuals best convey your message. Take some time to find the right images, including any logos and brand artwork, and put them all into an easily accessible folder. If you’re using your smartphone, you can add images to a Dropbox folder or a Google Photos Album, which both work well with the app.

Jump in.

If you don’t already have one, create an Adobe account. It’s free, and you’ll be able to manage all your projects in one place. Or you can log in with your Facebook or Google account. As I mentioned before, you can create a web page, a social media post, or an animated video.

When you start a new video project, you’re presented with story template options like “Promote an Idea” and “Show and Tell”. For example, the “A Hero’s Journey” story template organizes your video with placeholder slides like “Setup”, “Call to adventure”, “Climax”, and “Resolution”. Each model comes with a pre-outlined presentation and guided prompts to help you craft your presentation, which can be helpful if you need some inspiration on how to structure your video. Choose a template that best fits your message or feel free just to start from scratch.

Get to know your workspace.

Adobe has designed a clean, unintimidating app, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. The central space is for adding your content pieces: icons, photos, and text.

 

There’s also a button to record VO. You can capture audio with your built-in microphone or any other connected recording device, one slide at a time.

And I think it’s good to think about your slides as if building a PowerPoint presentation. How would you structure and create a slideshow? The bottom space is where you control the order and flow. From here you can delete or duplicate a particular slide. Simply drag and drop to rearrange your video content.

The right-hand pane is where you edit the look and feel of your video. Your options include:

  • Themes: Choose from over 30+ themes, each with its own look and animation moves. There are no custom themes, but you have plenty of different looks to get you started.
  • Music:  The app includes a variety of free tracks that you can use. There’s nothing groundbreaking here so you might consider adding music that you own or purchase.
  • Layout: Choose how to organize the content. The app locks you into what you see here, and you have no ability to customize where the content goes.

Add your content.

You can add photos by upload or via cloud services like Dropbox or Google. As you add your photos, text, or voice over, the app automatically saves your progress. The “Preview” button gives you the ability to see how each slide animates and transitions. When you go to add an icon, you’re presented with a search tool that helps you find an image within the Creative Commons library. You can use any of these icons as your own.

 

Get creative.

Even though you are limited in how you customize the look and layout, you can get creative in editing the flow of your video. It’s easy to change the text and swap out messages. In addition to changing the slide order, you can adjust the duration of each slide. You can also alter the theme without losing any of the content you’ve added so you can see how different looks and animations affect your presentation.

Share your video.

Once you feel okay with how your video looks, click the “share” button. Here you have options to save a copy to your device, or you can generate a link and share it immediately to Facebook and Twitter. If you make edits later, you can update the link without generating a new one.

Some final thoughts.

It’s not the perfect solution. You don’t have the full creative control you get with true video editing software like Adobe Premiere or Apple’s Final Cut, and there’s no support yet for actual film footage. But with its straightforward design interface, Adobe Spark can help busy Event Makers easily create video content with a minimal time commitment.

Where is My Event Audience?

If you are like most event makers, you spend 80 percent of your time managing your day to day operations, 10 percent of your time trying to grow your event, 5 percent of your time looking for ways to optimize your event, and 5 percent of your time wondering where your audience is hanging out online. Reaching your audience should be one of the major tentpoles of your event marketing strategy, but sometimes that creative energy is used perfecting the event experience, and FOMO (fear of missing out) is never generated. One of the worst things that can happen to an awesome event is a silent funeral; “RIP event, sorry I didn’t come to your party, but I honestly just didn’t know about it!”

So, how do you break through the noise, reach your event goers where they are, and spin an event story your audience wants to read? The channels and methods you pick to reach your audience are just as important as the message. And the good news is, since so many people want to be the first to discover and share, the odds are in your favor to create a good marketing campaign that will gain momentum. Let’s take a look at different channels you can use to reach your audience, and some tips to maximize exposure.

Instagram

Instagram users are mostly millennials, both male and female, but are heavy users. Instagram makes image sharing incredibly easy. And the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” certainly holds true for this social networking site. To use Instagram effectively, share images related to the theme of your event, use related hashtags heavily and make sure you either post often, or spend marketing dollars to buy ad space here. Don’t expect users to click and purchase tickets from here, most people won’t be intrigued enough to stop scrolling, lose their place, and jump to either a website or your profile. Instagram is used mostly just to create interest around your event.

Facebook

Facebook is another great place to create interest and awareness around your event, but also a good place to leave links for ticket purchase, your website, performer bios, etc. Because Facebook users are generally a little older, it can be seen as an outdated social media site by younger audiences. But, that is ok, you can still find users of any demographic here, just do a good job of capturing attention with your posts. Creating a really good Facebook page that is information rich, will drive up your attendance, and Facebook users will be more inclined to leave their feed to check out your event listing if you have done a really good job with your event page and images. Don’t go text heavy and scare users off! Leave the text for the about section of your event, and let users organically discover what is interesting about your event.

Twitter

Twitter works much the same way as Facebook, in that a post will show up in a timeline, except you have to create a really good concise tweet. Leave a clickable hyperlink to your website, because you never want to run the risk of a Twitter user not having a Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest account, then losing them over the sign in, or sign up page. Chances are, with that little step blocking accessibility, they won’t go further to seek out your event, and you have lost them. To influence active engagement, tweet often about your event. Because Twitter moves fast, you won’t be pestering any potential attendees, just hashtag your posts with relevant tags and tweet tweet tweet!

Pinterest

Images are a running theme here! It may feel odd to keep sharing images about your event when all you want to do is shout to the world how cool your event is, and do a play by play for every item you have planned for your attendee, but don’t. Images are easy to share, and allow the attendee to imagine and create their own idea of the experience they will have at your event. This is especially true on Pinterest where your audience does such a good job crafting their board to look a specific way, creating their ideal space. If your image doesn’t look great and pinnable, it won’t be pinned. Pinterest users are mostly female, usually have higher incomes, and spend a lot of time actively searching out topics, which is much different than the passive message delivery system of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

LinkedIn

Unless your event is very relevant to business and networking, don’t worry about using LinkedIn. Users are on LinkedIn to network for career advancement, and they use other channels to surf for fun. But, if you do have a business relevant event, LinkedIn is a little more expensive to advertise, but you will find a very engaged audience. You can also create a good company page and share articles relevant to your event, to create engagement, but it won’t be very effective, if you don’t have a lot of people following your business.

Snapchat

Snapchat as a social networking site can be a little trickier to navigate. If you are a company with multiple events throughout the year and around the country, like themed runs, or festivals, it might be a good idea to create a Snapchat following to help build your brand. You can relay information about your events, or share clips of your events to interested parties who are already somewhat aware of your company. Announcing your company is on Snapchat and encouraging followers to add you could be a smart play, and you will be able to directly reach your followers.

While there is no magic formula for using a certain type of social networking to increase awareness around a certain type of event, these networking tools when combined will help you find more potential attendees interested in attending your event. Just remember no one wants to feel like they are being marketed to. Create a message that is attendee and experience focused, leaves enough to the imagination, and focuses heavily on several high quality shareable images.