Many event planners struggle with promoting their business but you can’t have a successful business without some promotion.
And in our digital world, it’s important to understand how to promote your events online.
So how do you promote your events, stay true to yourself, and keep your budget in check — all while getting people to take notice?
You can plan the best event in the world, but if no one knows about it, no one will come.
I’ve been in business for nearly two decades, and I’ve helped hundreds of event planners through my online courses.
None of that could have happened if I hadn’t learned how to promote online…
We’ve all been to “parties” where it was just you, the person hosting the party, and enough food to feed an army.
So, how do you avoid having that happen to you?
If your event is well-established, and this is your 10th year running, gaining traction is easy.
But what if this is your first year running, or a one-off event?
With all the clutter online, getting your event to stand out can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
One of the first steps is to create a marketing campaign that grabs people’s attention…and holds it.
Obviously, you don’t want to spend days creating a series of ads, and you might not have the budget to pay a graphic designer thousands of dollars every time you run a new event.
So, what do you do?
Do it yourself! Aka DIY.
How To Do It Yourself
Creating an amazing ad campaign though Canva has never been easier!
Not only are the templates user-friendly, but they are tailored for specific purposes like:
- Instagram Stories
- Facebook Covers
- TikTok Videos
- LinkedIn Banners
- Twitter Post
- YouTube Thumbnails
(just to name a few)
There are lots of free options, but it might be worth the investment to sign up for a Canva Pro account. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to get the job done.
The Pro version allows you access to:
- Way more templates
- A lot more photos and graphics
- The background removal feature
- A wider font selection
- A brand kit (allows you to save your brand color codes & uploaded fonts)
- A content planner
- Team sharing with up to 5 members
Pro Tip: You can start with a free 30-day trial and sign up for the annual subscription (opposed to monthly billing) which saves you over $50 for the year.
Now that you have the perfect templates customized to your liking, compelling copy written, hashtags perfected, and keywords selected, what do you do with them?
10 DIY Strategies to Promote Your Events Online
#1 – Budget
It’s easy to think we can do anything online for free.
Or should I say, clients, think you can do anything online for free.
That’s why it’s important to have a discussion, early on, about developing a promotional budget. It doesn’t have to be huge, but a few boosts can really help create a buzz about your event.
It also allows you to run contests, but more on that point later.
#2 – Emails
If there’s ever been a reason to use your clients’ email list, this is it!
You already know that they are interested in your clients’ products or services, so you have a captive audience, which increases your clickthrough rate.
Sending out a personalized invitation that makes them feel like a VIP goes a long way in securing attendees. After all, everyone loves to feel valued and important.
#3 – Simplicity
People are busy. They don’t want to read through a lot of copy to see what your event is about.
Creating a concise headline matters. It should be catchy, but also let everyone know what the event is about immediately.
FREE ice cream at Scoops grand opening Saturday, June 9!
Notice that the headline doesn’t have the address or time, but who cares…wouldn’t you keep reading?
#4 – Consistency
Have the same message across all media channels to avoid confusion.
Just because different platforms are better for different methods of communication, doesn’t mean the core messaging should change.
If your event is for free ice cream at a grand opening, THAT is your key message… everywhere.
However, you might want to use Instagram Stories for an event countdown, Facebook to list the flavors with descriptions and drool-worthy photos, and LinkedIn to talk about the economic benefits of #SupportingLocal.
#5 – Contests
Who doesn’t love a contest?
Contests are a little like cliches — they are frequently used because they work.
It’s that simple.
Early bird tickets at discounted rates and free tickets are a great idea, but being creative with the contest is more meaningful when the prize is something unobtainable by any other means.
Sticking with the theme of the grand opening of an ice cream shop, the contest could be to develop and name your own flavour, with full acknowledgment all over social media!
Plus, free scoops of that ice cream for life, of course! 😉
As with any contest, the point is to encourage people to follow, share, like, comment, and tag.
Think about what it would take for you to want to participate in a contest. What motivates you is probably what motivates others too.
Pro Tip: If you have a free event, incentivize the attendees to actually show up by offering something at the end of the event.
Doing this for an in-person event is much easier, but an online event can be a bit of a challenge.
What do you use as a giveaway when hosting an online event? Share your ideas in the comment section
#6 – Links & Navigation
Link everything all the time. Make navigation as simple as possible.
Any barrier you can break down for them will bring them closer to signing up for your event. This goes back to people being busy.
Make registration as easy as humanly possible.
It’s also ideal to make all of your posts and invites shareable on social media.
Not only does it help navigate around unforgiving algorithms, but it’s also a great way to spread the word about your event.
#7 – Tap Into Their Motivation
Don’t just tell them about the features of the event — tell them how attending the event will benefit them.
Instead of focusing on the clown and bouncy house that will be at the ice cream shop’s grand opening, let people know how this event will transport them back to childhood.
How the event will make them feel is more important than the free ice cream itself.
Nostalgia is a huge motivator for people, especially when they have kids of their own.
Finding out what motivates your target market is key to success.
#8 – Event Details
Motivation matters, but the features and details are still important.
Let people know things like:
- Featured guests
- Vendor details
- Food & drink info
- Parking details
- Any related maps that could help
- Ticket prices
- How to get the tickets
- Refund information
This is also where links and tags matter a lot, especially to the guest speakers, entertainers, vendors, and restaurants involved.
#9 – Social Media Platforms
While you want a consistent message, it’s important to make sure you play to each social media platform’s strengths.
I think we all know how boring it feels when someone uses the exact same post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Create a unique Facebook page
- Create longer copy posts
- Develop shareable invites
- Host live streams
- Make Q&A videos
- Encourage people to share with friends and family
- Share event details, with maps
- Make Instagram Stories with countdowns and links
- Create tag heavy content
- Have contests for commentating, tagging, following, and sharing
- Feature bios on guest speakers
- Tag vendors and restaurants that will be at your event
- Feature sponsors
- Show behind the scenes footage
- Write about the event development as it unfolds, like when you secure a location or guest speaker
- Ask people what they’d like served: chicken, steak, or tofu
- Encourage people to follow the guests, vendors, restaurants, and sponsors that will be at your event
- Use your connections to your advantage
- Focus on how the event will benefit people from a career perspective, even purely social events can be used for networking
- Wrap the promotion in an information-based blurb — with links
#10Websites & Landing Pages & CTA Buttons
When it comes to knowing how to promote your events online, it’s obvious that websites, landing pages, and CTA buttons are important, but doing it right is more important:
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Have one strategically worded call-to-action CTA– registration
- Ensure the website it’s easy to navigate and find info
- Make it attractive and memorable. Personally, I never DIY design because I’m not very good at it and it’s worth it to hire a freelance designer for this.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly (oh, did I mention that already?)
- Keep Pop-Ups simple, clean, and easy to close
- Make the most important information on a landing page is above the fold
- Try Persistent header CTAs
Promoting your events takes consistency and action. However, using these 10 strategies as a checklist gives you a promotional strategy that provides incredible results over time.
Let us know…
What promotional strategies (DIY or otherwise) do you find most effective for attracting attendees? Share your ideas and advice in the comment section below.