Your marketing and promotion for an event doesn't have to cost a bomb. In fact, I have had multiple sold out events without paying a cent for advertising or PR. That's not to say that they aren't valuable (in fact, for some events they are an absolute necessity) but I mention that to make a point that for your average business owner doing a small workshop or event, you only need some insider knowledge and a good relationship with your community.
So, without further ado, here are five ways you can promote your event for free and sell out:
Your mailing list is like gold. It is what connects you to the people who want to work with you. The first thing I do is make people on my mailing list aware of what I plan to offer. This can be by way of a Save the Date, a mention in your regular newsletter or a straight invite to your ticketing page. This is a place where you can mention the event multiple times, give them new and varying information about it or what they can expect from it and tempt them with any early bird offers as a reward for their loyalty.
Sometimes people get stuck because any type of selling feels a bit scary, but it's so important that you use your list - that's what it's for right? If it feels weird, re-frame the whole thing and instead trying to 'sell' your event, talk about why you are so passionate about it and how it can help solve a particular problem. The words will flow more easily, you will feel good about sending it out into the world and people will respond.
Gotta love Facebook and Instagram! It's a free and easy way to let people know about your event. Get creative and post different pics with different copy about your event. Show them the venue, tempt them with pics of any goodies they receive (seriously, pics of gift bags always get a whole bunch of likes!) and put up pics of you or your speakers/team at previous events. Go on, give 'em FOMO.
Getting off your own page, you can promote your event in different groups that you are a part of but just make sure you check their rules about promoting stuff - you don't want to get your post deleted.
There are a whole bunch of online event calendars that will let you list for free. Just google 'free event calendar' with the name of your city and see what comes up. Get creative too. Look for event calendars on networking sites or forums where your target demographic are all hanging out, look for calendars in the particular city or suburb your event is being held in and look for calendars that are all about a topic you are addressing.
Local newspapers that are online usually have event calendars, as do major banking group communities for women such as Ruby Connection.
EMAIL & FACE TO FACE CONVERSATIONS
You are your biggest converter! When people see or hear how passionate you are about your event, they will be begging to buy a ticket. Don't be shy and mention it if it can genuinely be brought up in conversation. If someone says, 'So what are you up too?'. Tell them! If someone asks, 'How is business going?'. Tell them!
By the same token, don't be afraid to talk about in emails with people who you think the event could really help. Forget about a sales spiel, just let them know that you have an event coming up that you think would be perfect for them/their situation/their problem and you would really love to see them there.
You can also put a little banner or teaser in your email signature too. You never know who will see it!
In my experience, getting press hasn't led directly to getting lots of ticket sales. But what it is fabulous for is reiterating to potential attendees why they should come. It helps give social proof, it shows that the event is something to be taken notice of and it helps with trustworthiness for those who have not worked with you before. If you get press around your event, yourself as the organiser or your speaker, use that as part of your promotion to get people excited.
So there you have it folks! Happy promoting!