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You have a major event in the works and was just informed by marketing that most of the promotional budget you were counting on has shifted to another project. In other words, for the most part, your advertising dollars have just gone up in smoke.

What should you do — cancel the event? No way! Now’s the time to maximize your online marketing skills and use your network. Here are eight clever and skillful ways to make the most of your marketing message without breaking the bank.

 

Eight Budget-Conscious Marketing Methods

 

1.      Display the Event Prominently on Your Website

Make certain your event is very visible on your website, complete with a registration button. There are low-cost sites, such as Eventbrite, where HTML is automatically generated and all you must do is cut and paste the code onto your website.

2.      Set Up a Social Calendar

Use social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to promote your event. Be sure to create and use an official event hashtag on all or most of your posts. Post to all channels on a consistent basis, which is best achieved through the creation of a content calendar.

In addition, dedicate part of your budget on a paid campaign to boost your posts. Boosting can cost as little as $7 per boost and reach over 1,000 targeted individuals.

3.      Ask Your Partners to Pitch In

Ask attendees, sponsors and exhibitors to share your posts with their friends and followers to increase event exposure.

Remember to highlight their businesses within your social channels as an incentive for them to share your posts.

4.      Develop an Email Campaign

Email campaigns can be very effective in piquing interest about the event. By using free or low-cost tools such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, you can chunk down event information in short, biweekly emails. Be sure to include three things: a button that takes users directly to your registration page, a link to your organization’s social channels and a phone number to call if they have questions.

Per Litmus, an email consulting firm, 56 percent of all emails are opened from a mobile device. Therefore, it’s vital the email system you choose be web responsive and your subject line be intriguing and catchy. Research from various sources states subject lines should be 50 to 70 characters in length.

5.      Use a Text App

If you’re trying to reach millennials and/or a different way to reach your audience, try a texting application. I recently tried Invitd, a free application that can access your contact database, or you can input telephone numbers into it one at a time. Once the person submits an RSVP, the response will be recorded on the site and come directly back to you via text.

6.      Spend Time on Face-to-Face Meetings and Phone Calls

If your event is going to attract local and regional attendees, be sure to attend as many networking events as possible and spread the word. Vow to make 10 phone calls per day until the registration deadline and ask many of your staff members to do the same. If you have 5 people making 10 calls a day over 20 workdays before the event, that’s 1,000 phone calls! When you reach someone, be sure to ask for a cell number and email address. Take the time to add the contact to your email and text database.

7.      Offer Discounts and Specials

Consider a discount if more than one employee from the company registers or if an attendee recruits a new registrant. Offer early-bird discounts to have attendees and exhibitors commit early. Get creative and spread the word via all the channels listed above.

8.      Keep the Conversation Going

Even after the event is over, keep in touch with the audience you cultivated. Send out “Save the Date” information, ask them for testimonials and entice them to come back. For bloggers or reporters, ask them to write a post or run a story in exchange for a heavily discounted ticket to next year’s event.

Kalahari Will Do Our Part to Help You Market Your Event

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions combines the best in family-friendly resort amenities with massive, state-of-the-art convention space leading to a 20 percent increase (on average) in meeting attendance. Give one of our group sales professionals a call at 855.411.4605 to learn more about the creative ways we can help you!

For some great ideas on best practices and news trends in offline traditional marketing, check out our previous post here.