It’s a completely different experience to organize a local event than hosting a trade show or conference. A community event can’t be promoted using email, blogging, press releases and other digital marketing strategies. You need to be on the ground and cater to the preferences and needs of your community.
You may be concerned about attracting enough people to your community event. Although every community is unique and each event promotion strategy will be different, these are the best ways to promote your local event.
1. Contact Previous Event Hosts
It may be helpful to contact others who have hosted an event in your area in the past if you don’t know where to begin. Three important questions are essential.
“What worked well for you?”
This question will allow you to determine the most effective ways you can promote your event. This allows you to skip all the trial and error and jump straight to the best.
A host at a community event might tell you to contact the Rotary Club in your area as they have a list of influential people. This is a valuable piece of advice that you might not have gotten on your own.
“What didn’t work for you?”
It’s also important to find out what failed attempts were made by the previous host. This will help you avoid wasting time and effort on useless tactics.
Putting signs along busy roads may seem like a great way of building exposure. If the previous host of an event tells you that her signs are routinely stolen, you might decide to spend your money somewhere else.
“What would YOU do?”
This question taps into the experience of the previous event organizer and is one of the most valuable. Ask them what they would do to promote a future community event.
2. Use Local Influencers
Reaching out to influential people in your local community is the best way to promote your event. These people could be a prominent community leader, a religious leader or a school principal, or any other person who can communicate with the community.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be an official. Anyone who is influential in the local community could qualify. You could, for example, reach out to administrators of a Facebook group in your area that allows people to discuss local issues.
Ask local influencers to share the event with their followers. Make sure they know all details. You might give them printed materials.
To get their support in promoting your event, you’ll want to offer them compensation. Although they may not be asking for compensation, they will often go above and beyond to help you. They don’t need to receive a lot of compensation. A small gift or admission is enough.
3. Find Free Opportunities
Many communities offer ways for you to promote your local events. If the event is beneficial to the community, they will give you sign space, broadcast time, or print space.
Nearly every library has a bulletin board, where anyone can put a flyer. Although you will need to ask the librarian for permission, they are likely to be open to your flyer. This is a great way to make your event known to people in the area who are involved with the community.
Another easy win is the local newspaper. The local newspaper will often reserve space for community events. Ask if they can add your event to their community calendar. They will likely publish your event in the paper, add it to their website and promote you on their social networks.
Local papers are interested in these types of events as it provides them with something to write about and is relevant to their readers. Asking to be published in the paper will likely get you connected with someone who can write a full article about your event.
4. Buy Facebook Ads
This recommendation has been made before. However, it is just as valid in this situation as in any other. Facebook is a powerful tool for communicating with anyone. They can also share the event with other people, which could help boost your promotion.
To get the best value from Facebook ads, you need to use Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities. It is important to narrow down your search to those who live near you and are interested in the event type. You should pay particular attention to those who have participated in similar events in the past.
Use local photography wherever possible in your ad creative. Local people will be more likely to see your ads. If you are hosting an event on Main Street, display a photograph of Main Street that locals can identify immediately. Stock photography will look fake.
5. Get Local Businesses Involved
Local businesses can be great tools for promoting your event if you involve them early in the planning process. Your event will be promoted more effectively if they are involved as soon as possible.
Let’s suppose you host a block party in your area. You invite local restaurants to set up tables and provide food. These restaurants will advertise your event to their customers in order to make them more sales on the day. People from the area are more likely than others to attend events because they trust these restaurants.
It is important to partner with local businesses. Keep your local businesses, such as restaurants, and stores, well-known and popular. As your paramedic on-site, you can hire the local ambulance company. Hire a local band to provide entertainment. Hire police officers for event security . Make sure they are from your local police department.
Don’t ask for help from companies located outside the region. Your community is less likely to be served by their customers. People in your community might be offended by the addition of an outside company.
Be on the Front Lines
Promoting a local event is very different from promoting an event that attracts people from all over the nation (or the globe). To reach the right people, community events need a targeted approach. You will also need to be present in person to meet people and business owners, rather than marketing via your laptop. These strategies should get you started.