While every artist and promotor wants sold out shows, pouring endless amounts of money into every aspect of marketing isn't usually an option for the typical musician. This piece looks at how to budget your money effectively in order get the greatest return on every marketing dollar spent.
Guest post by Katie Sawyer of Eventbrite
If you’re like 91% of event creators, your biggest challenge is finding the budget to pull off all your marketing ideas. Most events have small teams, and everyone wears many hats.
You don’t have the luxury of assigning a single person to focus on social media all day long. Nor can you pour endless money into every aspect of your marketing campaigns.
Instead, you have to get creative to stretch your marketing dollars and maximize your team’s time. This means making smart choices about where you invest both. Your goal? To spend less money and effort — but sell more tickets.
Here are some tips to get the most from your limited event marketing budget.
Gather — and use — data
Most likely, you’re marketing on a few different channels — email, digital advertising, and various social media platforms, to name a few. All these channels provide metrics that can tell you what’s working — and what isn’t — with your current campaigns.
“Review your data as frequently as possible,” suggests Amanda Severs, Senior Manager of Customer Success at Eventbrite. “By understanding channel-specific performance, you can better adjust your event marketing budget based on where you’re seeing the highest ROI.”
Learn how to get a better bang for your buck with these two lightweight ways to gather data:
- Set up tracking links for your posts: Tracking links are the best way to see which specific networks or posts are driving the most sales. (A tracking link is a unique URL for each promotion you do for your event.)
- Run social media platform reports: Each social networkoffers insight into engagement with your posts. Views, likes, and shares are standard across platforms, and some platforms may also offer you insight into link clicks or profile clicks.
Ditch (some of) your social channels
A surefire way to make your event marketing budget count is to only invest in the platforms that make sense for your event. For instance, if you’re marketing a music festival, you should scrap your LinkedIn efforts. Or, if you’re running a fashion expo, Instagram will be critical to capturing the eyes of your attendees.
When you have a limited event marketing budget, pick one or two social media platforms — where your attendees are likely to be — and focus on those. Not sure where your audience spends time? Here are three free (or inexpensive) tools to help you out:
- Mention: Monitor keywords or phrases on blogs, news sites, RSS feeds, forums, and social media. Use this media monitoring tool to identify where your event is being mentioned online. If relevant conversations are found, you will be alerted in real time. Once you know where people are, you can identify the best sites to advertise with.
- Google Alerts: Set up alerts for your industry, your competitors, and for yourself. This lets you know when someone posts about your event so you can develop those relationships further.
- Google Analytics: Look at your website search traffic to see where visitors are coming from — be it search engines, social networks, advertising campaigns, or other referral sources. This will show you where interested visitors are hanging out, so you can focus your marketing efforts on those channels.
Automate your event marketing
Another way to streamline your social and other marketing efforts is with automation. Automating event marketing tasks doesn’t just reduce the amount of time you spend manually managing campaigns. It can also boost your productivity and improve your output.
There are abundant tools to help you do this, including:
- Meet Edgar: Schedule your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn posts in advance, and in one place, to cut down the time you spend manually posting to social media
- Boostable: Create custom ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, catered to your specific audience and budget
- ToneDen: A self-serve platform with a smart algorithm that helps you build and test different segments of your attendee audience for Facebook and Instagram ads
Time is money in event marketing, so anything you can do to automate your marketing tasks will save you.
Lean into partners and influencers
Sponsors, vendors, and even your attendees should all be part of your event marketing team. Find ways to engage them on social media to reach their fans and followers as well. In this way, you can expand your reach without a lot of effort.
On top of those key players, consider partnering with influencers who are pros at promoting brands online. Big, famous celebrity endorsers can be pricey to engage, but there are other options. Niche “micro-influencers” with smaller (but dedicated) followings might be just right for your event brand.
Maximize your event marketing budget
Marketing budgets — especially for fledgling events — are often small. And while you can’t eliminate marketing costs from your budget entirely, you can make savvy decisions on where to allocate your spending, and where to offset it.
For more ways to maximize your event budget, download the free ebook Small Teams, Big Pay-Off: How to Maximize Your Event Budget.