When it comes to event promotion, you might be tempted to focus solely on digital channels. But some demographics (including millennials) may respond well to an offline touch.
In fact, promoting your event offline might just give you the extra leverage you need to get your attendance numbers up. Here are 6 different ways you can promote your event, no WiFi needed:
1. Direct mail
You might think snail mail is old school, but it’s far from dead. In fact, direct mail may be more effective than ever thanks to decreased competition in the space. Less incoming paper mail means more attention towards your event flyer or postcard.
Direct mail is especially effective if your event is catered towards a local demographic. And the tactic has another unique advantage. It’s tangible — it can actually be held in a prospective attendee’s hand. To make it even more memorable, your flyer or postcard can be created in the form of a personal invitation, complete with the recipient’s name. Online tools like Canva make it easy to create them, too.
2. In-person networking
“Social media” has become synonymous with “networking.” But while it’s easy to meet people through social media, the quality of your connection may vary. Think about it: how many friends do you have on Facebook? Of those, how many are actually close friends that you get together with on a regular basis?
You don’t form bonds online as strongly as you do offline, face to face. So get ready to hit events similar to yours for some quality, targeted networking that will let you spread the word. Once potential attendees have met you in person, how could they resist coming to your event?
3. Speaking opportunities
If you want to scale up your networking efforts and reach more people at one time, you’ve got to consider speaking opportunities.
Speaking at industry-related events is a great way for you to reach your target audience en-mass in a personal way. It also sets you up as a thought leader, which builds trust in your personal brand, helping you to sell more tickets. Ask for permission from the event organizer to promote your event onstage (potentially with a special offer to book there and then).
4. Printed publications
Your promotional strategy likely involves methods like Google PPC ads, email newsletters, and social media posts. You can, however, have the same ads placed in local newspapers, or in the ad section of industry-related magazines. The latter is especially useful for reaching a niche demographic.
You can have a small section allotted for your ad — or even an entire page — depending on what you can squeeze into your budget. This is a very helpful strategy if the magazine has a substantial readership. Plus, since most magazines are also available in a digital format, your ad will also get plenty of views online.
5. Promotional items
Promotions aren’t always explicit — they can also come in the form of swag.
For example: how about an event ad in the form of a sticker or magnet? These are less likely than a flyer to end up in the recycling bin — and more likely to be placed in high-visibility areas, such as the fridge. They’re also likely to be kept well after the event, which means they will serve as a constant reminder of your event brand.
6. Guerilla marketing
There seems to be some confusion as to what constitutes guerilla marketing. The loose definition is “any unconventional marketing tactic that does not overtly promote the brand behind it.” As a rule of thumb, a person who sees a guerilla marketing ad should second guess whether it’s an ad or non-promotional artwork. The fact that it’s obscure is what draws viewers to it.
So, what are some offline guerilla marketing strategies you can use? Chalk art is a good example: you could use chalk to write the event hashtag on the sidewalk in areas with a lot of foot traffic. This is effective and virtually free — just be sure to get the relevant permission from authorities/local businesses depending on where you choose to write your message. Another method, if you have the budget, is to hire street performers to put on a show while wearing event-related gear.
You shouldn’t ignore powerful online promotional channels like Facebook, but remember: event promotion began long before the Internet.
If you want to dig into online event promotion, check out our guide, “The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Event Online.“