Organising a local event is a great way to bring communities together. Planning all the elements of your perfect event is one part of the picture, but before you jump straight into that, it’s important to map out who you want to attend and how to reach them. Maybe you already have experience in ways to advertise events more broadly, but when thinking specifically about how to promote a community event, you may need a different approach.
In order to attend your next great event, people need to hear about it first. If you’re not using the right methods to advertise your local event, you’re not going to get people through the door. To get the word out, you need to select the right channels, and that means getting to know your potential audience. Having a well-considered strategy gets your community event invitation in front of the people who need to see it, leaving you more time to plan the best ways to reunite your audience on the day.
Consider your audience
Identifying your target audience is the starting point of any successful marketing strategy. Lots of people might be interested in your event, but you need to reach the people who are going to buy tickets. Find out who they are, and you can better focus your time and resources on promoting your event.
Start by looking at the community you want to attract. Are they based in a specific location? Do they make up a group with a shared cultural or linguistic background? Or perhaps they have a particular set of interests or hobbies? It can help to reassure your audience that your events are safe spaces where they can be themselves. The clearer you are about who your target audience is and what they can expect, the easier it is to find ways to reach them and sign them up.
An excellent place to start is by looking at past events you’ve organised and who attended. Looking at who didn’t attend can also be really useful. If this is your first community event, check out the competition. Which events were most successful and who attended? Eventbrite Boost can be a big help here – the Smart Audiences tool gives you a unique insight into attendees at events similar to your own.
Where to advertise your event
Advertising community events for free
An event promoter’s aim is to get everyone talking about an event beforehand without blowing the budget to achieve that. When thinking about how to advertise local events for free, it’s time to get creative. Find out where attendees congregate and choose the best tools and platforms to reach them.
- Socials: Many of your favourite platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a fast way to extend your reach. Post pictures and videos on pages or groups, linking to your event page, and invite people to list your event on their profiles. Tagging other accounts who’ve agreed to support your event is another way to advertise community events for free. With Instagram, it’s all about the visual. Instagram Stories help you build anticipation for your event. On many platforms, it can be useful to use a simple hashtag, which helps you to access and share user-generated content. Having your event visible on an event discovery site like ours means potential event-goers get a personalised recommendation too.
- Messaging platforms: Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Discord are super fast ways of advertising an event to specific communities. Target the right people, and news of your event will quickly spread. Ask friends or colleagues who match your target audience profile to forward your event to people they know – and ask them to pass it on.
- Local media: Local and community newspapers are a tried-and-tested channel for advertising local events. Push the community element of your event and provide something newsworthy to get the journalists hooked. A human interest story showing the faces and stories behind your community event always works well.
- Email lists: Rather than sending blanket emails to all of your contacts, create a list of people who fit your target profile and get people to sign up for email updates via your event page. Our integrations with email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Emma mean you can quickly and seamlessly sync your Eventbrite account to create, target, and send personalised emails to your potential guests.
As well as using free advertising, paid options help you increase your audience.
- Facebook ads: Posting on Facebook doesn’t guarantee that people will come to your event, but paid ads on the platform can be a cost-effective way to increase visibility. Social media ads allow you to clearly define your audience based on a range of demographics and then specifically target them.
- Local media ad space: Not everyone accesses information digitally. Advertising in local newspapers or on local radio gets you right into the heart and the living rooms of the community. These can be more expensive than online ads, but there are usually different rates you can go for depending on your budget.
- Eventbrite Boost: This is our all-in-one marketing tool that enables you to advertise your events seamlessly across all your social media channels – important whether you’re trying to grow your audience or keep your existing followers engaged. With Eventbrite Boost, you can quickly create ads on Facebook and Instagram or use Google Adwords to get your event to the top of the search results. You can even host contests to build your email list and create custom event pages, while our Smart Audiences tool allows you to target the people who are most likely to attend your event. Then you’re just a click away from brand new potential attendees hearing all about your event.
Why not go hybrid?
Adding hybrid elements can be a great way to enrich your community event and can provide benefits that a strictly in-person or virtual event may not.
- Inclusivity: Allowing people to attend virtually means people who are unable to attend, perhaps for health reasons or distance, still get to be included.
- Safety and COVID-19: Providing a hybrid element to your event is good insurance should complications arise relating to COVID-19 and you need to go fully virtual.
- Future promotion: Livestream recordings can be really useful when you want to promote future events and can help you build your online communities.
- Extending your reach: You want as many people as possible to attend your event, but they don’t all have to be in the same room. Providing a hybrid event reaches a wider virtual audience, whom you can even further engage through virtual venues.
Keep it personal
Let’s remember: you’re advertising a community event, so you need to keep that personal touch. One way to do that is to use good old in-person promotion.
- Flyers: Physical material can be a cost-effective way of advertising your event. Work out where your potential audience is found and then get your flyers out there. Local businesses or public venues are often happy to help. Remember that the flyer needs to be eye-catching, clear, concise, and have a strong call to action. Pay attention to detail and make sure your materials are accessible and engaging for the people you’re looking to attract.
- Posters: Posters are easy to distribute, affordable, and can come in all shapes and sizes. As with flyers, make sure that they’re appropriate for your potential audience and place them where they’ll have the highest visibility.
- Invitations: To get people to attend your community event, you need to make them feel connected. Your community event invitation needs to use language that feels personal rather than corporate. Think about your attendees and choose the best medium. Whether it’s email, social media, or handwritten letters, keep it short and make sure you include all the need-to-know information.
To advertise local events effectively means engaging with your community where they are and making solid connections. Once you’ve done that, you can be sure your efforts are going to be rewarded on the day.
Ready to learn more? Check out our promotional tools and find out how to send targeted emails, advertise your event on social media, and track your attendee sign-ups.