These days, marketers are always trying to find the Next Big Thing. However, just because something is new doesn’t mean that it’s better than anything that came before.
Traditional marketing techniques still hold value, particularly for event coordinators. With that in mind, we wanted to look at 10 old-school methods for event promotion that still work.
Sometimes, all you need is a good flyer to get your message across. One of the primary advantages of print flyers is that they’re easy to distribute and circulate within your target market. You can post flyers on community bulletin boards, you can hand them out at high-traffic locations, or you can simply send them to people on your mailing list.
Pro Tip: Blend digital and print media by having guests scan a QR code on your flyer to book their tickets.
2. QR codes
QR codes have had a bit of an up and down trajectory over the years.
When they first came out, the technology was relatively cumbersome, meaning that many users didn’t want to deal with the hassle. These days, QR codes are back in a big way, and they’re making it easier for event coordinators and marketers to reach a broad audience.
Pro Tip: Combine QR codes with giveaways and contests, so people are more likely to scan.
3. Personal invitations
When was the last time you received a customized invitation for an event?
Usually, this method is reserved for weddings and other formal occasions, but why not co-opt it for your marketing needs? While a personalized invite might not work for every potential guest, you can use this idea for VIPs and loyal customers. The extra attention to detail will make the event seem more prestigious, and the invites can be an excellent way to build buzz among your audience.
Pro Tip: Don’t skimp on the details. Use thick, embossed paper to get your point across if your budget allows it. Tactile invites will stick in someone’s mind far more than a generic glossy mailer.
4. Postcards/direct mailers
A personalized invite is perfect for VIPs, but a direct mailer or postcard is ideal for everyone else. The major advantage of direct mailers is that you can choose your audience based on their proximity to your event venue.
This way, you know that recipients are close by, meaning that you’re not wasting time promoting an event to people who can’t attend, even if they want to.
Pro Tip: Direct mailers work great with contests, particularly if you use scratch-off tickets. Create an experience from the first moment to help your event stand out!
5. Magazine or newspaper ads
Although print media isn’t as illustrious as it used to be, you can still get a lot of mileage from a strategically placed ad. As with direct mailers, you can target people from a specific region close to your venue.
You can also learn about the readership of magazines and newspapers to help you customize your messaging to fit their niche.
Pro Tip: If possible, go big with your advertisement. While you will have to pay more for real estate, you can make sure that your audience doesn’t gloss over your promotion because it’s too small.
6. Radio ads
Even as sites like Pandora and Spotify continue to grow, tons of people still listen to FM radio. This medium allows you to reach a much broader audience than you could with other channels, and putting your ad on the radio creates an air of legitimacy.
Pro Tip: Use your radio ad on targeted podcasts as well to expand your reach and target different niches.
7. TV spots
As with radio, we make TV advertisements for big events that want to reach as many people as possible. Also, because TV is no longer the powerhouse it once was, spots are much more affordable.
Plus, you can get tons of demographic data based on the time of day, and the channel people are watching.
Pro Tip: Use repetition in your ad. Otherwise, viewers may not remember your phone number or web address and miss out.
For print advertising, nothing beats a billboard. You can promote your event from high above and capture the attention of all who pass underneath it. If you’re strategic about your placement, you can generate a lot of buzzes.
Pro Tip: Place your billboard ad either where your audience lives or close to your event venue.
9. Out of home ads (Buses/Taxis/Etc.)
While these ads are not as bold as a billboard, they can still reach many people on the street. Plus, if you know that most of your audience will take mass transit to the venue, you can capture their attention even more.
Pro Tip: Keep your ad simple. Since it will move, people won’t be able to pick out small details.
10. Brand ambassadors (Word-of-mouth)
Utilize brand ambassadors to hype up your event.
With the right people on your promotional team, you can connect with a lot more people. Ambassadors are much more interactive than other forms of marketing, and they can answer questions or provide assistance (i.e., with scanning QR codes).
Pro Tip: Invest in your ambassadors with a profit-sharing model. The more people they get to sign up, the more they make!
11. Free merchandise
Whether you sell merchandise or give it away for free - you are making a profit.
Merchandise are items that are branded with logos and graphics to show an affiliation with an organization or event. So, for example, someone receives a t-shirt with your logo on it and walks around town all day. That is free, lasting exposure for your brand for the entire day.
Pro Tip: Purplepass make it easy to sell merchandise at checkout as a ticket add-on. Learn more about our Advanced Selling Mode here.
12. In-store displays
Ask local stores and businesses if you can place marketing material in or around their building.
This works best if you come up with a partnership strategy. For example, you advertise in their store and they can advertise at your event at a vendors booth or via traditional marketing.
Pro Tip: Consider creating sponsorship packages and including this type of partnership as part of the deal.
13. Mini pop-up events
Mini events throughout the community are a great way to get people excited about your event and boost brand recognition. These can include anything from booths, live concerts, special guest appearances, art displays etc.
Pro Tip: Hold the mini pop-up event for a few days, not just one. Give people a chance to experience it!
Today’s branded stickers provide event attendees with a way to decorate their car, laptop, office space, etc., in an attention-grabbing way. While the standard rectangular bumper sticker still exists, promotional sticker design has come a long way in recent years.
Pro Tip: Checkout our sister company, Express Event Printing, where you can design a variety of branded stickers.
15. Business cards around town
And lastly, this has to be my favorite form of traditional marketing because it is so simple, yet effective. Business cards!! We see them lying around at restaurants, on counters, businesses, at the registration, but we often forget about them. According to CreditDonkey, a company’s sales increase 2.5% for every 2,000 business cards handed out. (Source: CreditDonkey)
Pro Tip: Because people live in the moment, business cards are usually only successful when someone needs that service right then and there. Try to place your cards in places or with businesses where there might be an association with what you are selling.
Bottom Line: Get creative with your event marketing!
As you can see, there are tons of ways to promote your next event that don’t require an internet connection. Best of all, because we bombarded consumers with digital ads all the time these days, a physical ad or promo can resonate better in their minds.
Good marketing is all about maximizing each channel, so let your creativity shine