Guerrilla marketing provides an affordable way for event organizers to increase ticket sales. In simplest terms, guerrilla marketing enables you to promote your event on a shoestring budget using creative, memorable tactics.
Traditional offline marketing includes tactics like radio advertising, print advertising, and press releases. Digital marketing tactics include things like social media marketing, content marketing, Facebook advertising, and email marketing. On the other hand, guerrilla marketing includes grassroots efforts that larger brands with bigger budgets likely wouldn’t invest in.
Following are a number of ways you can use guerrilla marketing for event promotion and increased ticket sales. The key is to try to get in front of as many of the right people as possible with every guerrilla marketing tactic you try.
Leveraging the existing reach of online influencers gives you an opportunity to affordably put your event brand in front of large, targeted audiences. If you do your research and find online influencers who already have the eyes and ears of people who would be interested in buying tickets to your event, and you partner with them to promote your event to those people, the results could be very big. The reason is simple – trust.
People trust other people who have provided them with accurate, reliable information in the past. An online influencer who tells their audience to try this product, use this brand, or go to this event because it’s great can have a significant impact in their followers’ responses. Think of it this way – who would you trust more? Someone you follow online who has given you great tips, recommendations, and advice in the past or an ad from a brand you don’t know?
To find online influencers, begin by identifying who your ticket buyers are. Next, do some research and determine where that audience spends time online. Finally, find the influencers on that website or social media platform where your target audience is. Tools like Buzzsumo, Klear, and Followerwonk can be very useful in finding online influencers. You can also invest in a tool like NinjaOutreach to save time when you’re trying to connect with multiple online influencers at once.
Street teams can be formed quickly and inexpensively. You can hire and task a street team to promote your event in a variety of ways. For example, they could hand out flyers on busy streets or spin signs in high-traffic areas. A street team is on the ground, interacting with people and generating awareness of your event among hyper-local audiences.
Street team tactics can get even more creative. In recent years, flash mobs have become popular with many videos of flash mobs going viral. Keep in mind, for a local event, virality might not help you sell more tickets. Your event could be over before a flash mob video has a chance to go viral. That means your top priority for street team investments shouldn’t be to create a viral video. It should be to increase awareness of your event brand and excitement for the upcoming event. That’s how you increase ticket sales.
Keep in mind, some towns have specific rules related to where street teams can operate, what permits are required, and so on. Therefore, be sure to check with local government officials before you launch a street team initiative.
Video marketing is very effective for events because it gives people a chance to see and hear a piece of the event experience. With the growing popularity of livestreaming video content, particularly using Facebook Live, it’s possible to give people a live view inside your upcoming event.
Livestreaming is extremely effective for generating excitement for your event and boosting word-of-mouth marketing. Behind the scenes videos, interviews with performers, rehearsals, and anything else that gives people a taste of the event can add to the excitement, and when you make your videos shareable across social media, your reach can grow exponentially. With that reach, typically comes more ticket sales since consumers trust people they know more than any other source when it comes to making decisions on how to spend their money.
When you livestream, your content doesn’t have to be perfect. Remember, your goal is to give viewers a true feel for what they’ll experience if they buy tickets, so be real. Be sure to promote your livestream to your email subscriber list, ask them to spread the word about the livestream, and invest in Facebook advertising before the livestream to generate more viewers.
Webinars are different from livestreams for a few reasons. First, webinars usually last longer than livestream videos for event promotion purposes. Second, webinars are used to educate rather than entertain as is the purpose of most livestreams. That means webinars work much better for some types of events than others. Third, webinars can be live or pre-recorded and may or may not require a PowerPoint presentation or another type of visual that is not a video.
For live webinars, you choose a date and time, make sure you have access to a webinar tool like GoToWebinar or WebinarJam, create a PowerPoint presentation (if you’re going to use one rather than being on camera yourself), and prepare a script to ensure you don’t forget anything you want to communicate during the live webinar. You promote the webinar to your email subscribers, invest in Facebook Ads, and leverage any other marketing tactics you choose. The goal is to get as many attendees who might be interested in buying tickets to your event to attend the webinar.
For pre-recorded webinars, you record your video and audio (with or without a PowerPoint presentation depending on the format you choose) in advance. If you invest in a tool like GoToWebinar, you can use the simulated live feature to create your webinar and make it available for attendees to view at the time you choose or make it available to auto-play whenever attendees want to watch it.
Live webinars are more authentic and are recommended, but if you can’t hold live webinars, then pre-recorded webinars could work for you. After the webinar, you can make the video available and email it to people who signed up but couldn’t attend live. In fact, you can share the video with all attendees via email and make it available on your event website asking people to share it with their own social media audiences and email connections. This is a great way to extend your event brand’s reach even further.
Whether your webinar is live or pre-recorded, it shouldn’t just be an ad for your event. The topic and content should be something that educates, informs, or entertains the audience, so choose a topic that is relevant to your event but provides useful, meaningful information to attendees that will make them even more excited for your event.
At the end of the webinar, you can announce your event and promote it. Don’t forget to provide the ticket sales page URL verbally and on screen, and if you’re offering a special discount off ticket prices to your webinar attendees, mention it verbally and display it visually on screen during the webinar. Finally, always follow-up with all attendees via email after the webinar with more details about the event and any special discounts you’re offering to attendees as well as the link to your ticket sales page.
Blog contests are fun and can drum up a lot of awareness and excitement for your event. Here’s how a blog contest works. You start by doing some research and finding blogs that your target audience reads. Use a tool like Buzzsumo to find blogs related to your event.
Just visit Buzzsumo.com and type in a keyword related to your event in the search bar. These results from your search include some of the most shared content about your chosen topic found on the web. Look for sites that have blogs, and then reach out to those blogs using their contact forms or email addresses (if you can find them) asking if they’d be interested in hosting a contest for you. Of course, for in-person events, it’s important to choose local blogs that focus on the area where the event will be held.
Bloggers that agree to host a contest for you will publish a blog post on an agreed upon date promoting the contest, the prize, and your event. For example, you could hold a blog contest a few weeks before your event giving away a set of two or four tickets. You might give away multiple sets of tickets for multiple winners, or you could give away ticket bundles or VIP experiences. It’s up to you. Your goal is to choose a prize that will get people excited enough to enter the contest and tell other people about it. You should promote the contest across your social media channels and ask the blogger to do the same.
Make sure the blogger provides the start and end date (and time) for the contest in the contest blog post as well as instructions on how to enter. They might use a software program to hold contests, or they might simply ask people to leave a comment on the contest blog post to enter. You need to have these details in writing before you start, and don’t forget to include any exclusions or other legal disclaimers in the contest blog post if necessary. For example, you might exclude anyone under 18 years of age or people who don’t live in a specific area.
When the contest ends, the blogger will choose a winner (this could be random or subjective based on how you agreed to set up the contest). All of the logistics related to how the winner will receive the prize should be worked out with the blogger in advance. This includes how the winner will be notified and when an alternate winner will be chosen (for example, if the winner doesn’t claim the prize within a certain number of days or hours). Once the winner is notified and accepts the prize, promote the winner on your social media channels and on your own event blog if you have one.
User-generated content is content created by your audience, not by you. For event guerrilla marketing, user-generated content is very effective because it can help evoke the fear of missing out (FOMO) among people. When prospective ticket buyers see other people enjoying products, experiences, and other things related to your event, they won’t want to miss it.
There are many ways you can include user-generated content in your overall event marketing plan, but sharing their content on social media is one of the most popular. For example, you can ask people to share their content on your Facebook Page or on Instagram. If you’re planning a Christian concert with a popular performer, publish a post on either platform that says, “What’s your favorite album by [insert the performer’s name here]? Share a picture of you holding it and we’ll feature it on our Instagram and blog.”
You could even turn this tactic into a contest. For example, if you’re organizing an air show, you could hold a user-generated content Facebook contest by publishing a post that says, “Have you seen the Blue Angels before? Share a picture of you at a Blue Angels show and be entered to win two tickets to see them again!” Of course, you’d need to include the contest details in this post as well as information about where and when the show will be held, the show’s name, and a link to get all of the details.
The key is to encourage people to share their own photos, videos, and stories about their experiences related to your event, your performers, or any aspect of your event that is interesting and entertaining. Make it fun!
Your Next Steps to Leverage Guerrilla Marketing for Event Promotion
Guerrilla marketing for event promotion can deliver a significant return on your investment, but it shouldn’t be your only marketing investment. First, develop a comprehensive marketing plan that works with your event budget. Most importantly, track your results, so you know which tactics are working, which need to be tweaked, and which need to be stopped entirely.