Whether you’re part of a volunteer organization, a large corporation, or an activist group, events can bring together stakeholders who are important to you, and guide conversation among these groups to generate new ideas and best practices. They’re also a heck of a lot of fun! Planning an event is labour and cost intensive, so you want to get the best bang for your buck, and for that, you’ll need high attendance. The best way of getting high attendance is to advertise your event; pick your theme and location, and read this guide!

In our digital age, use of social media to advertise is an absolute must. You can literally advertise on social media platforms like Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads in order to create buzz. Hopefully, you have an active social media page for your organization; post often about the event, and speak passionately about the parts of the event you’re excited about. Create a hashtag for your event, and use it in posts that don’t have anything to do with the event (but that occur on your company’s page), so a bit of buzz is being generated anytime anyone looks at your page.

Events will often have various forms of entertainment; more often than not, you’ll have event speakers show up to give talks about their unique experiences. These speakers are usually quite famous, and famous people tend to have a pretty substantial following on social media. Arrange for the people speaking at your event to post about it, and to use your hashtag; you can usually arrange for this as part of the speaking fee. This will generate buzz in avenues you might not have otherwise had access to. Buzz creates a positive feedback loop – the more you have, the more you’ll get!

Traditional advertising streams are not to be neglected when creating an event. Word-of-mouth and face-to-face interaction remain valuable tools for creating interest. Those of you who have customer-facing operations should take advantage of this; make sure anyone who talks to a stakeholder is hyping up the event. Create posters and other tactile visual media to tell people about the event; post them in any physical locations you own, and see if you can set up billboard advertising for the event.

Free stuff always builds up hype, and it can help you advertise! Giveaways and door prizes for your event will encourage people to show up and support, if for no other reason than the price of the ticket gives them a chance to win big. You should also give away free t-shirts, buttons and other wearables with event branding emblazoned on them; people love free stuff, and if they wear your wearables, you’re getting marketing out of it for very cheap. You can also make the event itself free, removing a barrier for entry.

The tactics offered here are relatively low cost (except for the billboard, I suppose). Put them together into a cohesive strategy, and you’ll be sure to have people flocking to your event.