Many nonprofits don't have a year-round, ongoing social media campaign for their cause; nonprofit such as arts organizations are focused on promoting their events, fundraisers, and special programs. Event marketing uses some of the same tools and strategies as traditional digital marketing, except they have defined start and end periods and may require additional, concentrated resources to plan and manage the event campaign.
Digital marketing has expanded the reach of nonprofit event marketing, and made it less expensive and more effective for nonprofits to engage with audiences and grow their supporters.
99% of arts organizations have a website, 97% have a social media presence, 85% accept donations online, and 72% sell tickets online. – Pew Research
Nonprofits can use digital marketing to promote their events and grow their online visibility.
5 Proven Strategies to Market Nonprofit Events
1. Use an online ticketing and reservations systems
Relying on your nonprofit's staff and volunteers to make all event reservations limits your ability to be available when your audience is available.
- Digital ticketing services such as Eventbrite or Eventbee or Eventzilla are designed to manage online ticket sales.
- Website tools such as WordPress plugins support selling ticket events directly on your event's landing page.
Online ticket sales tools are 24/7/365: which is probably more than your staff and volunteers could cover.
2. Use SEO and content marketing strategies to drive your audience to your event website
- Use a keyword strategy to determine how to bring your audience to your website through search engines.
- Have regular, updated content about your event on your site, ideally through a blog. Your blog can incorporate links to video, podcasts, and other interactive media.
- Provide social media share buttons so your visitors can share news about your event on their social media channels.
- Create a social media content marketing strategy to promote your content and invite visitors to your event's landing page.
Don't forget press releases: most press releases are published and read online, and can increase the visiblity of your event and attract media and the public to your website.
3. Offer website visitors alternative options to support your event if they are unable to attend your event
Your event may be sold-out, or your visitor may not be available on the dates of the event. Options to support your event on your website can include:
- pre-event cocktails, background tours, or meet and greets
- an online store with event t-shirts, mugs, CDs and other event promotional materials
- a calendar of upcoming events
- social media share buttons allow your visitors to share news about your event on their social media channels
Be sure to include prominent links and Calls To Action so your visitors know they have options!
4. Promote your event on social media
Analyze your ideal audience demographics and what social media networks they frequent. Build your event social media marketing campaign on sites where both your current supporters live, and where your targeted, future audience lives.
- Provide live social media updates during your event to build support and enthusiasm for your next event.
- Establish a #hashtag to promote your event.
5. Provide a digital sponsor package to your event sponsors
Thanking your event supporters is critical, but don't miss an opportunity for your supporters to amplify their support of your event on their social media channels and website, and help you grow your audience.
- Provide sample social media posts and blog content with
- Design badges, icons or images for sponsors to post on their digital sites.
- Include linkgs, tags and mentions to your supporters in your own social media campaigns.
Marketing nonprofit events online provides opportunities for nonprofits to promote and market their events, and can also expand their reach and grow their audience. Creating buzz about your event and attracting new visitors to your website can support your current event calendar, and help build your organization for the future.