Whether you are coordinating a large festival with celebrities and big acts from around the world or you are merely showcasing the homemade goods of a few local artisans, you want to ensure as many people as possible will attend.
The more people planning to attend will generate even more hype surrounding the event. Which, of course, is the goal to increase revenue and guarantee attendance for years to come.
While there are a plenty of ways to promote a festival or fair, these techniques are likely to generate the most public interest:
- Promote the event among key consumers-The key to successfully promoting your event is to know your target consumers. If you are producing a music festival, then focus on the demographics that are most interested in the music genres that will be showcased. Once you have identified these key groups, try to find networks or other events where they might congregate. If your festival will have a number of indie rock groups, you may want hand out flyers at local colleges, for example.
- Think regionally—While most fairs and festivals are promoted for local communities, it is important to recognize that many people are willing to travel if the festival is showcasing a group or goods they are extremely enthusiastic about. To promote a festival regionally, nationally or even globally, the most effective method is to use social media, PR efforts and/or print advertising. Reaching out to blogs or publications that feature content about the goods or groups you feature at your fair or festival is a great way to connect with a larger audience.
- Utilize local marketing outlets—Newspapers and radio are relatively cheap marketing platforms for a weekend event, but it pays to research which methods are most effective for informing your target consumers. Choose the radio station and time that is most appropriate for your audience. It also helps to highlight any regionally specific or culturally important festivities like the harvest or chili cook off.
- Use videos of prior events—Many people may find a blurb in the paper or online to be a little less than informative. If they live a significant distance away, they may not be willing to sacrifice their time unless they know the event will satisfy their desire for entertainment or purchases. Videos and pictures of prior festivals engage the curious and help provide an understanding of what the festival is like and can better visualize themselves going.
- Incentivize community leaders—Groups in the community like churches, schools and businesses are likely to listen to their leaders if they suggest an event. To properly motivate supervisors, teachers and other community leaders to promote your event, provide free tickets or the opportunity to cross-market their organization at your festival. The same principal can also be applied to online communities. YouTube and Pinterest are great outlets for displaying video and photos.
- Use social media-Social media platforms create micro communities where people can “gather” and share information about the fair or festival. While a fair or festival may only be in town for a few days, social media platforms create a virtual space where event goers can come all year long and get information, see photos, etc. Furthermore, while your event is happening social media is a great way to promote the most recent updates and happenings.
Producing a festival can be hard work. You can invest months of work in attracting participants and organizing the events, but if you fail to attract the crowds you expect, you may disappoint your project stakeholders.
Properly marketing your fair or festival can make the difference between an underwhelming diversion, and an exciting event that will produce memories worth cherishing.
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