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Promotional Startegies on a Shoestring Budget

Updated on April 29, 2011

Promote Like a Pro

 You can promote like a pro.

It takes hard work and dedication, but you can promote your events and programs like a professional without losing your shirt in the process.  Whether you are trying to reach a local community or an online audience, you can incorporate numerous techniques to build up some buzz about what you are doing to gain attendees and awareness.

Today's technology allows even a novice computer user to come off like a professional event planner.  Beyond the platforms like e-vite and eventbrite, you can add images and other bells and whistles to your website, blog and social networking status in an instant.  Even with social media and social networking, you are going to have to do some basic promotional activities to build up interest and awareness.  The key to promotions lies in captivating and capturing the attention of others.

Partner

 Promotion should not be done isolation.  It does not occur in a vacuum.  It has to be done in a manner where people get the message without going out of their way to find it.

You can partner with similar agencies to host an event.  You want to draw from their following and collaborate to reach as many people as possible for a common purpose.  In order to do so, you may want to identify a common cause that both of you support. 

If you run a children's program and seek to host an event for parents, you may want to work with local schools and their PTA or other parenting organizations.  Is there a group of Moms Of Preschoolers or home school parents in your area? See how to connect with their lead organizer and promote your event to the people who may need to see what you have to offer.

The other option is to work with those who do not seem to have something similar to you on the surface.  Plenty of corporations and business networks support children's programming through volunteering and monetary support.  If you can leverage such networks and associations, it may prove beneficial to you and your efforts.  See if the network would sponsor the outreach and advertising, sharing in the promotions of your event through their business connections to local media.

If you do not approach promotional activities with the prospect of potential partners, you could very well miss the boat on potential promotional benefits.

Present

 Your promotional activities are not limited to materials like a flyer or brochure.  You may have to serve as the spokesperson for your event or program.  Do not wait for people to come to you.  Make it known to people.  Add a line on your materials that state that you are willing and able to make presentations to small and large groups about what you do.

Assemble your presentation based upon your audience.  Identify the audience and highlight what may prove beneficial to your audience.  For instance, the parents of small children may want to know more about safety and educational benefits for their children, while the business community may be more interested in the altruistic benefits like volunteering and lending support to the cause.

Make your presentation fit the type of setting.  In a business meeting, be prepared with facts and figures as well as a success story or two that touches hearts as you explain the numbers.  For the parents of children, you may want to share a success story, discuss planned activities and entertain questions about security and other items of interest.  Be prepared and tailor your presentation with a general script that can be expanded or condensed based upon the flow of the meeting.

Participation

Participate in social networking. Get the most out of what social networking has to offer. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, CircleUp and other sites to get the word out. Maximize the resources available on these sites such as event postings and community calendars as well as "sharing" capabilities.

Go viral by sharing information about your organization, its programs, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Show a video or slide show. Add an audio clip. Rebroadcast a webinar or podcast via links.

Go virtual. Host a "live" auction with video streaming or through eBay. Let others go on a virtual video tour of your site for an online open house. Take pledges online via PayPal. Chat it up with a live chat on Twitter or Ning.

Go viral and get virtual.

Put it All Together

 Make it work for you and your cause.  Put all of these strategies together.  make them work in concert with one another.  Make the most of every opportunity to share what you have to offer with those who just may not know.

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