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Promoting a Music Festival with Zero Marketing Budget.

Andy Robertson

In the current economic climate of rising costs and challenging ticket sales music festival organisers need to employ every strategy they can to reduce costs and maximise returns. Marketing budgets are usually the first expense to be cut but there are numerous strategies organisers can employ to promote their event and generate ticket sales at zero cost.

Music festival organisers faced with marketing budget cuts should retain any key experienced staff as they can utilise creative strategies to promote an event without the need for advertising spend. There is no single promotional activity that will generate the necessary buzz and ticket sales, but it will be the combination and mix of activities that can produce impressive results. This may include some or all of the following initiatives. 

Social Media Channels.
If the festival organisation does not yet have a presence on all social media channels these should be created and will include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit and Twitter (X). These are in addition to the festival’s own website and are free to set up and manage and enable distribution of content and outreach to potentially sizable audiences. The key to managing all these platforms is posting consistent content in a timely manner across all platforms. It is essential that staff managing these platforms are familiar with all the features and functions of each so that content appeal and reach is maximised. 

Online Content. 
The production of regular online content is key to maximising SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) across search engines like Google which increases website traffic. Music festivals should have access to some good video and music content (depending on licensing arrangements) and if not video content about the festival can easily be created. Writing blogs and newsletters for social media channels and online forums can generate community and potential customer engagement. All content should be posted on social media channels and the website for maximum impact as frequently as possible several times a week. 

Strategic partnerships can help promote the event with joint activity and may include local businesses and sponsors for example. Working closely with selected media organisations can also help increase coverage for the festival in exchange for exclusive newsworthy material. Some of the artists who have been booked for a festival may be open to joint promotional activity where posting links to new material can be exchanged for a mention on their own channels. Any relationship with well-known personalities and influencers should be exploited if possible and could include a deal where they get complimentary VIP access in exchange for mentions on their channels. 

PR and Word of Mouth. 
Writing and issuing a formal press release or announcement does not cost anything to produce but getting coverage in mainstream media can be challenging. Leverage any journalist connections and make sure the release is published on recognised PR channels. The releases should also form part of the regular content for the festival’s own website and social media channels. Generating word of mouth can be difficult but is possible if there is the right engagement with potential audiences and can be achieved by offering member get member schemes and referral reward programmes. 

Utilise Free tools. 
Festival marketing staff can get access to a plethora of free to use online tools that can assist them with their marking and promotional activities. Google offer free to use marketing tools to help improve SEO and understanding of online performance with great analytics tools. Generating email campaigns are free to do assuming there is access to a customer database and is great for generating ticket sales and content consumption. Check out event listing websites where a basic listing is free to post enabling quick access to a large online audience. When creating content consider using design tools like Canva and royalty free image libraries like Pexels or Pixabay. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by
geralt via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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