How to Market a Summer Festival with a Limited Budget

Breaking it Down with this List of Best Practices

Summer calendars are filled with beer, wine, food, music and literary festivals of all types, plus air shows. This list of best practices to promote and market summer festivals is designed  to help drive attendance, especially those with smaller marketing budgets.

1. Festival Talent – Traditional Media – Ask talent to support promotional efforts:

  • Provide bios and photos.
  • Make themselves available for interviews with local newspapers, entertainment publications and television and radio stations.
  • Deliver samples – beer, wine, food, autographed DVDs or books – to local media, or offer pre-event media rides in their airplanes.

2.    Festival Talent – Social Media – Maximize talent’s fan base.

  • “Like” talent’s comments and photos on Facebook.
  • Follow talent on Twitter; ask them to reciprocate so each can freely message both audiences.
  • Do not “sell” the event; instead tell stories and share interesting facts about talent.
  • Be creative. Clever posts and interesting photos/art are more likely to be shared.
  • Also engage fan pages.
  • Ask talent to leverage their influence on social media too.

3.    Concessions – If concessions supplement the focal point of your event:

  • Distribute news releases to local media announcing all concessionaires and key menu items.
  • Connect with each concessionaire on social media and ask them to do the same.
  • Ask them to share photos of menu items on a rolling schedule two weeks before and until the event so as to entice readers.
  • Push out photos of concessionaires during festival set up.
  • Share photos of guests enjoying menu items, making sure to capture concession signs/logos.

4.    Sponsors – Sponsors are committed to the festival’s success.

  • Find out how you can work together to promote their involvement to their employees and customers, i.e., newsletters, signs, website links, logos, etc.
  • Connect with each other on social media.
  • Schedule routine shout-outs to thank each sponsor.
  • Share photos of sponsors and their volunteers at the festival.

5.    Online Ticket Sales – Drive revenue in advance while using sales as a barometer to anticipate crowds and concession, volunteer and parking needs.

  • Create buzz while motivating pre-event ticket sales with pricing incentives.
  • Offer last minute higher-priced tickets.
  • Sell merchandise too. Attendees can then wear and begin promoting the festival.

To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events:  How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

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