During the holiday season, I received a number of email invitations for social gatherings and networking events from friends and local businesses.

It dawned on me that both groups chose to use either a free online RSVP tool or a social networking site for their event promotion. I also use a number of these social networking sites for the typical kinds of things they offer — to find friends I’ve lost touch with over the years or to communicate with some and follow the daily adventures of others.

In some circumstances, “free” can be a great thing. But if you are a small business or organization looking for the best way to promote your event(s), what does “free” really offer?

In today’s online world, “image” is everything!

While the service might be free to the consumer, in the context of this domain, free can only mean a lack of functionality, customization, and branding. Free online RSVP tools or social networking sites are a good way to stay in touch with casual contacts, can offer attractive invitation templates, and provide basic RSVP management. However, most of these free services include ad-supported RSVPs, lack the ability to brand or customize, might require an ID and Password, and were built primarily for social gatherings.

The value of professionalism

Small businesses and organizations value their brand and strive for professionalism when communicating with their customers and prospects. A tool designed for professional use offers the best solution to meet these demands. What I recommend you do is ask yourself if using a free RSVP tool is worth sacrificing your company’s image? In my opinion, this is when the price of free is too high.

It takes a comprehensive, well-designed, and thoughtful system to ensure the success of your event. A professional event marketing tool will provide a stronger set of features designed specifically to promote events, capture online registrations and payments, and track the progress of your event.

Your event marketing solution should:

  • Help you project a professional image
  • Be easy-to-use
  • Support you in building strong, lasting customer relationships
  • Cost you a little money

Till next time…

How do you promote your events? Tell me about it in the comments below.