Event marketing is a highly effective strategy that all kinds of entities in the corporate world employ to build brand awareness. Essentially, hosting or participating in high-profile events allows companies to market their brand to a highly relevant audience. There are different kinds of events, including in-person events like trade shows, workshops, networking sessions, sponsorships, product launches, speaker sessions, and VIP experiences. Also, there are online events like live streaming events, virtual events, and webinars.
Each of these events has a different audience, content, and culture. Therefore, it should be promoted uniquely for better outcomes. Also, the organizations hosting these events have different objectives. For instance, they may want to educate, engage, or entertain the attendees.
And since trends are evolving each year to accommodate the advanced technology and increased customer expectations, event marketing now requires a high level of organization and management. For that reason, as a modern event marketer, you’d want to align your strategies with the latest trends to stay on top of the event promotion game.
That said, let’s first have an overview of what event marketing is, then later cover the event marketing strategies and ideas in detail:
What is event marketing?
Event marketing is focused on promoting your event to your target audience using different techniques in various marketing platforms. In other words, it’s about informing your target customers that you’re hosting an event and converting this audience to be your guests.
We can classify event marketing into two categories:
- B2C: Offering your event directly to your intended audience to convince them to register for the event and also invite their friends to attend. Your primary purpose is to draw more attendees, so it requires promotional techniques that spread positivity about the occasion. For instance, the personal benefits the participants can get by attending.
- B2B: Promoting your event to other businesses to attract them to sponsor the event or invite the employees to attend. For the case of a partnership, you’ll require a strong proposition offer to convince the business to assist with the exhibition. For instance, you may have to elaborate on how your event will expose the company to more prospective customers and increase sales.
Importance of event marketing
Now, why is event marketing important? Below are some of the reasons:
- It expands reach by bringing multiple members of your target audience together, generating leads. Though not all prospects may immediately convert at an event, you can grow your database and have an opportunity to nurture them through the sale process in the future.
- It enables you to generate more revenue from the event. For instance, by marketing an upcoming concert, you convince more people to purchase tickets and grace the occasion. A high attendance also means increased sales of products in the event.
- It facilitates in-person connections between you and your customers, driving customer loyalty.
Your target audience
Just so you know, identifying and understanding your ideal audience is key to developing and implementing a successful event marketing strategy. Therefore, to determine your target audience, you should outline the primary objective of your upcoming event. For instance, you may organize an event with the aim to:
- Sell many tickets and increase revenue
- Build brand recognition among customers
- Sell specific products to potential customers in the event
These objectives can help you narrow down your target audience. For example, if you intend to sell more tickets, you should market the event among fans of your event’s headliner. On the other hand, if your purpose is to drive sales of a particular product, you should mainly target the product users. In addition, you must understand your target audience’s behaviors and problem areas to implement more efficient marketing techniques.
Event marketing timeline
Of course, every event is time-dependent. Therefore, if you want to optimize your marketing strategies, you should devise a detailed plan to guide your marketing team throughout the phases until the event actually takes place. Usually, marketing efforts become intense as the event nears. On that note, you’d want to divide your event marketing strategies into the following phases:
- Pre-event registration: This happens before officially opening the event for ticket registration. The purpose is to create some buzz around the event. For example, you can create a pre-event Facebook page to build awareness of your event and generate early interest. At this phase, attendees can pre-register for the event without fully committing to attend. This way, you can also get relevant insights, such as the approximate number of guests to expect and the popular content.
- Launching and registration: Introduce your event to your intended audience by launching promotions. At this stage, you should go a notch higher in your marketing efforts to create a first impression of how your event will look like. This is the ideal phase to craft and share the first email invite and announcement posts on various social media platforms. It would help if you also enlisted your partners in these posts so that they can help with the promotion.
- Day-to-day promotion: This is an active phase in event marketing whereby you implement your core marketing strategies. For example, along with sharing consistent posts about the event across your social channels, you can collaborate with brand influencers who can leverage their fanbase to reach out to prospects. Also, you should monitor the level of responsiveness to establish if there’s a need to use a different approach to spark interest. For instance, you can send a reminder email to those who didn’t open the first emails enlisting your decent offers for early registration.
- Registration closing: In the closing window, you’d want to maximize registrations by intensifying promotions and getting the word out in a more impactful way. For example, sending personal reminders to your target audience may attract last-minute guests. You may also offer exclusive perks to your existing attendees to help promote the event to their families and peers. In addition, it’s best to share vital details such as how to reach the venue, entrances, items to bring, or parking.
Event marketing strategies and ideas
Having examined what event marketing is and the phases, let’s dive in for more guidelines on the most effective marketing strategies and ideas to try out for 2023. We’ll look at the following:
- Do a press release
Working with the media for a formal press release to announce your event can amplify reach and boost event recognition beyond your current network. Also, this might be an excellent opportunity to attract sponsors, influential people, and brand ambassadors to be a part of your event and help drive promotions.
- Offer early bird registrations
Offering your target audience early bird tickets at a lower price is an ideal way to generate buzz about your event since people will rave about it. It creates a sense of haste, prompting potential attendees to get their tickets early before prices increase. You can tie this up with other promotion strategies in the event launch phase. For example, you can announce the early bird discounts in the first press coverage and email newsletter.
- Social media marketing
In this digital era, we spend considerable time on our most-preferred social channels for different content. In that case, these platforms act as ready-made communities for businesses to engage directly with prospects. Therefore, it’s logical to promote your event across various channels to get your event in front of a wider audience. This is essential in all the stages of event marketing to generate momentum and increase conversions. Below are some event promotional ideas for the top social media channels:
- Instagram: Engage your ideal audience with pictures and videos at all phases of the event promotion with Instagram reels, stories, and live streaming options.
- Facebook: Create event pages to share any updates about your upcoming event, tag presenters, and engage with potential attendees in the comment section. You can use paid Ads to promote your event by sharing personalized messages to specific target groups.
- Twitter: Craft good tweets about your event and have an event hashtag to create some hype before and during your event. You can also include the event-registration links, confirmed speakers, and their publications in your event Twitter handle.
- Tiktok: Share exciting aspects of your event with fun TikTok videos and memes. You can also capture the good moments with your participants during the event to market future events.
- LinkedIn: This professional platform is ideal for B2B event marketing. You can connect with other industry players and proficiently promote your event to attract sponsors or high-profile attendees.
Basically, the more you leverage social media for event marketing, the more you’ll be able to understand the content that appeals to your audience. Here is the thing, you’d want to monitor how your followers engage with your content, like the number of clicks the links to your ticketing page get. Thereafter, you can make the necessary tweaks to improve the engagement rate. One tactic you can consider is to repost your top content so it can feature in more feeds.
- Search engine optimization for your event
For the record, organic searches can drive the number of registrations or ticket purchases for your event. However, to achieve this, you’ll have to optimize your page, so it’s ranked higher by search engines when people conduct searches. This way, your target audience can discover your event originally. So how can you get your event to show up at the top?
Most importantly, it’s crucial to make use of keywords. Search engines understand that events are timely and location-based, so they’ll use such elements to rank your event in Google search results. Therefore, to boost your chances of listing higher, you should include your event’s date and location details, like the exact venue, city, or state, in the title of your event. Also, be sure to include a keyword-optimized event name in your URL if you intend to direct more traffic to the actual event page.
- Email marketing
Email marketing allows you to sell out your event directly to potential attendees. You can send periodic emails throughout the event marketing stage, for instance, to promote early bird registrations or share personal reminders as the event nears. While at it, be keen to monitor the open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate to ascertain whether or not this particular strategy is adding value.
- Influencer marketing
Often, we associate ourselves with products or services of brands that have positive reviews, especially from influential people. Based on a survey conducted by Statista on US online buyers, 94% of the respondents revealed that they’re more likely to associate with a brand’s products or services because of its positive reviews. In contrast, 92% stated that they’re less likely to use a business with negative reviews.
Therefore, when it comes to event marketing, influencers can help you build a positive impression about your event through various tactics such as word-of-mouth marketing. For what it’s worth, brand ambassadors can bring in their loyal fans to join your community and cultivate trust in your brand.
Owing to that, it’d help to partner with influencers who understand your industry dynamics and can connect with your intended attendees. For example, if the primary purpose of your event is to launch fitness products, you can handpick a fitness influencer with a huge fanbase to help promote your event.
- Use a mobile event app
With the advent of mobile apps, we can now access information and perform myriad functions from anywhere at the touch of a button. Therefore, as a professional event marketer, you can harness a mobile event app to improve efficiency in your promotions. Actually, an event planning mobile app serves as a direct marketing channel for your forthcoming event. It can completely transform the user experience by providing a singular platform whereby visitors get to serve themselves with just a click.
For example, it facilitates instant access to tickets, online booking, and payment for events. In addition, you can use a mobile event app to boost engagement levels with your audience by sharing time-sensitive messages about the event using push notifications. You can embed pictures or link a push message with an invitation card to create more interest.
Tracking your event marketing efforts
Now that you know the ideas to integrate into your event marketing strategy, we’ll now cover the performance indicators that can help you ascertain the business value of your marketing efforts:
- Registrations: Check the spike in registrations and determine the specific event marketing technique that drove the numbers. You can use the final tallies as a benchmark when planning future events.
- The number of attendees: Compare the total registrations with the actual attendance. If most registrants turn up for the event, it means your event was effectively marketed, and many people were interested. Even so, you may experience no-shows since some potential guests may have an eleventh-hour change of plans.
- Event hashtag: Check your hashtag to determine whether your event was engaging enough for attendees to share via different social platforms. Most people love to rave about their positive experiences on graced occasions. The brand impressions can help you evaluate if your event brand is gaining a wider audience via social sharing.
- Participant’s feedback: Use a post-event survey to collect attendee feedback about their overall experience. This includes their level of satisfaction, net promoter score (NPS), and willingness to attend future events.
- Lead generation: Establish the number of leads your event generates for your sales funnel. This is one of the ways event organizers track the Returns On Investment (ROI) of their event marketing strategy.
- New clients: Determine the number of leads generated that converted into new customers.
Solid marketing strategies are essential throughout the event marketing journey, from the moment the idea is conceived until the event happens. Above are some strategies and ideas to consider for 2023. Notably, your event should not only benefit you as the hosts and sponsors but also enrich and inspire your guests.
Also, ensure you keep up your event marketing while your event is ongoing and even after it ends. Your event promotion team can post live sessions, crowd shots, photos of sponsors, attendees, speakers, and keynotes by presenters. You can use these reminders to market your next event. It’s a great way to convince those who missed how amazing the event was and why they should register for the next one.