For any business, event marketing can be incredibly intimidating. Not only do you want to attract the right audience, but you also need to integrate a number of different strategies in order to make it a success. This involves a lot of work across multiple areas of your business.
On the flipside, get it right—and event promotion can really boost any business.
In fact, according to a recent study, over 40% of marketers deem events as the most effective marketing channel. And the most successful of organizations are allocating their live events a marketing budget that’s 1.7 times the average.
So how do you ensure your next business event is a success?
Let’s find out what marketing techniques (before, during, and after) can take your event from ordinary to extraordinary.
Determine your event promotion strategy.
Before you even get started with planning your event, you need to determine your strategy, answering this question: what is your ultimate goal or desired outcome?
It could be driving high ticket sales or creating a sense of hype around your brand—it may even be both.
Having your goals clearly outlined from the start will help align your entire team so you can work together to achieve what you outline. Try to put together a mission statement that you can utilize across your campaigns. This needs to be clear, concise, and capture the heart of your event.
Next, consider what you’re going to measure, and how. This will allow you to understand what is and isn’t working with your event marketing. From email click-through rates to paid ad performance, there are numerous metrics you’ll want to gather and analyze.
You’ll also need to understand your target audience, as well as your existing clients. This may be future customers, potential partners, and industry influencers. This will ensure all your efforts are worthwhile and you aren’t wasting time or budget in the wrong areas.
Pre-event promotion: Get to work with multi-channel event marketing.
Once you have your goals and metrics in place, it’s time to get to work in marketing your event. A multi-faceted approach is the best way to achieve this.
This means using the following marketing channels:
1. Email marketing
Research highlights how almost 80% of event organizers have found email to be their most effective marketing strategy. Of those who tracked the success of email in their events, 45% of ticket sales could be qualified to this channel.
This makes email a highly effective part of your promotions.
Plan how you’re going to communicate the message about your event well in advance, putting together a series of emails that build up to the event. Segmentation will be key here as it’ll allow you to send relevant messages to various audiences. For example, if someone has pre-registered for your event, they’ll require a different email than someone who’s simply on your mailing list. Plus, you don’t want to keep sending reminders to those who’ve already purchased their tickets.
Planning this ahead of time will also allow you to automate this series of emails so you can maintain the hype you’re building pre-event.
For example, this email from Framer really works to start building a sense of intrigue around the event.
2. Social media
Starting your social media campaign early is imperative to create a sense of momentum for your promotions.
Facebook and Twitter are ideal networks to reach out to people who may show interest. Both channels allow you to target your audience based on their interests, demographics, and location. You might also want to invest in paid/sponsored posts to extend your reach.
Don’t dismiss other social channels, like Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Pinterest. The ones you use will depend on the type of event you’re hosting, but all are worth considering. For example, Instagram is great for sharing behind-the-scenes footage and user-generated content.
Your strategy should, of course, include a unique hashtag and all relevant posts about your event should feature it.
3. Your website
Your website should be the hub of your event marketing, containing all of the pertinent information your attendees are looking for. This includes the speakers, agenda, directions, nearby transport links, and hotels.
You may wish to create an entirely new website for your event, or simply create an event page on your existing site. This page should be where all traffic from your promotional activities is being sent to, helping boost those ticket sales. Whichever you choose, however, ensure you’re enlisting SEO best practices to get this ranking well on Google.
4. PR (public relations)
Even though digital marketing will take precedence throughout your promotions, don’t forget those traditional tried-and-tested methods, too.
Press coverage can really help take your promotions to the next level, not only by boosting ticket sales but by driving more traffic to your site (through referral links) and strengthening your brand’s image.
Your press release should include:
an introduction line (by-line) that engages the journalist
the basic details about your event
a compelling story—what’s so unique about this event? who’s attending—anyone worth mentioning, e.g. a celebrity or influencer? why this event at this time—what’s the story behind it?
When you send this press release, be sure to include it as part of the email—don’t just upload it as an attachment. Journalists like to be able to read the copy straight away, taking it directly from the email if possible.
Even this simple email from Connoisseur Gourmet Ice Cream may be all that’s required to capture journalists’ attention.
5. Direct mail
Another traditional, non-digital form of marketing that you absolutely should use is direct mail.
Even though it doesn’t make sense to send mail to everyone on your distribution list—especially if you have their email address—VIPs may welcome an official invite to the event. For example, this is great for sending to organizations, business leaders, influencers, and other important guests.
Make it stand out from the crowd by incorporating the theme of your event (if possible), and perhaps include an early-bird discount.
6. Paid ads
Whether it’s Google AdWords or paid ads on social media, now’s the ideal time to put some money behind your campaign. Use your mission statement to create these ads and let them roll.
The good thing about these paid campaigns on social media and Google is that you have full control, so you can turn them on or off at your wish. So you could choose to focus on them at the start with your early-bird offers or at the time when you’re launching your event. It’ll help boost the amplification of your other marketing strategies, increasing their reach and impact.
7. Your existing marketing campaigns
Besides these new strategies, don’t miss the opportunity your existing marketing campaigns can offer you. Simply use these current techniques to align all your promotion efforts.
You can do this by:
Writing on your blog..Besides your usual posts, include a few about your upcoming event. For example, you could interview one or two of your speakers, explain the story behind your event, or elaborate on your mission statement and what you’re hoping to achieve from the event. This offers a more personable approach to your promotions, being less sales-based than your event page.
Adding information to your webinars and videos. If you host webinars or regularly post videos on YouTube, why not add a slide or message to these to make people aware of your event? Add these to the posts that are relevant to your event and those where you feel the audience would like to know more about your event.
Spreading the word at other events. During your promotional period, if you attend other meetings, events, and trade shows, be sure to tell people about your event and what it will entail. This will help create a buzz around it.
Including your event details on a newsletter. If you regularly send a newsletter to your email recipients, make sure you add in a section about your event (like in the bottom of this email).
Image Source: Really Good Emails
During the event: Keep things live and energized.
All the hard work has paid off and your event is teaming with all the right people—but don’t stop there!
To make sure the buzz continues (and you’re showing everyone who isn’t there just what they’re missing), create live posts throughout the event.
This includes social media posts that highlight all the action through visuals and videos, Tweets with quotes from attendees and key speakers, and even a live stream on Facebook Live or Instagram Live.
You should also encourage your attendees to post their thoughts, images, and videos on social media, using your show’s hashtag so you can then re-post this content.
Post-event promotion: Follow up and analyze.
Following your event, keep your audience engaged with an email that thanks for them for their attendance and asks for their feedback. These comments and suggestions, along with those metrics you’ve been measuring, will really help you tweak your next event strategy so it’s even better than the one before.
You can also put those videos and images to good use as you start to build up momentum for your next event. Highlighting the key moments, quotes, and attendees from your last event will work wonders in generating interest in the next one.
All of the above tips should help you shape a stellar event promotion strategy, allowing you to build up the necessary hype around your event while boosting those all-important ticket sales. Just make sure you’ve got a clear strategy in place from the start so everything is aligned and working toward the same goal.
For even more help with your event promotion, check out our post on the best timing for your event invitation emails.
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