Event marketing is a great way to drive brand awareness and get you connected with your prospects one-on-one. You can provide a ton of value to those in attendance through a well executed event.
Whether you’re hosting a webinar, participating in a trade show, or attending an expo, you won’t see any return on your marketing investments if no one shows up.
As sweet a sentiment as it might be, we can’t all be Ray Kinsella. Just because you’ve built an event for leads, customers, and fellow marketers, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come.
Once you’ve thrown a few event promotion ideas under your belt, though, you won’t have to worry about losing all your revenue after demolishing your corn field.
What Is Event Marketing?
Event marketing is the practice of planning, developing, and executing an exhibit, display, or presentation to educate about or promote a product or service. The purpose of the event can be purely to network as well.
The key is that you, the host, are leveraging in-person interactions in order to build stronger relationships with prospects, customers, or fellow marketers.
The beauty of event marketing is its versatility. Events can take place online or offline, vary in scale and theme, and even be recorded and archived for future viewing.
Why Is Event Marketing Important?
There are several benefits to a great event marketing plan, all largely centered around you growing your business and influence.
Through event marketing, a business is able to establish and cultivate its brand identity in real time. You're in control of the event; therefore you're in control of how your audience is going to perceive you.
On top of that, events are a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition.
An active, in-person event where prospects and customers can engage with your business will put you at top-of-mind above competitors.
This one is kind of self-explanatory. Anyone who attends your event is there because they're interested in something that your business has to offer.
Even if they're only in the awareness stage and looking to learn more, they're still a lead.
Event marketing gathers all of your leads together in one place for you to qualify quickly.
For sales qualified leads and existing customers alike, attending an event can provide valuable information on your business, products, or services, and address any issues or concerns that they may have.
In fact, most people who attend events are looking to be educated in one way or another.
You can capitalize on that intent by providing value-centric insight into your company and closing any gaps that may be standing in the way of a sale.
Event Promotion Ideas
Now that we've established how great event marketing can be for your business, the obvious next question would be: "How do I get people to come?"
That's where having some great event promotion strategies in place can be helpful.
Event promotion is a means to generate awareness of your event and get tickets sold. Similar to a marketing strategy, promotion has to be strategically planned.
Here are some cool promotion ideas that will get people interested in coming to see what you're serving:
1. Event Hashtags
These are a fun way to spread the word on your event. You can create your own unique, branded hashtag that will live only in the context of your marketing.
Visual, digital promotions work well online. An infographic, or digital poster, provides your audience with all the info they need in a cool graphic sheet.
3. Event Discovery Sites
Websites like Eventbrite and Facebook Events keep users up to date on what's going on around them. They're a great way to promote to local leads and customers.
4. Featured Guests
By highlighting any guest speakers or influential attendees, you can attract followers and fans to your event purely to hear or see them. You can also have the featured guest promote the event through their channels for more exposure.
5. Ticket Accessibility
Attendance increases by a lot when purchasing tickets is less of a hassle. Allow for sales to happen on event sites and a dedicated landing page that emails and CTAs can link to. If you're savvy enough, you can even have tickets be offered as an add-on when customers are checking out on a different sale from your site.
6. Attendee Sharing
Friends are often tapped into what one another is doing, especially in today's world of social media. When someone makes a purchase, offer them the opportunity to share their event participation on their channels, like Facebook.
There's nothing like good ol' fashioned paper posters. For local events, hanging up posters is still a pretty great method of advertising. Create a cool design and let people in on what's happening near them.
As your website visitors click through pages, you may have a chatbot that engages with them, offering helpful advice. You can program the little buddy to also mention your upcoming event based off of behavior and page visits.
If your company has a monthly or quarterly newsletter, it only makes sense to highlight your event there. It's a part of your business' current events, isn't it?
10. Email Segmentation
You can leverage your email marketing campaigns to spread the news of your event, but it'll be even more effective if you pay attention to segmentation as well. Have different messaging for past attendees, new leads, and existing customers respectively.
11. Social Media Marketing
Create promotional content for your company's social media accounts if you have a decent enough following. Depending on what your engagement looks like, this could bring a spotlight on your event.
12. Video Ads
If your budget allows, you can really blow your event promotion out the water with a well produced video. This is a great idea if you have recurring events because you can feature past event recordings in it, highlighting just how epic of a show you're going to put on.
13. Ticket Diversity
Providing different ticket types and bundles gives interested parties options that they'll appreciate. Early bird discounts, VIP packages, and party bundles are often purchased pretty early on once tickets are made available.
14. Giveaways and Contests
Presenting ticket raffles and contests is a great way to generate buzz around your event. It develops mystery and excitement, while also rewarding active participants.
15. Event Calendars
Posting an event calendar on your website will let your visitors know what your business is up to at all times. Truly interested and invested prospects will follow along.
How to Promote an Event: 5 Best Practices
Promoting an event is pretty much integrated into the whole process of planning one in the first place. Still, there are some key steps that you don't want to miss.
1. Assess Your Brand Awareness.
How many people are actually tapped into your business and what you're doing?
If you don't have any real clout or following, then you'll have a much harder time getting people to attend. Promotion won't do you any good if no one cares or will see your efforts.
Do a quick assessment of your brand awareness by looking at your social following, email lists and open rates, and website visits.
2. Leverage Emotional Engagement.
Audiences love authentic interaction, especially when it comes to marketing.
Focus your promotional content on being human and original, engaging customers on the platforms they enjoy and with messaging that interests them. Dry marketing is a surefire way to keep people from ordering tickets.
3. Be Relevant and Current.
Speaking of people's interests, it's always a great idea to have your event promotions feel cool and relevant.
Tap into what current trends and obsessions are in right now. For example, is there a popular saying or joke that you can spin somehow?
If your event is taking place around a holiday, does it make sense to incorporate that theme into your marketing?
4. Focus on the Audience.
It's almost a default to think of everything in relation to the self, even in the context of business. But that needs to be retired from the world of marketing entirely.
Keep your messaging from feeling too "me" or "us" centric. Instead, offer info on the value that you'll provide the audience by using a "you" mentality and language.
What to Do After the Event
Once the event is finished, the hard part is done, but the work isn't over. There's still a few boxes to check afterwards. Here's a quick list of things to do:
- Follow up with attendees and non-attendees with an email recapping the event.
- Measure your ROI by looking at who was invited, who registered, attended, and who didn't show.
- If the event was recorded, post and share it with your leads.
- Repurpose event content.
Event Promotion Examples That Will Blow Your Mind
There are so many great examples of successful event marketing and promotion campaigns in the world. That can be attributed to the fact that there are so many different types of events.
Here are some of our favorite event promotion examples that may inspire you:
Mellow Mushroom Leverages Social Media
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For their 40th anniversary, Mellow Mushroom decided to celebrate with "Wayback Wednesday." Customers were able to purchase food and drinks at the price they would have been in the year that the pizza joint opened, 1974.
It was a clever event to bring in fans and families. To promote the day, customers and staff were encouraged to share a photo about the deal on their Instagram accounts.
Eventbrite Keeps Locals in the Loop
There are hundreds of community events happening in major cities every day, and Eventbrite works to promote each one.
This screenshot of the event and ticket organizer shows just a handful of the more popular parties taking place in Florida. Visitors can get details on each event and buy tickets directly from the site.
Tampa Bay Rays Bring Fans Back to the Stands
In order to get more baseball fan butts into seats, the Tampa Bay Rays partnered with 7-Eleven in selling $7.11 tickets at participating locations.
They promoted game dates and the deal across social media channels, like this Facebook post, and in the convenience stores.
Event promotion is critical to the success of your event. No matter what your event is or what purpose it serves, it can't yield any results for your business if no one shows up to it.
Have fun with creating your promotion campaign, pulling inspiration from the promotion ideas above, and skyrocket your attendance.