Promotion is crucial in any event, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid. No matter what kind of event you plan on hosting in person or online, you must have an effective event marketing strategy to sell tickets.
Consumers today are bombarded with offers and advertisements, so it is imperative to catch their attention when planning an event. The application of technology, data, and analytics to event marketing makes it very easy to manage events and scale them to a large audience.
Throughout this guide, we will explore the different types of event marketing, strategies for creating a marketing timeline (with each promotion reinforcing the previous one), and how to ensure your message is delivered at the right time.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is event marketing?
- 2 Why is event marketing important?
- 3 Types of Event Marketing
- 4 Event Marketing Plan
- 4.1 What are your SMART goals? What’s your budget?
- 4.2 What’s your event’s theme, brand, and schedule?
- 4.3 Who are you marketing to? How will you reach them?
- 4.4 What’s your content creation and management plan?
- 4.5 What’s your event marketing timeline?
- 4.6 How will you promote and market during the event?
- 4.7 How will you measure your event’s success?
- 5 Examples of Event Marketing
- 6 Get Started with Event Marketing
What is event marketing?
Event marketing is promoting an event to an audience – usually to secure attendance.
The event marketing process begins with the creation of a new event idea and continues with the persuasion of attendees to invite their friends or colleagues. A steady flow of leads can be achieved through marketing channels, such as email marketing, blogging, and advertising.
There are several common event marketing goals, including:
- Increasing attendance
- Reaching a new audience
- Boosting sales or revenue
- Improving brand awareness
- Increasing brand engagement
- Generating leads
- Providing value to existing customers
Each event has a different audience, different content, and a different culture. Thus, it needs to be marketed uniquely. The future event marketer must stay on top of the event marketing game to succeed.
Why is event marketing important?
Event marketing is a great way for businesses to stand out from the crowd today more than ever.
In addition to providing new ways to connect with customers, event marketing can allow you to learn more about them before the event, so they are treated as individuals rather than just part of a crowd. By collecting customer data from other sources, you can get to know them better.
As per Meetings Mean Business, more than 75% of business owners say they attend events to make useful contacts. Customers and partners can interact personally with a brand, making them more trustworthy.
In addition, events are an excellent way to increase customer loyalty. Conferences and seminars are not just a great way to make contacts and learn new things. People also attend for fun and to get away from their routines. Brands create strong emotional connections with customers through such experiences.
Event marketing should be an integral aspect of your demand generation strategy, regardless of the scale of the event.
Types of Event Marketing
As part of your event marketing program, including offline and online events to reach as many potential customers as possible.
Online events connect presenters and participants via a virtual event platform. You can easily reach a geographically dispersed audience with online events, which are often less costly than in-person events.
Online events have become mainstream since Covid-19. A virtual event platform reported 1000% growth in its first six months following the pandemic, according to Forbes. The most common online events are webinars, virtual events, live streaming events, and hybrid events.
Let’s take a look at them one by one.
A webinar consists of an online presentation, a discussion, or a workshop. The events typically last between 30 and 60 minutes and can be held in real-time or on demand. In a real-time webinar, there are many ways to engage participants.
Using web conferencing software, participants can participate in 1-to-1 or group discussions. The audience can also ask questions and discuss topics directly with the presenters.
2. Virtual events
Virtual events allow participants in different locations to participate in a realistic virtual environment. A virtual booth might allow participants to collect materials, meet the staff, ask questions, and even receive some swag.
Participants in these programs tend to interact in real-time. The interactive features are often accompanied by networking and educational opportunities.
3. Livestreaming events
Live events are streamed directly to viewers. The broadcast can be conducted with a simple webcam or a full production crew for better quality. You can stream, record, chat, and engage your audience with social media functionality using applications like Livestream, Ustream, and Google Meet.
From employee Q&A sessions to major award ceremonies, live streaming has been integrated or used entirely since the pandemic.
Most events are moving back to physical formats, but many have integrated some online features to form hybrid events. The benefit is that it allows for greater attendance and flexibility while maintaining the buzz of an in-person event.
A hybrid event will likely include live streaming and virtual participation. By using certain platforms and technology, virtual and in-person audiences can be seamlessly integrated. Hybrid events connect in-person groups around the world into a larger virtual community.
1. Trade shows
Trade shows bring together individuals and businesses from various industries and professions. Event booths and event spaces are usually filled with products and literature related to the attendees’ products and services.
Trade shows may be sponsored by businesses to demonstrate products or to network and build their market presence. Also, it presents an opportunity to network with competitors and learn more about them.
Often, conferences are company-specific marketing events where attendees are brought together to exchange information, such as user summits. The events are large and often hosted by companies for education or training.
It usually includes networking opportunities and keynote presentations from business leaders or external speakers.
Seminars refer to smaller meetings, road shows, and field events. A seminar can be structured similarly to a classroom lecture, where an expert shares information with the audience.
Marketers sometimes hold road shows, where their company’s message is delivered to the public, employees, or partners.
Event Marketing Plan
Your events should have their marketing plan separately from your company’s marketing efforts.
If you want to cross-promote (e.g., share event information on company social media and vice versa), then you should detail your event marketing in a separate campaign plan.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you plan your next event marketing campaign.
What are your SMART goals? What’s your budget?
Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If your goals are SMART, you’ll avoid setting vague targets like “bring in more leads.”
SMART goals serve two purposes: providing direction during the planning and executing of your event and helping you determine whether or not your event was successful (and improving if it wasn’t).
SMART event marketing goals might include “growing our prospective leads list for our new product by 100 names by the end of the event.”
There are four main benefits of this goal: it is specific (prospective leads for only the new product), measurable (100 names), achievable and relevant (assuming the event is relevant and more than enough people attend to get 100 names), and timely (by the last day of the event).
Last but not least, determine your event marketing budget. Whether it’s the venue, the entertainment, or the website, this is crucial to the event’s success.
What’s your event’s theme, brand, and schedule?
Knowing what information and content to market for your event are imperative. Establish your event’s name, theme, brand, and purpose before moving forward. What are the benefits of attending? What will they gain from this? Are you organizing an event as an offshoot or a standalone brand?
The next step is to decide when and where your event will occur. Attendees will likely ask these questions most often.
Research and outline the event’s schedule, such as keynote speakers, workshop sessions, entertainment, and networking times.
Even if you don’t have all of these before you start promoting your event, you should at least know who will be there and what your event will offer.
Who are you marketing to? How will you reach them?
Identify your target audience. Who would benefit the most from attending your event? Who would enjoy your workshops, learn from your speakers, and become your sponsors?
Establishing your audience will help you target and invest in the right marketing channels. In the case of a local event, you may want to consider print advertising. Add your event to an event listing website 10times to reach more people.
Another effective way to promote events is through email. Attendees check their email regularly, so updates and confirmations can be easily spotted via email. Registration for this event requires email information, which is easy to collect.
It is common for companies to create separate email addresses and newsletters for their events to keep communication and promotion separate.
Additionally, your attendees won’t want their inboxes to be flooded with emails.
What’s your content creation and management plan?
Promoting your event takes a lot of information – what, when, where, why, who, and how, for instance. You must create and control a plan to manage all this information effectively.
Since details of your event won’t be ready all at once, you’ll be responsible for releasing, updating, and changing information for months before the event. Will you send a newsletter about this? Who will be responsible for updating the website?
What’s your event marketing timeline?
You should promote your event throughout the weeks and months leading up to it to engage your audience. Setting a promotion timeline helps you know what to release and when. You can also use a timeline to pique your attendees’ curiosity as new names or information is revealed.
Multi-touch promotions are also a smart idea. Use a variety of channels (e.g., email, social media, direct mail, phone calls, print ads, and paid ads) to reach the most people.
A simple word-of-mouth campaign can make a big difference in registration numbers.
How will you promote and market during the event?
It is critical to continue marketing your event even after it has begun. Please spend some time promoting your event while it’s happening. Those who didn’t register will be curious about what they miss out on, and attendees may learn something new about what’s offered.
The majority of companies utilize social media during their events to engage people. During events, 73% of companies utilize social media to promote their events and features, 55% use it to post photos, and 35% use it to announce upcoming products.
Take advantage of Facebook or Instagram Live Videos or Live Tweets during your event.
How will you measure your event’s success?
A bustling event makes it easy to feel confident about your attendance and engagement. However, is that the most reliable way to gauge the success of your event? No, probably not.
If you plan to measure and evaluate your event’s performance, setting some key performance indicators (KPIs) is important.
Listed below are some common KPIs for event marketing.
- Registrations and check-ins
Registration for your event does not guarantee attendance. Look at your registrations and contact those who registered but did not check-in. Examine your registration data to determine when the most and least tickets were purchased and what kinds of tickets were purchased if you offered different packages.
- Revenue and cost-to-revenue ratio
What was the gross revenue from your event? Gross revenue is an effective success measure for events requiring paid tickets. What was the cost of the event compared to that amount? With this comparison, you will better understand the value of your event and the resources available to you. Even though events are expensive, they aren’t worth putting yourself into debt for.
- Attendee satisfaction
Were your attendees satisfied with your event? Which activities did they enjoy the most, and what did they participate in most? It may seem obscure, but finding out how satisfied your attendees are with your event can help you improve it. Ask your attendees about their experiences and takeaways, and calculate your Net Promoter Score (NPS) using a survey.
- Social media mentions/engagement
What was the frequency of social media mentions of your event? How did the event turn out overall? What content did your attendees share that engaged non-attendees?
Social media is one of the most reliable measures of event success and reach in today’s digital world. Find out what people are saying about your event on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. You can easily track posts if you use a hashtag.
- Lead acquisition and customer conversion
Event marketing is one of the best ways to generate leads and convert customers, so it makes sense to measure these as KPIs. Track how many qualified leads you get from your event and how many of those leads become paying customers. Lead collection and conversion tactics can be revealed by this method, which can help reveal the direct ROI of your event.
Examples of Event Marketing
Some events serve as memorable must-attend opportunities for brands, in addition to helping them achieve their goals. Check out their organizers’ tricks for making your event marketing more effective by using them as a cheat sheet.
Although Google holds its developer conference offline, it also streams the event online. Using a 360-degree camera, Google creates a presence effect and ensures high-quality broadcasts. YouTube offers videos from previous years, making them accessible to those who missed the event live and those who want to refresh their memories.
Google provides a perfect mix of educational lectures from top experts and product promotion. New features are added to the brand’s software and hardware products yearly.
Forbes Under 30 summit
Forbes’ Under 30 Summit is a classic example of a thought-leadership and networking event. Moreover, that event specifically satisfies the interests of the audience.
Young people are the target audience for the company’s event. In addition to speakers, presentations, and networking, the Under 30 summit also offers a variety of entertainment activities. Among the latter are a private music festival, speed-pitching, industry-focused field trips, a food festival, and community service.
Marketo Nation Summit at Adobe Summit
Some excellent marketing tips and strategies are presented at this conference to help you advance your career or business.
Located in the easily accessible city of Las Vegas, the Adobe Summit attracts over 10,000 – 15,000 entrepreneurs and ensures attendees are up-to-date on the best marketing strategies.
The conference allows attendees to schedule their breakthrough sessions, including hands-on guidance for improving their Marketo skills.
The options include an industry-focused field trip, a food festival, speed-pitching, and a private music festival.
Get Started with Event Marketing
Organizing and implementing an event can be challenging. You’ll soon be planning your first event by approaching it from a “snackable” perspective.
Event marketing may be the solution you need for entertaining new clients, building your contact list, or raising money for your non-profit.