With digital platforms constantly evolving, even the most experienced planners could use a refresher on event promotion strategies. We put together a list of 17 ideas of how to promote an event.
First things first: outline your goals and budget, and remember, good marketing strategy is tailored to its audience. Do you have a group of returning, core attendees (and their email addresses)? Or is it a new event, open to the public? Find out who they are and where they find the kind of content you’re offering at your event. Then, it’s time to get tactical.
1. Create the perfect event name and description
When you describe your event to someone, will they want to learn more? Make sure your event has a name that’s catchy and memorable, but also descriptive. This is the first impression; it’s going to appear in all of your promotional materials. The description should speak directly to your target audience, emphasizing why this event has value they can’t get anywhere else.
2. Focus on the design of your event website
Your event website may be your attendee's first touchpoint for the event, so it’s important to make it as effective and as engaging as possible. This might seem like a no-brainer for event planners, but surprisingly, it is often overlooked, For helpful tips, check out this post.
3. Offer ticket discounts
Send your returning audience early ticketing deals, and create a clear deadline to buy them. They’ll appreciate that you took the time to offer them something exclusive. In your messaging and imagery, remind them of the unique benefits of your event, and what a blast everyone had last year.
4. Maximize your email marketing
Before you start scheduling email blasts, spend some time segmenting your lists so you can target the right attendees at the right time. When you're ready to start writing emails, focus your copy on the event's benefits. Don't be afraid to send a few reminders in the months and weeks before your event.
5. Simplify the ticket purchasing process
Every extra step, click and landing page you introduce into the ticket buying process impacts your conversion rate (the ratio of impressions to purchases). To boost conversion rate, consider selling tickets directly on Facebook. On Facebook, RSVPs are shared with attendees' networks, further augmenting your promotional reach. This native purchasing is still in the beginning stages — EventBrite and Ticketmaster both announced partnerships with Facebook in 2018 — but it’s something to keep an eye on.
6. Social media advertising
Don't forget to include social media in your list of event promotion ideas. It’s easy to get ads up and running on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social platforms. If you have a budget, we recommend setting up a few small buys and testing it out. You can always run an ad or two, see how they perform, and then reevaluate and iterate. The main benefit is the ability to highly target your ads so you can find the perfect audience for your message.
Retargeting, or serving ads to visitors after they leave your page, has become a common tool in the digital marketing world. If someone visits your page, but doesn’t sign up, you know they're at least interested in your event, and there's a good chance of registration in the future. Remarketing is available via Google or Facebook, it's easy to set up, and it can prove to be a great ROI promotional tactic.
8. Nail the event page SEO
People will undoubtedly search for your event on Google. Don't miss out on any of this valuable traffic by fumbling your event page SEO. Make sure you have all the basics covered: a good URL, descriptive headings and content, and descriptive metadata, including page titles and meta descriptions. When you’re creating the copy for the page, keep keyword phrases in mind that are relevant to your event, industry and location.
9. Create a Facebook event page
Facebook event pages are easy to create and update with photos and videos. On Facebook, attendees can browse and find people they know who are also attending.
If you want to give your event some additional exposure, Boost it by adding some additional advertising dollars. You can optimize your ad along the way by tweaking the copy, images and selecting “optimize for event response.”
If you aren't familiar with creating a Facebook event page, check out this link which offers a quick how-to.
10. Create a group on LinkedIn
LinkedIn groups work well for promoting events and sharing content in the professional context. Your event might be the type of event attendees will be proud to share on LinkedIn, to connect and share the experience with peers in their industry. You can also create a closed group, and use it to share content and networking opportunities with a tighter group of people, like VIPs. This can be a great way to create exclusivity and motivate VIPs to get involved.
11. Reach out to thought leaders on Twitter
Twitter is a great platform to interact with thought leaders who might want to share your event. Speakers at your event might know or be friends with other influencers. If so, they might be willing to help promote their friend or colleagues’ speaking engagement. You can also use LinkedIn to privately message influencers about your event and pitch them directly.
12. Partner with your speakers and/or sponsors
Do any of your speakers have a podcast? Ask them to promote the event, or better yet, build it into your agreement or contract beforehand. Podcasts are a highly effective and intimate medium, and a speaker will be a trusted source of the promotion. It's also sure to reach your target audience.
Additionally, ask them to share the Facebook event page with their Facebook audiences. You’ve optimized a great event page — now is the time to bring more users to it. Ask them to also help promote the event on their social channels. Before you reach out to speakers and sponsors about promotion, write a quick elevator pitch (a quick descriptive paragraph) they can share with their networks.
13. Gamify the lead-up to the event
Contests and gamification are a tried-and-true way to boost registrations. You might consider running a content creation contest, asking users to create short videos relating to the content/topic of your event. This way, you’ll generate both new registrations and user-generated content to share on your social media and app at the same time.
14. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing, or creating a unique promo code for attendees, partners and speakers, incentivizes others to help out with your promotion. You can offer a discount or a fee for each new signup, and since each affiliate has a unique code, you'll be able to track results with ease.
15. Add a event link to staff email signatures
This simple marketing hack is a good way to spread awareness to your company’s immediate network.
16. Utilize push notifications
Once your attendees have your event app, take advantage of push notifications to speak to them directly. Remind them of any contests, promotions or referral programs you might have to make sure they share their excitement with their networks.
17. Capture all the data
Throughout every stage of your marketing effort, make sure you’re capturing as much data as possible. Your event app will help you tremendously in this area, with hard engagement data plus feedback from surveys and live-polling. This is the treasure trove where you’ll find everything that worked and everything that missed so you can improve for next year.
Are you maximizing your event tech as much as your marketing? We work with clients from all industries to design the very latest in event app technology — and offer the benefit of years of experience launching and promoting successful apps. For help with event promotion strategies or any event tech needs, contact us for a free demo.