What is event marketing?
Event marketing begins with launching an event idea through to persuading attendees to invite their friends or colleagues and attracting a steady pipeline of leads through channels such as email marketing, blogging, and advertising.
B2B (business to business) event marketing means selling an event to other businesses in order to get them to attend, sponsor, or exhibit. The channels of advertising may be the same as selling to the wider public (such as social media, email marketing, or pay per click (PPC)) but the tone of voice and USPs may be different. For example, at a consumer event, the sales techniques will be activated towards personal interest and benefit. But for a business event, the rewards may need to be more tangible, such as helping a business to increase revenue, generate leads, or gain a competitive advantage.
How to write a marketing plan for an event: 13 handy tips
An event marketing strategy is all about raising awareness of your event. You want to direct potential attendees and previous attendees to the “awareness” stage of your marketing funnel, so that you can inform and advise them as they make the journey towards buying a ticket. For those who are already aware of your event, you’ll want to help move them towards the purchase and advocacy stages. Here are some of the best event marketing strategies to consider from beginning to end:
1. Early bird discounts
Once you’ve gone past the initial launch excitement for your event, you’ll need to engineer more reasons to encourage people to register (and register now rather than later). This is where you can utilise the “early bird discount.”
Early bird discounts work by staggering your ticket sales to go up in price the closer to the event it gets. It’s not uncommon to have more than one of these. The rest of your marketing activity should be geared towards building up interest and leads in the run-up to the expiry of your discounts, helping you to create spikes of ticket sales.
2. Pre-event page
Use blog posts to publicise this, fuel the rest of your pre-event marketing, and rally people around your idea to convince them of the need for your event. Blogs are also less salesy than an event landing page, so are a great way to attract some initial interest.
4. Social media
Getting on social media early is one of the best event marketing strategies, as it’s key to creating momentum for your event promotion. Social media can also help you to build a community and spread the mission that you’ve written about in your blog posts.
Don’t forget the huge range of social media platforms available to you now. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn will all remain important depending on what kind of event you run, but consider Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Medium, Reddit, and others, too. Find out more about how social media can fit into your event promotion timeline.
5. Partner outreach
Event marketing partnerships and sponsorships can be crucial to your event’s success, so you need to start reaching out to potential collaborators, complementary brands, and media partners early. That means before your event has officially launched. This way, they can help you spread the word from the very beginning.
6. Thought leadership and guest posts
Blogging on your site is important, but you need to reach new audiences beyond it in order to find new attendees. The best way to do this is through guest posting or creating pieces of thought leadership that others will be happy to share.
Again, what the specifics of this look like will heavily depend on your event. For conferences and B2B events, it’s relatively straightforward as you can create an industry report or offer a white paper that combines top tips from all of your speakers.
For consumer events, it might be less obvious. You could create interesting infographics, gifs, or other visual assets, write about breaking trends, or produce a series of YouTube videos or podcasts that capture their attention.
7. Paid promotion
Whether it’s paid social media advertising, Google Ads, or retargeting, now’s the time to put cash behind your campaign if you’re going to do it at all. (For getting the most out of your paid digital marketing, check out our guide .)
You can turn any of these options on and off at will. So you could concentrate your spend just a couple of weeks before each early bird offer, or your event launch, helping to reinforce and amplify your other marketing activities to enjoy maximum reach and impact.
Email is a crucial tool in your event promotion plan. With your event now ready to be launched, you should get your first major email blast out to your potential attendees, including those who pre-registered.
Eventbrite offers tools to help you send manual and automated emails to boost engagement with your community and communicate important reminders like how to find your venue or log into your virtual event.
9. Event press release
Gaining press coverage can help to amplify your event beyond your own network and can increase ticket sales. It will also help to build your future brand strategy, increase links to your website, and potentially boost traffic for future events, too.
- Copy the press release into the body of your email. Traditionally, press releases were sent as email attachments, but journalists today prefer to be able to read the release as part of the email. This saves them time and will increase your story’s visibility.
- Add an introduction line. Personalise the introduction for every journalist and their publication. This will make them more likely to scroll down and read your press release.
- List the basic details of your event. Keep things simple to help the journalist find the key information easily.
- Come up with a compelling hook. Find your unique story angle. For example, why is your event new, exciting, a first, or a novelty? Do you have an interesting backstory? Who is attending – anyone famous?
Kickstart your Event Planning Business’ Promotions
The world has changed drastically over the last 18 months. Do you remember going out to a grocery store without a mask? And going to weddings and crowded concerts probably seems like a far-fetched dream.
Let’s take business listings for example. Typically you’ll include generic details and contact information. A more tailored approach goes a step further with these Best Practices for Personalized Campaigns:
Kimp Tip: Choose an ad design that speaks to your target audience. Choosing the same imagery, color palette, content tone, or design style for ads related to event planning for weddings, conferences, and music shows won’t impress anyone.
2) Go big on social media marketing.
No business can afford to ignore the power of social media marketing. With over 4.2 billion social media users, you can bet on your customers being active users. When you advertise and promote your business on these platforms, you connect with your target audience directly.
But social media marketing is not just about posting your company or event’s information. Users tend to look for a story, a purpose to connect with you and become a part of your journey. And this requirement varies for each platform. The expectation from a Twitter account differs from that of an Instagram account.
So follow this blueprint for your social media marketing to get results:
Kimp Tip: Redesign your content to suit the target audience on each platform to improve your engagement rates. In order to do this, be sure to give your designers all the information you can about your audience, and where your designs will be placed.
3) Email marketing to the rescue
Excellent and customer-friendly event planning businesses like you already have a treasure box of clients. Chances are these clients have been a constant source of leads and repeat orders up till now. Yes, they may have paused bookings throughout the pandemic. But they can still help you.
Make the most of our existing client base and connections with creatively drafted, engaging email marketing campaigns. With physical events non-existent, email marketing campaigns help you reach people and persuade them to:
Best Practices for Email Marketing Campaigns:
Kimp Tip: A picture speaks a thousand words, and a video speaks a million. Ditch the text and incorporate stunning visuals with minimal text. Check out some email marketing templates and content ideas by Kimp here.
Whereas Hotels Tonight is looking for hotel photos, you could run an email campaign requesting pictures from events you’ve organized. Or pictures of a “dream event” a subscriber would love to have. The incentive? That a randomly selected winner will receive a perk or offer. And the win? You get yourself top of mind for your subscribers as they’re thinking about their next event.
Kimp Tip: When looking for marketing ideas for your brand, don’t just look to your direct competitors, and others in your niche. Check out what businesses in related industries are up to. Decor and entertainment companies, as well as event venues, are just a few options to consider. But with enough creativity you adapt ideas from almost any industry and tailor it to your audience to offer them something fresh!
4. Turn customers into ambassadors
Gen Z and millennial clients are increasingly turning to social media platforms to size up businesses they want to buy from. For businesses looking to turn leads into paying customers, this means that it is time to display your customers and their testimonials with pride here.
You can share customer testimonials via image posts, videos, audiograms, and so on. But, if you want to step up your social media marketing strategy, you can turn your customers into brand ambassadors.
You can share these features to your leads via Instagram Stories, Twitter posts and Facebook posts. And you take your promos offline as well via marketing posters and billboards to reach a local audience.
Kimp Tip: Create a customized hashtag to feature brand ambassadors with different design templates so that your followers and customers can easily spot these posts. Even when they are busy scrolling. Need help creating branded design templates? Try Kimp Graphics.
5) Plan Local Marketing Campaigns
It just makes sense to target the customers in your local region first so that you can secure clients wary of region-hopping in the pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, over 90% of online searches were regarding a local business and 70% of these searches resulted in a purchase.
As an event planning business, you must concentrate on offline marketing and online optimization to get the best results. Hybrid events with live-streaming have picked up steam through the pandemic. So your customers are more likely to expect both an offline and online presence from your brand.
One Event Management Platform
With one event management platform, it’ll be easier for you and your team to learn and use technology. Additionally, when all the data is collected and stored in one place using event management software, you’ll get better visibility into the event and your processes. Finally, having data all in one place makes it easy to make sense of your numbers and make decisions in the future.
In addition to traditional event marketing, there is more to be done when it comes to virtual events marketing. The silver lining of virtual events is that the barriers to entry with an in-person event are eliminated or lessened. Travel is nonexistent, and the cost is very often reduced. With these barriers gone, your virtual event has the potential to attract more attendees than your in-person event ever has. However, you need to make sure that you are marketing your event well so your potential attendees know that it is occurring. Social promotion is still key for these events and it’s important to work with sponsors and partners to expand your reach. As always, your registration website should be informative and should showcase your brand. Virtual event marketing takes the right technology for the job, so have a virtual event platform in place before you try to take on virtual or hybrid events. The Virtual Attendee Hub is one solution that gives you the ability to create a fully branded experience, virtually.
Event Marketing Is An Essential Part of Event Planning
Events can drive organizational success. Whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid, they empower connections and educate attendees. Event marketing is essential to persuade attendees and increase registrations. And, it’s made easier with event management software. Without promotion, no one would know that the event was happening. Through the use of event technology, promotion is easier than ever. As you plan your next event, take the time to outline an event marketing plan.
Looking for more resources to help you craft an effective event marketing strategy? Check out our eBook, The New Event Marketing Opportunity, to learn about how marketing for events has changed and how it will continue to change, best practices for event marketers in the new hybrid world, different marketing strategies for different types of events, and more!