Even the most perfectly planned event without any attendees is a more or less a complete failure. As an event planner, it doesn’t matter how much work you put into the event itself if you don’t invest in a solid event marketing strategy. Without an event marketing strategy, it will be next to impossible to hit important event goals like attendance, ticket sales, and fundraising totals.
At Accelevents, we understand how important it is to get all the details right so we’ve created this guide to event marketing strategy to get you and your event headed in the right direction!
What is Event Marketing?
Event marketing is exactly what it sounds like: it is marketing an event. Simply put, it is letting people know the details of your event (the where and the when) but also introducing them to the event brand, messaging, and purpose or aim of the event.
One of the most important things you can do for any successful event is to create buzz. Make people want to attend your event!
Putting an event marketing strategy in place is the best opportunity to make sure that all marketing and promotion efforts are pointing in the same direction and get your target audience as excited as possible.
Event Marketing Strategy: The Essentials
An event marketing strategy should be in place (or at least in the works) before you even finalize the details of your event. By starting early, you can maximize your marketing tactics and leverage your event management team to spread the word.
Determine your Theme and Audience
Before you can begin a marketing campaign, you need to determine how the event will take shape so you can figure out who your audience is going to be.
By determining your event theme, you can answer a bunch of other questions that will come up. Knowing the type of event you are hosting and the event theme, you can then narrow down the venue, find appropriate catering options, and decide on event entertainment.
Sometimes the audience is obvious. A school fundraiser, for example, is going to be aimed at the children attending the school, their parents, and possibly the neighborhood or community that supports the school. On the other hand, a charity golf tournament or a virtual event like conference or webinar, may have a wider target audience and require a different type of campaign.
Once you know the details of your event and who you will be marketing to, you can begin rolling out your marketing strategy.
Create an Event Website
And in practical terms, an event website gives you a place to direct traffic. Social media promotions, ticket giveaways, or event inquiries all need a place to land.
Make sure that you include images and videos to create an interesting and engaging site. The longer you can keep visitors on the page, the more likely they are to purchase tickets or make a donation.
If web design isn’t your thing, and you don’t have room in your marketing budget to hire event marketers or a design team, you can look for an event ticketing app like Accelevents that includes a branded design feature.
Spread the Word Through Social Channels
When it comes to creating a buzz and spreading the news of your event, social media marketing will be one of the most valuable tools at your disposal.
Traditional marketing channels, like print advertising or radio spots, remain effective, particularly for community-based events or conferences and trade shows that draw from a specific industry. But, when it comes to reaching the largest amount of people possible, as quickly as possible, social media is where it’s at!
Create a Facebook event page to act as your anchor on that platform. Use this space to generate interest and sales. Event promotion doesn’t have to be complicated. Tell people the what, when, and where of your event and then let them see who you are. This space can be used to share images, videos, and updates with your audience.
Facebook can be used to create an ad campaign that can be tailored to suit your target audience. If you know, for example, that you want to attract everyone under 40 who has a particular interest and lives in a particular area, you can create an ad that will be seen only by them. By targeting ads directly at the people most likely to be interested in your event, you can increase your marketing ROI. Additionally, you can use a Facebook pixel to track behavior at different stages of the purchase process, allowing you to fully understand where you may be losing people and enabling you to fix the problem while streamlining the process. The Facebook pixel also allows you to retarget your ads to people who have visited your event website or Facebook page. Sometimes people want to buy tickets but they can’t buy them YET. A retargeted ad will keep you top of mind!
Don’t limit your efforts to Facebook however, Instagram can be a great tool to boost engagement and generate excitement. Share short video teasers and images of your event plan coming together. Make people curious. If this is an annual event, share images from the last one. Let this serve as social proof that you’re serious when you say your event is a good time!
Twitter can be used to show off your unparalleled wit and sense of humor. Again, tease your event. Be cryptic in your tweets while linking to your event page. Make people want to find out more.
There are many other tricks you can use for event promotion on social media and the best ones are covered in other places on this list!
Reach Out to Influencers
Social media influencers have a lot of, well, influence. In recent years, influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways to reach an audience.
Look for influencers that fit your demographics in terms of both age/interest and location and have a large number of followers. Offer them free tickets to the event in exchange for creating or sharing a post about it. It is that simple.
Sponsorships are not only a good way to make sure you have enough revenue to pull off the best event possible, but they are also a good way to attract an audience.
Partnering with local businesses or industry leaders is a win for everyone. For those hosting an event, an established business can lend credibility to the marketing campaign and legitimize the event. For the event sponsors, this is an opportunity to show a presence in the community and get their name and logo out there with relatively little investment.
Attracting sponsors to your event can create another marketing channel. One of the primary objectives of promoting your event will be to reach as many people as possible. It is unlikely that a sponsor will attach their name to your event without sharing that information with their own audience. This could give you access to people you may have missed on your own.
Create a Hashtag
Creating a clever event hashtag will give your target audience and attendees something to connect with across all social media platforms. The more people post about your event using the hashtag, the more likely you are to see an increase in ticket sales.
Hashtags can also enable the sharing of user-generated content. Attendees will be able to share images and videos from the event itself, providing fodder for next year’s event and social media strategy.
Create Ticket Tiers
Develop a ticket pricing strategy that includes tiered ticket prices. Begin by offering early bird tickets at a lower price for a set period of time. Next, offer general admission tickets at a “regular” price. Finally, offer last-minute or at the door tickets for slightly more than general admission price.
By listing all of these prices on your event page, you are encouraging people to buy early to get a price break! And trust us, this method works!
Another option here is creating general admission and VIP ticket tiers. Having a limited VIP package available creates a special air of exclusivity to your event. And who doesn’t want to be part of an exclusive event?
When it comes to your ticket strategy this sort of perceived value leads to up-sells during ticket purcahse but also makes people feel like they’re getting a deal with the more affordable ticket types.
Leverage Email Marketing
Marketers know the value of a good email campaign. Use the database you built the last time you hosted this event, or reach out to people who have preregistered to attend. You can even run a promotion to capture email addresses on your event website.
Use your email database to alert your audience to the event before you officially launch your campaign, or to tease the event and create additional buzz. Use email to share special promotion codes and share the full event details.
It is also a good idea to send email reminders to registered attendees before the event in case they have forgotten — which, believe it or not, does happen, particularly to people who have purchased tickets well in advance.
Make Things Easy
One of the best things you can do to facilitate your event marketing strategy is to make things as easy as possible for your audience. The easier it is to purchase tickets or register online, the more likely they are to do it. AND, the easier you make it to share your content, again, the more likely your audience will be to do so.
Accelevents will not only help facilitate ticket sales, but it can also improve the online registration process, integrate with your social media channels and email management software, help you create a branded event website, and streamline event check-in.
For people hosting a fundraiser, Accelevents can help boost fundraising totals by allowing people to donate remotely. The text to give feature allows people to send a donation from anywhere in the world or bid in an online auction without having to be present at the event itself!
Offering this level of convenience is sure to increase your final fundraising totals!
An event marketing strategy must be in place from the early planning stages. These tips listed here are can set you up for planning a successful event. Don’t limit yourself and get creative. Think hard about what your audience would like to see and deliver it to them!