As much as you’d like to hope that registration for your event will spread organically through word-of-mouth, it doesn’t often happen that way.
Even the best events still need event promotion strategies to get the word out about them.
Creating an event promotion strategy is crucial for creating a successful event. We’ve listed our 12 best techniques to drive attendance and registration for your next event so that you can attract the right audience and grow your business.
What is an Event Promotion Strategy?
An event promotion strategy is a comprehensive game plan aimed at creating maximum exposure for your event and driving registration.
Techniques for getting the word out include email campaigns, paid ads, organic SEO, cross-promotions, and more.
Event Promotion Strategy # 1) Targeting Customers and Businesses Who Have Purchased Your Services or Attended Your Events in the Past
Also known as remarketing, this strategy re-engages past and current customers based on their previous purchases and event attendance.
Using a CRM, you can filter through customers’ information to create a targeted email list of people who are likely to attend your next event. Use your existing customers’ emails as the main starting point for a new email marketing campaign. We have more on that in step #5.
Event Promotion Strategy #2) Paid Retargeting Campaigns For Traffic and Lookalike Audiences That Visit Your Social Media and Web Pages
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google allow for retargeting ads. After a visitor leaves your website, they will see a paid ad for your event in their social media newsfeed the next time they login, for example.
Lookalike audiences, also known as similar audiences, is a way to show ads to people who share similar browsing patterns with your existing customers. This method allows you to cast a wider net to show your ads to people who are likely to be interested in your event.
Paid Ads Marketing Strategies For Events
Event Promotion Strategy #3) Display Ads and Video Ads To Show Off Flashy Visuals
Sometimes Google AdWords text-only ads aren’t enough to entice your customers. You need a way to show them your stunning graphic designs for a more immediate appeal.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube allow marketers to show targeted visual ads, such as graphics and videos, to potential customers in their social media news feeds or before and during YouTube videos.
These ads can be set up to be triggered by specific search results, setting up a target demographic, showing only to a specific location, or to show to people who follow your competitor’s pages.
Email Marketing Strategies
Event Promotion Strategy #4) Running Campaigns That Capture Email Addresses
There are many ways to generate leads online to grow your email list. One of the most popular is creating a landing page that offers a free download in exchange for an email.
Create a Google ad that directs to your landing page. Once your visitor is there, all they need to do is enter their email address to download your free guide, white paper, etc. From here you can add their email to your drip campaign.
Event Promotion Strategy #5) Segmentation and Automated Email Communication To Keep Interested Customers Engaged
Improve your automated email campaign’s click-through rates by organizing, or segmenting, your large email list into smaller, more targeted groupings of emails.
Instead of blasting your event promotion emails blindly to all past customers, sort through your list by demographic, specific location, past purchases, etc.
This helps you whittle down to a segmented list of people who are the most likely to attend your event. It ensures a higher click-through rate and reduces the amount of people who unsubscribe.
Social Media Strategies
Event Promotion Strategy #6) Giveaways
People are highly willing to promote your event for free if there’s a chance that they can win a freebie. Referral contests and hashtag contests are among the most popular ways to spread the word about your event.
Give away prizes to participants that refer the most people or run a social media photo contest and announce the winner who has the most likes or comments.
These contests are also a great way to measure engagement for post-event reporting.
Event Promotion Strategy #7) Videos and Audio Highlights From Last Year’s Event
Repurpose your past video footage from last year’s event to create a new highlight reel that can be easily shared and viewed across online channels.
Include this pre-event promotional video in your email campaigns, on your social media pages, and your website. It’s the easiest way for new participants to get a feel for your event before they even read about it.
Be sure to include previous speakers, customer reviews, and photos in your video, and try to keep it short so it’s easy to watch all the way through.
Search Engine Optimization (Event Website, Aggregators, and Directories)
Event Promotion Strategy #8) Is Your Event Website Setup for Optimal UX, Target Keywords, and Conversions?
Having your event show up in Google’s search results is crucial. Conversion rates are shown to be highest for websites that are in the top three search results.
Work with an SEO expert who can help you pick tactical keywords, the words people are searching for online that will bring them to your website.
Consider setting up a domain name using this keyword that redirects to your website to increase your chances of landing higher up in Google’s search results.
Once visitors are on your website, give them an easy user-experience, with clear calls-to-action to sign up for your event.
Event Promotion Strategy #9) Optimized Content Such As Videos, Guides, and Blogs
Once you’ve determined your tactical keywords, begin writing content. This could include blogs or downloadable PDF guides that use keywords as your H1 header to attract potential customers searching on Google.
YouTube is the world’s second most used search engine after Google, so also consider creating video content using these keywords to increase exposure for your event.
Event Promotion Strategy #10) Making Sure Your Event Is Listed in Offsite Content, Aggregators, and Directories
Aggregators and directories are referral websites that list and link to other websites, usually related to specific themes.
For example, if you’re hosting an event in Chicago, you could go to Chicago Planner Magazine’s directory to search for venues and vendor information.
Use Google to search for directories related to your event, and then contact the website to put your event’s information in their list. Some websites do this free of charge, where others require payment to be added.
Aggregator websites do this automatically, using web crawlers to gather your website’s data to populate their lists.
Use Partnerships with Sponsors, Speakers, and Vendors To Leverage Your Potential Reach
Event Promotion Strategy #11) Ask Your Partners to Promote Your Event and Provide Them With Dates and Content To Make It Easy For Them
Cross-promotion is a win-win for both parties involved. Encourage promoters to post content mentioning your event or website. Then share that content in your social media channels.
Your promoter will appreciate the shout out and your event’s messaging will reach a broader audience that is likely to be interested in your event.
Event Promotion Strategy #12) Target Keynote Speakers Who Are Influencers For Your Audience
Find keynote speakers who are widely influential and have a large social media influence. Your event’s Facebook page might only have a few thousands likes, but your speaker’s page has 100,000 likes. Find ways to cross-promote with your speaker to gain access to their huge following.
It only takes one superstar to promote your event to thousands of people in an instant by sharing your tagged social media post.
Looking for more information on planning a successful event? Check out our guide 2020’s Unforeseen MVP is the Virtual Event Planner.
Ready to test your event promotion strategy?
Every great event promotion strategy needs a great digital event platform. To go beyond the virtual event, try a free SpotMe demo.