Are you planning a big event? In addition to arranging the actual event, it’s also essential to have a proper event marketing strategy. A low attendance rate is every event marketer’s nightmare. To avoid this happening and guarantee a sell-out event, it’s important to develop an event marketing strategy that creates hype and drives conversions.
Getting Started: Understand Your Audience & Select Your Channels
It would be fantastic if there was one simple answer about “how to effectively market your event”. Unfortunately, no two events are the same and each requires a unique approach. When planning your marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your audience and consider other tactical factors.
Do you want to attract a specific, targeted or more general audience? Where does your ideal audience spend time online? What’s your marketing budget? How you answer these questions will influence your choice in marketing channels.
Another great way to select your event marketing channels is to look at past event data on Google Analytics (or another analytics platform). What channels were effective for your last event? Or what channels are currently driving conversions (tickets or otherwise)?
Stage 1: Pre-Event (T -4 Months)
An event page should be an essential part of any initial marketing strategy. It helps provide essential information (don’t worry the details don’t need to be finalised prior to creating the page!). It also provides a place to capture early leads and drive interest.
It’s also important to start creating hype on social media. Your social media platform will largely depend on the type of event you run and your audience. For example, a business networking event will have better results on LinkedIn while a food festival might have better results on Facebook or Instagram.
Social media platforms help you to share the word about your event and encourage registration with early bird discounts. Remember, to create a special event hashtag for organic reach.
Stage 2: Event Launch (T -3 months)
Now that your event marketing foundation has been established, it’s time to officially release tickets. Make this announcement via e-mail to anyone who has pre-registered or may already be on your mailing list. You should also make the announcement on social media and even consider more traditional press releases.
It’s also time to connect with your partners so that they can help you promote the event. Tracking links can be helpful for monitoring their progress and conversion rates.
Stage 3: Day-to-day (T -3 to 2 weeks)
Over the next few months, your job is to continue to build hype about your event. Content should focus on the benefits of attending such as unique speakers, networking opportunities, etc. A unique angle may be to have influencers or guest speakers create blogs/social media posts that promote the event.
You may also want to consider reaching out to your audience with more tailored targeted e-mails. As the event gets closer, content should stress the urgency of buying tickets now before it’s too late.
Stage 4: Last Call (T -2 weeks)
With the event quickly approaching, it’s time to for a last call. Content, such as e-mails and blog/social media posts, should become more sales-focused with direct calls to action. This is your chance to convince anyone still on the fence to purchase tickets.
It is also recommended to harness the power of word-of-mouth through attendee referrals. People with tickets for your event already understand it’s benefits and can be a powerful way to convince others to attend. To encourage their participation, offer incentives such as V.I.P status or even referral fees.