A Crash Course on Event Marketing Strategies

Digital Marketing
A Crash Course on Event Marketing Strategies
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: May 17, 2024

Event management is an often-overlooked marketing aspect that leads to businesses losing a substantial number of leads and potential customers both online and offline. Some brands tend to brush off event marketing strategies as run-of-the-mill giveaways or sales.

However, people are social beings, and we all love a good shindig. Company-centric events can serve as excellent opportunities to bring out the socialite in your brand and let you promote your services and products in the meantime.

How can you generate long-term or immediate return on investment and build customer loyalty with event promotion strategies? We asked our marketing experts about the right way to promote your event and brand.

What Is Event Marketing?

Event marketing is the process of hosting in-person, hybrid, or online events to promote your brand, products, and services. It’s a type of experimental marketing that puts the emphasis on entertainment, education, or networking during these events.

Let’s address the obvious point: planning a successful event takes months of work and is no easy feat. Low sign-up rates usually directly translate to poor event performance, so creating a bulletproof event marketing strategy is imperative to get the most out of it.

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What Are Event Marketing Strategies?

Event marketing strategies entail your plans for promoting your products, services, or brand through the event. The strategy can be anything from a timeline-overview of your promotional activities to a granular breakdown of every attendee touchpoint.

Typically, these strategies will differ depending on the type of event you organize. As such, there are three main types of event marketing approaches, which enable you to craft specific tactics. These include:

  • In-person events
  • Hybrid events
  • Online events

Marketing for In-Person Events

As the name suggests, these events occur in person, providing an opportunity for direct interaction with your customers. Attendees also have the chance to engage with your products and with you firsthand. Examples of in-person events include:

  • Trade fairs
  • Anniversary celebrations
  • Product launch parties
  • Live conferences

Hybrid Event Marketing

Hybrid events can be attended both in-person and virtually. Even though they are more accessible to a wider audience, you also need to have the technical means to record the event or to provide quality streaming options for your online audience. Great examples of such hybrid events include:

  • Seminars
  • Fundraisers
  • Industry summits
  • Product launches

Event Marketing for Online Happenings

As the name suggests, these events take place online, and attendees from across the globe can access them only via a meeting link. While they can be easier to host than some in-person events, the know-how of setting up the technical background may require the expertise of a well-versed digital marketing agency. These events include:

  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Master classes
  • Deminars
  • Seminars

Event Marketing as a Part of Your Marketing Strategy

At their core, events are marketing tools, and they lend several opportunities to implement exciting and creative marketing ideas. They can help you maximize your marketing efforts, and they can also assist with:

  • Improving brand awareness before, during, and even after the event
  • Generating more prospects who may feel that they are a part of something larger
  • Promoting your services and products in a more subtle, but effective way
  • Sharing more information about your services and products, highlighting the research and expertise behind them
  • Building and nurturing relationships with industry partners through networking
  • Increasing client engagement and satisfaction
  • Learning more about your audience/clientele and gathering valuable customer feedback
  • Reaching a wider audience

Benefits of Event Marketing

Below, our marketing experts helped us compile a few benefits that organizing and hosting events can bring to your business.

Join a Growing Marketplace

The global event marketing industry is growing at a very respectable pace. Last year, the entire sector had a total market size of $812.4 billion, and experts forecast that the market will reach $1.24 trillion by 2030, with an average compound annual growth rate of 4.1% between 2024 and 2030.

Marketing Events Can Be Highly Profitable

According to the 2024 Marketdata Report from Gitnux, 48% of brands see a 300% to 500% return on investment from event marketing. Similarly, for B2B marketers, events are the second most effective content marketing approach, with around 67% stating they are profitable.

Event Marketing Improves Brand Perception

According to Visme, 74% of surveyed event attendees said they had a positive impression of a brand after an event. In most cases, this leads to attendees conducting further research into your brand, improving their chances of becoming customers.

Planning Your Event Marketing Strategies

The first step in forging a strong plan is to write it down. To lay down the foundation of a reliable event marketing strategy, you need to understand your audience, clearly know your objectives, and define a timeline for plans, promotions, and hosting the actual event.

Here’s a strategy to help you come up with your strategy.

Defining your KPIs and Objectives

Achieving your goals should be your main motivation as you don’t want to organize an event solely for the sake of it. Consider setting a mixture of achievable, realistic, required, and audacious goals. Assign a target key performance indicator (KPI) to all your objectives to help you measure your success.

For instance, you can set the goal of getting more than 50% of your attendance rate out of signups. Getting a high score in your after-event feedback survey is also a great objective. Or you may set your mind on increasing your list of prospects by 25% after the event.

Take a Look at Your Resources

Creating boundaries for the project helps you overshoot on promises. As such, take a closer look at your budget and try to determine the necessary resources not just for the event itself but for marketing costs too. On that note, it’s essential to look at the additional services you might need to pay for (streaming, for example).

Another essential part is assessing your event organization team, who will be working with you and what tasks they will handle. It’s imperative to ensure that your team members will have the time to finish their tasks, and possibly take on additional duties.

Research Your Audience

Every event marketing strategy is closely linked to the people who are most likely to attend. Research their time preferences, likes and dislikes, demographics, preferred social media channels, and find more information to help you market to them and simplify aspects of the decision-making process, such as opting for an event format.

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Define the Basics of the Event

To avoid confusion down the road, define the type and format of your event. Will it be an online seminar, an in-person conference, or a hybrid master class?

The type will also influence your location choice. Will you need to book a venue, or will you need an online events platform? Will you need speakers or event hosts? What about your marketing? Will you be able to automate your advertising campaigns, email strategies, and related content distribution? Will you have any guest speakers? Experts on relevant subjects?

Define a Timeline

Success in event marketing is all about planning ahead. Prepare a timeline with a comprehensive list that highlights everything that needs to go down prior to your event. Define the timeframe of your event-promotion activities and consider using project management methodologies if you need to promote recurring events.

At this point, you may also create a timeline for the event itself by creating a timetable of event-day activities, speaker/guest appearances, and more.

Mapping Out Touchpoints

Your leads should be constantly exposed to your event-related materials to ensure they convert. Map out the platforms and times they will hear from you, what they will hear, and in which format.

For example, they may get an email recommendation about the event three months in advance, and then, see an ad on social media about it a week later. After seeing the ad, they may hear an influencer talking about the event, and see another ad after that.

Eventually, if they open a landing page, and sign up for the event, they should get a confirmation email right after, and another one prior to the event with more granular details about it.

10 Ideas and Event Marketing Strategies

Now that you have a better idea of the prerequisites of forging a strategy, it’s time to put your knowledge into action. Our marketing pros have lined out several strategies that you can implement to use the information you’ve gathered during planning.

1. Design a Landing Page or Event Website

To promote your event and ensure attendance, you will need a main hub and registration platform. There will be site format differences depending on the type of event you’re organizing, but typically, the following should always be incorporated into the page:

  • Date and location
  • Compelling content explaining the event
  • Unique value proposition
  • The price
  • Event summary
  • Sign-up form
  • Clear CTA buttons
  • Speaker bios
  • Your support team’s contact info

Consider sending further details to attendees like maps, hotel recommendations, and pre-reads to keep them enticed and engaged.

2. Create Valuable Content

The best strategy is to fill out your event with valuable content that impresses your audience and influences them so much that they won’t be able to talk about anything else afterward. For instance, create an impressive list of speakers who know how to captivate your audience. Additionally, consider incorporating ice breakers, giveaway presents, and other memorable perks.

If you are hosting a hybrid or online event, ensure that your streaming will be flawless even under heavy load. Also, try to make your virtual event more engaging than a simple live stream. Consider incorporating virtual whiteboards, polls, cast videos, and Q&A sessions to keep your online audience engaged.

3. Promote with Video

Video is by far the most popular content form and using it to promote your event is an excellent approach. You can choose from several options, from animated formats to scripted records. Still, you will need to take care of production and post-production tasks such as:

  • Animation
  • Recording
  • Directing
  • Script writing
  • Editing

4. Promote Everywhere

No matter what event you host, you will want to promote it on every possible channel and include all your digital assets. The latter includes social posts, paid advertising, backings and banners, brand kits, and presentation designs.

Target audiences also tend to visit different digital platforms, so you need to cover all grounds, from Instagram and email to LinkedIn and YouTube. You should also consider including smart offline tactics like flyer handouts to leverage both your online strategies and traditional approaches covered.

For instance, you can use Google Ads and Facebook Ads to cover two campaigns, and you can also update your most relevant blog posts that boast the highest traffic with event-related promotions and updates to somewhat cover SEO as well.

5. Exploit the Traditional Route: Use Press Releases

Classic public relations should also be a part of your event marketing strategy. Media press releases with quality assets can still generate quite a buzz. Still, you don’t have to go overboard: a Google Doc outlining the event can also be effective. Link to your promotional sources and mention your sponsors. Send it out to influencers and news outlets who can then post about it on their platforms.

6. Use the Help of Influencers

People buy from people. Brands will always state that what they offer is the best, but people will usually choose what they want to represent. Influencers can be a valuable asset in helping your event gain more digital “street cred,” and they can potentially expand your reach.

7. Build a Sense of Urgency

Consider creating different pricing categories, such as early-bird tickets to promote early registration. Releasing tickets in stages can create a sense of urgency and people who are already considering visiting your event will probably opt for the cheapest ticket and will get it quickly.

8. Encourage Social Sharing

Promoting your event is essential to ensure attendance, and leveraging social media can be particularly effective in reaching your target audience. Crafting a well-designed social media campaign that encourages both followers and non-followers to register is crucial. Using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X allows you to engage with potential attendees and build excitement around your event.

One effective strategy for promoting your online event involves hosting competitions with free access as prizes for the winners. This approach not only incentivizes participation, but also creates a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) among your followers, prompting others to sign up to avoid missing the event in case they don't win. By generating anticipation and exclusivity through such giveaways, you can significantly boost registration numbers and increase overall engagement.

Additionally, incorporating a branded hashtag for your event can further amplify its visibility on social media platforms. Encouraging attendees to use this hashtag when posting about it can extend its reach and generate buzz before, during, and after the event.

To enhance the social media experience surrounding your event, consider implementing initiatives such as Instagram-worthy moments, surprise gifts for virtual attendees, and visually appealing catering for in-person events. Offering discounts for future events to those who actively engage with the event's hashtag online provides further incentive for attendees to promote your event across their social networks.

9. Prioritize Streaming

Recording and streaming your in-person events is a great tactic. It allows you to reach a wider audience while the recorded event can become a valuable marketing asset in the future. Choose the right equipment and hire a qualified team to take care of the audio and video to ensure high quality.

Also, consider using virtual event software to remain engaged with your virtual audience on a higher level. Such platforms enable you to create event-based landing pages and email automations, and come with engagement features such as emoji reactions, public and private chats, pools, breakout rooms, interactive virtual whiteboards, and CTA buttons to truly make your virtual audience feel like they’re actually there.

10. Gather Feedback and Measure Your Success

Measuring the success of the gathering will depend on the goals you’ve set. Tangible metrics like the number of registrations/attendees, number of replays, number of questions, and messages can help you get a better idea of how much water you’ve managed to stir up.

It’s paramount to listen to what attendees have to say. Focus on gathering as much feedback as you can and consider the following three approaches:

  • Ask people about their expectations prior to starting and consider minor tweaks to tailor to unaccounted preferences or needs if need be.
  • Ask questions and use quick polls during the event to get a better sense of what’s happening in the audience.
  • After the event, consider conducting a short survey to gather anonymous and honest feedback about your event.

Event Marketing Strategies: The Takeaways

The strategies we outlined above are just a few of the approaches you can consider. You can mix and match them and incorporate other valuable marketing campaigns to ensure your event is a success.

Managing the intricate marketing demands of an event can be a daunting task. If you lack the time or expertise to handle it all, consider reaching out to dedicated marketing experts, who are eager to guide your project in the right direction.

Event Marketing Strategies FAQs

Can event marketing be profitable?

Yes, such initiatives can turn a profit, but you must address it with a strategy that will maximize its potential and help measure its success. After defining your goals, event type, and target audience, you can start with devising a marketing plan that reaches your potential quests on all your channels. Also, consider streaming and recording the event to leverage it as a digital marketing asset in the future.

What is a good example of event marketing?

The best examples for event marketing would be seminars and product launches. Apple hosts popular hybrid marketing events to announce new product arrivals and pertaining info.

When is it okay to start event marketing?

Starting event marketing doesn't have to cost a lot. You can begin when event marketing aligns with your strategy. Start with online webinars or conferences and then move up to bigger events, like hybrid or in-person ones with thousands of people. By adding events to your marketing plan smartly, you can connect with your audience more and reach more people without spending too much.

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