67 Event Marketing Tricks for Event Professionals
Want to market your event like a marketing pro, bringing in your largest crowd yet? With social media, you can amplify your voice but don’t forget offline opportunities as well. Here are 67 ways you can improve your event attendee numbers for next to nothing, outside of your time.
Marketing has become less costly but harder to do, don’t ya think? It used to be so simple to market your event with flyers, phone calls, and ads. You threw money at it and got the word out. Today, people demand more for their attention. They want a relationship and want to get to know about your organization before committing. The one benefit event planners have in marketing is knowing that it’s often not a matter of money, but time.
Before you are off and running to market your event through all our brilliant suggestions, there is one thing you can do today to make you more successful in event marketing in the future. Drop everything you’re doing and develop relationships with influencers in your target industry. There is nothing more annoying (okay, maybe a few things) than someone you don’t know coming to you and telling you how much you’ll like their event, blog post, product, etc. and how you need to tell people about it.
Take the time to get to know them and develop a relationship before you make the suggestion. If you don’t have that kind of time, make sure there’s something in it for them. If you want them to talk about you, and they don’t know you, make sure there’s a true benefit to them. Maybe you let them try out your tech or give them a super deep discount, but if you’re going to ask a favor of a stranger, it better be worth their while. Rant over.
So how do you get people interested in and registered for your event? The options are (nearly) limitless. Here are a few to get you started. We’ll begin with digital marketing and end with offline tips.
51 Ways to Market Your Event on Social Media and Using Digital Marketing
The first type of marketing we’re going to cover is social media marketing. It’s largely free, but you should consider paying for a few social ads as well. They’re not expensive, can be targeted to your ideal attendee, and can often get you broader reach than your organic posts.
- Post several times a day to social media platforms that your ideal attendees are on. Get creative with your posts. Talk about the host city, fun activities, and other peripherals that will excite people. Posting the dates of your event, the name, and a link to your sign-up page won’t do that.
- Use image quotes from past attendees. Take a quote from an attendee and slap it up against an interesting background. Just make sure you have gotten their permission to use their quotes in marketing materials beforehand.Image via Social Media Examiner
- Do the same for your speakers and their favorite quotes or info.
- Always include ways to share your event socially with a quick click. This is especially important on your registration thank you page.
- Create an event page on Facebook. Share to it every day, ideally 2-3 times a day. Share event info and background prep work. Build anticipation.
- Share in online communities where your ideal attendees could be found.
- Ask industry influencers to share your event info with their network. But for the love of all things event-related, please, please, please establish relationships with these people before you ask for their help.
- Shanghai a hashtag. Look at the trending hashtags on Twitter. Use one in your post, even if it’s not associated with your event, but make it clever. A shanghai that is not clever will annoy those interested in the real hashtag. Also, never shanghai a hashtag you don’t know or one of very serious consequences, like a national tragedy. You could get yourself into a sticky situation.
- Use Facebook Pixels. This allows you to show ads to people who have already visited your website. You know they’re interested. Now you just need a commitment.
- Remarketing with Google. Same idea as above. If someone visits your site, they’ll see ads from you everywhere.
- Create a “movie trailer” about your event.
- Create a video based on last year’s footage and testimonials.
- Write blog posts about very specific content including “Why you should attend ____” and “What to bring to ______.” Cover it from a million creative angles.
- Post videos to YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook.
- Go Live on Facebook from your site walk through. This will excite potential attendees and they’ll look forward to the venue.
- Do the same thing on Live for the host city or area.
- Add event videos to your website, newsletter, in your blog articles, and across social media.
- Do a short video of clips from a past event for Instagram (if your audience is there). Just keep it under 15 seconds.
- Write guest posts on blogs your ideal attendees read.
- Use humor in your videos. This not only entertains people, they’ll often watch it more than once and share it.
- Create badges for attendees to add to their sites once they’ve registered.
- Personalize your emails. Don’t send the same email to someone who’s attended faithfully for a decade and to those who have never attended.
- Create a special email for people who have attended in the past but missed last year. Let them know they were missed and you want to see them return. Consider a discount late in the registration calendar.
- Always use technology to sort those who have registered and those who haven’t yet. You do not want to send a notification about an event they’ve already registered for. This will not only make them feel unimportant, they will worry their registration got lost, and then they’ll call.
- Get content from speakers.
- Interview speakers live when registration opens.
- Create teaser videos about topics your speakers will cover.
- Create digital marketing materials for your event for vendors and sponsors to share.
- Add an event registration pop-up to your website.
- Add info and a URL about your event to your email signature.
- If your event is a part of a non-profit cause, consider creating a Facebook profile picture frame. While you can’t advertise your event directly with it, you can bring more attention to your cause.
- Run a ticket contest on social media.
- If you have a long lead time before events, improve your SEO and target questions your ideal audience would ask and try to place for them. For instance, if someone asks how do I market my healthcare business and this is a major theme for your event, try to rank for it by creating content that is valued by people who are searching for that answer.
- Give your event a prominent spot on your website. Don’t make people hunt for it.
- Create a microsite for your event with the most up-to-date info out there.
- Create a chatbot on your site to answer questions. People often talk about their experiences with AI. The more they talk, the more marketing juice you get.
- Consider creating a social media event around your event. This could be organizing a flash mob or some other way to get noticed. This is best done when your event has a wide appeal. If you serve a small niche, getting everyone’s attention is not that valuable to you.
- Add Click to Tweet to your blog posts for easy sharing.
- Create a fun infographic about last year’s event or what you’re expecting for this year’s.
- Avoid the use of stock photos. Instead, use real people from last year’s event but make sure you have permission. If you do, consider tagging them in it.
- Follow everyone who registers for the event. (You should be asking for social media profiles during registration.) Create a list on Twitter and share their content periodically.
- Answer every post that mentions your event. Good or bad.
- Create a hashtag and make sure everyone knows it. But before you do, double check that there are no hidden meanings behind it or that it’s already being used by a group you don’t want to be affiliated with. Here’s some info on best practices.
- Add your event info and hashtag to each of your social media bios.
- Create an online community where people can connect before the event. Offer the community special perks like discounted tickets or referral incentives.
- Keep the community going afterward to help with marketing of next year’s event.
- Beg and plead with your speakers to at least stop by the community and add a little something.
- Create a contributor’s’ post featuring your session leaders such as 15 Industry Experts Predict Next Year’s Biggest Trends. This gives the audience a little preview of what they’ll learn at your event.
- Create a speaker’s page that features professional pictures and credentials. You’ve given much thought to your speaker selection, make sure your share it.
- Use powerful subject lines in all of your emails and make them as personalized as possible in your messaging.
- Use Twitter advanced search to find people interested in your niche or industry. Then connect with them.
16 Offline Marketing Solutions
Online or digital marketing isn’t the only way to market your event. Here are a few others that don’t require an internet connection.
- Direct mail. Don’t forget to send out registration reminder postcards to last year’s attendees.
- Direct mail for friends. When you’re sending out direct mail postcards give them a referral code discount for their friend. Events are more fun with a buddy.
- Offer industry influencers a discount or affiliate program.
- Give vendors attendee passes so they can share them with their best clients or throw in a few tickets for high-value sponsorship packages.
- Send event swag such as bags or tshirts upon registration, instead of when they get there. Registrants will not only get excited about their unexpected gift, they’ll become walking advertisements for your event.
- Ask speakers to talk up your event and share it with their audience early enough that people could make travel arrangements, if desired. Some speakers, like professional athletes or celebrities, have very serious followers and knowing that they will be the keynote at your event may encourage fans to attend even if they know little about it.
- Work with high-profile speakers to offer a private session or meet and greet with high-level sponsors or higher-level ticket purchasers.
- Create brand ambassadors from loyal past attendees. Allow them to “pay” for their tickets by performing required activities like referrals, etc.
- Create marketing materials for sponsors to make it easy for them to share info about your event.
- Look for local organizations that may be willing to make announcements to their members, congregation, or customers about your event. Depending on the size of the event, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau may also agree to circulate info for you.
- Make sure your marketing speaks to your ideal attendee. Entertain them, inspire them, and educate them. Solve their problem and let them know what they’ll get from attending your conference.
- Provide materials to justify the expense of attending to a boss.
- Set up and create a list of cost saving ideas for attendees to help justify the trip.
- Get your authors to sign books with your event info. This idea came from Neil Gaiman who covertly signed all copies of his American Gods book at JFK airport and then told his Facebook audience what he had done. This caused all sorts of fans to run for the Delta terminal and the bookstore. If you have authors presenting at your event, consider doing something like this. Use social media to promote it.
- Create a solid event description. Think about your ideal attendee and what would appeal to them. Then personalize your approach. If you have a few different demographics you appeal to, create different marketing materials that you will use on specific places where that demographic resides.
- Ensure your event branding is consistent. Share logos with those who will be marketing on your behalf, like industry influencers and affiliate relationships.
Marketing is hard these days because expectations have evolved. But it’s also less expensive than it has been in the past with all the options with social media. The strongest tool for improving your registration numbers is simply using good communication to build connections and solid relationships over time. Provide people with the information they need to make a good decision. Be a resource for them and you’re more likely to see their face at the event.
What would you add to this list?
Recommended Additional Resources About Event Marketing
The Future of Event Marketing [free ebook]
37 Ways to Spice Up Your Event Social Media
Neuromarketing – and How Event Planners Can Use It For Events
The Walking Dead, Event Hype, and 6 Killer Event Marketing Tactics
How To Drive Event Sales with Emotions
5 Unique Audience Segments for Hyper-Targeted Event Marketing
3 Steps to Escape the Trap of Reactive Event Marketing
4 Marketing Mistakes Event Planners Make
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