The task of promoting events has evolved significantly in the last few years. Printed media and billboards remain key to driving awareness around certain types of events. But given the targeting powers of online channels, this could soon be about to change.
Social media, online display, paid search, retargeting – if these words mean nothing to your organisers, you definitely have some catching up to do.
The EventsCase platform is used to support marketing campaigns for companies big and small. If you’re wondering how to promote an event in today’s increasingly connected world, take a look at our channel-by-channel review.
If you want to go down the route of using social media to attract an audience, you’ll need to know your channels. Your main options are:
- Twitter generally favours a younger audience and is ideal for promoting B2C events, like music festivals and conventions. While Twitter can help you in the promotion phase, organisers tend to use it as an engagement channel when their event actually takes place.
- Facebook allows you to create a listing for your event and invite people to it. This creates a dedicated group for sharing updates and promoting extras, like VIP passes.
- As a B2B social network, Linkedin is highly popular with events that need to reach people in specific companies. It has a number of advertising options to facilitate this connection.
Each network has its own way of containing your virtual audience. Twitter allows you to create a dedicated account for your event. You can do the same on Linkedin through a group page, while Facebook gives you the added benefit of creating your own event listing.
The purpose of these groups is to build engagement with your existing audience (i.e. the people already attending or looking to attend) and encourage them to share and contribute to the discussion. Your posts will then get opened up to a whole new audience.
If you want to take things a step further, why not try their paid-ad options? Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin all have tools for pushing messages out to a specific audience. Most of these will see you paying for views, clicks and sales via pre-determined budget, meaning you only pay for the results you gain.
How to promote an event through online display
Retargeting via online display is probably one of the most effective ways of engaging attendees that have shown an interest in your event. Platforms like Google AdWords give you the chance to show your ads to people that have visited your website but failed to register for a pass. All you need to do is have Google Analytics running on your website.
Another option is to use an advertising network to reach audiences that may have attended similar events. This might be an idea if you’re looking to raise awareness around something new.
How to promote an event through paid search
Paid search advertising or ‘pay-per click’ (PPC) is another method of retargeting audiences that land on your site. Through this approach, your website will appear in the top results for people that Google certain words and phrases.
When promoting an event through PPC, be sure to use time-sensitive messaging (e.g. “ticket offer expires in three days – don’t miss out!”). Some events will even plug their campaigns into their ticket inventory to show the number of passes available. If someone knows there are only “3 tickets left”, they might be more inclined to book their place.
How to promote an event through the agenda
Your best promotional tool could be right on your doorstep. This is particularly the case for events with speakers, sponsors or attendees that carry a huge level of influence.
Any speaker with a good list of followers across their social media accounts should be asked to promote your event. These tactics are so valuable that events will include them in their speaker contracts. Others will contact influencers around their industry to promote their event in exchange for a free ticket. Alternatively, you can always ask for help from your sponsors and exhibitors.
How to promote an event the smart way
Regardless of how you raise awareness for your event, it’s wise to remember a few core principles. Our own advice is:
- Invest in channels and platforms that align with your audience.
- Use print media when it makes sense, but don’t forget their online equivalents.
- Get on board with ad formats that allow you to pay on performance (e.g clicks, sales)
- Inject data into your campaigns to target the people that really matter.