Even the most experienced event planners know that advertising and promoting an event is always challenging.
Even after you’ve planned a perfect event with the best venue and big-name talents, there’s no guarantee it will be a success if you don’t market the event appropriately.
The difficulty of advertising an event is not due to a lack of options. In fact, there are so many different ways to market your event: websites, email marketing, social media marketing, Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram Ads, SEO, and more.
On the other hand, the challenge often comes in not knowing where to start, and this is where this guide will help you.
In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about how to advertise an event and how to plan an actionable event marketing strategy.
Let us begin, however, by discussing the basic concept of event marketing and advertising.
Event Advertising and Promotion: Market Research
We’ve discussed that one of the key issues in advertising an event is the fact that we have too many options.
In today’s digital age, marketing isn’t as simple as spending our budget on one or two of the most favorite marketing channels. On the other hand, we shouldn’t also simply invest in as many channels as possible and waste our budget.
Instead, it’s crucial to choose the right channels that fit our target audience and plan coordinated, integrated efforts across these channels. Not only do we want to maximize our investments we should also avoid confusing our potential attendees with mixed messages across too many channels.
So, before planning how to advertise an event or even before planning an event, we should perform thorough market research and competitive analysis to:
- Identify whether there’ll be enough demand for the event. If there aren’t enough potential attendees, you shouldn’t organize the event.
- Identify who your target attendees are and gather as much information about them: demographics, behavior data, psychographics, and more
- Identify potential competitors (i.e. events that happen on the same day)
- Identify how you should attract this target audience
- Identify potential obstacles for your target attendees to book your event
In short, the better you understand your target market and your competition, the more effective your marketing strategy will be.
Actionable Tips to Advertise and Market Your Event
An important consideration when promoting an event is to start as early as possible. Timing is key in event planning and event marketing, and below we’ll explore some effective channels and tactics you can use to attract more attendees:
#1. Event Press Release
When promoting an event, the media including relevant influencers should be your friend. Writing and distributing an event press release is one of the most cost-effective methods to spread the word about your event to as many people as possible.
However, it’s crucial to make sure your press release is well-written and contains the right balance between being informative and being attractive.
The first impression does matter when it comes to an event press release. These journalists, webmasters, and influencers are busy people, and if your press release isn’t attractive within the first few sentences, they simply won’t read it. However, also make sure to keep the press release short (between 300 and 800 words) and it’s easy to find key information about the event.
#2. Effective Event Website
Even if you and your event already have prominent followers on social media networks, they are not sufficient replacements for a professional-looking, functional, and reliable website.
If you already have a website for your business as an event planner, then you can technically set up a basic landing page for the event with a contact form and probably an online reservation function. However, we’d recommend setting up a standalone event website for a more targeted approach.
With a dedicated website, you can invest in heavily targeted branding and SEO efforts for this event alone so you can target your potential attendees more effectively.
You should also consider integrating event registration platforms like Eventtia to make sure it’s as easy as possible for your potential attendees to book your event and purchase your ticket.
#3. Social Media Marketing
It is fairly obvious that you should market and advertise your event on social media.
The thing is, everybody is also doing it, so how can we make sure our event gets noticed amidst all the competing noises?
The key is to find the right balance between three different social media marketing options:
- Organic: building your followers by regularly posting your content. The most affordable (or free), but take the longest to generate results
- Paid: paid options offered by social media networks like Instagram Ads. Will guarantee fast and even instant results, but can be expensive.
- Influencer marketing: partnering with relevant influencers so they’ll promote your event to their followers.
By leveraging the three different options effectively according to your budget, you can effectively promote your event with social media.
#4. Email Marketing
Email remains a very effective channel for promoting your event with one of the highest ROIs.
Email marketing is especially powerful if you’ve run an event in the past and have collected the email addresses of previous attendees. Use email marketing to keep nurturing past attendees so they’ll visit your future events.
#5. Referral and affiliate programs
You can, for example, offer a group discount program so people will be more motivated to bring their friends since they’ll be able to get a cheaper price.
Also, consider starting an affiliate program so influencers and even attendees can help promote your event and earn commissions when their audience registers for your event.
Advertising an event can surely be challenging, but the secret to success is how well you understand your target audience so you can use the right channels and strategies to attract them.
One of the most common mistakes in marketing an event is to solely focus on key talents/speakers and the “features” of your event. Instead, focus on communicating the benefits and values they’ll get when they attend your event.