Before diving into different ideas and strategies, let’s first define the true meaning of event marketing. Events are valuable because they present an opportunity to have face-to-face time with prospects and customers. In-person meetings provide high value for sales and marketing teams versus virtual meetings or email. This is why many business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies make an investment in events.
In addition to event marketing and promotion, you may be wondering, “what is event analysis?” In simple terms, it’s the process of evaluating which events make the most sense for your business. It’s important to take the time to research which events line up with your specific goals before investing dollars, resources, and time.
An event also presents so many different elements, so it’s also okay if you’re asking, “what is event promotion?” The true event promotion definition can be summarizes with this one sentence. Leveraging the necessary channels and resources so your intended audience has the opportunity to learn more about the event and register. With that said, there are many more layers beyond the institutional promotion definition of events that are important to learn.
Before diving into the specific strategies of each different event type, it’s important to consider all of the event options available. Especially for sales and marketing teams within B2B businesses.
- Trade show
- Executive dinner
- Happy hour
- Breakfast reception
- Virtual conference
Among the list of options above, the most popular type of event is a trade show or conference. We will focus mostly on both of these types, although the strategies and promotions mentioned apply to all forms of events.
Event Promotion Strategies
After picking the event or events you’d like to attend, sponsor, or even host, it’s time to develop a strategy. Event promotion strategies are important because it’s the driving force behind getting the right people to your event. The earlier you and your team can develop a plan, the better! Here’s a high-level to-do list you can use for an effective strategy:
- Identify all possible event options that make the most sense for your team.
- Narrow down this list to your most important events based on the goals of your sales and marketing team, the audience that will be in attendance, and budget.
- Based on this refined list of high priority events, develop an event calendar that both teams (sales and marketing) can find and use.
- Develop a checklist of operational tasks (book hotel rooms, pick booth location, book flights, etc.) for each specific event.
- Determine who from your team will be traveling to each event and representing your company.
- Start promoting your event (the sooner the better).
- When the day of the event finally arrives, make sure each team member know his or her role and how to execute.
- Debrief as a team afterwards and come up with a list of key learnings, takeaways, and action items for going forward.
Need a few event promotion examples as a starting point for your own strategy? We have you covered!
How to promote an event online:
- Marketing emails to main subscriber list
- Email signature marketing
- Social media
- Website or blog
- Paid advertising
- Features in local or national publications
How to promote an event offline:
- Direct mail (gifts or hand-written notes)
- Office bulletin board (to stay aligned internally)
- Word-of-mouth from friends and family
- Announcements at similar events with the same target audience in attendance
When developing your event strategy, start with your main goals. What do you hope to achieve with this marketing activity? Set benchmarks to meet, whether it be a specific number added to your mailing list or an amount in sales. You can only judge the success of your event marketing if you can qualify the benchmarks you set in advance.
Event Promotions Company
Hiring an event promotions company is also an option if you feel that your team doesn’t have enough bandwidth or resources required to strategize, promote, and execute a successful event. Hiring an agency or dedicated team outside of your company has many benefits. It just comes down to your company’s budget and what you’re willing to spend versus execute yourself. If you have the budget and the event has the potential to influence your revenue goals, this option is highly recommended.
Not only can an outside source like this show you how to promote an event successfully, they most likely know the most effective event promotion tools to use and current trends. When considering who to work with, or if you have it narrowed down to a few different options, be sure to ask for event advertising examples from their past projects. An event promotions company can help you with any of the following:
Take the time needed to see which company lines up best with your event marketing ideas. Promote and publicize your posting to recruit as many companies as possible to submit a bid or send a proposal. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that event promotion captions have actually become a huge part of a modern day event strategy. Hiring a company can bring some help in this area, especially for Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook promotion.
Marketing Ideas for Events
When thinking through a list of marketing ideas for events, keep in mind that no idea is a bad idea. The more ways you can get the word out, the better! For example, let’s say you first compile of list of 193 creative marketing ideas to promote your event. The next step will be to prioritize this list based on what’s most realistic and easiest to execute. No idea is a bad idea, but some may be too expensive or take too much time. If you need help prioritizing this list, remember that the basic out of the box ideas for marketing events include:
- Website and blog
- Social media
- Email and email signature marketing
The more creative marketing campaign ideas a team can come up with to surround their event, the better chance that team has of achieving their registration goals. It comes down to standing out from the crowd, and meeting your audience where they spend their time. For some teams, that means local marketing ideas like radio announcements and billboards. For other teams, it means innovative promotional ideas like Instagram ads and LinkedIn sponsored posts. The possibilities are endless, but it’s important to choose creative promotional ideas based on what makes the most sense for your company and audience.
That being said, your list of marketing ideas for events doesn’t always have to be cutting edge. If your audience prefers more traditional channels, that’s okay! Fresh marketing ideas are nice, but if they don’t work on your audience, they’re worthless. The list of innovative digital marketing ideas also fluctuate every year, so don’t be fooled by the label “new” as a guarantee for success. Just take a look at last year’s list of innovative marketing ideas. 2017 was different than 2018, and 2018 was different from 2019. Each year will bring different options, but some of these new ideas may not work. Know what works best for your company and stick to it.
Creative Ways to Promote an Event on Social Media
There are many creative ways to promote an event on social media. Here is a list of our favorite channels to start with:
Of these most popular channels, Facebook has emerged as a favorite for local events. Here are a few Facebook event promotion examples that can serve as a source of inspiration for your own event.
Facebook event promotion ideas are great, but don’t spend all of your time and energy on just one social media channel. Distribute your promotion in a balanced approach across multiple channels. Here are a few other social media channels to consider aside from the main four mentioned above.
- Tik Tok
No matter which channel (or channels) you choose to use for promotion, make sure they line up with your goals. Also make sure you have data that shows which channels your target audience is in most. Social media is great for event promotion, when used the right way. However, it is not the only way to increase registrations and attendance.
College Event Ideas
If you’re looking for an audience to test new ideas and be ambassadors for your brand, college students at major universities should be considered. College event ideas that prove to be effective can easily translate to success for B2B and B2C companies. Guess where Facebook first originated? That’s right! Colleges and universities across the United States.
On the contrary, students may also be looking for event ideas for college organizations. Your business or company can help provide a few ideas for their group, fraternity or sorority, and sports team, all while they provide their own ideas for your audience. It’s a win-win!
This group of eighteen to twenty-two year olds is constantly thinking about how to get college students to attend events. Often times, it includes an incentive, reward, or some sort of offer. This tactic can be found in the most basic playbook on how to promote an event in college. However, it can also help with how to promote a college club. The point here is that a certain tactic or strategy can yield results across different types of college events, as well as events for your business. There are many resources that show creative publicity ideas for college events, so use them to your advantage when planning your own trade show, conference, or webinar. Word to the wise, though, traditional marketing in the school paper or on billboards doesn’t generally work with college students.