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Event Marketing: How to Successfully Promote an Event Marketing

By Heather Truettner on July 7th 2016

Event marketing can be a daunting task. It encompasses a wide variety of disciplines, so it requires a lot of work across multiple teams.

Promoting a large event can sometimes feel like you’re scaling Mount Everest on a unicycle, but with the right tools and strategy, you’ll be guaranteed success.

In this article, you’ll find some of the top event marketing strategies and tools you can use to create buzz around your industry event.

This framework is based on the promotion of our own inaugural Now You Know™ user conference last May.

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Pre-event marketing: know what you need to know.

Before you start promoting your event, it’s important to make sure you know what your goals are.

For some, it may be driving ticket sales. For others, it may be creating a buzz. For most, it will be both.

Great event marketing needs goals to be set in advance. Make sure they’re clear across every team involved in promoting the event.

The next thing you’ll want to think about it what you want to measure and how you’ll do so. The only way to know if your approach is working is to measure performance and make changes accordingly.

For Now You Know, we measured everything from click-through rates on emails to social media impressions, engagement, paid ad performance, and more.

We also set up a Dashboard in Brandwatch to monitor the general buzz around the event and tweaked our messaging based on the data.

measuring social media engagement around the event

Finally, you need to know who you are targeting in your promotion efforts. Aside from promoting the Now You Know Conference to our existing clients, we also wanted to invite future prospects and influencers.

Using Brandwatch Audiences, we were able to locate the right people to direct our social promotions to, especially our promoted tweets.

This way, we knew we had the exact group we were looking for and didn’t waste resources on the wrong audience.


Omnichannel event marketing

Once your goals and measurement tools are in place, it’s time to kick off your event marketing plan. The best way to do this is to have a multi-faceted approach.

This means promoting the event using various marketing disciplines:

Email Marketing: Develop your communications plan for emails well in advance. Different types of emails will call for different audiences.

Reminder emails to those already RSVP’d will not be pertinent. On the other hand, people you are still selling tickets to will require frequent updates to maintain buzz.

If you establish your email plan and messaging strategy ahead of time, you’ll be better set up for success in the long run.

Social Media: Make sure you set a dedicated hashtag for your event for all your social media promotion, checking first to ensure it’s not already in use.

Use engaging visuals, videos and animations to draw attention to your tweets promoting the event. Be sure to pin your event tweets as well.

Brandwatch used social to highlight speakers on the agenda in order to help drive ticket sales and amplify buzz around the event.

You can also take advantage of promoted tweets and paid ads to extend your reach and impressions footprint on social.announcing speakers on twitter to promote the event

PR: It’s easy to get too focused on your digital promotion that you forget time-tested traditional methods, like PR.

Leverage your PR team to drive awareness to your event via media alerts and event listings in various business journals and newsletters.

Website: A compelling website is a crucial component of event marketing.

In fact, it should be the home base for all related information. Whether you host it on your existing website or build something new, the goal should still be the same.

This should be where you’re driving all your promotional work, so make sure your event site includes all the necessary information to drive ticket purchases.

This includes, but is not limited to, detailed agenda, speakers, hotel and transport information and all other activities. Don’t forget your social share buttons to help spread the buzz far and wide.


Leverage your existing marketing activities

It’s important to not forget about leveraging your existing marketing activities to promote your event.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel here – what is important is that you work to align your activities to aid in promotion.

  • Add slides or event information to webinars. This way, you’re guaranteed a relevant audience who will likely be interested in other learning activities your company offers
  • If you keep a blog, cater a few posts to help promote the event. Brandwatch did this by interviewing a handful of speakers to spotlight their involvement in the Now You Know conference
  • If you’re involved in, or attending other events during your promotion period, share information about your own event and encourage people to get involved. Allow for sneak peeks of the agenda to help create a buzz
  • If your company manages a help desk or live chat, you can take advantage of this client-facing space to highlight your event. Brandwatch uses Intercom, which allowed us to design a pop-up promoting the event to users as they logged into the Brandwatch Platformlive chat can help event promotion
  • If you send out a regular newsletter, be sure to highlight your event as often as possible
  • Ask your partners to help promote your event. Brandwatch had the help of our certified partners, Twitter, Hootsuite, Conversocial and Spredfast, who all helped promote the Now You Know conference on their social media and through their email listsimage08
  • Have an email signature? Create a custom banner for the bottom of the email signatures for you and your staff to aid in the promotion of the eventimage00

Promotion during the event

The big day is here and your event marketing has worked – you’ve got a venue full of eager attendees, but your work doesn’t stop here.

It’s crucial you continue promoting the event throughout its duration if you want to maintain buzz.

Keep it live, keep it relevant

For as many people you have attending your event, you have just as many who likely couldn’t make it but are still interested, and it’s important to keep them engaged. It’s likely if you engage them now, they’ll be more inclined to attend next time.

There are a number of ways to do this.

  • Live tweet: Have community managers dedicated to tweeting the goings on of the event on a continual basis. They should act as the eyes and ears on the ground and report back using social media. Use pictures and videos of the event to amplify your presence even further and engage your audience by encouraging them to share on their social channels using the dedicated hashtag. At the Now You Know conference, we held a Twitter conference awarding the top tweeters at the event with tweeting the event is a good event marketing strategy
  • Live blog: You can go beyond live-tweeting with the added element of a live blog. Brandwatch had a dedicated writer sitting in the main sessions to keep an updated blog on important takeaways worth sharing with a wider audience. Not only did this help keep the event relevant on the day, but it can be a powerful promotional tool for the next event.image10
  • Live stream: Take it another step further and live stream the most compelling (or all) content. Give people who couldn’t attend the chance to be involved and take away valuable insights. They’ll remember this experience when thinking about attending the next conference. Use that to your advantage.image07

Post-event marketing

The event might be over but your work isn’t done, yet. It’s important to take all of your promotional efforts and close out the event in a way that can be used for future events.

You’ve likely collected a metric ton of photos, videos, feedback, testimonials and more during your event. These are all valuable elements you can compile into a promotional tool for your next event.

Be sure to take stock of what you have and find ways to market it.

post-event marketing video

For Brandwatch, we took video testimonials and had a film crew, which allowed us to create a compelling video that we’ll be able to use for our next conference.

We’ve also been able to collate relevant tweets and blog comments that can be used for future testimonials. Don’t dismiss what you have in your arsenal, take stock of what you have and use it to help you with your future endeavors.

Promoting a large event is a hefty task, crossing multiple disciplines and requiring a good amount of foresight and strategic thinking.

But if you follow the steps above, you’ll be quite a few leaps closer to a hugely successful event.

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