March 7, 2022

15 event marketing strategies and why they’re effective

In this guide, we’ll walk you through 15 event marketing strategies you can use to make your next event a success.
Optimizely Team

By 2028, the global event industry is projected to generate almost $1.5 billion in revenue, rising at a compound annual growth rate of 23%.   

That’s some pretty serious cheese, no matter how you cut it. And it explains why 83% of brands say event marketing consistently increases their sales.  

So, if you’ve decided to add event marketing to your brand’s arsenal, here's how you can have a solid strategy and integrated campaigns in place. 

Before we get started though, let’s go over the basics:  

What’s an event marketing strategy? 

Event marketing is the planning, organizing, and execution of an in-person or virtual event to reach a target audience, provide value to them, and achieve your business goal(s)—which could be to promote a brand, product, or service.  

Common event marketing goals include:  

  • Increasing attendance 
  • Reaching a new audience  
  • Boosting sales or revenue  
  • Improving brand awareness 
  • Increasing brand engagement  
  • Generating leads  
  • Providing value to existing customers 

Why do you need an event marketing strategy?

Without a strategy, not only is it unlikely that you’ll achieve your goals in the first place, but it also becomes difficult to measure success at all. You need to set goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your event.   

Here are some useful KPIs to measure the success of your next event: 

  • Registrations 
  • Actual attendance or event check-ins 
  • Sales or registrations by ticket type  
  • Sales or registrations by marketing source 
  • Sponsorship dollars attracted 
  • Attendee geography  
  • Website conversion rate 
  • Email conversion rate 
  • Total revenue generated 
  • Number of new vs returning event attendees (if it’s a repeat event)  
  • Content engagement  
  • Social media engagement  
  • Speaker engagement 
  • Session engagement and/or attendance 
  • Number of leads acquired 
  • Net promoter score (found by sending a survey that asks how likely the attendee would be to recommend your event to a friend) 

15 event marketing strategies that work

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dig into some specific strategies you can use to meet your goals for your next event. 

1. Partner with influential guest speakers

Nearly 70% of people attend events because of the presence of high-quality speakers, hoping to learn something from them and become inspired to do more in their careers.  

A good example of this comes from the Forbes Under 30 Summit, which started when Forbes launched its signature 30 Under 30 list ten years ago. The summit has now become an annual event celebrating the power of young people coming together and solving some of the world’s trickiest problems.  

And while you may not be able to attract the level of speakers shown above, it’s all about finding speakers who are relevant to and influential with your audience. 

2. Get influencers to promote your event

Partnering with influential guest speakers can dramatically increase your reach.   

Take the example of the Happy Mom Summit above — a virtual event hosted by JoAnn Chron, founder of No Guilt Mom. As you can see, she’s partnered with over 20 different speakers for the summit, which spans an entire week.  

Each of these speakers has their own unique audience. If someone subscribes to one of the speaker’s email lists, for example, the summit has just reached a new audience. 

3. Livestream in-person events (and make the recording available)

Over 40% of marketers believe that live events are their number one marketing channel. And you can get even more mileage out of a live, in-person event by simultaneously streaming it online.  

Plus, you can record the livestream and make the videos available for attendees to re-watch or use as promotional material for future events. 

4. Promote the event using owned media channels

Content distribution (Which is event distribution, in this case) can be divided into four main channels — owned, earned, shared, and paid.  

Here’s a quick recap of what each one includes:   

  • Owned media – Channels that your company owns, like your blog, website, email list, and so on.  
  • Earned media – Unpaid mentions by influencers, like those guest speakers reaching out to their audience on your behalf.  
  • Shared media – Social media channels and other online communities. Examples include user-generated content, product reviews, shares, retweets, and more.  
  • Paid media – Paid advertising for content promotion.  

One way you can optimize your owned media channels is by sprinkling lots of promotions, banners, and CTAs throughout your website, email lists, and social media pages. 

5. Use countdowns to create buzz

Creating buzz for an event is all about building awareness and excitement. One of the best ways to do this is with a countdown that’s shared across social media channels, blog posts, email announcements, and more.  

Not only does this give you something to post about each day, but it’s also a good way to entice holdouts to register. 

6. Run event promo ads on social media

According to Adweek, only 2-6% of your Facebook followers will see posts you make on your event page. So even if you’ve amassed a sizable following on the platform, your organic posts aren’t going to get you very far.  

Ads allow you to reach a much wider audience while still targeting people who are most likely to be interested in your event.  

No matter which strategy you end up with, here are some tips to help you create an attention-grabbing ad on social media:  

  • Include an eye-catching image or video 
  • Make sure the text in the post is short and to the point 
  • Make sure the headline is even shorter  
  • Include a direct call-to-action (“Buy Tickets”) 
  • Use an accurate link description (“Click here to buy tickets”) 

7. Make it easily accessible 

During the promotion, you need to make your event easily accessible. Signing up, registering, finding more information — all of this needs to be placed right in front of potential attendees.  

Make information readily available on your website, send direct emails to subscribers, post frequently on social media with links to sign up, and more. 

8. Actively encourage attendees to share before, during, and after the event

90% of consumers say user-generated content (UGC) holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails and even search engine results.  

Encouraging attendees to share their experiences before, during, and after the event ensures present and future success.  

One of the best ways to achieve high levels of UGC is by creating event hashtags and placing them prominently on all channels. Then, encourage your website visitors and event attendees to use the hashtag as often as possible. 

9. Create a dedicated landing page

There are two main types of event landing pages: 

  1. Event registration landing pages, where visitors sign up for an event or buy tickets. 
  2. Lead generation landing pages, where visitors can ask to receive more details via email.  

Here are some tips to make sure your landing page gets the job done:  

  • Include product images or other eye-catching visuals.  
  • Focus on a single conversion goal. Like registering for the event, buying a ticket, entering an email address, etc. 
  • Create separate landing pages to target different audiences. 
  • Build excitement by including a video from a previous event, a list of speakers, and more. 
  • Include all the important details. 
  • Make it easy to take action with a prominent CTA. 

10. Run an email marketing campaign 

Over 75% of event creators say email marketing is their most effective strategy, with 45% of event ticket sales coming directly from emails.  

This makes sense if you think about it. Your email list is probably full of your most loyal and raving fans — the ideal audience for your upcoming event. 

11. Use a marketing calendar to stay on track

Managing an event marketing campaign is enough to make even the most organized person feel frazzled. Using a spreadsheet can be overwhelming.  

A marketing calendar, on the other hand, will help streamline task workflows and keep everyone on the same page.  

Go for a calendar that provides a single, unified view for teams to seamlessly collaborate and pivot when priorities, deadlines, or schedules change. 

 12. Communicate the benefits instead of the features

Communicate the benefits of attending the event instead of the features. Using benefit-focused messaging allows you to communicate exactly how your event will help your audience.  

What part of their daily life will be improved by attending? Will they make new connections? Learn a new skill? Get the inside scoop on industry trends.  

Also, instead of just listing the guest speakers (which is a feature), explain why the guest speakers matter to attendees.  

13. Map out the attendee journey

Another good strategy when it comes to event marketing is mapping out the attendee journey. Think about your event in terms of touchpoints with the customer.  

By understanding the touchpoints that exist before, during, and after the event, you can discover marketing opportunities that you didn’t even realize existed. 

Here are some examples of common touchpoints:  

  • Interactions via social media 
  • Invitations sent through email  
  • Learning that one of their competitors is exhibiting at the event 
  • Event signage 
  • Greeting on arrival at the event 
  • Event website or landing page 
  • Exhibitor brochure 
  • Sponsorship pitch 
  • Registration process (online or offline) 
  • Recommendation from an influencer 
  • Event program and speakers 
  • Sessions or activities at the event 

14. Use FOMO to boost registrations

The fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO, is a strong motivator when it comes to event marketing.

As an event marketer, you can play into this to encourage people to sign up — especially those who are on the fence about attending. Here are some specific tactics you can use:   

  • Add a countdown ticker to your social media ads and posts. 
  • Include a ticker that shows how many people are already going or signed up.  
  • Use images or videos from previous events that show a vibrant, exciting atmosphere.  
  • Offer different pricing tiers like the early bird, regular, and late registration.

15. Consider adding webinars to your event arsenal (especially for B2B brands)

As with videos, webinars are a great way to educate your customers. However, since people usually have to sign up and provide their email addresses to attend a webinar, this becomes an excellent tool for lead generation. 

Event marketing strategy FAQs

What are the essential features of event marketing?

 Essential features of event marketing include the following: 

  • Identifying your target audience
  • Planning an exciting, relevant event
  • Lining up speakers or other event activities
  • Promoting the event via owned, shared, earned, and paid channels
  • Managing the event itself
  • Promoting your brand during the event
  • Getting feedback from event attendees

What makes event marketing successful? 

As with many other types of marketing, success often hinges on having a good strategy in place along with well-defined objectives and expert-level execution. This allows you to take the right steps to achieve your goals before, during, and after the event. Some useful KPIs to measure the success of your next event include registrations, attendance, and sales. 

What types of event marketing are there?

 Here’s a list of the most common types of event marketing: 

  • Social media ads
  • Email campaigns
  • Website banners
  • Search engine ads
  • Content marketing 

Conclusion

We hope you’re feeling ready to tackle the event marketing world.  

Plus, would it help your team if before every event they could create behavior-driven experiences, ship content faster, and make every interaction with your customers actionable?   

Best of luck out there — and remember, you’ve got this! 

Content Marketing Management