No matter what size your event is, creating an event marketing strategy template has serious benefits for your business, but it’s not easy. Event strategy and planning require a supreme level of organization, time management, and communication skills. Whether you’re just starting out or you have a few years of experience with event marketing strategies, you’re going to want to keep this roadmap to the event marketing industry on hand as you build out your strategy and your career. We’ve included tips, event strategy examples, and links to templates that you can use to get started.
Table of contents:
- What is event marketing?
- The event marketing industry and demand
- The importance and benefits of event marketing strategies
- Event strategy impact and measuring success
- Common types of event marketing strategies
- Promotional channels to use for event marketing
- How to build event marketing strategies
- Event strategy checklist
- Six bonus event strategy tips
- Event marketing technology to streamline your work
- How to track your event marketing efforts
What is event marketing?
At its most simple, event marketing is focused on creating live experiences that promote a brand, service, or product.
One of the biggest reasons companies attend or host events is to establish and build their brand and identity. There are different types of event marketing including industry events hosted by a single company, trade shows, and digital experiences such as virtual conferences or live streamed workshops. When deciding which approach is right for you, think about who your customer is and what kind of event they’re likely to attend.
Successful event marketing strategies also include effective promotional efforts that encourage potential attendees to buy tickets. Promotion of the event encompasses various inbound and outbound marketing techniques, such as email, social media, event discovery sites, retargeting, and search engine optimization (SEO). We’ll go over each of these in detail later.
The event marketing industry and demand
The events industry is booming because Americans love events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the audience turned to virtual events, and now that local regulations are lightening up, many people are looking forward to returning to in-person events.
This increase in demand is good news for businesses and marketers looking to connect with their customers, prospects, and partners in more meaningful ways. Live events give you face-to-face access to your audience in a way unlike any other type of marketing, but that doesn’t mean that every event is successful. This guide covers event marketing strategies, ideas, templates, event concepts, exit surveys, and other important aspects of planning and putting on a great event.
The importance and benefits of event marketing strategies
Events are multi-sensory experiences that engage an audience on a level that is simply not possible through other types of marketing. Events can help you meet important business goals, including:
- Increasing demand for your product or service
- Building recognition with prospective or current customers
- Widening your audience or your clients’ audiences
- Generating revenue from the event itself
With a clear strategy and a plan to get you there, events are well worth the marketing investment — as long as you have a plan to measure impact.
Event strategy impact and measuring success
There are many benefits to event marketing, but before you start planning your event, you need to make a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you and your stakeholders agree are worth tracking. These KPIs will provide a yardstick by which to measure your event’s success after everything is over.
Having the right event metrics can help you fine-tune your event marketing strategies, improve sales, and increase attendance turnout. If you’re not sure where to start, here are six metrics to measure your success.
Registrations are the most important metric to consider as the precursor to overall event marketing success. Look at peaks in registration to determine if any particular marketing effort drove the spike, and use the final number of attendees as a benchmark for your next event.
Compare the number of registrants you had to the number of attendees who showed up. Of course, some people might have had a last-minute change of plan. Though a large percentage of no-shows could indicate that your event was marketed well, but people didn’t feel invested or interested enough to actually go.
If your event is free to attend, setting a small price for premium upgrades can reduce your no-show rate. Learn more about this approach in this post.
3. Lead generation
Many businesses choose to use event marketing to generate leads, and you can measure how many leads your event brings in for your sales funnel (the quality of which is up to you to establish pre-event). This is the kind of important detail that will help your sales team understand how successful your event truly was.
4. Attendee feedback
A post-event survey is a valuable opportunity to get feedback directly from attendees about their experience at your event. KPIs from surveys can include attendee satisfaction, intent to return, and net promoter score (NPS).
5. Brand impressions
Make sure you come up with an event hashtag to share with your attendees because 48% of millennials attend events so they have something to share on social channels. Monitor the hashtag to see whether your event was worth sharing and whether your event brand is reaching a wider potential audience through social sharing.
6. New customers
Depending on the length of your sales cycle, you’ll be able to track how many leads generated by your event turn into customers. This may not be the most immediately measurable KPI, but it’s useful for demonstrating the business value of your event.
Common types of event marketing strategies
Choosing the right event strategy for your business will depend on the industry you’re in, your goals, and your budget. Here we’ve reviewed some of the most common types of in-person and online event marketing strategies.
In-person event marketing types
- Conferences: Hosted by a company or organization, these large, in-person events bring together attendees around a specific purpose or topic, such as education.
- Workshops: These events are smaller meetings or field events during which an expert leads a group in a more formal learning environment.
- Account-based marketing events: These highly targeted and customized experiences are designed to address specific client’s or prospect’s needs.
- Intimate breakfasts, lunches, or dinners: Meal-based events are generally small events that focus on networking or thought leadership. They are usually customer- or prospect-focused.
- Trade shows: In-person events that bring together large groups of individuals or companies in a particular industry or profession provide space to network and show off new products.
- Seminars: A seminar is a training or topic-specific lecture with a question and answer portion to engage the audience afterward.
Online event marketing types
- Webinars: An online version of a seminar, a webinar usually features a live presentation with a moderator, guest speakers, and a Q&A session.
- Livestreaming events: You can either livestream a physical event or create a live virtual event. Live online video can include a conversation that viewers can participate in through comments or a chat feature.
- Virtual events: Rather than meeting in a physical location, virtual events occur entirely online via an event management platform. These events are highly interactive and look and feel a lot like their physical counterparts.
- Classes: Like an in-person class, online educational events are focused on showcasing a teachable skill or subject.
Promotional channels to use for event marketing
If you host an event but no one comes, did it really happen? You need to utilize a variety of marketing channels to reach your target audience and entice them to attend.
Social media marketing for events
One of the best ways to spread the buzz about an upcoming event is by using social media. With several platforms to leverage, you can get the word out to various segments of your audience where they live online.
To maximize your social media event marketing efforts, it pays to put some strategy behind your posts so you can engage and convert your followers.
Depending on your industry and target audience, some social platforms may be more effective than others. Typically, if you can do some promotion on a few different platforms then you can ensure that you’re reaching a variety of potential attendees. Here’s a quick overview of promotional ideas for some of the top social media platforms:
- Facebook: Share event updates, engage followers, and create event pages. Craft messaging to target specific groups using paid promotion.
- Instagram: Share pictures and videos at all stages of event promotion with Instagram Stories, Reels, and live streaming to engage your audience.
- LinkedIn: Use this professional platform for B2B and industry networking, and to post company news and event announcements.
- Twitter: Write short posts and create an event hashtag to build excitement before and during your event.
- TikTok: Capture exciting moments at your event with fun TikTok videos and encourage your attendees to do the same.
The more you use social media, the more you’ll be able to get a sense of what’s working and resonating with your followers. Tweak your strategy accordingly, and help drive more ticket and registration sales.
When you’re making these tweaks, make sure to measure these key metrics:
- Engagement rate: Are your followers engaging with the content you post? Look for trends and re-post your top content to improve your engagement rate and show up in more feeds.
- Clicks: How many social media users are clicking on the links to your ticketing page?
- Sales: If you use Eventbrite, you can see how many sales each social media channel has garnered in your event reports.
- Return on investment (ROI): If you’re using paid advertisements, be sure to monitor your ROI to make sure your spending is paying off.
Search engine optimization for events
For some events, organic search can drive a fair number of ticket purchases or registrations, but it takes dedicated effort to make your event rank in Google search results. The key is search engine optimization (SEO), which involves designing your event page to show up at the top of search results. Here are three basic principles to follow to get your event to rank on Google.
- Keywords: Search engines know that events are timely and location-based, so they will use your event’s date and location to determine its ranking. You increase your chances of ranking even more if you include your city or state in the title of your event. If you’re directing traffic to your own event page, make sure your domain name (or URL) also includes the keyword-optimized name of your event.
- Domain authority: The higher your partner’s domain authority, the better chance your event has at ranking in search results. Eventbrite is one of Google’s top 100 most trusted sites — the only ticketing or registration page with a high enough domain authority to rank alongside sites like Yelp.
- Mobile search: More than half of Google searches happen on mobile, which means customers are seeing Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) search results. Eventbrite is the only ticketing company using AMP for all event pages. This means your event will automatically show up first — and fastest — when people search for your event on a mobile device.
To sell out your event, you’re going to need a good email marketing strategy. Not only is email a direct line to potential attendees, but it’s also an optimal channel to build your audience.
To make your event email marketing the most effective, you need to pay attention to three key metrics: open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate. On average, event emails tend to see:
- 26% of recipients open their event emails
- 4.95% of recipients click links within the emails
- 0.8% of recipients unsubscribe to their event emails
Stand out in an event-goer’s noisy inbox with these event email templates written with the experts at MailChimp.
How to build event marketing strategies
There is no single event marketing plan that will work for everyone; every event is different, as is every production schedule, budget, and target audience. That said, there are many common promotional tactics and event strategy examples that may help guide you when promoting your own event.
Your event marketing promotional strategy can be broken down into four parts: pre-event, event launch, day-to-day marketing, and “last call” or the final push before your event goes live.
Pre-event marketing strategy
- Create an event page: Capture early interest and have a central registration page to drive people toward.
- Craft a social media announcement: Get on social media early to create momentum for your event promotion, build a community, and spread your company’s purpose and values.
- Write a blog post about your event’s mission: Tell people why you’re organizing the event, and use it to fuel the rest of your pre-event marketing. Blog posts are also less sales-focused than event landing pages, so you can use them to attract some initial interest among prospects and customers.
- Start partner outreach: Event marketing partnerships can be crucial to your event’s success. Start reaching out to potential collaborators like complementary brands, sponsors, vendors, and media partners before your event has officially launched.
Event launch strategy
- Send out a launch email: When you’re ready to start selling tickets, you should get your first major email blast out to potential attendees, including anyone who may have pre-registered.
- Event press release: Gaining press coverage can help to amplify your event beyond your own network and can increase ticket sales and the number of people attending the event.
Day-to-day event strategy
- Thought leadership and guest posts: Blogs on your organization’s site are important, but you need to reach new audiences in order to find new attendees. The best way to do this is through partnering with complementary organizations to create guest posts, or promoting thought leadership or original research that others will be happy to share.
- Finalize your event promotional budget: It’s too easy to misplace receipts or quotes. Spending at least 10 minutes a day on your budget will help you stay on top of new developments in real-time.
- Announce speakers: Another way to generate new interest in your event and keep attendees engaged is to announce who will be speaking or performing at your event. This will give potential attendees a sense of what they can expect from the event and the kind of person who will also be attending.
Last call event marketing strategy
- Final blasts across channels: Your final blog posts, social media updates, and emails should now take on a more urgent, sales-focused tone. Now is the time to include a direct call-to-action and convert long-term strategy into ticket sales.
- Attendee referrals: Reach out to your existing attendees and incentivize them to promote the event on your behalf? Word of mouth is consistently shown to be one of the most powerful and effective marketing tactics you can use. Consider offering an exclusive perk or discount for sharing the information with friends.
- Influencer outreach: If you’re looking to fill a few last-minute spots or get the word out in an impactful way, then influencers could be your best shot. It may be advisable to contact them at the start of your campaign.
- Phone: If you’ve noticed that a few of your targeted attendees or some of those pre-registered leads still have not bought a ticket, why not give them a call? You’ll find it’s a relatively time-intensive, but effective, way of securing a few more sales.
Event strategy checklist
Promotion is just one part of an event marketer’s job. Reference this checklist frequently during the event planning process to reduce stress and make sure no detail is forgotten.
8-12 months pre-event
Planning ahead gives you enough time to build a plan, get approval on your budget, and research and secure sponsors, speakers, and an amazing venue.
- Establish your goals and objectives
- Put together a rough budget
- Choose a format and theme (find inspiration here)
- Find your venue
- Select your date
- Research speakers
- Secure sponsors
3-4 months pre-event
With the foundation for your event built, the next phase in your planning process puts the final touches on your event before registrations open.
2 months pre-event
A few months out from the big event, you have an opportunity to build excitement and urge interested attendees to register before it’s too late.
- Push promotions to meet attendance goals
- Put together the right onsite team
The week before the event
There’s plenty to do in the week leading up to your event, from last-minute details to unexpected changes. You’ll also want to do a final promotional push that inspires fear of missing out (FOMO) in potential attendees who have waited until the last minute to secure their tickets.
- Finalize event schedule and scripts
- Communicate final details with partners
- Push last-call promotions
- Confirm timing and final registration numbers with all of your vendors
Day of event
As your event approaches your priorities will shift from promotion to execution, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t market your event even as it’s happening. Take full advantage of the content being produced at your event and be sure to:
- Check in with sponsors
- Ensure attendee entry runs smoothly
- Share pictures and videos on social media
- Include social reminders for your event hashtag onsite
After your event is over, it’s crucial to follow up with attendees, stakeholders, and sponsors immediately. Within 24 hours of your event, you should be sending attendees satisfaction surveys and any post-event content that was promised. Seize the opportunity to keep the conversation going on social media by posting highlights that use your event hashtag.
In summary, post-event you want to:
- Pass leads on to sales
- Sent out a follow-up survey to attendees
- Report results to stakeholders
- Compare your results to your goals
- Track your return on investment
Six bonus event strategy tips
Marketing and execution cover most of your event marketing responsibilities, but not all of them. Make sure you don’t overlook other vital steps with these six quick tips to get you started.
1. Closely manage your event budget
Without a thorough understanding of every dollar you spend, you’re setting yourself up to go over budget. Tracking your pennies is critical to improving your event’s return on investment and managing your total cost.
- Clarify your event budget strategy: Before you dive into the actual budgeting, it’s important to take a step back and think critically about what you will be spending your money on. Reference historical event budget data, consider recent trends, and set event goals.
- Map specific expenses in your event budget: Now that you know your areas of focus, list all of the line items to track in your budgeting template. These will include particulars like rental costs and lighting equipment.
- Master event budget best practices: Utilize strategies to help keep everything in check and get more mileage from your budget, such as tracking event ROI and creating a built-in emergency fund.
- Craft your event budget template: Creating a template specific to your event that will serve you now and in the years to come. If you need some ideas of how to get started, take a look at our event budget template.
2. Find a nontraditional venue
More and more, event creators are turning to unique venues to create events that stand out from the competition.
- The benefits: A unique venue can make your event more memorable, and these settings are often more versatile than traditional spaces.
- How to find your venue: You can utilize venue marketplaces like Peerspace or research venues based on the atmosphere you want to cultivate.
- How to choose a reliable event venue: Since nontraditional spaces host fewer events than their traditional counterparts, make sure the space you love can satisfy the logistical must-haves of your event such as capacity or safety measures.
- Venue warning signs: There is some risk in working with nontraditional venues. Be alert for warning signs such as unreliable communication, lack of or incorrect insurance, and incorrect details in paperwork or contracts.
3. Find speakers
Your ability to find and secure event speakers is crucial to your event success. With a strong sourcing and outreach strategy, you can use your time and resources wisely and ensure your agenda will attract the right audience.
- Outline your event speaker requirements: List your speaker must-haves while keeping important factors like relevance, influence, purpose, and archetype in mind.
- Create a wishlist of potential candidates: Don’t worry about whether or not you can afford them or how they’ll fit into the agenda.
- Prioritize your speaker wishlist: Before you begin offering speaking opportunities, evaluate the speakers on your list and choose your top candidates. Keep the following strategies in mind: identify your needs, craft the narrative, find a rising star, and seek diverse speakers.
- Secure the right speakers for your event: It takes time and patience to build a relationship with candidates and get their commitment. Make sure to keep them interested by solidifying your ask, tracking progress, and discussing commitment and compensation.
4. Find sponsors
For many event organizers, potential sponsors are hard to find and even harder to convert. Remember that as long as you are reaching out to companies relevant to your event, you have something they want: the attention of their target audience.
- Create a list of ideal sponsors: Think about the needs of your attendees and list companies who meet those needs. You’ll end up with a broad range of potential sponsors.
- How to craft a sponsorship proposal: Come prepared with data and include ticket sales, demographics, and social media actions.
- Connect with event sponsors: You’ve done the background work to find them, now it’s time to approach each company for sponsorship.
- Design your event to attract sponsors: Once a sponsor is interested, craft a sponsorship package that reflects both the sponsor and your event’s brand and is beneficial to both of you.
- Build a long-term relationship: Satisfy the needs of your sponsors so they want to keep working with you in the future. Share data about the results of their efforts as sponsors, such as impressions gained, brand mentions, sales, and leads generated.
5. Create an event website
A great event website draws in potential attendees and effortlessly walks them through the decision-making process.
- Avoid wordy copy: Be sure your page provides the information they need quickly and succinctly.
- Use engaging images: Provide a glimpse into the event experience.
- Offer social proof: Testimonials help potential attendees feel confident about the experience they’re considering.
- Have an easy checkout experience: Don’t let a frustrating purchase process make a potential attendee second guess their choice.
- Focus on SEO: Using the right keywords on your event website will help your ideal attendees discover you organically.
6. Lookalike audiences
You have a solid list of people who’ve purchased tickets to your events in the past. You want to find more people just like that on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
These platforms have the technology to help you find lookalike audiences — people who match your buyer profile in terms of demographics, geography, stated interests, and online behavior. Using their algorithms and automated tools, create ads targeted to those exact people.
- Facebook audiences: Most Facebook targeting is done by creating “audiences” of users. These audiences can be made up of any of Facebook’s two billion monthly users, including your fans.
- Saved audiences: This is Facebook’s default way of creating an audience to target. If you’ve created a campaign before, Facebook will use that audience as your default audience. Use Facebook’s built-in targeting criteria (e.g. location, age, gender, demographics, interests, etc.) to create a group of people you want to target.
- Custom audiences: Often your target audience will come to your event website and won’t convert on the first interaction, which is where Custom Audiences and retargeting come in. “Retargeting” means serving ads to people who have already visited your website and/or ticketing page. Retargeting these people gives you another opportunity to bring them back to your event page.
- Lookalike audiences: This type of audience is generated by Facebook and made up of users who are demographically and behaviorally similar to one of your Custom Audiences. To create a Lookalike Audience on Facebook, you’ll first need to create a Custom Audience of your website visitors, your email subscribers, or your existing customers. Your Lookalike Audience will be composed of people who share qualities with your Custom Audience, but are entirely new.
Event marketing technology to streamline your work
Your event “technology stack” is the technology you use to run your business — from registration software to email marketing to mobile apps. Ultimately, your event’s success depends on whether your event management solution plays well with your marketing tools. The right event management technology will help you:
- Create a professional event ticketing and registration page
- Provide secure payments
- Manage and analyze your event
- Reach new audiences and sell more tickets
- Integrate with the other marketing technology your team already uses
Events can be exhausting to plan and execute, and then you have to do a lot of manual follow-up work — whether it’s manually entering business cards, or handing off leads to sales.
This part of the process can be harder than it sounds because different teams use different tools. Sales teams typically rely on a central customer relationship manager (CRM) like Salesforce to track and manage leads, but marketing teams use apps like Eventbrite to manage registrations or digitize physical paperwork. Getting information to move seamlessly between these separate apps can take work if you’re doing it manually and at a high volume, but bridging the gap between marketing and sales by utilizing automation and integration doesn’t have to be complicated.
Eventbrite Boost allows creators like you to market and manage your event all in one, intuitive to use place. Creators like the Lincoln Park Zoo and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company are already using Eventbrite Boost to promote their events. Via our platform, you can:
- Create social media ads
- Send customized emails
- Create branded pages
- Track your campaigns
- Target new audiences
Our system also allows you to tweak your campaigns as you go for optimal results. Learn more about Eventbrite Boost today and start reaching more potential attendees.
How to track your event marketing efforts
- Event technology: Your ticketing partner, event app, and CRM are goldmines of data waiting to be put to use. It can help you capture information like the number of tickets/registrations sold, revenue from sales, and more. Tip: If you use Eventbrite, be sure to check out the 170+ integrations that let you easily gather and sync data with your events.
- Social media: Each platform will have its own metrics dashboard that you can pull data from to help you determine the effectiveness of your campaigns and decide which social media platforms are yielding the best return on investment. Tip: Use tracking pixels, computer codes inserted as minuscule images into a web page, in your landing pages to help you learn what channels are driving ticket sales.
- Event surveys: Send out pre-and post-event surveys to gauge satisfaction and to learn more about your attendees. The information you gather will help you better segment your audience, and it’s also useful to your sponsors. Tip: There’s an art to creating a survey people will actually take. Short and personalized surveys perform best, and it doesn’t hurt to offer an incentive.
Ready to launch your event?
Create a listing and start selling your tickets today.