Event promotion has undergone a digital transformation: The days of street corner advertising have given way to online bookings, live streaming and QR codes. These convenient upgrades also greatly benefit the global event industry. According to Statista, it’s expected to hit $2 trillion by 2028.
Strengthen your next event using strategic digital event promotion. This article will show you how to promote an event using the most advanced marketing and management tools, breaking down each step into action items.
Tip: Before you begin, create an event website to act as an information hub, sell tickets, collect payment and secure RSVPs.
Define goals and KPIs for your event promotion
Start by setting goals that will let you measure the success of your event promotion efforts. The main objective of event promotion is to drive registrations or ticket sales, but other important goals may include gathering sponsorships, obtaining charitable donations and raising brand awareness.
Identify your KPI, or Key Performance Indicators, to track your progress, such as:
Ticket sales or registrations before the event
Sale leads generated
Social media followers
Return on investment (ROI)
From the moment you begin promoting your event, track these KPI examples to gauge your marketing strategy’s effectiveness. If your goal is to build brand awareness, check whether you’re generating sales leads, increasing website traffic or growing your social media following.
How to promote an event
Once you’ve defined goals and their subsequent KPIs, follow these steps to identify the right promotion strategies for your event:
01. Make an event website
If you haven’t already, create a dedicated website to serve as a central hub for sharing essential details about your event like contact information, location, and your vision or purpose.
On Wix, add an event management platform to an existing website or build an event website from scratch using any of these event website templates. With an event website, site owners can list multiple events at a time, customize email invites and accept secure online payments. You’ll also be able to collect RSVPs, edit your guest list and track the number of attendees.
Tip: Download the Wix Owner app to run and manage your event. Guests can also use the Wix app to check in, pay at the door and connect with other attendees.
02. Plan your email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most important types of marketing for any venture. Use email marketing tools to send strategic communication directly to your subscribers. Offer exclusive discounts or throw in a freebie to incentivize your invitees to RSVP.
Do some market segmentation on your subscribers (categorize audiences based on commonalities like age, gender, values and behavior) to give you insight into their wants and needs. Then, create messaging that resonates with each of these segments and test different email subject lines, images and text.
Jenna Romano, web design and email marketing expert on the Wix Blog, suggests that subject lines should instantly grab readers’ attention. “You want this limited copy to speak their language,” Romano says. “Hone in on topics, language styles, phrases and even buzzwords that will excite your crowd.”
If you’re sending out a reminder for a gallery opening, for example, avoid generic subject lines like “Don’t miss this opening!” She recommends instead teasing the event like, “Jenna Romano’s latest digital works displayed for the first time.”
03. Create early bird discounts
Early bird registration creates a sense of urgency for your audience. Promote the option to your built-in audience via email marketing. If it’s in your budget, you could offer a pre-registration discount to motivate customers to commit. If you don’t get any bites using these tactics, you may need to reassess whether your event appeals to the right crowd. You could reframe the event with different languared tailored to appease and satisfy your audience or test other distribution channels, like posting on social media platforms.
Tip: A customizable Social Media Bar lets you easily link your event website visitors with your social media accounts.
04. Create your own QR Code
Advertise your event using a QR code through social media, event website, emails or even product packaging. Customize your QR code by selecting the right size and color to fit your event’s style.
Guests scan the code on their phone to receive detailed information about your event, such as venue location, event itinerary and registration information. You can also set up a QR code to directly link to the event ticket purchase page. During the event, use QR codes to let attendees opt-in to your email list to receive information about future events.
05. Brand your event
Event-specific branding gives your event its own identity and character and makes your messaging pop. Incorporate your branding into all aspects of your event, including:
Colors, images and fonts: Create a distinct visual identity that’s in line with yet distinct from the rest of your branding. This includes using different colors, fonts and imagery, from your website for event marketing emails and social media posts.
06. Collaborate with influencers, sponsors
From Nike’s iconic partnership with Michael Jordan to Coca-Cola’s collaboration with Taylor Swift, celebrity endorsements can effectively tap into audiences’ interests and get immediate attention for your product or brand.
Consider promoting keynote speakers or celebrities at your event to reach their fans and followers and convert potential leads along the way. If you don’t have an A-list budget, you may want to explore influencer marketing, an increasingly popular form of digital marketing. To start, reach out to influencers within your niche and offer them a perk, such as a complimentary event ticket, free product or financial compensation in exchange for a sponsored content post about your event. You can also have influencers take over your social media account to boost awareness of your event. This tactic could lead to high engagement among current followers as well as gaining new audiences.
You may also seek corporate sponsors to help spread the word to new and potential audiences.
07. Run a social media contest
Organize a contest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok to ratchet up comments, likes, and shares of your event. Then, reward the winner with free event tickets. Boost your inbound marketing efforts with these contest ideas:
Idea #1: Encourage people to share your post about the event and tag their friends. Then choose the winner based on a random draw.
Idea #2: Ask people to tell a story about their first experience with your brand or talk about why they love it. The most compelling story wins a prize.
Idea #3: Hold a photo contest around your brand.
Idea #4: Host a caption contest and choose a winner.
08. Post in Facebook groups
Facebook is a useful platform for promoting an event, whether you’re running paid ads, posting on your own company page, or creating a separate event page. You can also post in relevant Facebook groups.
For instance, if your event is about financial planning, post about it in financial literacy groups. Rather than creating promotional posts, present your event as a possible solution to their unmet needs.
09. Create an event hashtag
Come up with a hashtag unique to your event and encourage followers, attendees, and potential guests to use it in their posts. Hashtags also help you track mentions of your event so you can follow its popularity rise. If people use your event hashtag, nurture those leads and personally invite them to attend.
By Lena Sernoff
Senior Digital Marketing Expert and Writer