Digital is now a key part of any marketing strategy and if you are planning an event and want to reach your potential audience quickly and regularly, you need to start thinking about incorporating digital marketing into your event planning process as early as possible.
Your event digital marketing strategy
The first thing to do, as you would with any marketing medium, is to think about your objectives and your audience.
Your objective: is it to build awareness around the event, sell tickets, increase registrations or even entice potential sponsors?
Your audience: can you reach your audience through Facebook by targeting a wide demographic based on location and age? Or is it a younger audience that you could reach through Instagram or Snapchat (i.e. teenagers).
Alternatively, if a professional audience is your target, perhaps for a corporate networking function, seminar, conference or awards style event, then Linkedin is an option worth considering. This is a powerful digital medium widely accessed by the business community to promote events.
Start with a website or landing page
Once you confirm the strategy, in most cases, you will need a website (or at least a landing page) to direct your communication and advertising to a central place. This provides the key event information and the answers those attending your event are likely to have i.e. How do I get to the event? Is there parking available?
The website or the landing page could also host your registration or ticket sales system such as EventBrite, which allows you to sell tickets or manage registrations very easily – for both you, the organiser and the attendees.
The website should ideally have a sign up form inviting people to enter their email address to ensure they are registered to receive your newsletter or other updates. From here, you can start building a contact database that can be used before and after the event.
Build awareness around your event to reach your target audience
To promote your event, sell tickets or gain event registrations, you need to inform your audience that the event is taking place. This is where social media is essential.
In most situations, it is not necessary to promote your event through every social media platform. Targeted use of social media will save you time and money.
We would recommend a maximum of 2 platforms:
• Facebook is an essential platform to promote your event. It has the largest audience and widest range of users. You can establish a profile and also create an event page which will make your event visible as well as allowing you to measure the interest in your event.
• Instagram is perfect if your event has something to do with food or wine, or has beautiful imagery or content attached to it. You could also contact and collaborate with influencers to increase your event visibility to a wider audience.
• Linkedin is an excellent choice for a conference or any corporate/Business to Business event.
Many find this the most challenging area when promoting your event – providing the content.
You will want to build excitement and generate a buzz around your event. This can be done by: posting photos from a previous event, informing your audience of what they can expect at the event, showcase speakers or sponsors, create ‘behind the scenes’ videos and answer frequently asked questions; all with the aim of encouraging your followers to interact with, and share your posts to help raise your profile.
Wherever possible, plan the content and prepare a calendar for the month. Will help help you ensure you prepare your content, have quality content available ready for your upcoming posts and allow you to focus on other tasks.
Setting up a dedicated hashtag ie #jumpforcancerhagley encourages your audience to follow and engage with your event. It makes the content easier to find and encourages conversation within the event community.
Reposting content from other users is a way of thanking the user for interacting with your event and shows your audience that you’re engaged with them.
Try to stick to a graphic theme to use on each medium (online or offline). This will help the public to remember and recognise the branding around the event. Jump for Cancer at Hagley Park is a good example, using the pink colour and horse image on each marketing piece.
A newsletter is a great way to build excitement around an event especially if registration or tickets are not yet available. It is always a good idea to start an email database because you can use it again to communicate to your audience for your next event. The content can be similar to what you post on social media: interviews, behind the scenes, information, photos. And finally, always remember to link to your website and social media profiles.
Sell tickets or get registrations
To sell tickets and ensure guests register for your event, you might need to consider paid advertising. The budget is likely to depend on the size of your event.
One of the benefits of using social media is it allows you to be very specific with your targeting. This is important as it will also impact your budget.
You can target your audience by location, age, gender, interest (even profession title on Linkedin). This includes any information that a user is showing on their profile.
To maximise your exposure, think about a giveaway or a contest, this is great way to encourage people to share your page, talk about your event and generate a buzz. Remember to follow the competition rules of the platform you are using.
Use your contact database and promote your event in an email newsletter. Get straight to the point: a short message, a link to buy tickets and a link to your social media profile, along with a few fantastic images will encourage your audience to sign up or purchase tickets for your event.
Now is also an excellent time to suggest the recipient forward or share the event with their friends!
During and after the event
Don’t underestimate the importance of using digital marketing during and after the event especially if your event is going to be a regular occurrence on the calendar.
During the event, you can:
- Produce content such as photos or videos
- Post some of it “live” using the dedicated hashtag
- Do a livestream
- Reshare attendees’ content
After the event:
- Update your social media and your website with content
- Have the audience involved and ask them to post their photos or videos
- Thank everyone: on social media and with a newsletter, inviting their feedback and reviews
- If applicable, inform the audience of your next event
Last but not least: measure and analyse your results so you can make improvements in your digital marketing strategy next time!
Get in touch with us today if you need help with your digital marketing for your next event.