Hosting an event nowadays involves a lot more than simply mailing out Save the Dates and ornate invitations. Social media, email marketing, and other digital marketing techniques allow you to spread your message (and promote your event) far and wide. Here are six secrets to online event marketing that will help you promote your event:
1. Create a landing page or event website
Direct interested guests to a unique event page on your website to learn more, RSVP, and purchase tickets, if applicable. If your budget allows, you might also consider creating a website for the event.
Use the unique website or page URL on all online event marketing materials, including social media, ads, email, etc.
Not website-savvy or just short on time? Create a quick landing page, like the one below, using a template from LeadPages.
After guests register on your page/website, redirect them to a separate Thank-you page. Include follow-up Calls-to-Action (CTA) that encourage your guests to share the event with their friends on Facebook or Tweet about the event using ClickToTweet.
2. Create a drip email marketing campaign
A drip campaign is a set of emails that are sent out automatically on a schedule to people who complete a form, such as an event registration form. The primary objectives of a drip e-mail marketing campaign are to:
- Provide necessary follow-up information about the event such as directions to the venue, attire, and what to bring.
- Generate excitement about the event with countdowns, photos, testimonials, and videos.
- Encourage guests to share the event with their network via email forwarding and posting to social media.
Since 24% of event registrations come from mobile users, you’ll want to test your emails on multiple email platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet) as well as various email providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook). You’ll also want to follow these steps to ensure that your emails don’t get caught in the spam filter.
3. Optimize your Facebook page
Did you know that 65% of attendees post to social media during an event?
Guests will also post to social media before and after the event, so it’s important to optimize your social media accounts to entice guests to do so. At the very minimum, create a Facebook event and invite your friends or other prospects to attend.
On your Facebook business page, change the CTA to “Book Now” and link to your event’s landing page/website. Another way to optimize your Facebook page is to design a unique cover photo that promotes the event.
Pro tip: create a new free tab using WooBox and link to your event website. Add an arrow to your cover photo to direct Facebook users to click on that tab.
4. Create highly targeted Facebook ads that focus on benefits
One of the major objectives of marketing is to turn features into benefits. Communicate the benefits that guests will obtain from attending your conference, tradeshow, dinner, or seminar.
Use Facebook’s hypertargeting audience tools to narrow down your audience to the type of people that you want at your event. For example, if you’re hosting a seminar in Maryland about saving for retirement, you probably wouldn’t target 18-year-olds in Connecticut. Know your audience and write ads that will appeal to them.
Pro tip: Advertise to the people who need a little extra pressure to make an action. Create a custom audience of people who visited your event page/website and use Facebook remarketing to target your ads to them. Don’t forget to exclude the Facebook users who already purchased a ticket by creating a custom audience from the thank-you page.
5. Create a unique hashtag
Create a unique hashtag for your event and use it EVERYWHERE – email blasts, social media, website, daily conversation… (ok, maybe not the last one, but don’t be afraid to overuse your hashtag) – and don’t forget to use HootSuite to track who’s using the event hashtag and respond accordingly. Engaging in conversation and following people who are conversing about the event is one of the best ways to grow your Twitter followers.
6. Plan, implement, track
Write the majority of your social media posts and emails that you plan to send out ahead of time. Schedule and track your posts using HootSuite or SproutSocial for before, during, and after your event. Delegate someone to monitor the posts to make sure they are still relevant and truthful.
Ask your guests to tweet and post on Facebook while they’re at the event, if appropriate. Simplifying your social media efforts will make the online event marketing process a lot smoother.
These are just six of the many secrets of online event marketing. Want the rest? You’ll just have to hire us.
- Sarah Lane, Marketing Specialist