The way you promote events can have a direct impact on the success of that event.
For brands with a permanent place in the online hierarchy, their event promotion efforts don't need to be particularly intense or creative.
Events like inbound are already so established that they deserve a certain amount of attention.
However, if this is your first event or your brand doesn't need to be considered an online authority just yet, you'll need every trick in the book to stand out.
That is why I have compiled this event promotion guide for online and in-person events.
Because of this, your online promotions will help encourage meaningful engagement and, ideally, increase attendance at events.
Create content to promote your event
No matter what type of event you are promoting online, it is never a good idea to let it exist in a vacuum.
By that, I mean your content marketing efforts should overlap with the event you are promoting.
Let's say your brand or company has a weekly podcast. It is important that you take the time during this podcast to end your event.
Don't miss the opportunity to promote an event on a platform that you control, especially if you are targeting an audience.
TechCrunch has an awesome CTA on their website that will take you to their event.
In addition, it is important to recognize the practicality of this approach.
To be honest, even the most engaging audience is busy.
You may have wanted to keep up with all of your content but just missed your official event announcement. Or you wanted to register for your digital event, but forgot.
That is why TechCrunch created content promoting their events.
Your content offers tangible value, but it never feels like it is purely self-promoting.
If you wish, you can blog posts that discuss information relevant to the event.
You can go a step further and create unique videos for the event like you can with Inbound.
Whether it's a collage of previous attendees at old events or a video from previous speakers, it's important that your content draws people's attention to your event.
If you want to get people interested and make sure they actually show up, you need to create compelling promotional content.
Add your event to your email signature
Okay I know what you're thinking
"Neil, this is cheesy / over the top / unnecessary."
These complaints usually come from people who have received lame email signatures.
Trust me; I get it.
And make no mistake, email signature event actions can look downright terrifying when poorly executed.
However, if done tastefully, an email signature can pique your audience's interest and force them to click their way through your website.
Something as simple as this Bizzabo signature can encourage a reader to click to learn more about your event.
The rule here is to avoid too long or too long an email signature.
An email signature can be a simple, yet professional way to promote an event every time you send an email.
Use email lists to your advantage
I firmly believe in leverage.
One of the main reasons I encourage companies and brands to offer value is because it helps you attract an interested audience.
Let's say you took a page out of my book and created content so valuable that your competitors paid people for it.
Here is an example webinar registration form that teaches you how to skyrocket your traffic through SEO:
Having given this away for free and just expecting them to sign up for your newsletter will create a strong email list.
Not only will you get a lot of email signups, but the vast majority will likely be active emails as opposed to dead links.
Easy. If you offer high value, people will notice.
If your content is valuable, people care. And when people get value, they are more likely to keep tracking your newsletter.
All of this is great, of course, but it doesn't answer why email lists are so important to your marketing strategy.
Let's face the facts. Having your own list of targeted leads can be a pretty powerful marketing tool.
Promoting your event through this email list is the perfect opportunity to offer even more meaningful value to your followers.
Promoting your event via email is actually pretty straightforward.
You can send your official invitation to your email list two to three months before your event.
Note: If you're promoting a digital event, send out invitations a month or two in advance.
An effective invitation has three main components.
- It covers the key event details (key speakers, location, etc.).
- It shows what the attendees will benefit from your event.
- It's short, personal, and to the point.
From there, you should regularly remind people of the event, but don't overdo it. A clear reminder in your weekly newsletter should do the job.
Providing people with valuable information by letting them know that a relevant event is imminent will only increase the validity of your email list.
Create a unique event page
Whether you're hosting a personal or digital event, having a unique events page on your website is of tremendous importance. It helps people take you seriously, and it becomes an event information hub.
Just take a look at what TechCrunch did with the disrupt event.
There is no need to make something incredibly special out of it. It is crucial that all relevant information about your event is clearly listed.
This means that you provide visitors with an FAQ section where they can address any issues they may be wondering about.
You should also have a list of all the key guests and speakers that will be presented during your event.
My favorite aspect of creating a unique page for an event is that you can create trackable URLs for your website and landing pages.
Why is that important?
Easy. With trackable URLs, you can collect data on which event promotion methods work best, and you can determine which method has the highest ROI.
Promote events on Facebook
You can't talk about online event promotion without delving into the importance of your social media accounts.
If you're looking for a place to get started, Facebook is your best bet.
With nearly three billion monthly active users, Facebook has the largest total reach available.
But how do you actually go about promoting an event with it?
First of all, you want to create an events page on Facebook.
Take a look at the Inbound 2017 events page from years ago.
Whether or not you are a fan of the Facebook event page system, there is no avoiding the fact that there are numerous useful tools that you use when creating a page.
My favorite aspect of the events page on Facebook is that it allows you to create a unique space for your community to keep up to date on your event.
Plus, there are a variety of other things you can do with an events page on Facebook.
- Add pictures and videos.
- Update event details.
- Keep a list of attendees.
- Remind users of the event as it approaches.
Promote events on LinkedIn
Advertising on LinkedIn doesn't seem like that important, but keep in mind that LinkedIn is about creating and leveraging professional connections.
While the average person thinks of LinkedIn when looking for a new job or filling a position, they also have a lot of potential for things like event promotion.
There are several different ways to do this, but they all revolve around properly creating a LinkedIn profile.
Even if you're a small business, there is no reason why you shouldn't create a LinkedIn Page for your business.
Not only can you publish updates for your followers, but you can also participate in the group function on LinkedIn, which is an invaluable tool for your advertising campaign.
Groups on LinkedIn revolve around a specific interest. This means that you need to connect with other users through a common goal.
Maybe you want to go to a great event that you are hosting.
Creating a group is actually pretty easy.
First, you'll want to click on the Work tab in the top right corner and scroll down until you find the Groups tab.
Click on it and it will take you to the Groups page.
From there, you want to find the "My Groups" tab in the top left and click on it.
Stay with me now
Now you want to click on the "Create Group" button on the left side of the screen.
Last step. Enter all of the information below and you're good to go.
See? That wasn't that bad, was it?
I usually recommend companies expand their groups through their current network on LinkedIn to create the broadest possible network.
It's about more than just connecting with your followers.
Reaching out to other speakers, sponsors, and media partners is just as important on LinkedIn.
Basically anyone who could have a positive impact on your event promotions.
By the way, your groups shouldn't be arbitrary here.
Make sure you explain exactly to users what your event is and why they should go.
Remember, nothing exists in a vacuum on social media. To get the most out of a social media platform, make sure that you don't ignore things like content creation.
In particular, creating content on LinkedIn can help indirectly promote your event.
Instead of focusing on creating content solely for the event, aim to create relevant and valuable content for your audience.
How does it look?
Well, you can create articles on industry topics that are an easy way to raise awareness of your event and your entire brand as an online authority.
You can then share this content with your group to make sure it isn't just a glorified notification page.
Whether or not you open the group depends entirely on your goals on this page.
If you're posting general information that the average person doesn't mind, there is an argument for keeping the group open.
However, if you're posting sensitive information or something that you only want VIP members to have access to, you'll want to keep the group private.
Promote events on Instagram
Every social media platform has something unique to offer when it comes to online event promotion.
On the surface, Instagram might look just like the place you post a fun selfie or short video.
In reality, Instagram has impressive event promotion potential.
To be fair, there's nothing wrong with just taking a cool picture for entertainment value, like this one that Steph Curry took on the stage last year.
But here's an interesting scenario.
Let's say you're orchestrating an event in six months. Your company has been hosting this event for years, which means your loyal fans will know all about it.
Instead of surprising people with a location a few months before the event, you can include them in the fun.
You can identify three or four different venues, post photos of each of them, and then encourage followers to like the venue that they prefer to host the event.
You can go a step further and post a short video of the venue as well as a brief description of what is worth considering.
If you're planning a digital event, you might be asking your followers which suit to wear for the big day, or sharing a clip to practice your speaking in.
The key here is to have a visual component in the event promotion while also allowing users to interact with you in really meaningful ways.
Speaking of meaningful engagement: I'm a big fan of User Generated Content (UGC) and there's no better place to do it than Instagram.
Even the simplest of pictures will help promote your event in a unique way, like this picture taken last year on Disrupt SF with Instagram user iammikechiang.
Any type of campaign has the potential to generate hype for your event, but UGC brings something special to the table.
What do I mean by that?
The effectiveness of a UGC campaign depends on two things:
- Whether or not the campaign is legitimately engaged
- Indicates whether users are actually sharing with their social networks
Aside from being able to create content without actually having to create anything, my favorite aspect of UGC is the potential for word-of-mouth marketing.
A compelling Instagram marketing campaign is great. But do you know which is even better?
A personal recommendation from one person to the next.
The average consumer is more likely to trust the recommendation of another consumer than the content of your business. This is because a co-consumer has no legitimate interest in selling.
One of Disrupt SF's top posts last year was Instagram user ronreeser, who raved about a gift he received from JBL Audio.
This is where UGC really shines.
If the campaign is convincing enough, it will be shared by users on social media or personally recommended to their friends online.
Not only does this increase overall visibility, but it also gives more people the opportunity to seriously consider attending your event.
Share your event on Snapchat
Snapchat is a unique social media platform in the sense that it is easy to get started but difficult to master.
We're far from believing that Snapchat is a fad, especially with its average of 166 million daily active users.
When it comes to event promotion, one of the most impressive aspects of this platform is its ability to reach a demographic that is usually difficult to isolate.
In addition, Snapchat gives you the ability to give users a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating an event.
Do you need ideas on what to share?
Post a few snapshots of the planning stages of your event.
You can even just post a list of the speakers who should be there.
The key here is to raise awareness of your event and give your followers content they wouldn't find anywhere else.
Embrace the power of online competitions
Okay, I understand that sounds a little silly, but listen to me!
While social media competitions are nothing new, their potential for raising awareness of your event is undeniable.
The competition offers tickets to the winner. The only criteria is that they share the event on their own social media page in order to qualify.
The Social Media Examiner took a similar approach at its 2017 Social Media Marketing World event.
It's easy for your audience to get involved, and the exposure alone is worth the free pass.
But why stop there? You can combine UGC with this giveaway and receive content and advertising at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
Ultimately, competition is just one more way to add value and promote event promotion.
Promote events with social media ads
Regardless of your stance on social media ads, the fact remains that this is one of the most effective ways to raise awareness and drive engagement on social media.
But why use them for event promotion?
The reality of event promotion is that while your core audience is ready to know all about your next event, there are many people out there who don't.
Is organic traffic still plausible today in the social field? Yes and no, but here is the good news.
If you are using paid ads there is nothing to worry about.
You might pay for the exposure, but the benefits you get are usually well worth the price of entry.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have some of the easiest ad systems to use, making social media ads a breeze when promoting events.
If you really want to get creative, create ads that encourage people to share UGC.
You can even include a giveaway to make the offer as compelling as possible.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter which of these options you choose. It is crucial that you use social media ads to maximize your potential awareness.
Event promotion online is not an easy task.
Regardless of how extensive your network is or how experienced your company is, it can be difficult to get people excited about your event – be it in person or as a digital event.
Fortunately, several tools are now available to you.
Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer event-specific pages to connect with users.
Other platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are powerful content creation tools that you can use to encourage meaningful engagement.
Regardless of whether you use any method or all of them, understanding how effective an online event promotion campaign can be when you use the right tools is important.
Have you successfully promoted an online or in-person event? Which strategies have worked best for you?