The Ultimate Guide to Event Marketing
What is event marketing?
First thing’s first: what is event marketing, and how can it help your business? It’s simple! Event marketing is how you promote your event and can range from asking your friends and family to spread the word, to posting on social media, to developing a strategic, multi-pronged digital marketing campaign. Essentially, it’s a chance to connect with potential attendees in a way that makes sense for your business. Building a marketing strategy is a key step in preparing for your event, and will play a big part in your overall success!
Planning for success with KPIs
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of your event marketing plan, you need to determine specific and achievable goals you want to reach, along with how to measure those goals. To do this, set up key performance indicators (KPIs). Basically, KPIs are targets for your team to shoot for, or milestones to gauge your progress towards a larger goal. As your marketing efforts progress, you can use KPIs to measure how they’re performing and how they’re contributing to your overall goal. Then use that data to make adjustments to your campaigns as you go. Check out a few examples of KPIs you might find valuable for your event:
Number of tickets sold
How many tickets you sell is directly tied to how much money you bring in and how many attendees you can expect on the big day, so it’s a great way to measure the success of your event! Get your tickets on sale early so you have plenty of time to reach potential buyers.
Your revenue can come from ticket sales, merch sales, and even donations. Look at what days and times bring in the most money, and if there’s a correlation with your audience. For example, if your target audience is high schoolers, you’ll probably get most of your sales after 3:00PM or on the weekends and should do the bulk of your marketing during those times.
Number of event check-ins
In some cases, the number of event check-ins may be more important than the number of registrations (especially if you’re hosting a free event). If a lot of people are reserving tickets for your event but not showing up, you may want to adjust your marketing efforts to keep people excited and engaged between ticket purchase and event day.
Pay attention to the number of shares, likes, or mentions your event gets on social media, and which types of posts perform the best. If you’re sending email blasts, note how many opens and clicks you get, and be sure to track who’s purchasing tickets after reading which email.
Use in-checkout registration questions and post-event surveys to better understand your event-goers’ experience. Learn how they discovered your event, what their favorite part was, and more. Shape your questions to get the info you need to make your next event even better!
Event marketing strategies to drive more revenue
Build a branded event page to sell tickets online
Before starting your marketing campaigns, you need an eye-catching event ticketing page to link to. Your event page should act as an extension of your brand and make it easy to purchase tickets in just a few clicks. Most ticket buyers are making purchases right from their phones, so working with an online ticketing system that makes your event page look great on any device is key. (If they offer the option to get started with professional-looking templates or build your own from scratch, even better!) And don’t forget to highlight your most important event details including the date, time, location, and anything they need to know beforehand, like parking info.
Send email blasts to targeted audiences
When sent to the right people, email marketing can be a powerful way to get the word out about your upcoming event. You can build targeted email lists from different sources including past attendees or newsletter subscribers. You already know these audiences are interested in your event, which means they’re more likely to engage with your content and make a purchase. For example, you can incentivize early ticket sales by offering discounts if customers purchase tickets by a certain date. Or you can encourage your audience to share your event with their social circles by offering group discounts, like 15% off when they buy four or more tickets.
For the most successful email campaigns possible, follow these tips:
- Include an attention-grabbing subject line that stands out in the inbox (emojis are highly encouraged)
- Ex: It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere 🍷
- Use your pre-header text to expand on your subject line
- Ex: The Chicago Wine Festival is back and bigger than ever! Grab your tickets today!
- Use dynamic content to personalize your emails and add your recipients’ names either in the subject line or in the body of your email
- Add an exciting image from your event to get your audience hyped up
- Add details about your event, like where and when it is and what to do there
- Add a clear call to action to buy tickets now and link to your event listing
Lastly, be sure your ticketing system lets you send out email blasts directly from their platform for free. Since all your ticket buyer information is already stored there, this will help keep costs down and segment your customers easier than ever before!
Shout from the rooftops on social media
When it comes to drumming up hype for your event, never underestimate the power of social media! All throughout the year, and especially leading up to your event, you should be posting regularly on your Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media profiles. Your event’s social media marketing presence should give them a taste of your unique onsite experiences. This includes posting high-quality photos and videos with short, catchy captions. Grab readers’ attention fast and always end with a direct call to action, like “Get your tickets while they last!” After your customers buy tickets, keep the engagement going and turn them into free brand ambassadors when they share your event to their own social profiles!
To get the most out of your social media campaigns, try out these tips:
Post at least once a day, every day. Leading up to your event, aim for 7-10 posts per week.
Quality over quantity
Post interesting and helpful content your followers can interact with. Share details about your event, and be sure to highlight your community and give shoutouts to fans whenever you can.
Create event hashtags
Want to get discovered by new followers? Hashtags are the key! Use 1-3 hashtags on each post, including a brand-specific hashtag. Each platform will then serve up your posts in search results, making it easier for you to #ShoutFromTheRooftops
Invite people to follow
Invite your friends and those interested in your event to follow you right from an action on your Facebook Page. Sometimes getting your event on the map really is that easy!
Include your social handle on everything (and we mean everything)
The more places your social media handles appear, the more opportunities there are for people to follow. Add them to online posts, printed materials, emails–anywhere you can think of.
Design Facebook and Instagram posts to generate followers
Include interactive calls to action in the post text (not just the caption), like, “Tag the biggest wine-lover you know!”
Engage with existing communities and follow relevant accounts
Use Instagram Search to find hashtags and geotags of nearby users, then start liking, sharing, and commenting on their posts! They may return the favor and follow you if they like what they see.
Regularly post video content
Post videos on TikTok and Instagram to take advantage of their massive Gen Z user-base to find new repeat customers. Take your followers through different parts of your event, introduce them to participating artists or staff, show time lapses of setup, and more.
Share user-generated content
While at your event, encourage attendees to post from your event using your custom hashtag (ex: #ChicagoWineFest). Whenever you need content, simply search your hashtag, and look for smiling faces enjoying your experience and re-share their posts on your social profiles!
Embrace your local community
When you’re looking to increase awareness of your event, don’t forget about your community! Are there news outlets, magazines, blogs, or other local-specific, high-traffic websites you can place ads in or write a sponsored post for? A lot of these outlets offer banner ad placements, in-article ads, and even paid inclusion in their email newsletters, and could help get a lot of eyes on your event, turning readers into potential event-goers. (Pro tip: make the most of these placements by offering a small discount to those who purchase tickets right away!)
You can take your promotional efforts offline, too! Classic marketing tactics like flyers, print magazine and newspaper ads, and even billboards are tried and true ways to drive ticket sales. For example, partner with local restaurants to pass out discount coupons for your event to their customers. This might be just what you need to give your ticket sales that extra boost.
Beyond these more “traditional” routes, you should also look into influencer marketing. Scope out local personalities and social media influencers with a devoted following, and work with them to arrange a partnership. You might even find that influencer marketing can be more affordable and powerful in reaching new audiences than other paid advertising methods!
Track discounts, promotions, and special pricing
You already know a great way to boost your ticket sales is by offering exclusive discounts to select audiences. Early-bird specials are key in enticing event-goers to purchase tickets early. Group tickets are great to incentivize big purchases so family and friends can attend together for less. Loyalty campaigns reward your customers and keep them coming back again and again. No matter how you offer specially priced event tickets, make sure you’re tracking these efforts! Attach unique tracking parameters on your URLs when linking back to your event page for each promotion, influencer, or discount code so you know exactly where sales are coming from.
Expand your reach with paid social ads
Depending on your event, audience, and budget, paid social advertising may be the perfect way to increase event awareness, gain new followers, and most importantly, sell out your event! Facebook Ads Manager provides a ton of ways to target potential customers on both Facebook and Instagram. When it comes to interest targeting, a user’s “interests” are based on what they share online, the ads they click, the pages they like, and much more. So you should target your ads to interests relevant to your event. For example, if you’re hosting a music festival, you might target interests like your event’s performing artists, other local festivals, or music in general.
To unlock a new audience and grow your brand awareness after you’ve collected enough purchase data, try exploring Lookalike Audiences. These are created from a source audience of already existing customers. Facebook then identifies common characteristics and creates a new audience for you. Basically, all the heavy lifting is done for you, and you reap the rewards!
With paid social ads, you’re most likely reaching a new audience who may not have heard of your event before, so be sure your ads are friendly, informative, and engaging. Include your event details and a call to action to purchase tickets alongside the “Book Now” button. For your ad creative, always test between static images, short videos, and carousel ads to see what your audience interacts with the most. Remember, this is a brand new audience, so you want to select the best photos of your event to stop people in their tracks as they’re scrolling.
Remarket to past visitors on social media
Did you know you can target specific website visitors who engaged with your website but have yet to purchase a ticket? With remarketing, you can zero in on those who have shown interest but haven’t quite sealed the deal. These users are way more likely to place an order than those who haven’t heard of your event before, so it’s often more effective to re-target them again than start a new, broader campaign.
You want to run remarketing campaigns where your audience already spends a lot of their time, like on Facebook and Instagram. If you have customer lists from previous years, remarket to them, too! Uploading these lists to Facebook lets you target those specific users via social media ads. Well-timed, targeted, and interesting remarketing ads can easily be the most effective part of your social media marketing toolkit!
Here’s a few tips to maximize the power of your remarketing ads: Use reminder language to get your audience to buy tickets, while also adding new information about your event. Then feature a testimonial from a recent attendee or influencer, or highlight a part of your event they might not already be aware of. Create a sense of urgency to get customers to buy tickets right away (ex: “Tickets are selling fast – get yours before it’s too late!”). Offering a discount to these audiences is another great motivator, like 20% off children’s tickets or free parking. Sometimes the opportunity to save a few bucks is the only push they need!
Sign up with a free event ticketing platform
While you can create a successful, dynamic marketing strategy on your own, using an event ticketing and management system sure does make it a whole lot easier! With Ticketleap’s free, user-friendly system, you can get your event on sale in just five easy steps. Plus, we have built-in tools to help promote your event, integrations with Google Analytics and other services to learn more about ticket buyers, and branded event pages that will wow your customers! Don’t wait another second; get your event on sale with Ticketleap today and watch the ticket sales roll in!