Your Guide to Event Promotion: How to Build Engagement

Category

Marketing

Read Time

12 min

Published

16 April, 2024

The success of any event lies in effective event promotion.

If people don’t know your event is happening, they’re not going to attend.

But this sounds easier than it is.

With so many channels available to you, how do you make sure your event promotion hits the mark?

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It’s not enough to just blast every channel with a simple announcement of the event date and time in the hope that people will put it in their calendar and loyally attend.

They’ll have lots of companies saying the same thing, so you need an event promotion strategy and a mix of online and offline marketing tactics to make a splash.

In this blog post we’re exploring event promotion in full, along with a list of event promotion tactics to make sure your event is the one they visit.

Let’s get started.

What Is Event Promotion?

Event promotion is any activity designed to raise brand awareness, generate interest, or drive attendance to a specific event.

This involves strategic planning and execution to reach and engage the right audience so they understand the value of their attendance.

You’re asking people to give up their time to visit your booth, so they need to know it’s worthwhile.

Effective event promotion involves a combination of traditional advertising techniques (think of print ads, radio spots, and marketing collateral) as well as digital tactics such as social media, email marketing, and partnerships.

We’re covering all of these strategies and how you can use them below – so keep reading.
dart board icon with jigsaw pieces around the edge

What is the Goal of Event Promotion?

The key goal of event promotion is to create excitement around the event so people want to give up their time and attend.

You need to get the word out there and tell / show people why your event is worth it.

This can be achieved by designing eye-catching exhibition graphics, crafting compelling messaging, having an enticing product giveaway or freebie, and communicating your unique value proposition.

It also comes down to qho you choose to have on your event stand as you want people who are confident, friendly communicators without being overly salesly.

When it comes to creating an event promotion strategy you need to consider the unique characteristics of the event itself, as well as the preferences of the those attending.

For example, promoting a professional conference to industry professionals might involve targeted email campaigns and partnerships with relevant organisations as that’s what would appeal to these people.

Event Promotion vs Event Marketing

Event promotion and event marketing are used interchangeably as they do serve a similar purpose, i.e. getting more people to your event.

However, event promotion focuses more on raising awareness and driving attendance to an event whereas event marketing covers a range of activities aimed at connecting with the target audience.

For example, you might choose to run an interactive workshop at your event telling attendees all about your product/ service and giving them an opportunity to ask questions. This would fall under event marketing, as it’s aimed at building deeper connections with potential customers. It’s not about event promotion as the people are already there – the promotion bit of the marketing strategy is done.

To illustrate this further we’ll use a hypothetical scenario: a marketing event.

Event promotion for a marketing event might involve:

  • Social media teasers: Leading up to the event, you could post teasers on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, hinting at an upcoming product/ service launch.
  • Email marketing: Send personalised email invitations to influencers and potential customers, inviting them to attend the event.
  • Online contests: Host online contests or giveaways to incentivise followers to engage with the brand, share the event details with their networks, and generate more hype.
  • Targeted ads: Run targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Google Ads, reaching audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviour.

Event marketing for a marketing event might involve:

  • Product demos: Run interactive product demonstrations at the event, allowing attendees to experience the product/ service first-hand.
  • Discussion panels: Host panel discussions and feature industry experts and thought to discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities in the market.
  • Networking: Run networking sessions and one-on-one meetings between attendees, building connections and a sense of community.
  • VIP experiences: Offer attendees something exclusive, such as behind-the-scenes tours or a free trial.

Different Types of Event Promotion

There are lots of different ways to promote your event, depending on what works best for your business.

The best solution is looking at what has worked for previous events but this relies on you exhibiting at events previously.

If event marketing is totally new to your business, you’re starting from scratch when it comes to identifying what types of event promotion work best.

Below we’re giving a snapshot of some of the different types of event promotion, but the key is choosing the tactic that aligns best with your business and the needs of your target audience:

  • Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help create a buzz around your event and writing a post is pretty quick to do. You could create visual graphics and teaser videos to share across social channels and encourage followers to learn more about the event.
  • Partnering with influencers or brand ambassadors can help spread the word when it comes to your event as you can leverage their reach and engagement. If they have lots of followers, you’re essentially piggy-backing off their established reputation.
  • Sending personalised invites or newsletters to segmented lists of email subscribers can help drive attendance by providing people with exclusive access or special offers.
  • Traditional advertising channels such as print ads, radio spots, and outdoor signage can still be valuable tools in the event promotion toolkit. For example, placing ads in local magazines relevant to the event’s target audience.
  • Co-hosting an event with a relevant brand or sponsoring relevant community events can provide exposure to a broader audience while also demonstrating the values and interests that you share.

illustration of man using jigsaw pieces

How to Promote an Event

Now we’re delving into the good stuff – ways to promote your next event.

Perhaps you’ve already tried some of these and they proved unsuccessful?

Or maybe some of the tactics are new and you’re keen to test them out?

Whatever the case, we’re rounding up some different event promotion tactics allowing you to pick and choose the ones that are most relevant.

Build a unique landing page

Visitors want to access all of the information about your event in one place. They don’t want to be scouring through your website trying to find out the time and date as chances are, they won’t bother.

This is where creating a dedicated landing page for your event becomes crucial as it provides visitors with all the essential information in a central location.

Aside from the event date and time, your landing page should also include the location, agenda, speakers, and registration information. It should also be designed with relevant CTA’s in mind, encouraging users to take some form of action, whether it’s registering, purchasing tickets, or learning more.

Once your landing page is created, you can share it on social media and your newsletter, driving more traffic towards it and increasing the likelihood of more attendees.

Develop an event brand identity

You want your attendees to remember your event, as when you’re top of mind, it means they are more likely to get in touch.

If you have a pretty bland, uninspiring brand identity they probably won’t remember you as you’ll be in a hall full of other exhibitors who are competing for their attention.

This means taking the time to craft a distinct brand identity for your event can help set it apart from the competition and create a memorable experience for your attendees.

This includes designing a logo, choosing a colour palette, and developing messaging that resonates with your target audience.

You must remember to be consistent too but applying this brand identity to all of your event collateral whether that’s business cards, brochures, printed handouts, or branded merchandise.

The team at Canny ran an event a couple of years ago in Texas called Consumed. It required us to work with our Design team to create a brand identity that set the event apart from everything else we do in-house, whilst still making it clear it was being run by Canny.

It’s a careful balance to get right, but by taking the time to plan and organise how the brand would look and how it would be rolled out across our print and digital platforms, we were able to create a cohesive event brand identity that can be repurposed in the future.

Encourage early registration

Offering attendees incentives for early registration can help create a sense of urgency and drive more people to your event.

It makes them feel a bit special and as though their attendance is valued which is a powerful marketing technique.

Think about the last music concert you attended. If the singer/ band gives the first few thousand people a discount, it makes you want to purchase tickets quicker as you’re getting something in return.

Other incentives in terms of an industry event can include exclusive access to bonus content or resources, or limited-time offers for the first few registrants. By encouraging attendees to commit early, you can measure interest and ensure a strong turnout.

The last thing you want is to run an event where there is no desire or need for it. After all, you’re spending a lot of money, time, and resources on this so you want to be confident that there is a level of interest first.

custom illustration showing a woman on a laptop

Use content marketing

Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with event promotion.

In terms of telling people about your event and sharing insights into what they can expect from it, content marketing offers so many opportunities.

By creating and sharing valuable content you can attract and engage your target audience by talking about topics that mean something to them.

This could take the form of blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, or podcasts that provide valuable insights, showcase event highlights, or offer behind-the-scenes sneak peeks. And even better, once you have your content you can push it out through platforms like social media or your email newsletter to get it in front of even more people.

That’s the great thing about content; you can create it once but repurpose it and slice it up for different channels.

This allows you to educate, entertain, and inspire your audience, building trust and generating interest in your event.

Leverage social media

Social media brings you closer to your target audience when it comes to event promotion.

It feels much more personal as you can use it to actively respond and engage with potential attendees, driving your value proposition and encouraging more people to visit your event.

These channels also allow you to drive ticket sales and registrations as you can direct people to your event landing page (as mentioned above).

By being active on these channels, you can share updates about the event, making people feel part of the journey before it’s even started, sparking a conversation from day one. You could also host live Q&A sessions, inviting your audience further into the discussion and giving them an opportunity to learn more about your offering.

There are countless ways to take advantage of social media to increase visibility and to reach a broader audience. That said, it’s important to choose the right platforms based on the needs of your target audience as that whole idea is to be where they are, and to engage them on the channels they use the most.

Take advantage of email marketing

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to promote your event.

If you already have an existing database of contacts, then you can easily send personalised, highly targeted email campaigns, ensuring your event is top of mind.

This includes sending important updates and reminders about the date of the event and encouraging recipients to take some form of action.

You can also segment your email list based on interests or engagement levels, enabling you to tailor your messaging even more. For example, if you found that

Collaborate with industry influencers

Leveraging the network of an industry influencer can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your reach.

By selecting the right brand to partner with, you can build off their connections and vice versa making this a win-win scenario for you both.

Of course the key word here is the right partner as you need to make sure there is an obvious alignment between the two company’s.

Once you have this established, you can start making the most of these connections, driving more people to your event.

Whether it’s hosting guest speakers, inviting influencers to be part of panel discussions, or asking them to promote/ share the event on social media, collaborating with influencers allows you to tap into their existing audience and leverage their authority.

Promote your event offline

Digital marketing might have taken hold of just about every business, but print marketing still has its place!

Don’t overlook the power of offline promotion when it comes to your event as different audiences consume different types of content, so you don’t want to miss out on some of these opportunities by solely focusing online.

Traditional marketing tactics could include distributing flyers or brochures in relevant locations, hosting networking events or informational sessions in your community, or partnering with local businesses to co-host events.

By using a mix of both digital and traditional channels you’re giving your event the best chance of success as you’re casting the net wide. You’re appealing to different people through different channels enabling you to attract a more diverse audience.

Brand revolution fist in the air

Your Guide to Event Promotion: How to Build Engagement

Event promotion is key to the success of your next event.

By utilising a range of different channels you can make sure your event is the one people have in their calendars to attend.

There’s a whole load of companies who are now investing in event marketing as this gives you the chance to interact with your audience on a 1-to-1 basis. However with so much competition, your event promotion becomes even more prevalent.

The key thing to remember is the needs of your audience and giving them a compelling and valuable reason to give up their time to attend your event.

Make sure your audience are the people you keep at the forefront of your decision-making, as without them, you have no event.

At Canny, we have experience running and hosting our own marketing events so we know what it takes to make them a success. Get in touch with our team for an informal chat about your marketing event planning needs!

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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