Marketing

10 Powerful Event Marketing Strategies & Ideas to Boost Attendance

Published on January 5, 2023 • Updated on January 25, 2023 • About 11 min. read

Learn practical tips for engaging virtual events in this Ebook

Download now
event marketing planning

Planning an event takes months of work. You can’t risk having a low sign-up rate—the success of the event and your performance review depends on it. But how to find your audience and promote your event in the places potential attendees are hanging out?

There are plenty of ways to advertise your event depending on its type and your target audience.

By the end of this comprehensive event marketing guide, you’ll be able to combine different actions and lay out a plan for your custom event marketing strategy.

Download the Ebook to learn how to make events engaging
How to Make Virtual Events Engaging
How to make virtual events engaging ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Make Virtual Events Engaging

Find out actionable tips to engage your audience and discover how to create lasting experiences.

Download

What is an event marketing strategy?

An event marketing strategy is a plan for using an event to promote a brand or product. Your strategy could be a high-level timeline of promotional activities or a granular, step-by-step breakdown of attendee touchpoints.

Event attendees gather around speakers at a content marketing event

How do you plan an event marketing strategy?

Before you can implement your event marketing strategy, you have to write it.
To do that, you need to define your objectives, understand your audience, and establish a timeline for planning, promoting, and pulling off your event.

  1. Define your objectives and set KPIs
  2. Evaluate your resources
  3. Research your target audience
  4. Decide on the basic details of your event
  5. Establish a timeline
  6. Map out your touch points

1. Define your objectives and set KPIs

Goals are your strategy’s best friend. There are different goal-setting approaches that you can follow:

  • S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Use it to focus your efforts on attainable and result-driven goals.
  • B.H.A.G. Big, hairy, audacious goals. Use it to set unrealistic but inspiring goals.
  • H.A.R.D. Heartfelt, animated, required, and difficult. Use this strategy to set personal growth goals.

Assign specific key performance indicators (KPI) to each objective so you can measure the success of the event. If you’re hosting an online one, set virtual event metrics and track them using the Livestorm analytics dashboard.

2. Evaluate your resources

Setting boundaries for your project will help avoid making promises you can't deliver or blowing your department budget. Evaluate all your available resources, including:

  • Budget. Do you have any money assigned to spend on paid ads, influencer marketing, or offline marketing? How much?
  • Team members and capabilities. Who will be working with you on this event? Do they know how to approach the planned tasks? Do you need to request hiring approvals?
  • Time capacity. Does your team have the bandwidth to take on additional responsibilities? Will it delay the deliverables?
  • Tools. Do you need to pay for any specific tools (e.g. social media scheduling platforms)? Does your team know how to use them?

Plan to close potential gaps before you start promoting your event.

3. Research your target audience

Your event marketing strategy should be tightly linked to your target audience so you can craft posts that speak directly to them. You should know everything about your audience:

  • Their likes and dislikes
  • Time preferences
  • Media consumption habits
  • Who are the influencers they follow
  • How they spend their free time
  • How old they are
  • What’s their field of study
  • What’s their favorite social media and social media group/community

This information will simplify the decision-making process on further steps like deciding the format of your webinar and identifying touch points with your audience.

4. Decide on the basic details of your event

Your marketing strategy will likely be different depending on the type of event. Define the:

  • Format. Will it be in-person, virtual, or hybrid?
  • Content-type. Are you hosting a conference, seminar, webinar, or trade show?
  • Location. Where is this happening? Do you need to book a venue? Do you have the right online events platform to host this event?
  • Speakers. Who is leading the event? Can you use the speakers as part of your promotion strategy?
  • Potential automations. How much manual intervention does the strategy require? Can you automate email campaigns and retarget ads? Do you need to manually invite every single attendee or buy personalized gifts?

5. Establish a timeline

Identify when you need to start and finish promoting your event. If you’re hosting an event on-demand, determine whether or not you'll need recurring promotional activities. You may find project management methodologies useful for laying out your timeline. For example, you could build a Gantt chart where you can assign tasks with deadlines and detailed responsibilities.

6. Map out your touch points

Leads need to be exposed to the same information several times before they click or convert. Map out the places where your audience will hear from you, what you’ll be including in those communications, and in which format. Drip registrants with information and reminders to drive attendance.

Here's an example. Your potential attendee:

  1. Gets an email recommendation from your event three months in advance
  2. Sees an Instagram ad a week after they get the email
  3. Listens to an influencer talking about your event in their Instagram stories three days after they saw the ad
  4. Sees an ad while searching for something online a week after they listened to the influencer
  5. Someone hands them a poster with your event information on campus 9 weeks before the event
  6. Listens to their favorite influencer giving out a discount code seven weeks before the event
  7. Opens the landing page and signs up seven weeks before the event
  8. Gets a confirmation email right after they sign up
  9. Gets an email with further information a few days prior to the event

You can also list the things that happen during and after the event:

  • Gets to the venue/joins the event– what do they see?
  • Gets a gift for attending the event– what is it?
  • Gets an email to fill out a feedback survey– how does it look?
  • Offer a discounted rate for the next event if they post an Instagram story and tag you– how do you verify they’ve posted the story?
  • Get an Amazon gift card if they leave a review on your website– how much? Who sends it?
How to Make Virtual Events Engaging
How to make virtual events engaging ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Make Virtual Events Engaging

Find out actionable tips to engage your audience and discover how to create lasting experiences.

Download

10 Event marketing strategies and ideas

It’s time to take action! Approach this list with a mix-and-match mentality. Use the information gathered during the planning stages to come up with your unique promotion strategy. In this section, you’ll find ideas to help you:

  1. Design an event website or landing page
  2. Plan amazing content
  3. Create a promo video
  4. Promote on a mix of channels
  5. Deliver a press release
  6. Partner with influencers
  7. Create a sense of urgency and build FOMO
  8. Get attendees to share on social media
  9. Livestream in-person events
  10. Try virtual event marketing

1. Design an event website or landing page

You need a registration page for any type of event. The format might vary depending on the type of event. Every landing page should contain:

  • The date and location
  • The price
  • A summary of the event
  • The event agenda
  • A short bio of the speakers
  • A way to contact your support team

Send further information via email like any required pre-reads, recommended hotels and maps with accessibility, or fun things to do in the event destination.

If you’re hosting an online event, you can use Livestorm to create your registration page with a custom form. If you’re hosting a hybrid or in-person event, use tools like Carrd or Swipe Pages to easily create these event landing pages.

Walkthrough of Livestorm landing page customization options

2. Plan amazing content

The best strategy is to host an event that impresses the audience and adds so much value that they can’t help but talk about it afterward. Hosting an impressive event can look different depending on the type of event.

  • If you’re hosting an in-person event. Make sure the speaker is engaging and captivating. Foster opportunities for people to connect with each other and have organic fun. Incorporate ice breakers and give each one of the participants a giveaway present.
  • If you’re hosting a hybrid event. Guarantee the event is equally enjoyable for the people online as to the ones that are physically there. Use a virtual conference tool like Livestorm to display virtual attendees’ questions or poll results on a screen.
  • If you’re hosting an online event. Identify opportunities to make your virtual event more engaging with features that invite your audience to participate and avoid getting bored. It’s part of virtual conference best practices to use polls, Q&As, virtual whiteboards, or share your screen to cast videos to engage your audience.
Person hosting a Livestorm meeting using the Miro virtual whiteboard feature

3. Create a promo video

Another marketing event strategy idea is to create a promo video for your event. Determine whether you want it to be animated or want someone to memorize a script and record it. Either way, you’ll need to:

  • Hire experts to:
    • Record
    • Animate
    • Direct
    • Write the script
    • Edit
  • Ensure you’re following brand guidelines and that the information is clear
  • Make it short
  • Tailor the video to each event marketing platform: you can’t post the same video on Twitter and TikTok, because the formatting and audience are different.

If you’re making it in-house, consider following an event marketing trend to make it more organic. Use tools like CapCut to edit your video, or use Instagram Reels templates. Take a look at this video as an event marketing example from Delack Media Group:

4. Promote on a mix of channels

Your target audience hangs out in different places, you need to be there as well. Don’t stick to popular marketing channels like Instagram, LinkedIn, and email marketing. Contact influencers, think of smart offline initiatives (e.g. handing out flyers on a campus), and leverage your network to come up with a word-of-mouth strategy.

Use Facebook and Google Ads to place promoted ads on Instagram and Facebook, and add promotion to relevant blogs and Google searches.

5. Deliver a press release

Include public relations tasks as part of your event marketing. Give the media a press release with your well-designed assets to start generating buzz. A press release can be as simple as a Google Doc that outlines your event, mentions sponsors, and links to promotional resources. Send it to news outlets and influencers or post it on your website.

6. Partner with influencers

People trust other people over brands. Brands will always say that their products are the best, but a person can choose the ones they’re willing to represent. Use these event marketing tools to find niche influencers to promote your virtual event(it works for in-person events as well!):

  • Google. Use this formula to find experts in your field: “[industry or niche] + experts/influencers/speakers/bloggers/tiktokers”
  • BuzzSumo. Go to the influencers tab on this platform to discover influencing experts on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
  • Twitter lists. Look at other influencers’ Twitter lists. You can find those in their profiles by clicking on the three dots next to the follow button.
Hubspot twitter profile showing a pop-up bar on how to find twitter lists and connect with other influencers

7. Create a sense of urgency and build FOMO

Create different pricing tiers with early bird tickets offered at a discounted rate as a registration incentive. When you release tickets in stages, it generates a sense of urgency. So, people will want to buy the cheapest ticket and will buy it faster. You can even use a price optimization tool, like the one on Eventbrite, to automate price changes.

Pro tip: If you’re using Livestorm to plan, host, and analyze your virtual or hybrid events, connect it to Eventbrite directly and redirect attendees from your registration page to it without any trouble.

Illustration of a woman using the Livestorm integration with event registration app Eventbrite

8. Get attendees to share on social media

Create a branded hashtag for the event and think of initiatives that invite your attendees to announce on social media they’re going to your event. To do so:

  • Plan a giveaway that requires people to use the hashtag online
  • Make the experience highly “Instagrammable”
    • If it’s a virtual event, go beyond the screen and surprise them with a gift that you deliver to their homes.
    • If it’s an in-person event, add backings for people to take pictures, brand everything, and make the catering appealing and eye-catching.
  • Offer a discounted rate for future events to the ones who post online using the hashtag before, during, or after the event

9. Live stream in-person events

Don’t let all of your efforts disappear after one event. Record and stream your live events online to reach a wider audience. Make sure you have the right equipment and team to record high-quality video and audio.

Use a platform like Livestorm to create a registration page for people to sign-up for the live stream. Also, use the same platform to create an on-demand video and gate it, so anyone can watch the event at their own pace when they share their contact information.

A screenshot of the Livestorm platform playing a Hostfully on-demand demo video

10. Try virtual event marketing

Many in-person events can happen virtually. You only need superb virtual event software that lets you talk and engage with your audience. Livestorm is your best option if you want to make interactive virtual events as it comes with several features to plan, host, and analyze your event. These include:

  • Creating landing pages and adding custom fields to registration forms
  • Setting recurring events if you’re running a virtual conference with multiple sessions
  • Customizing your room, emails, and landing pages to show your branding
  • Sending automated emails with reminders
  • Exporting all your attendees’ contact information
  • Using engagement features like:
    • In-app file sharing
    • Emoji reactions
    • Q&As, polls, and private and public chats
    • Virtual and interactive whiteboard
    • Breakout rooms
    • Call to action (CTA) button
  • Accessing your data analytics and getting a participation report
  • Giving easy access to participants as it’s a browser-based platform
Livestorm platform demonstrating how to use the call to action button

What’s the best way to promote your event?

You need a strategy to market your event—a list of coordinated actions you’ll take to reach out to potential attendees and get them to sign up. Pick out the actions you’ll take as part of your event marketing plan.

  • The best way to promote an in-person or hybrid event is to mix offline with online marketing strategies. Try these ideas:
    • Create an event website that has a registration form and it’s packed with your event information.
    • Get more participants by opening the event to a global audience by live streaming.
    • Create Instagrammable_ _moments to leverage user-generated content (UGC).
  • The best way to promote a virtual event is to focus mostly on online promotion that has a clear call to action that takes potential attendees to your registration page. To achieve this, try these promotion strategies:
    • Design a custom registration page. If you’re using Livestorm, you can do this directly from the platform and customize it to suit your branding.
    • Find potential partners and influencers with a quick Google search, on BuzzSumo, or by reviewing other influencers' Twitter lists.
    • Define a pricing strategy and generate FOMO.

The best event marketing strategy is the one that suits your business goals and gets your audience buzzing about your brand. You should also aim to minimize repetitive tasks by automating as much as possible. Try using a platform like Livestorm to automatically send email reminders and set recurring events, taking the hassle out of virtual event management.

How to Make Virtual Events Engaging
How to make virtual events engaging ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Make Virtual Events Engaging

Download