Event marketing guide
Includes 15 lessons
Includes 15 lessons
With any planning, marketing strategies, and events come attainable budgets to help meet your financial goals. Marketing is about having fun, getting creative and exploring what works best for your brand.
However, for setting goals and budgets, it needs to be realistic to make our goals achievable.
Foremost, you need to know your entire event costs or have an idea before starting anything; some basic costs for event planning are laid out in the list below:
You can find budget templates free online instead of starting from scratch.
CoSchedule.com has a variety of free marketing budget template kits to choose from so that there is something for everyone.
Because we are such a digital world, there are so many free options online to start marketing your event. Social media scheduling, real-time analytics, websites, pop up tools, survey generators, email marketing, newsletters, blogging and so much more.
Here is a list of some favorite marketing tools that are entirely free brought to you by Buffer.
There are plenty of people out there looking for experience, to grow their resume or community service by working volunteer events.
Social media is a full-time job; eventually, as your event gets closer, you won’t be able to focus all your energy on just that. With a solid brand, clear goals and budget, it is easy to hire a few interns to handle these platforms for you.
Even if you can’t offer college credit, providing a glowing letter of recommendation is enough motivation for interns/volunteers.
Promise a few advertisements or promotions during the event mention them on your website, registration or pass out fliers; whatever it is, it’s easy to get a sponsor and a quick way to minimize your spending.
However, this sponsorship should include your marketing budget and be prepared to know what you can offer each sponsor before.
Event attendees’ decisions are continually changing, so how do you market to an audience that can’t decide.
The answer is simple, and that is, determine your target audience and what influences their buying.
However, It’s easier said than done and takes time.
This approach is becoming a little easier thanks to the analytics that Google and most platforms offer to evaluate your audiences’ patterns.
Before you can test your data, you need to understand your demographics and who you are targeting for your event.
These are just a few basic demographics that you need to determine and match with your event.
Once you have identified each category, you can start your marketing strategies based on this new data. Demographics help determine where your ads will be posted.
If your event is for mom bloggers in California, you can advertise your event on online shopping pages, other mom blogs, Babies R Us, etc. You can also use these demographics to create campaigns geared towards their needs and why this event would benefit them.
Use your analytics to evaluate who is paying attention to what ads, and to assess what marketing strategies are working for this audience.
For more on using Google Analytics, see lesson 3.
One of the coolest things about marketing is seeing the results of your work!
The best way to calculate your success is through analytics, insights, and trackable links.
Use this type of data to track your marketing efforts and understand what is working and what is not.
When you log into your Google Analytics account, it automatically shows you the last 30 days of data, but you can adjust the time periods for longer and shorter depending on your needs. The homepage is overwhelming, but each box is sectioned off and has its own personalized overviews.
Take it one section at a time.
So how do you create your links?
When you are in the Campaign URL builder, you can add your campaign URL as well as parameters so you can track it in your analytics.
Once everything is named, submit your link, and special tags will be added at the end of your URL. If you don’t like how long your new link is, you can use Google URL Shortener to shorten it.
Does appearance matter? It’s about what’s on the inside, right?
That may be true for people and relationships, but everything else is out the window. Unfortunately, in the event world, appearances are everything!
Your presence and appearance represents your brand and communicates your message whether or not you realize it. Designing a signature look or color can help make your event more memorable and easier to market.
Whether it’s your event website, registration, mobile ticketing app, whatever you are using as your home base for your event, it better be consistent. If you are using these platforms and more, their designs need to match your overall brand and stay consistent with your look.
Not being steady across all platforms is one of the fastest ways to lose your audience, because there is nothing to identify your brand with.
If your website’s design is not clean, eye-catching, or maybe there isn’t a design element at all, no one will want to attend your event.
Your website represents your brand, so make sure the design communicates what you want people to know about your event.
Fun, colorful, sad, serious, party, professional, relaxed, etc. a design can communicate the setting of your event or determine the viewer’s mood towards it.
Understanding how color psychology works is another powerful tool in helping create a brand that captures what you want others to feel.
Color psychology is a robust science, and if you don’t research your color scheme beforehand, you may choose a theme that hurts your event without even knowing it.
Another critical thing to remember with colors is their complementary shades (see below).
New to Facebook?
This platform is the best way to start connecting your business and events to an entire community of people on Facebook.
Facebook makes it easy to get started and puts you in the right category to maximize your audience reach.
Some events need that extra push, so sharing might be the best way to do that.
Each event you create comes with buttons for your guest to select, “Interested” or “Going.” That way you can view your guest list right from Facebook or see possible interested people and send more advertisements their way.
If you are creating campaigns and using the “ad options” on Facebook, Ad Manager lets you see the engagement these ads are bringing in.
Each campaign will have their unique results including total reach, impressions, costs per results and the amount you spent. By using these features, you can see what ads reach the biggest audience and can replicate those to increase your reach.
Your account overview breaks down your demographics, traffic, reach and total engagement to understand your followers entirely.
The overview also breaks down the times your followers are online and engaged with your content to help you post at better times.
With marketing, it is your job to stay updated on the latest trends, what all the buzz is about, and new ones that are emerging.
It’s time to understand what event trends are changing the event industry for the better and how to attract a more engaged crowd by following these new trends.
Technology is how the world has come to breathe and connect; whether you like it or not. It’s a trend that has become a lifestyle for everyone. In today’s world, it is all about efficiency, saving time and energy and using whatever technology gets the job done. If people want to buy tickets, there better be an app, a website, and online access.
Box offices, will-calls, these are foreign words to most, primarily if you are targeting a younger generation.
Your event doesn’t have to be technology crazy, just your registration. Let technology make your event more accessible and go paperless, which ties back to being more sustainable!
If you haven’t noticed by now, trends that weren’t in style before, well, we are bringing them back. People are starting to care about their environment and going green has become a huge trend and continues to grow.
Venues that are nature-based or have sustainable properties are a big hit for event planners; anything down to handing out succulents as party favors can follow this trend that people are crazy about.
An event that is 100% sustainable, no plastic, no straws, earth-friendly won’t go unnoticed. Sustainability has become noticeably popular among the millennial generation, but has started to grow and hasn’t stopped since.
There are so many venue options out there, but why have it at city hall or in a business office when you have so many other options available. Get creative with your space; the more creative, the more people will be interested in attending.
Read lesson 13 to learn more.
Charitable events help create fun atmospheres that are also supporting a good cause. That’s why color runs, marathons, events like “Skydive for Charity,” donation match drives, etc. all easily attract sizeable crowds. It is easier to spend money if you know it’s making a difference, plus it can be your good deed for the day.
According to TheStreet, an American financial news and services website, 84% of Millennials give to charitable organizations and are far more likely to donate clothes, food and their time than any other generation!
If you are following this trend for your next event, Millennials are one of the more willing generations to target.
Host an event where people can volunteer, do giveaways for everyone that brings in canned food, or even something as simple as an option to donate to a charity upon purchasing a ticket.
If your event is planning on having any food at all, you need to provide options for all diets. Some call it a lifestyle, others a trend, but vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan diets are increasing more every day.
I know it’s hard to accommodate the variety of diets out there, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, pescatarian, etc. However, the vegetarian/vegan diet is becoming a worldwide trend and roughly 3.2% or 7.3 million U.S adults follow vegetarianism according to Vegetarian Times.
Why not offer and market a variety of food choices at your event! It’s what will set your event apart from the rest!
Because we are so filled with technology, this trend forces your guests to disconnect.
By creating cell phone-free zones, it forces us to become humans again and connect physically beyond our screens before technology took those qualities away from us.
Everyone feels guilty about the time they spend on their screens, but an event that forces you to disconnect is becoming increasingly popular because it creates a more mindful experience.
Everyone loves their dogs!
More people are choosing dogs over having kids, and these are the ones throwing the dog parties, heading to Starbucks for the puppuccinos, and booking the best doggie hotels for when they are away.
Any event that allows dogs is a start to attracting your loving dog crowd.
No one likes to leave their pets at home, so if you have the option to, make your event dog-friendly. San Diego is notorious for their dog events such as the Doggie Street Festivals, Dog Fest Walks, La Jolla Art & Wine Festivals allow dogs, and of course
Integrations are created to make your lives a little easier while getting the free exposure you deserve.
They allow you to compile all your event information and email lists from your account to another platform.
Best part, they do the work for you.
For event marketing, social media has just become your best friend! However, if you plan on using social media, which you should, you need to be fully invested.
You can’t just exist online, but you need to have an audience that is engaging.
Before creating a social media marketing plan, you need to understand how to use it, because there is a lot of strategizing that goes into these platforms.
The Dos and Don’ts of using social media to market your event.
Instagram is one of the most popular platforms to use for event marketing and probably the most interactive. Here are some tips I recommend you do to make sure your content goes unnoticed.
It’s important to stick to a theme, so your followers know what to expect. People follow your site for specific reasons. For example, travel sites are all about travel and their followers expect that.
However, if they posted one day about “how to apply false lashes correctly,” that’s not what the viewers want. Not keeping consistency is one of the fastest ways to lose followers.
Know who your audience is, know why they follow you and make sure the overall content is consistent.
The examples above show different images, but they all hold a theme. It could be color palettes, location, graphics, the overall tone, etc. whatever it is, make sure it looks cohesive when you look at the account as a whole.
You should choose which platforms you use based on your audiences and demographics. You have so many to choose from with some top being:
Research, experiment and discover what platforms work for you!
One of the first interactions that your guests’ experience for your event is the website and registration process. Registration is usually their first impression of your event, and you don’t want it to be their last.
The average time a consumer can focus on one thing is around 8 minutes. If your site is slow, unorganized, hard to access, not available online, anything and more can turn off someone from buying tickets, especially with an 8 minute focus time.
It is essential to know what qualities determine an excellent registration and event website.
Every event needs a website or a central place with all the event information, tickets, point of contact, etc.; merely a typical meeting place for your audiences and guests attending.
All of your marketing efforts are going towards getting your traffic here to purchase tickets. Your registration will be a part of this website unless you do it independently on the registration company’s website.
Most consumers can’t differentiate between the event and their registration provider. Meaning, their first impression will never be negative towards the registration company, but the event itself. People like to purchase tickets in advance online; it’s easy; it’s fast and hopefully hassles free!
Make sure your registration is online and is a clean, concise process!
No chunky forms, no paragraphs of texts to battle through; it needs to be straightforward and simple, or you will lose your audience, and your marketing will go to waste.
For example, Purplepass Ticketing online ticket registration comprises one short form, with limited writing, clearly marked boxes, and a price breakdown.
What you see is what you get.
You can use these qualities to market your ticketing options as fast and painless, so your audience isn’t afraid to try it out.
You should use a registration that will represent your company and event in the best light possible! Your brand is your brand, and it needs to be consistent throughout.
Small touches such as customized tickets, retail merchandise online, or your registration design goes a long way of representing your brand.
We live in a digital age, but don’t forget about the traditional ways of advertising. Paper flyers, posters, newspaper, etc.; step back from your devices and look to your community beyond the screens.
Post your event flyers in accessible areas where your target audience hangs out, go to your community listings to advertise your event or even pass out invites at favorite venues.
Our complete list of
Competitive Traditional Advertising Ideas
It’s a small lesson that can make a big impact in your presence and ticket sales on social media.
Let your guess be your best form of marketing. Pick a registration that offers integration with Facebook to get love from your followers every time they purchase a ticket!
If you are looking for a fresh, modern new marketing strategy, include videos! According to a Nielsen Report, video campaigns are 36% more trusted and authentic to viewers over digital or signage ads.
If your viewers enjoy your videos, their engagement and purchase intent increases by 97%!
That’s huge! Forrester Research has also determined that one minute of video is worth approximately 1.8 million words and is 1200% times more likely to be shared than any other text campaigns.
It's time to change it up a bit.
Instead of turning to city halls or convention centers to host your next event, try thinking more unconventional.
Here are some nontraditional venue ideas that could work for your next event! BONUS - a unique venue creates a unique experience for your guests; making your event more desirable and exciting!
Social media is a clear choice to use when promoting your event, however, with all the buzz it’s hard to be noticed on these platforms.
One way to stay organized and get seen is to start using hashtags.
The more specific your hashtags are to your community, the better.
You can also use your tags to find your niche and target audience and determine where the engagement is.
When creating your campaign, think about how you want your hashtags to look.
There are two ways to organize your hashtags while making sure they don’t crowd your post.
1. Post your content without hashtags; once it is live, comment on that post with your hashtags. That way it still can find its community online while staying out the way for your viewers.
2. Or, create your content to accompany your post and add a few spaces before adding your hashtags, so a separation remains. This way your post isn't too crowded and the content gets lost within the hashtags.