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A Guide to Digital Marketing for Events: What, Why, and How? 

Advertising is one of the most important jobs any planning team undertakes, whether organizing an online or in-person event. Event marketing helps planners connect with their audience, making promoting upcoming functions easier, highlighting their mission, and generating leads. As planners work to widen their audience and connect with consumers in an increasingly online world, digital marketing for events is more critical than ever.  

After all, if people haven’t heard about your event, how will they know to attend? 

Discover why digital marketing for events matters 

In this post, we’re exploring the ins and outs of digital marketing and its role in the modern events industry. As we review various content strategies and the impact they can have on your audience, you’ll unlock tips, tools, and practices your team can use to create better digital marketing for events.  

What is digital marketing? 

Like event marketing, digital marketing is just one part of the advertising industry. It includes marketing that uses digital technologies to promote your brand and connect with audience members. Digital marketing utilizes various technologies, like mobile phones, digital media, desktop computers, and the internet, to connect consumers with relevant content, products, and services.  

Are there different types of digital marketing? 

Digital advertisements are so commonplace that we interact with them every time we’re online, even though we may not realize it. From our search engines to our inboxes, average consumers may see up to 10,000 ads daily. Popular forms of digital event marketing you may encounter include:  

  • Social media marketing (e.g., Facebook, TikTok, Instagram) 
  • Email marketing (e.g., newsletters, special promos, ad retargeting
  • Websites (e.g., business sites and event pages)  
  • Video content (e.g., brand or product videos) 
  • Digital advertisements/Pay-per-Click ads (e.g., banner, display, search engine ads) 
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)  
  • Mobile advertisements (e.g., mobile app ads) 
  • Text messaging (e.g., event reminders, coupon codes) 
  • Affiliate marketing (e.g., blog posts, social media campaigns, informational series) 

How does digital marketing help with events? 

Digital marketing is an incredible tool event planners, organizers, and marketing managers can use to maximize their advertising power. Create campaigns to reach a new target audience or show off a different side of your business. Use diverse content strategies and creative ad campaigns to—  

  • Generate more event buzz. Use digital marketing to get the word out about your event. Drive registration, increase ticket sales, and boost attendance with captivating digital marketing campaigns highlighting the best you have to offer. 
  • Streamline your efforts. Optimize your advertising strategy with digital marketing for events. Schedule social media posts in advance, automate email campaigns, and pre-set pay-per-click ad parameters to save valuable time and money. With automated digital marketing for events, you can reach more people for less. 
  • Connect with your audience: Interactive digital marketing engages your audience and creates a more memorable advertising experience. Use digital marketing to show consumers you understand what they want and demonstrate how your event can give it to them. Incorporate experiential marketing techniques in your event strategy to connect with consumers on a more personal level. 
  • Set your event or business apart from the competition. Create interactive, relevant, and eye-catching campaigns to capture users’ attention and help your event stand out. Strengthen your online reputation and increase event visibility with creative and memorable marketing. 

Ten ways to improve your digital marketing strategy 

Whether you’re new to event planning or looking to reach more people online, improving your digital marketing strategy is an uncomplicated way to grow your audience. Follow these tips to widen your marketing reach, stretch your advertising budget, and drive more people to your next event.  

  1. Establish marketing goals  

Clearly define the goals and objectives of each digital marketing campaign. Do you want to drive revenue, increase brand awareness, boost event attendance, or accelerate audience engagement? Ensure everyone involved, including event leadership, investors, and the marketing team, are on the same page.  

  1. Know your audience  

Who is your event tailored to? What type of attendee do you want to attract? Does your event target a specific demographic or profession? Entice people to attend your digital event by understanding who they are and appealing to what matters to them. Identify pain points or common problems your target audience may routinely encounter, and create digital campaigns demonstrating why attending your event is the solution to overcoming them.  

  1. Create a digital marketing timeline 

Create a step-by-step digital marketing plan designed to increase excitement and registration numbers leading to the event. Pinpoint an event announcement date. Prepare to release accurate, consistent event details on your website, social media pages, affiliate marketing sites, and other digital marketing channels.  

Offer an early bird discount for the earliest registrants, run a catchy promotional code campaign, or conduct a free ticket giveaway. Identify distinct stages during your digital marketing campaign where you run particular sales and promotions to ensure that the earliest discounts are the steepest. 

  1. Choose the proper marketing channels  

After identifying the target audience for your digital event, promote it on the channels your ideal guests are most likely to use. Are your target attendees social media savvy? Do they prefer text over email? Don’t waste money marketing content that won’t get seen. Instead, invest your marketing dollars where they’ll have the most significant impact.  

  1. Create captivating marketing content  

From short-form video ads to live speaker interviews, incorporate a mix of visual content into your digital marketing strategy to engage your audience and keep them wanting more. Experiment with various forms of multimedia, including text, video, infographics, and images. Choose a color scheme that matches your brand, and use a consistent font throughout digital marketing campaigns. Share video testimonials from satisfied attendees, or create a reel of the most memorable moments from past events. 

  1. Hint at what’s to come 

Generate buzz in the digital world by giving a sneak preview of what’s to come. Share behind-the-scenes footage of event setup or Zoom call clips that feature the stars of the show.  

  1. Promote your event across multiple channels  

While it is essential to focus your efforts where you are likely to have the most success, promoting events across multiple channels widens your reach. The wider net you cast, the more people’s attention you will capture, so make your content easily shareable. Post content on your website or social media platforms, share it on other webpages, and encourage visitors to do the same. Utilize email marketing to drive audience members to specific pages, like the event registration page, social media platforms, or your main website.  

  1. Engage on social media 

Social media is a powerful tool hotels, restaurants, and other venues can use to drive audience engagement. Before ramping up social media activity, audit your current profiles to ensure your brand image and voice are consistent across all platforms. Design a page to promote the event and connect with people who already follow your account. From there, expand your audience reach by engaging with users.  

Create a unique event hashtag that’s catchy and easy to remember. Include the hashtag in relevant posts and updates, and encourage your followers to do the same. Post quizzes, answer questions, or run a social media contest to promote engagement and drive user-generated content, which can have a more significant impact than business posts.  

  1. Highlight event partners  

Use digital marketing to promote event hosts, VIP guests, or the keynote speaker. Advertise the host venue, catering company, and event entertainment, which can appeal to a wide range of audience members. Utilize cross-promotional opportunities to expand the reach of your campaigns.  

  1. Define key data points  

Attempting to collect too much information can overwhelm the event team, muddling the data and making it challenging to identify critical metrics. What data do you need? What numbers do the owners/leadership team want to see? What tools will you use to collect, organize, and review event data? Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure the success of digital marketing efforts.  

Measuring the success of digital marketing for events 

Analyzing the success of your efforts is a critical part of the digital marketing cycle. Identifying which marketing campaigns and content types are the most successful helps teams reinvest in winning strategies and cut poor performers. There are several KPIs your team can use to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns, including:  

  • Web traffic sources. Track web traffic to identify which sources send the most visitors to your website or event page. Are search engines, referral links, or direct advertisements driving more engagement? How much organic web traffic are you generating? Track web traffic sources to find out.  
  • Page views. Determine how frequently visitors view or refresh various web pages to identify which pages they find the most attractive. How often are blog pages being viewed? What about your digital events information page? Analyze page views to answer those questions and more.  
  • Returning visitors. Return visitors have viewed your website or event page before and are returning for another visit. Track the number of returning visitors for each marketing campaign and webpage you publish, as it can help identify which pages are generating repeat visits.  
  • Conversion rate. Typically displayed in a percentage, conversion rate measures the number of users who complete a specific desired action, such as clicking on a link or registering their email address. Calculate conversion rates by dividing the number of individuals who completed the desired activity by the total number of visitors or audience members (e.g., number of ad clicks / total website visitors) and converting that number into a percentage.  
  • Ranking position. When users search for “hotels in your area” or complete relevant searches, such as “digital hospitality classes,” they may encounter your site on search engine results pages (SERPs). How high your site’s page is listed near the top is called its ranking position. The higher your results rank, the better optimized the content is.  
  • Click-through rate (CTR). How high your event page ranks in search results can significantly impact the number of people who see and interact with it. CTR measures how frequently online consumers see your page, click on it, and navigate to your site. A page’s click-through rate helps gauge its effectiveness at enticing search engine users.  
  • Leads. Track the number of new prospects (AKA leads) each marketing campaign generates. Identify which content types produce the most results.  
  • Cost per lead (CPL). How cost-effective are your digital marketing campaigns? Measure CPL, a metric that identifies how much marketing spend goes into acquiring a new lead, to determine the effectiveness of campaign spending.  
  • Wins. When a campaign generates a new customer, that’s called a win. How many wins does each campaign generate?  
  • Return on investment (ROI). Marketing ROI measures how much revenue an advertising campaign generates compared to the cost of running it. Analyzing ROI helps teams identify whether the time, energy, and money invested in each campaign is worth it.  

How do you optimize digital marketing for events?  

Don’t give up on marketing content once it’s been released. Successful digital marketing is a constant process that involves regularly reviewing and updating your online presence. Optimize digital marketing content by refreshing your website, adding unseen photos on social media, adjusting ad placements, or improving coding to boost website load time. If you’re new to content optimization, focus on the key factors search engines review, such as:  

  • Keywords and keyword targeting. Search engines review whether a web page engages in the proper deployment of effective keywords. Engines scan a page’s content and measure keyword usage to determine whether it’s relevant to the user. Does your page include keywords relative to the product, service, or event you’re promoting? Research which keywords your business should target to improve search result rankings.  
  • Content indexing. Indexing digital content enables search engines, like Google or Bing, to read a site’s content quickly and accurately. Adding audio content, video text transcripts, and alternate image text can make your page easier for search engines to locate and read, increasing the likelihood the engine will advertise it to online customers.  
  • Link structure. Properly structuring your link, URL, and sitemap makes it easier for online search engines to “crawl” the structure of your site and identify its content. Consider hiring an SEO specialist who understands what search engines look for. They can help your event site or page appear higher in search results.  

Post-event digital marketing tips  

Digital marketing for events doesn’t stop when an event does. Afterward, gain valuable attendee insight and create repeat customers by—  

  • Following up with attendees  

Contact attendees to gain feedback and open a new communication loop with customers. Email a post-event survey, share a poll on social media, post an event recording, or summarize key details for those who missed it.  

  • Sharing event highlights 

Promote event highlights on social media, the hotel website, and video advertisements. Highlight positive testimonials and planner feedback to display your property’s unique ability to accommodate various events.  

  • Promoting your next event 

Continue building stronger relationships with past attendees by informing them about upcoming events. Connect with consumers between events by sharing valuable tools, relevant industry data, and exciting event updates along the way.  

Start designing detailed digital marketing for events!  

Now that you know how much digital marketing can impact event success, you’re ready to incorporate digital content into your marketing strategy. Put everything you learned about digital content to work and start creating.  

Next, we’re diving even deeper into digital content as we explore innovative ways to use content creation at live events.