Professional event planners and marketers know that there is no one-size-fits all strategy for successful event marketing. Marketers are tasked with reaching members of their target audience, enticing them to register for an event, and continuing communications all the way up to the event to encourage attendance. To tackle all of their objectives, event professionals rely on a multitude of event marketing ideas to connect with attendees before, during, and after events.
In this post, we explore unique, creative, and research-backed marketing strategies that event professionals use to build buzz. We review event marketing ideas designed to help planners and marketers craft better content, reach a wider audience, and increase event attendance. From social media marketing and paid advertising to SEO improvement and event messaging, we cover advertising ideas and marketing strategies for both virtual and live events.
35 effective and strategic event marketing ideas
Content marketing ideas for events
At the core of every successful marketing campaign, you will find excellent content. Our list kicks off with event marketing ideas that help event planners, organizers, and promoters improve their content marketing strategy.
1. Send out a press release for your event
Build awareness for your brand and event by drawing up an event press release. A press release is a short news story that provides information about your event in document form. Event organizers and marketing professionals send press releases to news and media outlets to announce and promote events. In addition to building buzz for the event, press releases are one of the most effective free event marketing ideas on our list.
Bonus tip: Before sending, make sure tickets are ready to go on sale to capture any immediate interest and start building credibility with future event attendees.
2. Tell a story
Do more than promote facts and statistics in your marketing; connect with members of your audience through storytelling. Jerome Bruner, a leading expert in cognitive psychology, has conducted research that suggests that our brains are more likely to “remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story…Because stories are more memorable than just facts.” By telling a story, event marketers create an emotional and personal connection with consumers, which can leave a lasting impression.
Design a cohesive campaign by connecting each advertisement to the next and highlighting what matters most: event objectives, brand values, and the primary mission of the organization. Tell the story of your brand, show the planning process, or host live Q&A sessions to connect with your audience pre-event.
3. Use SEO to boost search results
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing online content to improve how high it ranks in search engine results. Search engines like Google use SEO to analyze content and rank it based on how useful the engine thinks the content will be for the individual completing the search. Before ranking, search engines look at a variety of factors to determine the content’s position, including:
- Use of target keywords
- Content quality
- Content length
- Internal/external links
Engines also look at how well the type of content fits the target keywords included in the content. If the title of an article were “How to Tie Your Shoes,” for example, but the identified keywords were highly promotional (e.g., “sale on shoes” or “summer show blowout”) the content would rank much lower, as it would be deemed less valuable for users. Use SEO Google Keyword Planner to research and identify target keywords that will be helpful in your event’s marketing campaign.
4. Link online event resources
Connect all of your event pages and content together to widen your audience reach and keep track of online engagement. On the business or organization’s primary website, link the main event page, or design a unique landing page for the event if one does not already exist. Include easy-to-spot icons linking to the event’s social media pages, registration page, and so forth. On social media pages, link back to the business website and main event page, allowing your audience to quickly access all event content.
Bonus tip: Add direct links to sponsor pages, speaker profiles, and other participating business sites to further expand the event’s reach.
5. Add structured data for better search result placement
Implement structured data into your SEO event marketing strategy to help search engines identify and promote various snippets of essential information within your event marketing content. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex, four of the largest search engines on the web, agreed upon a standardized markup used to identify content data. Marketers can visit Schema.Org to view the standardized list and find additional information about how the list is used to tell search engines what content to display in search results.
Bonus tip: Google offers an easy-to-use data highlighter tool that allows content creators to appropriately tag content data.
6. Post valuable content for attendees regularly
While posting content regularly is important, event organizers may benefit more from building credibility with their audience. Event professionals are able to build trust and credibility with members of their audience by providing content that truly adds value to their lives. Make connections with attendees and potential attendees by sharing how-to videos, free tools, accessible resources, real-world best practices, on-demand webinars, and other enriching content related to the event.
7. Embrace experiential marketing
Use experiential event marketing to show potential attendees what it feels like to be at your event. Experiential marketing creates a tangible experience for consumers by allowing them to become immersed in the advertisement itself.
Encourage audience members to visualize attending your event, even before they book a ticket. Include an interactive event map that allows future attendees to view the layout, find seminar locations, identify refreshment stands, safety resources, and more. Include high-quality drone footage on the main event page showcasing a bird’s-eye view of the venue grounds or invite online visitors to take a photo-realistic 3D tour of the event.
Social media event marketing ideas
With more than 53% of the world’s population on social media, marketers who fail to utilize the platform may be falling behind. If you’d like to build, grow, or optimize your social media strategy, these event marketing ideas can help.
8. Create a Facebook group to promote your event
Facebook is a fantastic tool for promoting large and small events alike. Many event organizers create unique groups on Facebook or connect with existing groups related to the mission and themes of their event. By sharing content and promoting their event within these groups, marketers are able to quickly reach a receptive audience.
For example, a music festival promoter may create an event on Facebook and share it in groups related to promoting musicians, such as:
- Musical Festival Ambassadors
- Music Lovers
- DIY Tour Postings
- Independent Music Artists and Producers Worldwide
Facebook groups are also a great resource for marketing and promoting smaller community and niche events. Promote local events and share community event details in Facebook groups built around the event location.
9. Run ads across multiple platforms
Link the Instagram account for your event or organization to your Facebook account via Facebook Business Manager. As the two platforms are part of the same parent company, marketers are able to connect accounts from each platform and run the same advertising campaign seamlessly across both. With just a few clicks, launch identical ad campaigns on both platforms or tweak the content to display differently on each.
10. Boost event-related Facebook posts
Easily turn a Facebook post into an ad by “boosting” it. A boost is a paid promotion that increases the reach of your content. Boosted posts rank higher and are more visible on users’ newsfeed than non-boosted posts, increasing the likelihood that members of your target audience will see the content. Boosting event content on Facebook is also a great way to reach new audience members.
11. Advertise your event on Twitter
Don’t forget to utilize Twitter to share event marketing ideas and promote event content. Utilize popular hashtags, tag connected speakers or sponsors, and create powerful content that addresses event attendee pain points and evokes a strong emotion. Provide informational content that your audience will find valuable. Aim to be an informer, not a “meformer,” and be prepared to read and respond to tweets quickly. Up to 39% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour, so ensure your team is on top of it!
Bonus tip: Dedicate a team or marketing team member to take charge of your Twitter account. Set a schedule so members of the marketing team are aware of when they are responsible for managing the account.
12. Promote user-generated content
Promoting user-generated content is an effective pre-event marketing strategy for increasing event awareness and driving ticket sales as consumers find user-generated content more authentic than traditional marketing. Nosto, a commerce experience platform, surveyed 150 business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers and 1,590 consumers to identify the gaps between “what consumers want and what marketers believe they’re providing in the age of digital influence.” The survey found that consumers are 2.4x more likely to rank user-generated content more authentic than branded marketing content.
Review and collect user-generated content that shows the excitement and anticipation that members of your audience express. Share feedback on various marketing channels to boost your brand’s credibility and show potential attendees what they’ll get out of your event.
13. Embrace TikTok trends
In addition to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, TikTok is also a fantastic social media platform for displaying your event marketing ideas. Look for TikTok trends that you can participate in to promote your event. Search for hashtag challenges, viral video trends, and other popular content to put your own twist on.
Bonus tip: Target TikTok subcultures related to your event audience, and produce content event attendees are likely to be drawn to.
14. Promote a social media contest
Create and promote a social media contest to drive audience engagement and build buzz for the event. Ask social media users to share a positive experience from a previous event, discuss what they’re looking forward to at the next event, share photos, or post a photo using an event-related hashtag. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Promote an appealing prize to contest participants, such as free event tickets, exclusive VIP seating, or other exciting event perks.
15. Run paid ads
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok all provide a variety of paid advertising opportunities. With user-friendly ad management services, organizers can turn their event marketing ideas into active advertising campaigns quickly. To maximize efficiency, marketers can set unique campaigns to run on each platform ahead of time, automating the campaign launch date, duration, and setting the budget ahead of time.
Video marketing ideas for events
A 2020 Venngage survey of 200 marketing professionals showed that 48.2% of respondents used visual media in their marketing content. Keep up with marketing trends and capture the attention of consumers using these top-tier video event marketing ideas.
16. Invest in high-quality equipment
High-quality video-based event marketing ideas can have a significant impact on the way consumers respond to event media. Dedicate a portion of the event’s marketing budget to high-quality camera equipment, lights, a tripod, and professional lenses.
Bonus tip: Look for versatile lenses that can accommodate various zoom distances, capture angled shots, and enhance your creativity.
17. Live-stream the event on social media
Connect your online and live event audiences through the power of live-streaming technology. According to a Facebook IQ report, one out of every five videos on Facebook was shared via livestream in 2020. In addition, viewers watched live-streamed video content 3x longer than pre-recorded video marketing content.
Live-stream your event to reach individuals who are not able to attend the event in person, but may have an interest in your business, product, or message. Regularly touch base with live-stream audiences by reading comments live, running live polls, or using a social media wall that displays online comments to your live audience in real-time.
18. Share inspirational interviews
Drum up excitement for your event by giving attendees a taste of what they can expect. Share inspirational interviews with the keynote speaker, organization leader, or a motivational speaker discussing the main themes of your event. Promote popular session leaders, spokespeople for the organization, and high-caliber experts that will be in attendance.
19. Record a teaser video
Generate pre-event buzz with a video teaser. Record a teaser video to announce your event, detailing the date, location, and main event objectives. Highlight what makes the event unique and appealing to members of your target audience. Share the inside-scoop with attendees through video-based content that includes catchy copy, event statistics, and stunning video footage.
Bonus tip: End the teaser video with an enticing call-to-action that prompts viewers to register for the event.
20. Create an event highlight reel
Capture a variety of footage during the event. Afterwards, compile the best moments from before, during, and after the event. Send a follow-up email to attendees after the event and include a free link to download the highlight reel. Share the reel on your business page, social media accounts, and encourage attendees to share it on their pages as well. Look for opportunities to incorporate the highlights into event marketing ideas for upcoming events.
Branded event marketing ideas
Similar to a business’ brand, event branding captures the essence of your event and communicates the vision of the event to those who encounter event marketing materials. Design branded marketing campaigns that help consumers quickly identify event materials with these ideas.
21. Design strong event branding
Event branding consists of the logo, design, theme, and other imagery associated with the event. Outline the design concept for your event brand. In addition, identify which communication and messaging elements will be the most helpful in portraying the big-picture: the event’s objective and the brand mission.
22. Create branded event marketing materials
Feature branding in your event marketing ideas to create a stronger connection with your target audience. 74% of consumers agree that interacting with engaging and experiential branded event marketing increases the likelihood that they will purchase products promoted in the marketing. After building a strong, distinguishable event brand, feature branding elements in copy-based and video-based event marketing materials.
23. Run a branded hashtag challenge
Branded hashtag challenges have become popular social media marketing campaigns for businesses, organizations, and brands, specifically on TikTok. Hashtag challenges are event marketing campaigns that center around a branded hashtag. Businesses share the hashtag with their audience and promote a social media challenge related to the hashtag. Audience members are encouraged to record a video of themselves completing the branded hashtag challenge. Users then share the completed video and include the branded hashtag.
Marriott launched a successful challenge using the hashtag #30Stays300Days. Contestants recorded a short video explaining why they would make an excellent social media travel ambassador for the brand and shared it using the hashtag. Contest winners were promised the travel experience of a lifetime. Over the course of one year, the selected Marriott TikTok Correspondents would travel the world, visit various exotic destinations, and stay at lavish Marriott properties—completing “30 stays in 300 days.”
Design a branded hashtag campaign for your event. Promote the campaign on TikTok and other visually-focused social media platforms like Instagram. Offer challenge winners free event tickets, VIP access, overnight accommodations, or entry to the event’s after-party.
24. Promote branded products
Help event attendees make a tangible connection with your brand using branded materials. Include live product demonstrations at the event, offer free samples, or send digital coupons for a future purchase.
Bonus tip: Encourage attendees to engage with new software systems or test new products for themselves.
25. Offer branded swag bags to event VIPs
Offer VIP event tickets that include access to an exclusive VIP seating area, lounge, early event access, one-on-one access to star guests, and a quality branded swag bag. Include high-quality branded goods, coupons for free brand services, tee-shirts, sunglasses, or other branded merchandise.
Additional event marketing ideas
If you’re looking for additional ways to improve your marketing strategy, these ideas can help.
26. Engage with your online audience
Whether it’s on your organization’s Google Business page, social media pages, or primary review page, regularly engaging with online audience members can help event planning professionals increase the reach of their event marketing. Responding to online reviews, user-generated social media content, answering questions, and sharing comments can help event organizers improve their SEO ranking, strengthen their online reputation, and build trust with new audience members.
27. Cross-promote the event with partners and sponsors
Encourage sponsors, speakers, distinguished guests, and other event partners to engage with event content and cross-promote the event. Each event partner who cross-promotes the event increases the potential of event marketing reaching new audience members.
Bonus tip: Provide connected partners with event materials, link their social media accounts, and encourage content sharing amongst partners.
28. Take advantage of automated email marketing
Automated email marketing is an effective tool that event marketers can use to reach a wide audience quickly. Create automated email campaigns consisting of 3-5 individual, yet cohesive, emails that drive recipients to complete a specific call-to-action.
Craft a thoughtful welcome email that event attendees will receive automatically upon registration. Welcome emails have the highest open rate of all automated emails, with 69% of users opening them on average. Send reminders for virtual and hybrid events to drive live attendance. Approximately 90% of email recipients open webinar reminders received both one day and hour before the event.
29. Harness the power of FOMO
Harness the power of FOMO, or the “fear of missing out,” to drive additional event registration and sell more event tickets. Highlight scarcity, exclusivity, and remind potential attendees what they could be missing out on if they don’t attend your event. As promotional pricing cut-off dates approach, send reminder emails that highlight the savings and perks non-committed members of your audience will miss out on. Include an event countdown clock on your website or design a campaign that’s set to run when the event is close to selling out.
Bonus tip: FOMO is an especially helpful marketing tactic if your target audience includes millennials. 69% of millennials experience FOMO, the highest percentage in any age group.
30. Promote early bird registration discount
Run an early bird promotion to encourage potential event attendees to book early. Typically accompanied by a strict cut-off date, early bird registration promotions typically offer event attendees 10-25% off the standard ticket price for committing to attend early in the ticket sales process. Running an early bird promotion can help event planners secure a base of event attendees, generate excitement for the event, and sell more tickets overall.
31. Offer perks in exchange for event referrals
Increase registration numbers for your event and boost attendance levels by designing a referral-based marketing offer for registrants. When individuals register for the event, offer a discount in exchange for referring others to your page. For example, an event organizer may offer a 10% discount to attendees who share the event page on social media or include one free event ticket for every attendee who includes five email addresses for referrals.
32. Promote networking opportunities
Schedule and promote a networking session during your upcoming event. Whether you host a meet-and-greet with at the end of the event or host a lunch mixer in the middle, adding networking opportunities can increase the appeal of both in-person and virtual events.
A 2022 Markletic report concluded that 80% of the individuals who participate in virtual events do so for educational purposes, with the opportunity to network ranking second-highest. If you’re looking for event marketing ideas that help boost audience retention and engagement scores, start by promoting a networking session.
33. Share attendee testimonials, product reviews, and other positive feedback
Sharing satisfied feedback from attendees at former events is a wonderful way to build credibility with your audience. Collect stellar comments from post-event surveys, online reviews, and social media content. Look for feedback that discusses what attendees got out of the event or how they used what they learned in the real world.
Bonus tip: In your event marketing materials, highlight previous attendee feedback that addresses future attendee pain points, common concerns, or frequently asked questions.
34. Follow-up with attendees after the event
Open a new communication loop with attendees after the event wraps. Email attendees a post-event survey that asks about what they learned, what they loved, what they didn’t enjoy, and what they’d like to see next time. Gather guest feedback and identify areas of improvement and opportunities to make your next event even better. Follow up with attendees that have questions or concerns about the event. Keep an eye out for post-event online reviews or comments on social media and engage with audience feedback.
35. Promote incentives for returning attendees
Offer event attendees valuable incentives to attend future events. Create a loyalty program that includes specialty perks, offer a free ticket for an upcoming event, or send past event attendees a special coupon code for a discounted ticket to your next event. Track promo code usage and reward program signups to see which campaigns are most successful at building a returning attendee base.
You’re ready to put this list of reliable event marketing ideas to use!
With more than thirty fresh event marketing ideas at your disposal, you’re ready to advertise your most successful event yet. As the number of event registrations increases, you may find yourself with more work on your hands than initially anticipated. Take advantage of free tools, resources, and event planning software to streamline event planning and task management.
Up next, we review a list of 19 free event planning tools that planners and organizers can utilize. From document signage software to brainstorming tools, our list provides a variety of helpful resources to help event planners save time and plan better events.