Event planning can be stressful. But successful event marketing is even more nuanced. It’s complex and requires experience identify the appropriate marketing mix to sell tickets. This has changed in recent years. The days of word-of-mouth and direct mail are gone.

In order to get the visibility needed for a sold-out event, your marketing mix should be diversified. Have you expanded your event’s marketing efforts into digital channels? If not, you’ll miss out on what could be the most profitable way to bring visibility to your events, and, ultimately ignite ticket sales.

It’s critical to learn ways to market your event online. Whether you use social media to organically amplify your event’s visibility, run ads, or take your content marketing to the next level with rich media like video, here are some of the best ways to use digital strategies to enrich your event, engage with attendees, and sell tickets.

How to Use Digital Strategies in Event Marketing

As many event planners and marketers can attest, Facebook is an incredible tool to promote your event. But, it’s definitely not plug-and-play. In order to market your event successfully, event marketers must learn how to promote an event on Facebook. Otherwise, you’ll waste budget and time with very little ROI.

This may seem obvious, but the success of any Facebook-centric event promotion campaign hinges on the Facebook event’s page. Set it up properly then optimize it to yield returns. 

First, choose a cover photo that’s 1920×1080 pixels. Your cover photo should capture the attention of prospective attendees. It should be exciting and eye-catchy while setting an online ambiance for the event. This is what will show up if attendees decide to share an event, so make it a worthy representation.

1. Optimize Your Event Page

Facebook share your event if your page has data. The social media giant has a finely tuned algorithm that will recommend events to users based on a number of factors. It’s important event organizers take the time to fill out the information about the event correctly.

Watch, in particular, to select the correct event category when you set up your event’s page. You can choose from conference, festival, meet-up, or concert. Be sure to add tags to your event as well. You can use these as a form of ‘keyword optimization.’ Use tags people might use to search for topics of interest. 

Finally, optimize your event notifications. This seems like the best possible way to notify event attendees about updates to your event when using a Facebook events page. But as an organizer, avoid using the notification ability to engage with the registered attendees

Facebook research shows events that send more than a few notifications experience a measurable amount of audience disengagement. Why? Users turn off notifications for a page when they are annoyed.

2. Invest in Video Marketing

Video continues to be a driving force behind digital marketing campaigns. As a testament to the power of video and the engagement it drives, it’s estimated video will be responsible for 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2021

Don’t mistake video marketing is a static process. That would be a mistake. People constantly find novel ways to engage audiences with the video content they create. Right now, branded content and live video are trends that drive engagement. 

With branded content, businesses take advantage of the full benefits of video:

  • High engagement
  • Delivers an incredible amount of information in a short amount of time
  • Increases conversions
  • More appealing and tantalizing than text.

Video also does a better job of establishing trust and building relationships with core audiences. Video is much more able to engage us emotionally, which is key to unlocking powerful branded campaigns in marketing.

When you successfully capture emotional engagement, you open the door to convert the viewer. In order to successfully market on video, center your video around the story– not the sale itself. You don’t want to add to the sales clutter online that annoys and repels customers. Make the most of video’s emotional aspects by appealing to your target customer’s needs. 

3. The Power of Facebook Ads

You have the ability to target audiences on Facebook’s ad platform. There are a dozen different formats for ads and thousands of ad targeting parameters. Master your Facebook strategy early to get in front of the specific, extremely-motivated segments of your audience on the network that nearly everyone uses. 

Facebook ads won’t be successful if you have a leaky customer acquisition funnel. Do a lot of your prospects drop off before they convert? Optimize the sales funnel/checkout process on your site to ensure you capture the most value out of your paid ad spends. Take note of every step of the customer journey. Pinpoint where customers leave. Once you’re able to determine where the leak happens, it’s much easier to figure out why, and then, what your next steps should be.

Once you’ve worked on your targeting and your funnel, the next step is to optimize your ad campaigns. Incentivize customers to purchase more tickets. For your ads to be effective, be intentional about ad creative and what you offer to prospective attendees. Your audience is making a commitment when they buy a ticket. This is the bottom of your sales funnel. In a perfect world, you’d run a custom audience campaign to a target audience that’s already been warmed up to your event and what it’s all about. 

While every stage of marketing is valuable, you can’t throw an awareness ad out to prospective attendees and expect them to choose you over competing events. The ad message has to align with your buyer’s stage in the cycle. It also should be phrased in a way that resonates with your audience.

4. Use Instagram Stories to Stream Live and Poll Users

Instagram Stories are powerful. More than a half of a billion people use Instagram Stories daily. Did you know almost 30% of the most-viewed Stories content is posted by businesses?

This shows the power and viability of using visual content to connect with your audience. Thus, it can help drive ticket sales to your event. Instagram Stories are one of the first things users see when they log in to the app. The eye is naturally drawn to the content produced. 

Live streams are another great part of Instagram Stories. Users receive a notification whenever your profile goes live. This can be done at various stages of event preparation: venue walkthroughs and other points in the journey to the big event.

5. Engage with Influencers

Influencer marketing allows event organizers to leverage influential people’s audience. It helps event messaging a wider, targeted audience you wouldn’t have otherwise reached.

The first step is to have full understanding of your audience and what motivates them about your event. Don’t consider macro-influencers. Instead, opt for niched-down micro-influencers. Big names in your industry might have HUGE numbers, but their audience is often so broad your message won’t be relevant to a large percentage of them. 

Smaller micro-influencers are more tuned into your target audience (and will save you quite a bit of money as they don’t command the large compensation the bigger names would). 

Conclusion

Social media is an important part of the marketing mix for event marketers. It doesn’t matter if you plan a corporate event or a car show. Your target audience utilizes social media in one way or another. 

Before you run campaigns, decide on your objectives and how you will measure success. Improve performance and allow you to evaluate for future events by knowing your key performance indicators (KPIs) before you launch your campaign.

Finally, don’t limit yourself to a single channel if your target audience uses the web in multiple ways. To optimize your opportunity, diversify the channels you use in your marketing mix, measure performance, and analyze the results to improve upon for future events.

About the Author: Kristen Bowie is a marketing obsessive & advocate for the knowledge economy. When she’s not writing for Qwilr, she’s hanging out with her two goats & painting.

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