Are you looking for effective ways to promote your upcoming event and maximise its success? Event promotion is key to attracting attendees, generating excitement, and ensuring a memorable experience. Within this blog, we will delve into the fundamental aspects of event promotion and explore the underlying principles and concepts that drive its success.
Event promotion operates hand in glove with event advertising and marketing, forming a cohesive strategy to raise awareness about the event and drive attendance. Depending on your event objectives, it complements other aspects of event planning to generate the excitement necessary to achieve full attendance.
Key Considerations Of Event Promotion
Whether it’s a conference, exhibition, meeting or gala dinner, organising an event can be daunting. Before promoting an event, event organisers must set clear goals and objectives, as well as choose appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure success. The event planning stage typically requires the following steps to be clearly defined:
Identify event goals and objectives - Start by defining the overarching goals of your event. These can vary depending on the nature of the event and its purpose. For example, if you're organising a conference, your goal might be to provide educational value and facilitate networking. Objectives could include attracting a certain number of attendees, securing keynote speakers, and achieving positive attendee feedback.
Choose KPIs - Once you have established your goals and objectives, it's essential to select relevant KPIs to track progress and measure success. For instance, if your goal is to increase brand awareness through the event, you can track KPIs like social media impressions, website traffic, or media mentions. If your objective is to drive attendance, KPIs such as the number of registrations or revenue generated can be valuable metrics.
Understand your audience and event type - Every event will have a specific audience that they are trying to target with its own unique goals and KPIs. For example, a product launch event may focus on generating leads or sales.
By carefully defining your event goals and objectives, selecting appropriate KPIs, and understanding your audience and event type, you can create a solid foundation for your event promotion strategy and increase the likelihood of achieving your desired outcomes.
For a complete guide to planning an event, check out our step-by-step guide which has been created using recommendations from ICC Belfast’s expert event management team.
Creating a dedicated landing page or website for promoting events is important for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a primary channel for communicating vital information including date, time, location, speakers, registration details, and more. It provides an agenda which allows potential attendees to understand the event's content. It also highlights guest speakers, adds credibility and excitement. Lastly, integrating links to your social media pages and incorporating a clear call to action to incentivise attendance enhances user engagement and facilitates conversions. Here are the top reasons why creating an event landing page is important for event organisers:
Event branding - Event branding is important when creating an event landing page or website as it allows you to convey the event's unique identity, build recognition, and differentiate it from other events, increasing the likelihood of attracting and engaging potential attendees.
Optimising for SEO - By incorporating relevant keywords, meta tags, and optimising page titles and descriptions, you increase the chances of appearing in search engine results when potential attendees are actively searching for events similar to yours. This boosts the discoverability of your event, drives organic traffic, and enhances the overall effectiveness of your promotional efforts.
2. Special event ticketing
Using special ticketing to promote an event offers quite a few benefits. It creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency, enticing attendees to secure their places early. Special ticketing options, such as early bird discounts or limited-time promotions, can generate excitement and drive ticket sales.
Early bird tickets- Early bird tickets, offered at a discounted price for a limited time, should be implemented early to generate initial traction and encourage attendees to commit to the event ahead of time.
Group or bundle tickets- Group or bundle tickets, which offer discounts for purchasing multiple tickets, can be implemented when aiming to boost ticket sales and create a value proposition that appeals to both individuals and groups.
VIP tickets- VIP tickets, which offer special privileges or exclusive experiences to attendees, are useful for enhancing the event's prestige, and generating additional revenue.
Making tickets easy to buy is crucial for maximising event attendance and revenue. By providing a seamless and user-friendly purchasing experience, potential attendees are more likely to complete the transaction without any frustrations, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased ticket sales.
3. Online listing
Event organisers should utilise online listings and forums to promote their events because these platforms offer a vast reach and allow you to connect with your target audience effectively. These listings and forums provide an opportunity to showcase event details, engage in discussions, answer questions, and generate buzz, ultimately driving attendance for the event. An example of where event planners can list their event:
Ticket listing sites - Event organisers can list their events on popular ticketing platforms such as Eventbrite, Annual Congress, 10Times, venue or business destination websites. These platforms attract individuals seeking events to attend, increasing the visibility of the event and driving ticket sales.
Online forums - Event organisers can leverage online forums specific to their industry, such as industry-specific forums on LinkedIn, or dedicated event discussion boards and memberships. For example, AC Forum is exclusively for associations and offers the opportunity to list details of an event or conference.
Social media - Event organisers can utilise various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to promote events. They can create event pages, post updates, share engaging content, and interact with their target audience.
Direct marketing refers to a marketing approach where businesses directly communicate with their target audience to promote their products or services. Email campaigns serve as a prime example of direct marketing for promotional purposes. By leveraging email lists of interested individuals, event organisers can send personalised and targeted messages, providing event details, exclusive offers, and reminders directly to potential attendees' inboxes.
The significance of a high-quality mailing list should not be underestimated. If you possess a list of previous event attendees, leveraging email communication is an ideal method to keep attendees informed about upcoming events. Event organisers can promote their event via email marketing in the following ways:
Build a mailing list - This will encourage delegates to sign up for email updates through opt-in forms on an event website or landing page. By offering valuable content or incentives, such as event updates, event organisers can entice people to subscribe and expand their mailing list for future promotional campaigns.
Newsletter campaigns - Event organisers can nurture existing subscribers by sending out newsletters dedicated to promoting the event. These newsletters should highlight key event details including guest speakers. Newsletter campaigns provide a targeted and direct approach to reach an interested audience who have already expressed an interest in the event.
Email retargeting - By sending personalised follow-up emails with tailored messages, event organisers can re-engage potential attendees, nurturing interest and increasing the chances of conversion. Email retargeting helps to recapture lost leads and maximise ticket sales.
5. Competitions and giveaways
In an increasingly crowded digital landscape where numerous event options are promoted; competitions or giveaways offer a refreshing and innovative approach to engage with delegates. By incorporating competitions or giveaways into marketing strategies, event organisers can effectively capture audience attention and create a memorable brand presence that sets them apart from the crowd. Corporate event organisers can utilise various types of competitions and giveaways to promote their events. Here are a few examples:
Social media competition - Organisers can run social media contests where participants are required to like, share, or comment on a post related to the event to enter. This helps generate excitement, increase social media reach, and engage the audience.
Ticket giveaways - Conducting ticket giveaways on social media or through email campaigns allows event organisers to offer free event passes to lucky entrants.
Photo or video competition - Encouraging delegates to share event-related photos or videos with a specific hashtag can create a sense of community and user-generated content. Winners can be selected based on things like creativity and rewarded with an event-related prize.
Referrals - Implementing a referral programme where attendees can refer friends or colleagues to register for the event can create a viral effect and increase event attendance. Participants who successfully refer others can earn rewards or exclusive perks.
6. Social media event promotion
When planning social media promotion, event organisers need to consider various factors such as the unique characteristics of their event, the preferences and demographics of their target audience, and the specific features and dynamics of different social media platforms. By tailoring content, utilising appropriate hashtags, engaging with followers, and optimising platform-specific tools, event organisers can maximise the impact of their social media promotion and achieve successful event outcomes. Event organisers can use each major social media platform to their advantage to promote their event:
Facebook - Event organisers can create a dedicated event page on Facebook to share event details, post engaging content, and interact with potential attendees. They can promote features like event registration, live streaming, behind-the-scenes posts, and Facebook retargeting ads to drive engagement, reach a broader audience, and promote ticket sales.
Instagram - Event organisers can use Instagram's visual nature to their advantage by sharing compelling photos and videos related to the event. They can use Instagram Stories for behind-the-scenes glimpses and engage with the audience through interactive features like polls and Q&A sessions.
TikTok - For events targeting Gen Z in particular, event organisers can harness the creativity of TikTok by sharing short videos showcasing event highlights, sneak peeks, or challenges related to the event theme.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn can be valuable for promoting professional or industry-focused events. Event organisers can use LinkedIn to share informative content, industry insights, and speaker profiles related to the event. They can also connect through LinkedIn groups and targeted ads to reach professionals and decision-makers interested in attending industry-specific events.
Twitter - Event organisers can use Twitter to share real-time updates, engage in conversations with industry influencers, and utilise event-specific hashtags to increase visibility.
7. Event Collaboration
Event collaboration refers to the practice of partnering with other individuals, organisations, or businesses to jointly plan, execute, and promote an event. It involves pooling resources, expertise, and networks to create a more impactful event experience. Event collaboration is particularly suitable for larger-scale conferences, exhibitions, gala dinners, and award ceremonies. By joining forces, event organisers can amplify their promotional efforts, enhance event offerings, and create a win-win situation for all parties involved. Event collaboration can happen in a few different ways:
Event sponsors - Event organisers can work with sponsors to promote an event by mutually leveraging their brand reach and resources. This can include cross-promotion on social media, featuring sponsors' logos on event materials, and offering sponsorship benefits such as exhibition space. Collaborating with sponsors can help increase event visibility, attract new attendees, and generate additional promotional efforts through sponsor networks.
Industry experts and ambassadors - By partnering with industry experts and ambassadors, event organisers can tap into their followers' trust and engagement. Ambassadors can create content about the event and share updates on their social media platforms or at networking events. Their endorsement can generate authenticity and significantly increase event visibility. Event organisers can work with industry experts to co-create content, such as blog posts, podcasts, or videos, related to the event topic.
Past and potential attendees - Event organisers can leverage the enthusiasm of past attendees by encouraging them to share their positive experiences and testimonials. By actively involving past and potential attendees in the promotion process, event organisers can harness their network effect to expand event reach and generate buzz.
8. Experiential marketing
Experiential marketing, also known as guerilla marketing, is a creative and unconventional approach to marketing that aims to grab attention and disrupt the audience's usual environment or routine. It involves surprising and memorable tactics that break through the clutter to generate engagement. In the context of promoting events, experiential marketing can be effective in creating a sense of intrigue, excitement, and curiosity among the target audience. Some examples of how event organisers can use experiential marketing to successfully promote a large-scale event:
Eye-catching installations - Create meaningful event experiences through visually striking and interactive installations within the event venue. Make sure the installation is visually captivating and aligned with the event's theme to make a lasting impression for delegates.
Guerrilla street art - Event organisers can collaborate with local artists to create eye-catching and interactive street art installations related to the event theme. These art installations can be strategically placed in high-traffic areas, attracting the attention of attendees and sparking conversations.
ICC Belfast collaborated closely with AstraZeneca to ensure the success of their 'A New Perspective' 2020 kick-off event, creating an extraordinary experience that fostered a deep emotional connection among attending employees. The event's highlight was an unforgettable Game of Thrones-themed gala dinner, where delegates were transported to a captivating medieval world, brimming with energy and excitement, creating an unparalleled sense of adventure.
Event organisers can produce podcasts that feature event highlights, interviews with speakers or attendees, behind-the-scenes discussions, or informative content related to the event's topic or industry. The benefits of event podcasting include building anticipation, showcasing expertise, and reaching a broader audience through audio platforms. Event podcasting is well-suited for events that involve informative or educational content, industry conferences, thought leadership events, and events with a strong focus on networking and knowledge sharing. Here are the main two ways in which event organisers can promote events via podcasting:
Launch a podcast - Event organisers can create their own podcast specifically designed to promote the event. They can produce episodes that provide insights, updates, and content related to the event. By regularly releasing engaging and informative episodes, they can build a dedicated audience and generate excitement around the event. This approach allows organisers to have full control over the podcast's content and branding, ensuring alignment with their event goals and messaging.
Feature as a guest - Event organisers can also leverage existing podcasts within their industry by securing guest spots on relevant shows. By strategically choosing podcasts that have a significant listenership and target audience, event organisers can tap into an established community and expand their event's reach. This approach allows organisers to benefit from the established audience and credibility of the podcast, while effectively promoting their event.
10. Offline Event Promotion
Offline event promotion refers to the use of traditional marketing tactics and physical materials to promote an event. This can include distributing printed flyers, posters, and brochures in relevant locations, attending trade shows or community events to engage with potential attendees face-to-face, and using traditional media channels such as newspapers, radio, and TV. Offline promotion is particularly suited to events that target a specific geographic location or cater to a demographic less engaged with digital platforms. Event organisers can use offline marketing activities to successfully promote their event in the following ways:
Word of mouth - Event organisers can encourage attendees, sponsors, and partners to spread the word about the event through personal recommendations. By providing an exceptional experience, delegates can become event advocates through their social circles and networks.
Networking and speaking at similar events - Event organisers can attend industry-related conferences, seminars, or community gatherings to network with potential attendees, sponsors, and partners.
Press release for local newspapers - Event organisers can create a compelling press release highlighting the key aspects, unique features, and value of the event. This press release can be distributed to local newspapers, industry magazines, and other relevant media outlets to secure coverage and raise awareness among the local audience.
Physical flyers, posters, billboards - Event organisers can design visually appealing and informative flyers, posters, or billboards to be displayed in strategic locations.
Lookers PLC kicked off 2019 in style as they took over the City of Belfast to host their ‘We are Lookers’ conference. The event saw an influx of delegates touch down in Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport where they were greeted with a warm welcome. Lookers PLC painted the town blue with key messaging throughout the three-day stay. 'We are Lookers’ branding was displayed across the city from taxi pick-up at the airport to city centre bus stop advertisements.
Without event promotion event organisers will struggle to sell tickets, potentially lose revenue, and damage industry credibility. An event promotion timeline can be split into three important phases:
Pre-event phase - Event organisers should focus on building anticipation and generating awareness. This includes activities such as creating a dedicated landing page or website, launching social media campaigns, and initiating email marketing. These promotional efforts should occur consistently and frequently to maintain engagement and keep potential attendees informed about the event.
Mid-event phase - Event organisers should shift their focus towards driving ticket sales and maximising delegate attendance. Promotional activities during this phase may include offering early bird discounts, launching targeted advertising campaigns, and leveraging collaborations with sponsors or ambassadors. These promotional efforts should be intensified and occur at regular intervals to create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate action.
Post-event phase - Event organisers should capitalise on the event's success and encourage future attendance or engagement. This can be achieved through activities like sharing event highlights, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes content. Organisers should maintain a consistent presence on social media platforms, continue engaging with attendees through email marketing, and encourage them to provide feedback or testimonials. These post-event promotional activities should occur regularly to sustain momentum, nurture relationships, and lay the foundation for future events.
Promoting Events With ICC Belfast
ICC Belfast offers world-class event spaces that can accommodate a wide range of event types and experiences. Our award-winning team offer comprehensive guidance on every aspect of your event. Whether it's optimising event production, implementing citywide branding, or executing effective digital marketing strategies, we are committed to delivering a truly unique conference that leaves a lasting impression and creates unforgettable memories for your delegates.