There is a wide range of channels used when marketing an event online and offline, below you’ll find an overview of the most popular and effective.
Pay per click (Online)
PPC focuses on reaching a target audience through internet search. For instance, when you Google the term “event marketing” you’ll see several results at the top of the page above the main area, these are pay per click adverts and you pay a set amount every time someone clicks your ad. The idea is that the specific search the person who clicks makes, will qualify them as the right target audience. In reality, the conversion rates for this type of adverts are now quite low, inferring qualification through search doesn’t work in a targeted way and the PPC market has become saturated meaning it’s costly to bid on high-value keywords, you’re paying if someone clicks, not on whether they convert. Overall for events at scale it remains one of the primary marketing channels but also part of the reason we exist, it’s a very wide, costly, and ineffective channel unless properly administered.
Many of our clients were getting in touch looking for newsletter blasts, which is when you pay a well-known blog or influencer for promotion through their newsletter. This is often ineffective for events promotion as newsletters are generally not geo-targeted, curated or up to date. The ineffectiveness of newsletters is part of the reason we got into pinpoint event marketing.
Developing search traffic through content creation is a great way to generate long term viable traffic and an audience for an event, but from an ROI perspective only if you have a large event and a long marketing timeline. For the short term, you won’t reach the necessary rankings or specific targeting to see positive results, unless it’s combined with the right social strategy.
Social media (Online)
Social media promotions for events generally involve promoting across major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are three primary ways you can use social media to promote an event:
You can use your own business accounts to promote to your current audience and use your contacts and connections to reach a wider group.
The primary revenue form for many of these social platforms is advertising and they offer a decent level of targeting. We’ve found that if you’re going down the paid route for B2B events, out of the social media platforms LinkedIn is your best bet for ROI.
A growing trend in marketing has lead towards major companies paying influential social media figures for the reach to their audience or endorsement, this can also cover content promotion, including video. This strategy can be useful for larger events but for smaller, specifically located events it’s likely to be costly and ineffective.
For B2B events, leafletting isn’t an appropriate channel and you won’t reach the right audience but for B2C events it’s still one of the cheapest and most effective ways to generate an audience.
Network science proves that you’ll likely have people with similar interests in your network and through connections will be able to get the right introductions. If you’re looking at on the ground marketing, using your network and attending similar or related events to generate attendees is always something we recommend. The only problem is it’s not a scalable strategy and it’s time costly.
Offline advertising (Offline)
This is only suitable for large B2B or B2C events from a cost perspective of this type of advertising, whether it’s billboard or posters on the tube. Still, offline advertising is seeing a resurgence as brands try to stand out from the online noise.
Related: How to plan a successful event