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Event marketing: Complete guide and strategies for 2024

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Do you believe that customer engagement relies on the appropriate use of technology? 

The reality is that the human touch should not be underestimated.

Building personal connections through one-on-one interactions is still an unparalleled opportunity to create memorable customer experiences. 

And what drives these? It’s event marketing. 

Event marketing can help you build solid customer relationships and brand awareness through genuine, laid-back conversations.  

We created this guide to help you execute the best event marketing strategy for your own business and offer examples along the way to inspire you.  

What is event marketing?

Event marketing is when a business uses an event to promote its products, services, or brand. Events can be hosted in person or virtually. 

Brands can host: 

  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Seminars
  • Store popups
  • Launch parties
  • Workshops
  • And more

Event marketing is a great way to spread the word about your brand and its offerings, thus making brand promotion and customer engagement the two backbones of the strategy. 

How?

Events offer a center stage for brands to showcase their willingness to help customers grow and benefit through their products or services. Meanwhile, customer engagement is at its peak during an event due to the immersive nature of involving everyone’s opinions and offering a platform to share feedback. 

What are the benefits of event marketing? 

Event marketing, when executed right, can be a hugely impactful marketing strategy that generates high returns. 

How exactly does it help? Below are some of its leading benefits: 

1. Event marketing generates new business

Brands choose event marketing for offline and online events to get people interested in their products or services. The face-to-face, hands-on approach allows attendees to ask questions, experience the product, and connect with the business representative.

Even sending out an event invite lets you collect quality leads through simple forms. Further, participation and networking are brilliant ways to convert leads into new business prospects. 

2. Grow your email list

During event signup, you can collect users’ email addresses and their consent to send further event communication.

This makes it a great strategy to grow your email list of interested people willing to engage with your brand and learn more about it. 

3. Provides customer engagement 

Ecommerce and SaaS companies have a major downside with in-person customer engagement, as most of their transactions are online. 

But one-on-one conversations are possible with events. Event marketing offers a viable opportunity for brands to boost customer engagement outside the digital world. 

4. Builds brand awareness 

Hosting events gets people talking. And when people talk about your brand or products, it creates awareness and a ripple effect. 

Events spread the brand’s aesthetic organically through word-of-mouth—thus creating one-of-a-kind brand awareness amongst interested prospects. 

5. Offers upselling opportunities 

Event marketing is not just attracting potential customers. Events are also attended by your current customers, who are already aware of your brand and its products.

So events offer a great platform to upsell and cross-sell products, as well as turn those customers into brand loyalists by encouraging referrals. 

6. Encourages product education

Event marketing should never solely focus on a brand or product. Events holding an educational component to them help potential customers’ time feel valued and their participation informative. 

The popular cosmetics brand Benefit Cosmetics ran an experimental event marketing campaign with its virtual event during the pandemic. The brand offers attendees a virtual walk-through of its products using AR and Instagram filters. 

Benefits of event marketing

As a result, the brand was able to drive awareness of its new products and engage meaningfully with customers—even during a pandemic when in-person events were cancelled. 

Types of event marketing?

In this section, we’re going to look at six different types of event marketing brands could host. These are: 

  • Conferences
  • Trade shows
  • Seminars
  • Popup shows
  • Launch parties
  • Workshops

Let’s get into them one by one: 

1. Conferences 

Conferences are large-scale events hosted and organized by sponsored brands. Conferences are useful for both B2B and B2C brands looking to host dynamic events. For example, Microsoft’s yearly Java conference, Devnexus, is sponsored by RedHat and others. 

Event marketing conference by DevNexus

Hosting conferences helps:

  • Boost networking between brands, customers, and sponsors within an industry.
  • Brands to gather feedback on their products and services.
  • Build communities of like-minded individuals and increase referrals.
  • Launch products on a large scale and get media attention.

2. Trade shows 

Trade shows are grand events organized around specific products within an industry. For example, trade shows happen within sectors like fashion, automobiles, gadgets, healthcare, and so on.

Event marketing trade show
Source: Entrepreneur

Here are some benefits of hosting trade shows as part of your event marketing strategy:

  • Give brands a chance to interact one-on-one with high-intent potential customers and showcase their best products or services. 
  • Offer excellent partnership opportunities with stakeholders like investors and other key decision-makers.
  • Help you get in the public eye through media attention.

3. Seminars 

Seminars are insightful, educational events that help brands typically reach a smaller target audience. Seminars encourage interaction between attendees and hosts, thus boosting genuine connection building. 

Adobe, for example, hosts frequent seminars to educate users on photography, editing, and more, while it also promotes its latest tools and innovations on the side.

Hosting seminars or webinars for online events includes several benefits:

  • Encourages a non-stop learning culture for career and personal growth.
  • Helps brands understand the customer perspective.
  • They can spark creativity and drive attendees to upgrade their current situation using your products or services.

4. Popup shops

Popup shops are perfect limited-time events for ecommerce brands looking to bring their products offline and interact with customers in person. 

Digital brands like Amazon and Kylie Cosmetics organize popup shops to immerse customers in an interactive experience outside the online world. 

Event marketing popup shop by Kylie cosmetics

Benefits of popup shops include:

  • Popup shops are limited-time events, thus creating a sense of excitement to purchase among customers.
  • They increase brand visibility and word-of-mouth.
  • Help to gauge if a new location is ideal for extending the ecommerce brand’s offering.
  • Ecommerce brands can build personal connections with customers face-to-face outside the digital space.

5. Launch parties 

Launch parties are hosted on a smaller scale with limited people, mainly to celebrate the launch of a new product, new business acquisition, or a long-awaited milestone. 

Such parties can make customers and stakeholders feel like insiders, leading to long-term partnerships. 

For example, most ecommerce brands collaborate with digital influencers, inviting them to product launch parties and creating hype around newly launched products.

Hosting launch parties as part of your event marketing can:

  • Create product and brand buzz online.
  • Attract social media coverage and increase following.
  • Build friendly relations between potential partners, customers, and popular industry influencers.

6. Workshops 

Workshops are events organized both virtually and in person. They are interactive sessions where brands organize activities and help participants discuss specific events.

For example, a camera accessories brand may host a photography workshop for budding photographers and editors. 

The benefits of organizing workshops are:

  • They promote your products or services to interested potential customers.
  • Build awareness around your brand and its offerings.
  • Offer prospects a hands-on learning experience that creates a positive brand image. 

Crafting a winning event marketing plan

Event marketing campaigns perform best when executed as a standalone project separate from other marketing campaigns. 

Here are some steps to help you host and execute a fruitful event:

1. Set SMART goals  

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives that businesses can set to plan and meet long-term goals. SMART goals ensure you’re not swayed away from setting realistic objectives. 

So keep your SMART goals handy to understand what direction your event must take and also to measure the event outcomes.

For example, a specific and timely event marketing goal could be to onboard 50 new customers by the end of the event.  

2. Define the budget

An event budget involves estimated expenses, big and small, that go into organizing and promoting an event. 

Budgeting everything, including venue, promotions, event management, decor, technology, people, and more, helps you determine your envisioned event’s economic viability beforehand.

3. Identify your target audience  

Define the persona of your attendees. Start by identifying who can benefit the most from attending your event. You could also review your past attendees to gauge who engaged the most. 

Another trick to determine the target audience is to look back at your goals:

  • If your goal is to boost customer engagement and experience, your current customers are your ideal event attendees.
  • If you are looking to increase brand awareness, target profiles that are similar to your current customers.
  • If you’re trying to grow your lead list, late-stage prospects are your best target audience.

4. Choose a marketing channel 

Content, press releases, email, social networks, and ads are some popular event marketing channels for promotion, but not all may suit your use case.

So ensure you analyze both your target audience (reaching and responding to them) and channel performance to identify the most viable marketing channel.

For example, social media might be best for launch parties, press releases for trade shows, and email marketing for promoting conferences. 

5. Plan content creation and information management 

Creating and managing event content involves weeks to months of curating, releasing, and updating information. 

You could create an internal event directly and share it with event stakeholders. For example, it could include answers to the following questions: 

  • Would the communication be via email? 
  • What should it contain? 
  • Who is in charge of updating the event landing page? 
  • What’s the best timeframe to request RSVPs? 

An event marketing plan template  

Here’s a template you could use to create your own event marketing plan from scratch:

Fill in the event basics 

  • Event name
  • Event purpose
  • Theme
  • Tagline
  • Time and date
  • Budget
  • Location
  • Cost
  • URL
  • CTA
  • FAQs

What will you run to promote the event?

  • Marketing channel: emails, ads, press releases, SEO, etc. 
  • Early bird promotion
  • Last chance promotion
  • Sponsorship promotion

Social media basics:

  • Promotion channel: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

For emails, break down the email marketing plan:

Goals:

  • What metrics are you tracking?
  • What do you plan to achieve?

Key elements and considerations for a comprehensive plan

Let’s break down some key elements you must consider before, during, and after the event to create an end-to-end event marketing plan:

Before the event 

  • Define SMART goals and stick to them. Bring every stakeholder on board to avoid last-minute chaos. 
  • Try sharing your event with the media to get quick attention and also invite influencers to collaborate.
  • Live stream promotions to allow direct interactions with your target audience. 
  • Create a dedicated event landing page and ensure it’s regularly updated with captivating visuals and CTAs to attract attention. 

During the event 

  • Document your event for social media and email newsletters. For example, event highlights, live telecasting Q&A rounds, and capturing quality pictures of attendees and speakers. 
  • Collect feedback using a suggestion box or an online form. 
  • Encourage influencers to record behind-the-scenes glimpses and sneak peeks of product launches for content. 

After the event 

  • For webinars and seminars, ensure you send attendees event recordings and presentation decks.
  • Send surveys and thank-you notes.
  • Share pictures and videos on social media and emails to maintain engagement.
  • Measure event KPIs (more on this below).

Email marketing in event marketing

78% of event creators say email marketing is their best and most effective marketing tactic for promotion.  

But considering the rising competition for the inbox, below are some strategies to get your event noticed with email marketing:

1. Segment audience

Segmenting the target audience lets you tailor messaging for more relevance and engagement. For example, you can segment customers/event attendees based on their geographical locations to add insights about their community.

2. Craft attractive RSVP invitations

Well-crafted email invitations could improve your email open, click-through, and response rates.

Since the subject line is the first thing that pops up on your audience’s screens, create attention-grabbing subject lines and email previews. Also, highlight event benefits, agenda, and FAQs for better clarity. 

3. Send announcements and updates regularly

Consistent communication with attendees keeps your event fresh on their minds. So send out regular event updates, such as behind-the-scenes, sneak peeks, and agendas to seal their attendance.

Also, share announcement emails to build anticipation, like a confirmed list of guest speakers, the possibility to pre-order products, and early-bird discounts. 

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/

4. Include automation to save time

You could use email automation to run your event email marketing campaign on auto-pilot. 

For example, automation can help you collect registrations on time, send regular updates, personalize emails based on user segments, and combine two or more promotional channels for greater reach.

5. Collect feedback and surveys  

Emails are not just useful for event promotions alone. You could use email follow-ups to send attendees a quick survey link with a short questionnaire for feedback. Use this feedback to plan and optimize your upcoming events.

Want to get started with email marketing for your next event?

Measuring and analyzing event marketing success 

The hard truth: high event attendance does not equal event success. So here are some KPIs that you can use to measure the real success rate of your events:

  • Registrations: Find the number of people who RSVP’d or signed up for the event versus the actual attendance. This can also help you follow up with non-attendees.
  • Revenue: Identify how much money your event brought in. Even if your event did not include paid tickets, you may have run early-bird discounts, limited deals, etc., exclusively for event attendees.
  • Attendee satisfaction: Gauge attendees’ satisfaction using CSAT surveys and NPS. You could send out emails post-event to survey customer satisfaction through a short questionnaire and ask them how likely they are to refer your brand or products to their inner circle. 
  • Social media engagement: Check out event mentions on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. If you collaborated with influencers, take a look at their sponsored content—was it engaging enough? How many shares does it have? Etc.
  • Lead acquisition and customer conversion: Converting leads and acquiring new customers are some of the biggest ROIs of event marketing. So note down your lead list growth and the number of leads successfully converting to buyers. 

Bonus: The best techniques for evaluating event ROI include:

  • Tracking qualitative and quantitative metrics
  • Monitoring social media platforms to analyze engagement 
  • Evaluating leads generated and attendees converted
  • Comparing new events with past ones to uncover areas for improvement
  • Analyzing attendee feedback to understand their perspective and overall experience 

Omnisend and event marketing 

Email marketing is the most used and effective channel for events for all the right reasons. Emails can be used to communicate about events and increase registrations through well-planned email engagement campaigns.

Moreover, integrating email marketing with automation and analytics for event marketing saves you time and effort executing each phase from scratch.

Omnisend is fully automated email marketing solution that complements both traditional and digital event marketing strategies.

How? Omnisend for event marketing offers the following practical benefits:

  • Centralize communication for traditional and digital events by integrating emails with SMS and web push notifications. 
  • Segment the audience so you can tailor messaging that resonates with each user group and boost signups.
  • Create personalized email campaigns with stunning emails using ready-made templates. For example, send timely reminders, behind-the-scenes sneak-peeks, and more.
  • Extract email campaign insights to optimize future event marketing efforts.
  • Automate post-event email follow-ups, for example, thank-you notes, feedback surveys, event highlights, and more.
Omnisend event marketing
Ready to turn your next event into a success?

Case studies: Successful event marketing examples

Here are three real-life examples of brands who’ve executed successful event marketing:

1. Apple’s product launch events

Any event marketing list would be incomplete without the mention of Apple’s iconic product launch events that take place annually in September.

During these events, Apple introduces the audience to new products and software upgrades and unveils other services. 

What makes these events successful?

Apple creates hype and maintains secrecy before unveiling its products each year. This creates a buzz across social media and the press. Also, Apple’s CEO and other executives create captivating presentations about their new products and broadcast them across platforms. 

2. Uber’s hackathons 

Hackathons bring together developers and innovators for exciting coding challenges. And one such event is HackTag 2.0 by Uber.

The event centered on “Building innovative solutions for Uber’s next billion users.”

What made it successful? 

Uber targeted engineering students across colleges in India. It also promoted its developer APIs through online coding challenges and, thus, endorsed its app and technologies using the hackathon. 

3. Allure’s virtual event series 

Allure, a prominent fashion magazine, was sponsored by Zoom to host a series of successful virtual events from 2020 to 2021. These included the Best of Beauty awards and Beauty Box Lives.

What made them successful?

As the world faced lockdowns, Allure got fashion enthusiasts worldwide talking about its much-awaited virtual beauty and fashion events. 

Allure, accompanied by Zoom, hosted immersive digital events by inviting popular fashion editors, stylists, designers, and brands. Events received massive signups for free and paid tickets as they were advertised across media like AdWeek, MediaPost, and Today.com, as well as leveraging emails and social media. 

Wrapping up

Event marketing involves meticulous planning before, during, and after the event. 

However, sticking to a goal, identifying your audience, choosing the best marketing channels, and measuring results lets you get started on the right foot.

And no matter your goal or event phase, automation can go a long way in planning and optimizing current and upcoming events.

A fully automated email marketing solution like Omnisend drives your event marketing on autopilot.

FAQs

1. What is event-based marketing?

Event-based marketing is a marketing type that focuses on creating and hosting events to help promote products, services, or brands. Events include product launches, meetups, workshops, and trade shows. 

2. How effective is event marketing?

Event marketing is widely considered crucial for brand image and product promotions. Events can also help grow lead lists and conversions by running engagement strategies before, during, and after the events.

3. What’s an example of event marketing? 

Apple’s yearly product launches are the best example of event marketing. Apple has consistently created a buzz around its latest products using captivating product launches broadcast worldwide. 

4. What do you do as an event marketer?

Event marketers manage the end-to-end process of in-person and digital events, from planning to post-event evaluation. They ensure events are within budget and align with the company’s overall marketing strategy. 

Richard White
Article by
Richard White

Richard is a Content Marketing Manager at Omnisend. An avid writer, he's said to have been born holding a pencil. Fascinated by all things handmade, if he's not reading or writing he can often be found practicing leathercraft.


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