Event Marketing and Promotion

Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column
Megan Rutherford has a diverse background in sales, marketing, and public relations. She has 15+ years of experience in helping small businesses grow their unique markets. Certified as an inbound marketer, Megan specializes in internet & email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and more. Offline activities include direct mail marketing, public relations, and event planning.
Event Marketing and Promotion

Are you looking to host an event for your small business? Determining the right type of event and how to market it appropriately can be difficult. Various inbound and outbound marketing techniques exist to create a successful event and leave a powerful and lasting impression on the attendee.

Hosting an event not only allows for relationship building but can also generate goodwill and more business. Events and experiential marketing enable clients and customers to interact with a small business and its employees firsthand and can go a long way in not only maintaining existing clientele but also attaining new clientele.

Event Marketing

When beginning to plan an event, it’s essential to think about the overall marketing budget that can be devoted to the event. Events allow for a business to build a brand and can also be an excellent way to generate leads. When planning an event think about what resonates best with the target demographic. Type in ‘event marketing tips’ into an online search engine and it will result in many returns with great tips and tricks on marketing an event. Chief among the results is to partner with a non-competing business that compliments yours to host an event. Creating a website landing page for an event that allows for form submission to RSVP to an event, link it to a Facebook Event, or utilize a service such as Eventbrite to track and manage event attendees.

Online vs. Offline Events

Events can be either online or offline. Online events have taken off as hosting technologies continue to evolve, whereas offline events tend to be more traditional but can still have a high return on investment. Whether the event is online, or offline a theme should be portrayed through the delivery of a cohesive look and feel that matches the business’s goals, values, and branding.

Online Events

An online event is typically done through a web-based interface and is most commonly presented through live streaming, virtual events, or webinars. Hosting an event online offers many unique opportunities including reaching a geographically dispersed audience, replay ability if the event is recorded which allows for use in future marketing efforts, and also typically tend to be less costly than offline events.

Offline Events

Hosting an event offline may require more of an investment than an online event; however, it does allow for one-on-one relationship building. These types of physical events could be a business open house, seminar, conference, tradeshow, or client appreciation party.

Event Promotion

To promote an event successfully, it should be marketed a minimum of one month before the date. The next critical aspect of promoting an event is reaching the right audience. Social media is a terrific way to get the word out for an event. Just keep in mind that posting one item and being done for an event won’t work. Instead, an event should be promoted on social media before, during, and afterward. Many businesses will promote an event while it is happening; this allows for real-time engagement. Follow-up is an important item to complete when it comes to successful event marketing. Always have a follow-up strategy in place for both once someone registers for an event and then after they attend the event.

Planning an event takes a lot of time and energy, but when done properly events have the power to be a large part of any small business’s marketing mix. To cast a wide net and get the word out about an event one must consider a fusion of public relations, social media, email, and other types of promotional materials to not only gain the attention of the target audience but also get them to RSVP and then ultimately attend the special event. When done correctly, hosting an event allows a business to stand out from the competition.