October 6, 2021 | 11 min read
There is simply no cost-effective alternative for digital marketing in reaching potential event attendees.
The rising popularity of virtual and hybrid events makes digital marketing more important than ever. Using digital marketing techniques, event organizers can effectively reach both local and international prospective attendees and grow their events with a larger, global audience.
Let's dive right in.
Digital event marketing is event promotion created to reach customers via digital devices and services they use.
Common digital marketing channels include:
Digital marketing key features and benefits include:
Before registering for your event, potential guests go through a journey. Marketing professionals call this journey a "conversion funnel."
The conversion funnel has several steps based on customer status. Potential customers start from the beginning and make their way down to the "exit."
In real life, unfortunately, we can not make all customers move to the next step. To see where we may have issues and where we should invest more time, marketing professionals monitor the conversion rate, which is a measure of the percentage of people who made it to the next step relative to the number of people who entered it, expressed as a percentage.
Monitoring the registration abandonment rate can help spot and fix issues in the registration process. Abandonment rate is the ratio of initiated registrations to the number of completed registrations.
A bird's eye view of your digital marketing plan looks like this:
The marketing material you create has to generate interest and help people decide they want to participate.
To do that, we need to highlight the benefits of attending clearly and in a language every potential attendee will understand. Why is this event important? Why should people attend the event?
Here are a few key points you can use to show people the value of attending your event or conference:
The event website is the primary instrument that event organizers use to move people from being aware of the event to deciding they want to register and participate.
The event website should highlight the benefits of attending the event in an appealing and credible way, and give any applicable information about the event so potential attendees can make an informed choice.
For customers who decide to participate, the website motivates them to register.
But even the best website will not just pop up on your people's screens. They will need to click somewhere or type your website address to see it.See creating a successful event website
Website tracking is the process of collecting website usage data and creating reports that give the owner of the website insight as to how the website is being used.
How many users enter the website, where they are from, the browser they use, how many pages they visit, the time they spend on each page, and more.
The most popular web analytics tool is Google Analytics, which is free and is used by 75% of the top 10K websites. To use Google Analytics, the website owner has to install a small piece of code in each of the website pages or enter the Google Site ID in platforms that support it.
Google Ecommerce enables analytics of registration values and other data. For example, you can learn which ads contributed to free registration and which ads brought paid registration.
Links to your event website from other relevant websites indicate that your website is important and should show up in search results.
It's usually not easy to get other sites to link to your event; other site owners need a reason to list your site. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Submit your event to relevant conference listing sites and event directories. On most conference listing sites, the basic listing is free.
Search for industry websites relevant to the event subject. See if they have an event section and contact them to add your event.
Create a "meet us at" image for sponsors and exhibitors and ask them to post it on their website, blogs, and social networks. You can also create a lecture invitation for speakers so they can share it.
Create a lecture invitation for speakers so they can share it.
Email is a low-cost and highly effective channel. Potential event attendees read emails, so using email is a great way to reach them.
Create a contact list of people who attended previous events and email them about your upcoming event. Also ask sponsors and partners to send event emails to their customer lists.
To increase email effectiveness and make the email more engaging, insert the recipient's name; you can easily do this by using a professional event management solutions like Eventact
Social media is now a part of most people's lives. In fact, 9 out of 10 internet users also use social media. People use it for various reasons, including keeping up with news, sharing opinions, giving and getting peer recommendations, and networking for work.
In addition, social network activity associated with your website is an indicator for search engines that your website is important and should be shown more frequently in search results.
Event marketers can do the following to get traction via social media:
The difference between social networks is the type of content posted by users and the general environment:
|Platform||Type of content||Audience|
|Personal happenings||General public|
|Career development, business development||Higher-income, 30+, College educated|
|Social, political, professional, personal views and news||Higher-income, freelancers, celebrities|
|Engaging pictures and videos||Mostly under 35 years old, mobile users|
|TikTok||Short, entertaining videos||Mostly under 30|
A hashtag is a word or phrase without spaces between words and is preceded by a pound sign (#). Hashtags are used to mark a piece of content as related to a particular topic and can be used to make searching easier.
The use of hashtags started on Twitter in 2007 but has become popular on many social networks, including LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Including a tag in your posts make them easier to find and increases their reach and visibility.
Posts that contain a specific hashtag appear on a social media page dedicated to that hashtag. Users that track this page can view the posts, hopefully including yours. Some hashtag pages are very popular so the social media platform has to select the best posts and show them first, at the top of the page. The position of the post on the hashtags page is therefore dependent upon the hashtag's popularity but also upon the post content and other parameters the platform uses to predict how interesting the post is for users.
Usually, an abbreviation or acronym of the event name makes a good hashtag that is short, unique, and easy to remember.
Once you decide on a hashtag, promote it online and in offline materials.
Basically your social media marketing efforts should do three main things:
You can get followers and establish authority by posting content that benefits readers. This might include tips relevant to the event's industry as well as information that could be useful or interesting to potential event attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.
Content about the event organizers builds credibility and trust. Tell everyone a bit about the people behind the event. Other ideas include things happening behind the scenes and announcing new speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors.
Call-to-action content should drive a reader to want to do something after they've seen your post. For events, ideally, they will want to find out more about the event as well as when and how to register for it. It could also attract sponsors or exhibitors to participate in the event.
Posts with images get higher engagement rates. If you can explain or show something using an image, do it. For example, illustrate numbers and statistics using charts
Influencer marketing is a tactic to reach a relevant audience by collaborating with social media "influencers." Influencers are social media account owners who have a significant number of followers relevant to your marketing goals. They can be big names in the industry, or maybe the person is a "nobody" who has accumulated followers and built trust in a specific niche.
Find influential people in the industry relevant to your event. Follow the influencer's account and see what they are posting and who follows them. If you think the influencer would be a good fit for your own needs, reach out privately to inquire about a partnership.
A partnership can be based on a complimentary event pass, discounts to share with followers, or other compensation.
Social networks offer advertisers powerful targeting tools to reach the right people based on the extensive information they gather about users.
Based on the profile and IP address.
Based on the profile, location, and post language
Based on profile information and behavior
Based on previous activity such as who a user follows, posts they've made, searches they've performed, and interactions with content or users.
Mobile device model or price
Advertising costs on social networks are based on the actual number of impressions or results (number of clicks or interactions with the ad). Advertisers can set a maximum bid amount - the amount to spend per impression or click.
The final total campaign cost is usually not known in advance, but the advertiser can set a maximum budget. The actual cost is based on the size and competition for the target audience, budget, ad performance, and other factors.
|Platform||Cost per click||Cost per 1,000 impressions|
|$0.5 - $2.0||$2.0 - $10|
|$2.0 - $20||$2.0 - $10|
|$0.5 - $4.0||$3.5 - $10|
|$0.20 - $3.5||$2.0 - $20|
|TikTok||$0.10 - $1.0||$3.0 - $10|
Search engines play a vital role in bringing new potential event participants to your website. According to a study by BrightEdge, over 50% of website traffic originates from organic search results.
SEO is a collection of techniques to increase a website's exposure in search engines so a website will get more traffic. The target is to get your website on the results page for relevant keywords more frequently and at a higher rank than your competition.
Google is the most important search engine. Over 85% of searches are done on Google. Bing is the second most popular with 5%-6% of searches.
Search engines crawl the internet and should reach your site by finding a link to your site somewhere. To help search engines do this faster, you can submit your site directly to search engines:
To check whether your site is included in a search index, do a search using your website home page URL. For example, I could search for "eventact.com" on Google.
When a search engine reads your site, it will try to understand how to index it by reading the text and metadata available.
Making a website search-engine-friendly means making it easy for search engines to understand what your web page is about. This is done by building the site so a search engine can read it, including adding metadata that search engines can understand. For example, text in images is not search-engine-friendly, so make sure important content is in the text and not only in images. Use event meta tags to indicate the event date and location..
In addition to content, search engines rank website pages based on hundreds of parameters. Some of them are unpublished and change every few months. However, it's common knowledge that click rate on the search engine result page, the website page load speed, and the quality of the website are key factors.
Event organizers can do a variety of things themselves to improve search engine ranking.
No matter the size or budget of your event, you can use digital marketing to reach your prospective attendees and stimulate them to participate in your event.
Traditional marketing channels such as television, print, and billboard ads are costly and often inefficient in targeting potential event attendees, making them irrelevant for most professional or scientific events. As a result, digital marketing is crucial for event planners.
By investing time in learning digital marketing techniques, you can not only scale the event you are organizing now. You will also become more valuable to associations and corporations looking for event planners to manage their future conferences.