You have countless event marketing options. And with that comes a paralysis of choice. Where to focus your attention and efforts? And how to come up with new ideas beyond basic social posts? What if you decide wrong?
The thought of spending your marketing budget for naught sends you into a panic spiral. Your anxiety is not unfounded. After all, the average Facebook user spends nearly 35 minutes a day on Facebook — but clicks on only eight ads a month.
Free Download: 51 Social Media Ad Copy Templates to Sell Out Your Event
To earn those clicks, you need these creative event marketing ideas from the experts at ToneDen, a marketing automation platform for events.
Here are 10 (and a half) effective, modern event marketing ideas to try for your next event.
Event marketing idea #1: Facebook Messenger ads
Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users (more than Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram combined), with over two billion messages sent each month between people and businesses. This makes it a lively channel to get fans’ attention — sort of like email marketing on steroids.
Ali Shakeri, CRO & Co-founder at ToneDen, explains why: “While the standard open rate for regular email is a low 20%, with Facebook Messenger, it’s more like 80%. And more people click through from Messenger than from email.”
Event marketing idea #2: Flexible communication opt-ins
Facebook Messenger is a smart way to reach targeted new audiences, but it’s also an effective way to reach your current fans. For instance, your followers can opt in to hear via Messenger when you have event news. When San Francisco festival Lightning in a Bottle set up a Messenger campaign to alert fans to their on-sale date, over 200 of them opted in to get alerts.
For some fans, Messenger is the preferred way to stay in the know. Others would rather get an email straight to their old-fashioned inbox. Offer them the choice of how they want to hear news, then deliver on that promise with immediate updates on relevant platforms.
Event marketing idea #3: Event RSVP ads
Just because fans are interested in your event doesn’t mean they’re going to purchase tickets immediately. Nevertheless, you can capitalise on their intention with Facebook Event RSVP ads. Give fans the option to interact with an ad by clicking “Interested,” and Facebook shares that intention in the feeds of their followers — 155 of them, for the average user.
Event marketing idea #4: Engaging social contests
Who can resist the chance to win free tickets? Contests are especially energising during slower periods of ticket sales when you’re experiencing a slump. Creative contest ideas bring attention back to your event.
User-generated content (UGC) is one effective way to execute a social contest. Ask users to post a picture or video of themselves, perhaps wearing last year’s event t-shirt or lip syncing to their favourite song from your artist roster. Their friends can’t help but click.
Event marketing idea #5: Special incentives to drive urgency
Urgency motivates ticket buyers. While the majority of event-goers prefer to make event-related decisions last-minute, they’ll make an exception if they fear missing out. Create social posts and ads that inspire them to buy right now, such as:
- Short-lived promo codes
- Early bird ticket deals
- A limited number of free parking passes/ticket upgrades
And when tickets become scarce, this is the ideal time to alert fans: Last chance to attend!
Event marketing idea #6: The oomph of event partners
There’s no need to shoulder all the burden for promoting your event. After all, you probably have other stakeholders involved. Sponsors, vendors, performers, and merch purveyors all have a stake in your event’s success.
Use this to your advantage:
Focus on them: Share accolades about “your favourite returning vendors” and “our exciting new sponsor” on social media. And don’t forget to tag them.
Lean on them: Ask stakeholders to comment and share your posts with their followers. Strike deals with them about running their own event marketing campaigns to support your event.
The more you count on your event partners to share the responsibility for event marketing, the more people you reach.
Event marketing idea #7: Talent targeting
For events that are talent-driven — conferences with big-name speakers, music festivals, comedy shows — you have a built-in audience of existing fans. “With these types of events,” says Shakeri, “the market demand is already there, so it’s all about the targeting.”
When it comes to creating campaigns, it’s easy: use existing imagery of guest performers and speakers. Then focus your efforts on getting those ads in front of the right audiences (especially people who are already fans of those performers!).
Event marketing idea #8: Instagram Stories
“Instagram Stories is completely killing it,” says Shakeri. “It’s an entirely new way to reach your audience, one that’s multimedia and ephemeral—in other words, perfect for events.”
You may already be using stories to share about your event. Upgrade stories to paid ads to convert more interested viewers to ticket-holders. Viewers can swipe up to go straight to your ticketing page and check out right from their phone. It’s seamless, easy, and instant.
In fact, one ToneDen customer spent $550 on Instagram Stories ads and netted over $10K as a result of an Instagram Stories ad campaign.
Event marketing idea #9: Conversion campaigns
Possibly the most important thing you can do with your event marketing, according to Shakeri? “Run conversion campaigns.”
Facebook tracks conversion from both views and clicks using a last-touch attribution model, which gives full credit for a ticket sale to the last ad the buyer clicked or interacted with. Using the platform’s “conversion tracking” feature, you can track how many actual purchases came from which ad so you can hone and refine your campaigns.
When you know who’s already expressed interest in your event by clicking on earlier ads, you can double down on those people by showing them more ads later on. You can also use the people who’ve already bought tickets to your event to create a lookalike audience to advertise to.
Pro tip: Take advantage of Eventbrite’s “Add to Facebook” integration to sell tickets directly through the Facebook app. After purchasing tickets, attendees are automatically prompted to RSVP, sharing their intention with their followers.
Event marketing idea #10: Retargeting to capture last-minute buyers
Much of the work you do early on to raise awareness about your event pays off when last-minute decision-makers finally buy tickets. But you have to put a plan in motion to convert them early on.
Direct your early ads to a page with a Facebook pixel embedded so you’re set up to retarget initial viewers with follow-up ads later on. You can then cultivate their interest to the point of conversion.
Event marketing idea #10 ½: Test, always!
Throughout all of your event marketing efforts, the most important thing you can do is test. If you don’t know what’s working, you can’t improve.
A/B testing allows you to run two different versions of a social ad to see which performs better. For instance, you might run two similar ads using slightly different headlines, images, or calls to action.
You can automate the process of A/B testing with ToneDen, automatically testing every ad as you go. The best ones stay; the less effective ones go.
Add up the efforts to boost your ticket sales
When you’re ready to put these event marketing ideas into action, don’t start from scratch, Instead, use these 51 Social Media Ad Copy Templates to Sell Out Your Event to get up and running quickly — and sell more tickets.