Top 7 Creative Strategies to Promote In-Person Events in 2023
When was the last time you saw a flyer at a local business advertising an in-person event?
We guess that it’s been a while.
It’s 2023. Gone are the days of printing flyers to promote your in-person event and handing them out on the sidewalk to local foot traffic. We now have conversational artificial intelligence tools that pass medical exams and virtual reality technology that intertwines dimensions.
Although printed flyers can be an effective strategy, technology has upped the ante. Why work harder to promote in-person events when you can work smarter and achieve better results?
This guide will explore seven creative strategies to help you get the word out and make your next in-person event a smashing success.
Are you ready to hit the ball out of the park?
Let’s dive in.
1. Host a webinar as a lead magnet
Did you know that 99% of businesses believe webinars are one of the most crucial parts of their marketing strategy?
Offering a free webinar is the perfect way to gain credibility by sharing your expertise and encouraging people to sign up for your in-person event.
Consider the times when you received a free trial and later decided to purchase the item due to how great it was (e.g., perfume, food delivery service, TV subscription platform, etc.). That’s where a webinar shines. It’s like a sneak peek of how fantastic your in-person event will be.
And when you use a webinar as a lead magnet, it’s a surefire way to secure buy-in from your target audience. Then, with the help of user onboarding software, you can easily send in-app messages to users about your upcoming in-person events with all of the details in one seamless platform.
2. Send targeted email campaigns
Email marketing is one of the most lucrative marketing strategies, with an average return on investment (ROI) of $36 for every $1 you spend.
- Any industry can use email marketing successfully
- It’s a cheap way to send messages to a large audience
- You can segment your emails to the right audience
Here’s an example of how you could use targeted email to promote a dental conference:
- Segment your email list: Start by dividing your email list into segments based on factors such as job title, location, and past attendance at similar events. Create a targeted message that resonates with a specific group of people.
- Craft a compelling subject line: The subject line is the first thing people will see when they receive your email, so make it as persuasive as possible. For a dental conference, you could use a subject line like “Transform Your Dental Practice with Cutting-Edge Techniques and Technology” or “How to Avoid Turkey Teeth and Other Botched Dental Mishaps.”
- Highlight the key benefits: In the body of the email, focus on the key benefits attendees will receive from attending your conference. Highlight the opportunity to learn from top industry experts, network with other dental professionals, get hands-on experience with new tools, and understand how much the best quality veneers cost.
- Use engaging visuals: Bring your message to life with eye-catching images and videos. You could include photos of past attendees and speaker sessions or leverage an infographic to share more details.
- Include a clear call-to-action: End your email with a clear call-to-action that encourages people to sign up for the conference. Make it easy for them to do so by including a link to your registration page.
3. Connect with a sponsor
Maximize the benefits of securing sponsors for your event by collaborating with them on promotions and marketing. With their investment in the success of your event, they’re likely willing to engage in cross-promotional opportunities.
Sponsors can bring valuable marketing resources, such as an extensive network of followers and a trusted reputation within your target audience.
Rolex is the powerhouse behind TED conferences. Talk about a dynamic duo. Rolex fans are more inclined to attend a TED event for the inside scoop on scoring the latest Rolex watches.
You can also leverage your sponsor by including them in your event programming. Some opportunities include participation in panels, giving presentations, or hosting branded activities.
By involving your sponsor in this way, you can help promote your event and build a deeper relationship with your sponsor, which can lead to even more opportunities for future events.
When choosing a sponsor, make sure it’s a good fit. Look for a company or brand that aligns with your event’s values and objectives. Don’t accept the first brand that’ll write you a check.
For example, suppose you are hosting an in-person event for local real estate agents in Nashville, Tennessee. In that case, you’ll want to find a sponsorship partner like a real estate marketing platform.
Organizing these types of events in person requires the study of strategies to promote face-to-face events for the organizational phase. Among these, it is also fair to mention the internal organization of the company to coordinate all teams throughout the process.
In fact, some board meeting software, such as OnBoard, can be useful during organizational reunion (including face-to-face meetings) to easily summarize key points of meetings and avoid wasted time or information gaps between teams.
These small details matter, enhancing the credibility of your event.
4. Dabble in virtual reality
Understanding your target audience is the secret sauce to any successful marketing campaign.
So if your target audience is primarily Millenials and Gen Z, how can you understand the best way to reach them?
That’s where a customer data platform (CDP) comes into play. CDPs like Segment can provide you with the tools to build a 360-degree view of your customers to determine their needs and how to spark their interest.
For instance, did you know that nearly 40% of Gen Z and Millennials are interested in attending virtual concerts of their favorite musical artists? Why not use this information about your target audience to your advantage when promoting your in-person event?
Virtual reality (VR) is a cutting-edge technology that can increase buzz and excitement for your in-person events in 2023. VR provides your attendees with a unique and immersive experience that differentiates your event from others in the market.
Take Intel’s presentation at the 2017 CES conference as the perfect example.
Intel transported 260 attendees to breathtaking destinations with VR. From soaring above Moab, Utah, in a wingsuit to witnessing the stunning Ban Goic waterfall in Vietnam and ending with courtside seats at an NCAA basketball game, leaving attendees in awe.
The virtual journey culminated with the audience finding themselves back in their seats at the Las Vegas event, still in disbelief.
VR technology also helps reduce friction for busy people who can’t attend the event.
For instance, if you’re hosting a multi-day conference about technological advances in the courier service industry, attendees who can’t make it all four days can still experience the event through VR.
By providing a virtual experience, you harp on the technology side of things while simultaneously reaching a wider audience and generating more interest in your event.
5. Start a referral program
Starting a referral program can be a fun and effective way to promote your in-person event and incentivize people to help spread the word.
The idea is simple — offer a discount on tickets to those referred by someone who has already registered, and reward the referring party with something sweet.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on to start your referral program:
- Offer a mouth-watering incentive: Your referral program needs a clear and irresistible incentive to encourage participation. For instance, offer a discount on referral tickets, complimentary access, or another reward to the referring party (free swag, commissions, etc.)
- Make sharing a breeze: Make it easy for people to share your referral program with others. Create shareable links and email templates or provide pre-written social media posts or poster templates to help simplify the process.
- Track the referrals: Use a unique referral link or code for each participant to help you track the program’s progress.
A referral program can create a buzz around your event while incentivizing your attendees to spread the word.
Get creative with your incentives, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly referrals start rolling in.
6. Partner with micro-influencers
In 2023, influencer marketing emerged as a top marketing strategy by leveraging the influence of word-of-mouth and amplifying it through social media.
Most people trust personal recommendations from friends or family. But the reach here’s limited to a one-to-one interaction. You can increase your reach tenfold with the power of influencer marketing.
And did you know that micro-influencers with less than 100,000 followers drive up to 60% higher engagement than macro-influencers?
For example, Jeremy Moser, the CEO at uSERP, would be the perfect influencer for a marketing event powered by an SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush.
Don’t underestimate the power of an influencer. If you need help finding influencers in your niche, you can leverage a quick Google search or invest in an influencer marketing platform.
7. Create a viral video on TikTok
TikTok has taken the world by storm and has quickly become one of the world’s most popular social media platforms.
With its growing user base and fun-loving community, it’s an excellent social platform to create a video that promotes your in-person event. Plus, you have a high chance of the video going viral.
Music is a massive part of TikTok, and incorporating a popular or trending song into your video can help make it more appealing to viewers. Choose a tune that’s upbeat, catchy, and fits the tone of your event to create a fun and memorable video.
TikTok is a platform where users want to be entertained and inspired. So get your creative juices flowing and try to stand out by using humor, storytelling, and engaging visuals to make your video exciting and memorable.
And for the icing on the cake, leverage a social media scheduler to share the video at the optimal time when your target audience is on the app.
Ideally, you want your video to reach as many viewers as possible. Viral videos are worth their weight in gold. Test the waters with TikTok to unlock the power of this social media powerhouse.
The key to successful event promotion lies in finding creative and innovative ways to reach your target audience.
There are many ways to generate buzz and excitement for your events, from leveraging social media and influencer marketing to starting a referral program and connecting with sponsors.
So whether you’re a seasoned event planner or new to the field, these strategies will help drive a sold-out crowd to your next event.
Theu author Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She’s also an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and ecommerce startups.