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How to promote an event: Your strategic guide for 2023

Virgil Wadhwa
• December 23, 2022

(8 min read)

Planning an experiential, attendee-centric event is only part of the process—what good does it do if no one comes? This guide gives you everything needed to effectively promote an event and create marketing content that drives up attendance.

Table of Content

Event promotion boils down to three things: Where is the right place to promote your event, how do you effectively promote it in that channel, and what content creates the right experiences for your audience?

To begin building a strategy, you have to explore:

  • Where does my target audience hang out?
  • Do they open their emails often? 
  • Are you more likely to find them on LinkedIn, Instagram, or other social media? 
  • Do they prefer videos, visuals, or reading?

The better you understand who you’re promoting to and how best to do it, the more successful your efforts will be. And we all know that higher event attendance equals more opportunities to drive business growth

So let’s get started.

How to promote any event type with this guide: Virtual, hybrid, or in-person

Any effective promotion strategy is relevant to any type of event, whether it’s a hybrid trade show, virtual thought leadership and networking conference, or in-person town hall. The key is to understand the steps behind how to successfully promote any event, which goes back to the three core tenets: Where, how, and what.

For example, if you’ve determined that your audience is highly visual and prefers graphically appealing and condensed information via social channels, you may want to design an eye-catching event poster that you can share on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and an event landing page. 

A widely attended trade show may demand a much larger omnichannel strategy, where you look at how to promote the event throughout social media as well as with email, press releases, ads, and tangible marketing materials.

The next piece of the puzzle is where to start marketing your event. And you have an abundance of choices.

Host committees are a great place to start promoting your event

The whole purpose of forming a host committee is to expand the reach of your event. Ideally, members are leaders with a strong network and have the ability to be an integral part of the planning and organization.

If you select the right people, they’ll draw important guests and help drive promotion efforts. Members of your committee may even have some insight into creative ways to promote an event. The ideal way to effectively manage a host committee is:

  • Create a clear vision and goals of what you want your host committee to accomplish
  • Give tasks, instructions, and due dates to members
  • Create gentle reminders to complete tasks
  • Keep communication positive and open

When thinking about how to best promote an event, look for host committee members who are business leaders, local celebrities, or stakeholders. 

Leverage your online and offline communities to promote your event 

Another creative way to promote an event is to tap into your networks. In most businesses, management, employees, stakeholders, and clients have built both online and offline communities. Often, these communities have shared interests or are involved in the same industries.

If your event is geared toward business growth, utilize people invested in your brand to help you generate interest in events. Some ideas on how to do this are:

  • Ask your online community to post or repost event announcements or marketing materials
  • Ask businesses you partner with to post event information on their website, social media, or on virtual or in-person community boards
  • Provide both digital and print event marketing materials to influential stakeholders, community members, or employees to circulate
  • Ask for input from your network about how they would effectively promote an event, and involve them in executing their ideas

Promote your event to both cold and existing email lists 

A more traditional but effective way to promote an event is to send click-worthy email content to your current email databases and your cold email lists. If you need to build out your cold email lists, you can do things like export contacts from your LinkedIn, use your CRM, or find contact information for people on a business’s website.

Your event email could be in the form of a flyer, or an invite, or you can write up an event overview that shares why the event is valuable, along with detailed event information. 

Leverage any internal and external newsletters for event promotion

Every brand should have a newsletter to stay on top of mind and build rapport with its audience. It becomes a good tool for promotions.

The key is to create irresistible newsletter content. You can also ask any brand partners or influencers to give you a space to market your event in their newsletter. 

If the newsletter is yours: 

  • Create a relevant and catchy title 
  • Describe the event and its value
  • Provide all the essential information
  • Include important links
  • Add captivating images

If the newsletter belongs to a partner or influencer: 

  • Approach the content in a way that creatively and effectively promotes the event
  • Make it succinct, visually appealing, and informative, and include links
  • Adhere to any size or word count limits 

Promote your event using the best press and PR strategies

In looking at how to be an event promoter, press releases and PR efforts are tried and true avenues. Before the digital era, press and PR were two of the best ways to promote an event. 

To get started promoting an event, reach out to industry publications and local newspapers, create a landing page, or post to your press page and any brand partner’s press pages. You can ask sponsors or speakers to announce the event on their site as well.

A press release should include:

  • An attention-grabbing title
  • Lead information that informs readers about the main idea of the event
  • A body with intriguing details
  • Highlight quotes if possible 
  • Full information, relevant images, and links
  • Contact information 

A PR strategy should have:

  • A robust plan that optimizes event visibility
  • Alignment with your company goals and objectives
  • Creation of in-depth, engaging content
  • Unique promotional elements that help your event stand out

Try cold prospecting on platforms like LinkedIn, Quora, and Reddit

Cold prospects are people who are qualified to be valuable leads but aren’t aware of your business or brand. Platforms like LinkedIn, Quora, and Reddit are excellent places to network and create connections. 

To reach these potential leads, make use of personal messages, comments, and posts. Before you prospect, you should have your ideal customer profile (ICP) in place. Then you can:

  • Use LinkedIn to message people who fit your ICP. Before reaching out, make sure your profile is up-to-date. Keep messages short, valuable, and professional.
  • Use Quora to answer questions as an expert and gently promote your event as valuable or as a solution to people who fit your ICP profile. You can look at any upvotes you receive and see if any of those users might find value in an invite to your event. 
  • Use Reddit to post and comment. Create a post for people looking to do X. List your event as one of the ways Reddit users can gain knowledge or network with others. Continue to engage anyone who comments.

Tap into the audience of your speakers and sponsors

Ask speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and anyone else who is a key part of your event to help with promotion efforts. Whether you collaborate with them to reach their audience or give them event marketing materials to email, post, and share, make sure to involve them—especially since the event’s success is important to them too.

How to promote an event on social media

Social media has become an important marketing channel. It’s a dynamic place to engage, interact, and connect with communities, other brands, consumers, and more. Businesses have learned to use it both organically and paid, which is also an effective way to promote an event. 

In essence, it’s extremely beneficial to know virtual event promotion and hybrid event promotion for social media.

Some tips to promote your event on social media and reach your target audience

Social media is filled with options and creative ways to promote a virtual event or hybrid event. You can use each channel uniquely and post content that best fits that audience. Try:

  • Having an event countdown
  • Hosting a social media challenge or takeover
  • Doing a giveaway
  • Posting event teasers 
  • Creating stories that promote your event 
  • Making your own hashtag
  • Using influencers
  • Collaborating with brand partners and having them post content too
  • Investing in paid ads, influencer promotion, or retargeting campaigns

Here are platform-specific ways to promote your event on social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

How to promote an event on Facebook

If you’re looking into virtual event promotion or hybrid event promotion on Facebook, consider:

  • Designing an event ad for your Facebook page
  • Sharing your events calendar so people can find your event and the details
  • Posting about your event
  • Pinning a post that features event marketing materials
  • Using Facebook’s promotion tools
  • Encouraging event stakeholders to promote the event
  • Building a community around your event

If possible, find new and inspiring ways to promote an event on Facebook. When people are drawn into and excited by your efforts, it helps your overall business growth.

How to promote an event on Instagram 

Instagram gives you a chance to tell highly visual narratives. Promote an event on Instagram by:

  • Utilizing stories
  • Posting dynamic visual content
  • Including event links in your profile
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes snippets

Instagram reels are currently a popular format. It’s best used for promotion with user-generated content from a community, event hosts, or event speakers.

How to promote an event on Twitter using more than just an event hashtag

Twitter is ideal for people who like to take in small, enlightening snippets of information. The best ways to promote an event on Twitter are:

  • Tweeting event marketing materials like flyers or posters
  • Tweeting signup links
  • Doing an event countdown 
  • Offering tantalizing previews and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks
  • Encouraging stakeholders, sponsors, speakers, etc., to tweet or retweet about the event
  • Live tweeting during events

Although there is a lot you can do on Twitter, an event hashtag is a good thing to use throughout your social media event promotion efforts. Come up with an event hashtag or two that make your upcoming event memorable.

How to promote an event on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the platform for B2B. It’s an excellent event promotion tool. Try:

  • Using InMail 
  • A/B testing LinkedIn ads
  • Creating and sharing posts about the event 
  • Generating a pre-event survey asking potential attendees what or who they would like to see at your event
  • Do a challenge or a giveaway

Create compelling touchpoints that boost signups and reach

When determining the best attendee-centric ways to promote an event, think about what content and copy resonate with your audience. Use all your channels—including your website—and follow these tips:

Promote your event with a great customer experience and event website page

Design a dedicated landing page. An event landing page should:

  • Establish a riveting value proposition for potential event attendees.
  • Include supercharged copy that features thought leadership and strong messages. 
  • Target pain points and focus on how the event will offer solutions. 
  • Keep things relatable and relevant. 

Elevate the customer experience with content and copy

Use blog posts that leverage SEO as well as videos, email, newsletters, and social media stories to create an appealing narrative about your event—you can talk about keynote speakers, attendees, or the event in general. One blog post can give event details, while others introduce speakers. By diving into what your event has to offer in a human-centered way, you can evoke positive emotions about your brand with storytelling. Aim to encourage attendees to share content with others and drive up attendance.

Event Promotion Timeline

Your virtual event promotion and hybrid event promotion are easier when you establish a timeline:

Several months before (from 3-6)

  • Create an event page
  • Plan the best ways to market your event
  • Start an early bird registration that includes a discount
  • Work on event branding
  • Market your event with emails (send to past event guests)
  • Start your social media event promotion efforts (Keep it mysterious to create a buzz)
  • Start your Facebook event posts
  • Introduce your keynote speakers

2 Months before

  • Runs social media contests
  • Continue event promotion with social media posts
  • Create more content marketing and look at the best ways to market your event
  • Run your paid ads
  • End early bird registration

1 Month before

  • Continue email marketing your event
  • Have your brands and sponsors promote your event
  • Measure your event marketing effectiveness and make adjustments

1 Week before

  • Conduct last-call event promotion campaigns
  • Market your event with behind-the-scenes content and social media posts

In the days leading up to the event, use email reminders and types of notifications. You can also continue event promotion efforts during the event on various social media platforms and after your event. You can also use analytics and data to learn more about how to market events.

Now that you know how to market an event and use virtual event promotion effectively—and have the tools to be an event promoter, implement these tips and strategies to drive up attendance at your next virtual, hybrid, or in-person event.

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