Beyond Email: Grow Your Event With Smart Digital Marketing Strategies

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David Haas
David Haas

Director, Technology Solutions


Four tips for getting started with digital advertising

Photo: MWC Flickr

Today’s show organizers and event marketers have a dizzying array of choices when it comes to growing their events: web, social media, social advertising, retargeting...the list goes on and on. Growing an event also means creating a better experience during the event as well as before and after it takes place. 

Yet what is one of the most preferred tactics used by many event marketers to bring event crowds through the doors year after year? 


Despite the unfathomable growth of social media (Facebook now has over 2 billion users), the continued migration from print and television ads to mobile (ad spend on the web will soon surpass TV), and the increasing performance reached by retargeting, show organizers and event marketers continue gaining most registrations through email marketing.


Let’s find out and explore those proven ways to grow beyond email.

Event professionals trust email for three understandable reasons

First, sending email is dirt cheap. While it costs 49 cents to send a letter via the U.S. post office, emails cost a fraction of a cent. What’s more, most event professionals have invested heavily in email lists. These lists have been refined over the years and provide access to customers that open emails and commit to showing up. 

Second, the process is measurable. Email marketing delivers awesome data. Click a few buttons, send out thousands of invitations, and wait. Moments later you have quantifiable open rates and click-through rates. Compare these to your benchmarks and averages, and boom: you’re ready for the next campaign. 

Finally, emails work. Check out almost any event’s Google Analytics dashboard, and you’ll see email campaign traffic as one of the top three channels — it typically takes the top slot. 

But email falls short in one vital area: growing your event. For this goal, most event owners make the mistake of solely investing heavily in list acquisition instead of focusing on additional, more effective channels such as social advertising. And guess what? For all the reasons event marketers prefer email, digital advertising provides the same advantages when implemented properly!

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Factor in Facebook

Many event owners falsely assume Facebook advertising only works for consumer events. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With over 2 billion users, almost everyone uses Facebook. While they may not be leveraging this particular social network for business, they probably use it in their personal lives. And with the ability to target very specific demographics and interests, Facebook provides a useful way to increase reach and grow registrations for almost any event.

Leaders all a-Twitter

The social media powerhouse of Twitter offers another powerful driver for broadening your net and growing your show. Because Twitter advertising enables you to target specific followers with your ads, you can create captive, targeted groups. Consider your thought leaders — these experts exist in every industry and can be your true influencers. Go after those vocal leaders and harness that leading edge to grow your event.  

Google me this

No digital advertising discussion would be complete without Google. With the ability to target people searching for specific keywords, Google provides an amazing way to get in front of your new potential audiences. The key here is planning. While it can be tempting to choose obvious keywords and terms, sometimes the cost per click outweighs the benefit. Most show organizers see more success by targeting terms that can be purchased at lower prices, with more targeted terms. And that yields more targeted results.

Retarget your target

To add fuel to the digital campaign fire, consider a retargeting effort. Retargeting is now used by almost all major brands in the world. This handy online tool lets you promote your offer to consumers who have visited your site previously, but failed to register. Placing cookies on your visitors’ browsers enables you to push your ad on other sites they visit where advertising is offered. This powerful move extends the value of your ad spend because it continues to work long after that initial ad click. 

Email can still work to promote your event, but it’s time to think outside the inbox and extend your digital efforts to ultimately deliver a better experience. By taking the digital plunge to grow your reach and build buzz with these ideas, your event will continue to reach new heights.

Want more? Register for our webinar to learn more about these smart digital marketing strategies.


What you need to know to stay ahead of the ever-changing experiential marketing curve.

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