“What happens when you put your heart and soul into planning the event and no one comes!?”

Event Marketing

Event professionals invest a lot of time, effort and money into organizing events. We tend to obsess over every little logistical detail, we make lists, we create spreadsheets and budgets and plans. But, what happens when you put your heart and soul into planning the event and no one comes!?

If your marketing budget is light, you’ll need to be creative in finding ways to get the word out. There are lots of ways to market your event for free (or at a low cost). Online marketing is powerful. Social media takes event marketing to a whole new level.

Here are our top 7 ways to promote your event online to attract people who are already familiar with your event and who are already on the look-out for events like yours. Plus, these same strategies can help you find brand new attendees to participate.

7 Ways to Promote Your Event Online

Tip #1: Keywords

Keywords are those sneaky words and phrases that search engines use to rank your website in their results. A good event marketer will do their homework to discover which key phrases are most valuable and relevant for their event. There are some free online resources out there if you feel comfortable tackling this yourself. If you have some extra money in your event budget, invest in SEO services (Search Engine Optimization).

Hint: Put yourself in the shoes of your potential event attendees. If someone wanted to attend a conference about sponsorship, and didn’t know of any specific conferences coming up, what would they type into Google?

Tip #2: Email Marketing

Email marketing is a very powerful event marketing method and it’s relatively cheap. In fact, event-related email campaigns generate higher open rates and click-through rates than most other types of marketing emails. So, you’ll definitely want to be reaching out to past attendees and prospective attendees via email.

Hint: Build your email list and keep it current by doing some housekeeping clean-up every now and then. Don’t forget to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)! Plus, make sure you use intriguing headlines in the subject line of your email which will encourage your subscribers to actually open the email to learn more. Download iSPARK’s Guide to Email Marketing for more hot tips on email marketing.

Tip #3: Social Proofing

Ever heard of FOMO? It’s the ‘Fear of Missing Out’.

Social proofing means that you influence potential event attendees by letting them know what everyone else is doing. You can use testimonials in your marketing messages, reviews, and more to showcase what people may be missing out on if they don’t confirm to attend your event NOW. Let your loyal attendees speak for themselves and do the selling for you.

Hint: Try crafting some messaging in your event email campaigns specifically along the lines of FOMO. For example:

“Your friends will be there … what are you waiting for, register now!”

“We hear that so-and-so may be dropping by, don’t miss it!”

Here’s what last year’s attendees had to say: insert quote/event testimonial here”

Tip #4: Your Event Website

Does your event website clearly (and succinctly) provide all the important information about your event that a prospective attendee needs to know (and that confirmed attendees may be wondering about too)?

Prospective attendees will be looking for things like:

      • Event schedule/program of events
      • Event photos or videos from previous years
      • The list of people who may be coming
      • Venue information
      • Travel & Accommodations information
      • Dress code
      • Cost/Pricing
      • And more!

Keep the web copy short and sweet by using video content and photo images that convey the event vibe and answer questions that event attendees may be wondering about. And, don’t forget to include a clear Call to Action (CTA). If you are successful in attracting eyeballs to your event website, you don’t want them to leave without buying a ticket, registering, or, at minimum, signing up for emails related to news about your event.

Tip #5: Social Media & Hashtags

If you’re not using social media to promote your event, you are missing out on a very valuable opportunity to create awareness about the event and reach lots of people in a very short period of time. Your social media strategy (including deciding which platforms are the best fit for your event) will depend on the type of event you are staging, the scope and size of the event, and the demographics of your audience.

Regardless of whether you launch a full-blown social media campaign or do something simple like creating a Facebook page for your event or an event Twitter account, success on social media means connecting and engaging regularly with your followers, posting relevant content, including CTA’s, and promoting the heck out of your event hashtag.

Hint: Inspire others to spread the word for you over social media by asking your attendees to post “I’m going” on their personal or company websites or blogs and to share links (or their status as a confirmed participant) on their own social media platforms. Make it easy for them by providing event-specific buttons, badges and icons.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tip #6: Create a Competition or Contest

A hashtag-driven contest over social media can really create some hype for your event. Ask your audience to tweet the answer to a question, vote in a poll, or post a photo or video. Reward people who engage with you by giving away a prize, a free registration or ticket to your event, a promo code with a discount on a ticket, or a gift of event swag.

Tip #7: Share-Worthy Content

Customized event content has the potential for enormous pay-offs. You’ll need to bring a clever writer on board (and a talented graphic designer) to create infographics, blog posts, how-to-guides, videos, and more. This type of event-specific content has the potential to generate thousands of likes, shares and visits online to expose your brand to a much wider audience.


These are just a few ways you can enhance your online event marketing with a limited budget. Don’t forget to track your results – you’ll need to know what’s working and what isn’t. There’s a little bit of trial and error when it comes to marketing your event online so don’t be afraid to go out-of-the-box and test something a little risky or radical. If it doesn’t resonate, adjust your campaign and move on. If it’s a hit, you’ll have a better sense of what your target audience responds to and you can then prepare more online content along the same theme.

If you would like to see a few examples of some online event marketing campaigns that popped, reach out to me! I’d be happy to share some examples of our work that proved to be successful for our clients.

Listen to the Podcast Version