Many businesses host events such as: tradeshows, product launches, networking events, open houses, and more. Every event that a business hosts should have a strong marketing plan behind it to fulfill its goal and purpose. The date is set and venue has been chosen – here’s how digital marketing can help get people through the door.

Dedicated Real Estate on Your Website

All digital marketing efforts should lead to your website, where prospective event attendees are then led through the buying process. It’s important to create at least one landing page specifically for the event to inform guests on what to expect, location and time, and how to register. It’s the invitation everyone’s been waiting for! Keep the registration form simple, but use this opportunity to gather enough information that can help you learn more about the person. For business-to-business companies, that would include things like their title, company, industry, and revenue. A thank you page after an individual submits their registration is necessary to let them know the submission went through. It’s also a way to inform them on next steps and offer links to keep them engaged on your site or social media.

After your landing page is created, focus on search engine optimization (SEO) which will help make your web page visible to search engines.

Email Marketing to Customers and Contacts

An easy way to target specific audiences and communicate with them directly is through email marketing. It’s important to have compelling emails explaining the purpose of the event, why they should attend, and who or what will be there. People, who are on the fence about registering for your event, need that one last email in order to create urgency of not wanting to miss out on a great opportunity. Create a calendar to stay organized while you send the first email up to the very last. Allow yourself enough time to analyze each email’s opens and click rate to determine whether sending a follow-up email to contacts that haven’t opened the first email is necessary. The goal of this email campaign is to keep your targeted audience engaged, create brand awareness and ultimately bring in leads through your website to increase your event’s attendance.

Now that you have people registered, it doesn’t stop here! Don’t forget to send a reminder to those who registered the week of and a follow-up message thanking them for their attendance the day after.

Social Media to Widen Your Net

One of the fastest and creative ways to spread the word digitally is through social media engagement. Whether you have a healthy budget for paid advertising or are going the free posting route, you can accomplish a lot on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.

Facebook alone provides many resources to promote an event. You can create a public event on Facebook directing followers to the registration page, continuously post on your company’s profile page, and post in industry Facebook groups. It is important to keep messaging consistent so your audience easily recognizes your event promotion. Tag as many sponsors, vendors and volunteers involved in your event to increase the traffic to your post and allow them to cross-promote the event. Facebook’s paid advertising gives you the option to boost posts and event pages to audiences beyond your followers, or place display ads to a customized target audience.

Community Calendars

A tactic that is often a missed opportunity and is FREE is posting events to online community calendars. News outlets, magazines, your local chamber of commerce, visitor bureaus, and event sites such as Eventbrite provide public calendars that often rank high in search engine results. Using online calendars helps your event be seen by a bigger and more diverse audience that you may have missed.

Your upcoming event is more than just passed appetizers and specialty drinks. It’s a time to make connections and create awareness of your product, company or mission. It’s important to use as many digital marketing outlets as possible so you can spread the word and have a tremendous turnout.