Sep 05, 2018

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Event Marketing Strategy Killers and How to Fix Them

Few events sell themselves, which makes the event marketers job necessary, and sometimes challenging. In order to make your event a success, you should consider developing an event marketing strategy that makes your audience aware of your event and builds excitement.

To increase your chances of having a sold-out crowd, you should be aware and do your best to avoid the number of roadblocks that can downright ruin your event altogether, through low ticket sales, non-awareness, or any other marketing issue.

While there is no such thing as the perfect event marketing plan, here are the top event marketing strategy killers to be mindful of as you plan your event from the bottom up.

Being Too Cookie Cutter

While you are encouraged to borrow from event marketers who came before you, never copy outright. Your event should be unique, special, and appear like a must-attend for your target prospects. What sort of event would your attendees most likely tell their friends about, and buy tickets for in advance? What elements at your event would help to build excitement? Answer those questions and infuse your own personality into your event to make it the first of its kind.

Not Telling Attendees “Why”

Your audience will feel more pressure to attend if you can convey to them the very reason you’re putting your event strategy together, to begin with. What problems will the event solve and address? What freebies or insight will attendees bring home with them?

Finally, be very clear about any perks your audience will receive from attending, whether it’s mere excitement or a fun-filled goodie bag.

These are personal and interesting elements that your attendees might like to hear about. Along with social channels, don’t miss out on the opportunities provided by a website, video, and blog.

Your website could have an About page that describes the reason for your event in detail, which can go a long way toward making your brand more personable and approachable. Even better, a video explaining why and showing what’s so exciting about your event, in particular, can help sway a massive number of ticket holders your way.

Finally, a blog used in pre-promotion and right before the event can give you an opportunity to explain in-depth the making of the event, what it takes to put everything together, and all the behind-the-scenes nuances that will make attendees feel like backstage VIPs. Keep the blogs coming even after the event to ramp-up excitement for your next event, even if you haven’t even planned it yet.

Casting Your Net Too Wide

It sounds counterintuitive that you should market to fewer people to receive more attendees, but that’s how event marketing works. Casting a wider net thins out your resources and makes it more likely that your target prospects will be missed completely.

Instead, market only to your buyer persona to keep your messaging strong and to maximize your engagement and lead attraction efforts.

Going at it Alone

Don’t treat the event like an ego-project. Invite partners to share the weight of responsibilities, from marketing the event to audio and visual, rental companies, and all the rest of the details that may be involved in your event’s planning. Wearing too many hats yourself can lead to missed phone calls, opportunities, bookings, and a mucked-up event once the day arrives. Don’t chance it. Inviting partners will relieve your stress and ensure the strategizing, marketing and event itself all go as well as planned.

Planning in a Vacuum

Don’t just wing it. Find examples of events that came before yours and borrow from their marketing efforts. Don’t forget to include all the information you’re going to need to plan a successful event, including having a location, date and time already laid out. You should have a list of potential speakers and a detailed agenda.

You should also make it very easy to purchase tickets. The conversion process should be seamless, as this isn’t something you want to throw together. Do your research, find the best tools to make paying and receiving tickets a simple affair and you’ll remove one of the largest roadblocks that can keep events from going as marketers hoped, which is the barrier to conversion.

In addition, you’ll want to help your attendees find accommodations nearby and provide discounts, coupons, or at least contact information so that attendees don’t have to do a lot of work to attend. Make it as convenient as possible for those you hope will show-up for best results.

Poor Channel Selection for Content

You should discover where your audience spends most of their time online before you start posting on social media. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and a long list of other channels to choose from, you could miss out on a big opportunity to connect with new attendees by bypassing just one of those channels. Do your due diligence, find out where your audience is posting and socializing online, and then make them aware of your event for best results.

Once you do find social channels that work, make use of hashtags to bring all your attendees under one virtual roof. Use stories to hype up your audience and show off how well the event is coming together.

As a side note, don’t forget to film this event. That way, you can share the videos as social stories to build excitement for future events to make your marketing strategy even easier in the future.

Not Using Email

With email being such a direct conduit to your audience, why wouldn’t you use the communication channel for your event marketing efforts? Turns out, email was voted the single most effective tactic used by event marketers. Email should be used to get your audience excited about your event long before the event begins. Then trickle messages to your audience telling them about special speakers, VIP attendees, vendors worthy of mention, or anything else that will make them want to buy tickets now.

Ignoring Offline Strategies That Work

People have been marketing events throughout history, and long before the Internet became available. Don’t miss out on all those tactics used by event marketers of yore. These might include ticket giveaway campaigns, tiering your tickets with higher priced options to make the regular priced tickets seem more valuable, using early bird discounts, using a telesales team in conjunction with your inbound marketing campaign, going on a local radio show, and running newspaper and trade show ads (yes, some people still read them).

While online marketing can offer huge benefits to event marketers, many offline tactics are just as valuable. Think outside the box and see how many you can come up with and use for maximum effect.

Poor CTAs

Whether it’s on your website, blog, paid Facebook ad or a press release in the local newspaper, make sure you tell your prospects what you expect. Do you want them to call? Tell them to “Call Now!” Do you want them to pre-purchase tickets? Well, then say exactly that. Many people need to be told what to do if you want them to act. Don’t be shy. Instead, be actionable and you’re likely to experience far more attendees.

Quitting on Incomplete Bookings

Shopping cart abandonment happens with event planners, too, and the phenomena is just as frustrating. Set aside time to communicate with any incomplete bookers and find out the reason. It could be that your conversion process is too complicated or your CTAs aren’t actionable enough.

Your attendees are your bread and butter. Ensure you keep up with all of them, whether they’ve purchased tickets or came very close but didn’t commit.  

Not Making Your Attendees Feel Valued

You can get so caught up in the planning and minutia of the event that you completely overlook your attendees. You’ve told your attendees why you’re putting the event on, now keep up your momentum by holding to that value proposition. Your attendees should feel valued throughout the event, from the day they sign up to the day they leave, and even afterward. The lesson is to be mindful of your audience, their expectations, and overall goals so that you can align them with a positive event environment they’re sure to remember.

Not Asking for Referrals

Many event marketers forget this important opportunity to double, triple or quadruple their audiences. If you only focus on new attendees, you’ll lose out on a critical marketing tactic, which is to have those whom you’ve already convinced to go to your event market on your behalf.


When planning your event marketing strategy, be mindful of your audience and these event strategy killers and you’re sure to have a memorable event everyone will enjoy. While this list is by no means inclusive, it should provide you with a good framework to help you avoid problems and maximize your success as event day quickly approaches. Just make sure your audience feels valued throughout the process to ensure they always come back year after year.

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