Lee Odden

Tasty Ideas to Maximize Online Marketing for Events

Online Marketing EventsMarketing efficiency is always a good thing. I mean, who has an unlimited marketing budget? Well, maybe some companies do, but for the most part, being able to get far more value out of a marketing investment than projected is cause to celebrate.

For example, events.   In the digital marketing world, the number of online and real world events has exploded. Despite many options to choose from, it can get costly to send staff to multiple events per year and even more if you sponsor or exhibit.

But this post is more about what one might do holistically to leverage multiple communication channels to promote an event and how an event can serve multiple marketing and business objectives.

For the purpose of this example, I’ll use parts of a promotional program following a standard model of:
Audience > Objectives > Tactics > Tools > Measurement


  • Influential Persona
  • Media Persona
  • Customer Persona 1
  • Customer Persona 2


  • Establish credibility in the industry and associated community
  • Build buzz about the event & inspire viral sharing
  • Leverage the event for media coverage regionally, on blogs and industry pulications
  • Attract signups/attendees for the event
  • Generate content at the first event to use with subsequent event marketing & PR
  • Create content that will demonstrate insights (keyword specific) and promote the event on sites the company controls, contributed articles to industry web sites and pitching
  • Create awareness of event through pitching other bloggers and marketing contacts to announce the event
  • Build enough interest within the target audience to motivate signups by promoting the event using social media tactics

27 Online Marketing and PR Tactics:

  • Create a landing page for the event on the company website or blog with embedded overview video (series of videos like 10 tips on … could work too)
  • Publish a series of interviews on the company blog with key individuals that have influence on the target topic. Promote the event at the end of the interviews
  • Pitch and contribute articles about key topics related to the event with important industry publications (online and offline)
  • Promote the event to online event sites Zvents, Upcoming and event calendars (online, email or print)
  • Write & distribute news releases (1, 2, 3) each taking a different angle
  • Pitch stories to general marketing publications
  • Pitch story to regional publications where the event will be held
  • Publish a series of videos, 1 for each key topic or problem solved. Post to YouTube and distribute via TubeMogul to other video sharing sites. Alternate titles and tags.
  • Offer guest blog post to small business bloggers, especially those in the region where the event will be held
  • Populate the social media profiles that have been registered with keyword optimized content, linking to an event landing page
  • Create a series of promotional emails and landing pages for the event directed towards an in-house list (like an email newsletter)
  • Pre write a promo/guest post that other bloggers can easily use – customize it.
  • Send follow up emails with themed creative
  • Create a cool badge that other blogs can add to their site in exchange for a link from the Social Media Smarts “friends” page.
  • Get testimonials for staff that will be speaking – text, audio and/or video formats
  • Generate link bait ideas such as: Custom Google search engine just for target industry blogs, List of relevant tools, List of the best target industry topical resources (based on a poll of readers), Post a question on LinkedIn and publish results
  • Ask friends to promote – give them a write up, image/logo and a place to point to
  • Offer people options other than signing up for the event: RSS, Twitter, White paper, webinar – for those that are not yet ready to do the workshop, to keep in contact with them
  • Create content that justifies the cost of the workshop – under promise and over deliver
  • As a fulfillment piece, offer a white paper on social media marketing and a guide for winning budget or to justify cost for attending the seminar. Brand it, make it cool
  • Create a social media smarts score for blogs. Rank blogs based on their use of social media and then score them. Give a dynamic badge they could put on their blog.
  • Crowdsource from social networks content for the presentation and recognize contributors online and at the event
  • Contest for marketing partners to help promote event, recognition and/or material rewards
  • Promote attendance goals and show progress
  • Promote limited seating/limited offer (exclusive, fear of loss) to motivate sign-ups
  • Promote speaking slot via twitter and geolocation tools like FourSquare during event
  • Sponsor or create a Twitter chat leading up the event to discuss topics of relevance and that address pain points of target audience. Make sure chats are archived and that promotions for the event exist on the archive.


  • Company Blog
  • Column on industry site
  • Column on partner blog
  • Guest post on friendly industry web site
  • Press releases
  • Guest blog posts
  • Contributed articles: industry publications
  • Event listing sites: Upcoming, Zvents, etc
  • Viral/link bait content, contests
  • Video sharing sites: YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, Facebook and Tubemogul distribution
  • Image sharing sites: Flickr, Zoomr
  • Social Networking: LinkedIn, Facebook
  • Twitter accounts and network
  • Social news and bookmarking sites
  • Social event listing sites, plancast, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc
  • Event calendars for publications and/or pitch pubs on SMS as a noteworthy event
  • Geolocation sites Foursquare, Gowalla


  • Social monitoring of keywords and topics related to company brand and event
  • Traffic to landing pages
  • Page views of landing pages
  • Signups
  • Pre-conversions: white paper, RSS, Twitter and social network connections, reports, webinars, newsletter
  • Views of social media promoted off site (Tweets, Facebook likes, Comments, etc)

Content Capture and Marketing From the Event/Attendees:

  • Give attendees tools to promote the event
  • Recognize attendees for attending
  • Offer post-event communications/networking
  • Capture video interviews with satisfied attendees
  • Give attendees a USB storage drive with presentation and useful tools pre-loaded.
  • Give attendees an incentive to get others to sign up at subsequent events

Could I list more than this? Could you do more? Of course. Is it efficient? No. This is a list of ideas. I can’t imagine doing them all for a single or short series of events.   There’s nothing wrong with those tactics for promoting events, but the focus here is mostly on editorial or content based promotion.

What creative tactics have you used to be more efficient with event and speaking gig promotions?  Have you ever found yourself at the end of an event wishing you’d done more or done things differently to promote?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Black Seo Guy says

    I do two events or workshops each month, and I learn more about the things i could have done better each time..most of the time you will only learn what to do by trial and error.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. The actual statistic is pretty grim in the sense that over 95% of all Internet marketing and online business startup fails within two years of launch. Of the remaining 5% that survive, less than 2% of actually goes on to break even and thrive amidst growing competitions.

  3. What do you think of special pass and event contests as promotional activities?

    • Contests and special passes are a great idea – they’re effective buzz and excitement building techniques. Thanks for mentioning them.

  4. Your article is full of useful information and I would like to thank you for sharing this information but the thing which I like most in your post is the image which you have used 🙂 Well done (Y)

  5. Brilliant! Thanks for putting together such a comprehensive list. This is a great resource also for people just getting started (like me!). Thanks

    • Thanks Ellissa – there’s a lot here and I suspect many marketers simply don’t bother with more than a few. That’s why others have a competitive advantage. Glad you liked the tips 🙂

  6. Now this is a list! I’m sure this took time to pull together. You could write a post on every category under “tools”. Thanks.

  7. Just launched a new site to help people promote their events
    http://eventsmarker.com Hope you like it !