It doesn’t matter how large—or small—your business’ reach is, chances are you have an upcoming event you can leverage for your marketing efforts. Maybe you are speaking at a conference or you want to announce a new product or a service roll-out.
Events can even focus on minor celebrations, like getting 10,000 followers on Instagram.
No matter what its purpose, you can tailor any event for viral greatness using the power of digital marketing.
Let’s dive straight into some event marketing strategies that can put your next event in the spotlight.
4 event marketing tactics that can take your next event viral
It’s important not to underestimate the importance of event marketing. Event promotion is critical for sales, lead generation, and brand awareness.
Beyond that, events can allow you to network with peers and customers in a more personal way. That insider knowledge means your marketing team can gather intelligence to help you get—and stay—ahead of your competition.
Events are a fun addition to traditional marketing. They’re exciting, fast-paced, and allow marketers the greatest creativity. Some common types of event marketing include:
- Marketing conferences
- Trade shows
- Sales events
- Experiential events (like this Redbull airdrop)
Of course, the possibilities are nearly endless, limited only by your imagination. So, once you’ve got a noteworthy opportunity on your calendar, how do you promote an event?
When designing your event marketing plan, it’s smart to set a goal of getting the most exposure possible. You want the maximum number of people talking about your event to encourage registration, participation, and shares.
Most marketers agree that there’s no better way to get your event seen than by having it go viral. Let’s explore common techniques companies have used to increase event attendance and attention.
1. Using the power of your customers’ voices
Never underestimate the impact social sharing has on your marketing. As an example, sock company Ace & Everett learned how to parlay customers’ social media channels to make their event shine.
Their 100 Man March, a parade of men in Ace & Everett socks, blazers, button-downs, and no pants, is a solid part of the company’s marketing calendar.
Source: The Hustle
However, the event didn’t go viral until its third year, when Ace & Everett learned the magic word: share. After the event, they gave each of their marchers an event photo and asked them to post it to their favorite social channel.
Then, Ace & Everett posted a video of the march to their own channels and watched the viral magic happen.
If you’ve got a creative, shareable event planned, make sure you share the evidence. Send emails with embedded (and shareable!) videos or photos and ask for social shares.
Your event is already poised to generate curiosity but forgetting to ask for the share is a mistake. So is having too many channels to choose from. Instead, pare down your social channels to your favorite two and give your customers a gentle nudge to pass the word along.
Let’s explore another way to use the combined power of social media and email marketing to help your next event campaign go viral.
Harnessing the ubiquity of email
With 73% of millennials preferring email as their primary way to connect with brands, email marketing for viral reach makes sense.
When you add the 2.56 billion social media users across the globe into the mix, combining the two platforms becomes imperative.
The fact is, this partnership helps promote events nearly effortlessly. To start, you can add a hashtag and highlight social share options on emails. Then, encourage recipients to pass on your event information with an offer/share incentive.
Alternately, you can create website tags on some social media sites, like Twitter so that potential customers can find you. Take them to an event landing page, grab their email, and off you go!
Here’s an example to illustrate how easy it is to encourage social sharing in your event marketing emails.
This email promotes a special New Year’s Eve event in intriguing monotone colors. The only pops of color are the logo, the box around the buy button and, unsurprisingly, the social media buttons.
This judicious use of color draws the audience’s eye right where this marketing team wants it: the buy and the share.
Some companies place their social sharing icons at the very top of an email in a bright block of type. Try this and see if it works for you.
Additionally, provide an offer where subscribers can invite three friends to an event for a 60% discount. Use a prominent “invite friends” button with simple instructions.
2. Narrow your audience
It’s true—size does matter. When it comes to marketing for current events with the expectation they’ll go viral, it’s critical.
If you’re marketing an event via email, you want to reach for the greatest number of forwards possible. Personalization triggered messages, and segmentation is all ways to accomplish this.
In fact, personalized or triggered emails generate a forward for every 21 opens. That’s opposed to non-personalized content, which gets only one forward for every 370 opens.
Need more proof? Viral emails are 2.9 times more likely to be based on triggered events, 4.3 times more likely to use segmentation, and 4.5 times more likely to be personalized.
The bottom line: segment, personalize, and use triggers for best results.
3. Get outrageous
Sometimes, it pays to get crazy with your email marketing. Let’s look at this quirky email campaign from Frontier Airlines that went viral.
The cost-cutting airline leveraged the popularity of the interweb sensation “Deez Nuts,” a 15-year-old boy from Iowa, to boost their email campaign success.
Deez Nuts was already an irreverent online celebrity when he came to Frontier’s attention. When Deez Nuts submitted himself as a presidential candidate, Frontier pounced.
Offering a whopping half off of flights with the cute and timely promo code, this campaign saw lots of press.
You don’t have to wait for another internet celebrity to come forward, however. Your email marketing plan can capitalize on social media trends, current events, or anything else that strikes a chord with your audience.
4. Your biggest event: A launch
One of a company’s most prominent events will always be the launch of the business itself. Later down the line, launches include new products, new designs, new services, or even subsidiary companies.
Whenever you’re launching something big, something new, something exciting, you want as much press as possible.
It should be big. Really big. Viral, if possible.
That’s what Harry’s did with the launch of their website. Harry’s is a site that focuses on men’s grooming. In just one week after their premier launch, they’d gotten almost 100,000 email addresses in their list using a website, shareable links, and email.
Within the launch, Harry’s showed visitors how they could earn free products by referring friends to the site.
The rest is history.
Since their launch, Harry’s has continued to dominate through shareable email marketing. Take a look at how they combine gratitude for current customers with outreach in this brilliant email:
Souce: Really Good Emails
First, they thank current subscribers for being part of the Harry’s family. Then, they gift them two free razors to share with friends.
This clever tactic gets rid of the need to forward the email by allowing customers to choose recipients directly from the body of the email.
Harry’s continues to market launches and events through email marketing with great success.
There are an endless number of events you can promote through email marketing. The trick is to get your marketing efforts seen by as many potential leads as possible.
Doing this is simpler when you combine one or more of the actionable steps we’ve reviewed. Choose an outrageous way to promote, segment your audience, and don’t forget to leverage social media to power up your marketing mix.
So, whether you’re promoting your first launch, launching a new product or service, or focusing on brand awareness, your next email campaign could very well be the one that takes you viral.
Want more great ideas to use in your next event email? Campaign Monitor has corralled some of the best event emails to get you off to a great start.