The Ultimate Guide to Conference Marketing: Using Events To Boost Your Business

Imagine being positively talked about and recognized in your industry. When you run a successful conference, your industry peers will remember you and trust you more. This article will give you everything you need to know about running a successful conference marketing strategy and boosting your business. 

Conferences are a gathering of professionals from an industry to meet peers, industry leaders, and potential collaborators. These networking opportunities can lead to valuable connections, partnerships, and career advancements.

Understanding Conference Marketing

Conference marketing refers to the strategic promotion and advertising efforts to attract attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors to a conference. This involves utilizing various marketing channels and techniques to create awareness, generate interest, and drive registrations for the event. 

The primary goals of conference marketing are to maximize attendance, enhance the event’s visibility and reputation, and ensure a successful and engaging experience for all participants.

Marketing is supposed to deliver value and build confidence in your audience through your content. Hosting conferences is a great opportunity to do this. By imparting knowledge, attendees are drawn towards your company and what you present. 

How to Create an Effective Conference Marketing Strategy

Define your goals and objectives

The first step in creating an effective conference marketing strategy is to be clear on your goals and objectives. Conferences are usually a top-of-the-funnel effort so the usual goals would be to increase awareness, gather leads, and generate engagement online. 

Understand your target audience

Your conference topic is usually tailored to your audience. Research about your audience’s desires, pain points, and interests to know what will resonate with your audience the most. 

Listen to your audience by going to where they hang out. Go to Facebook groups, threads, forums or social media platforms to understand where they are coming from. Try to create a detailed buyer persona or a semi-fictional representation of your ideal attendee, based on the research and data you’ve gathered.

Humanizing your buyer persona allows you to better communicate with them. By envisioning your audience as real people with specific goals, challenges, and aspirations, you can tailor your marketing messages to resonate more authentically. 

Set your Conference Budget

Budgeting is an important component of planning a successful conference. Without a well-defined budget, even the most meticulously planned event can face financial pitfalls. A clear budget helps organizers allocate resources efficiently, manage costs effectively, and avoid unexpected expenses. 

Maximize your resources by leveraging cost-effective strategies that maximize reach and engagement. Social media platforms offer powerful tools for promoting your event at a relatively low cost. Content marketing, such as blogs, videos, and webinars, can drive organic traffic and build anticipation without significant financial outlay. 

Additionally, choosing a ticket platform that does not charge a commission fee can significantly save money on your event budget. Event Espresso and Event Smart are the most affordable options you can consider. 

Develop your offer

What will make your conference stand out? Start by identifying the key benefits and unique value propositions of your conference. This might include exclusive content, renowned conference speakers, networking opportunities, and cutting-edge workshops. Next, tailor your messaging to highlight these elements, emphasizing what sets your event apart from others. 

Make your offer something that hits their desired outcome. Stack the different perceived values and expected outcomes together and set a price. When the perceived value is higher, it becomes a no-brainer for your target audience to convert.

Create a dedicated conference website

Your conference event website is where you will host all the details about your conference. Information like the date, venue, time, speaker lineups, activities, ticket prices, frequently asked questions and more. Optimize your event website by applying the best practices of search engine optimization so you can increase your website’s potential reach.

Create your event marketing strategy

A conference needs to have a marketing strategy to attract your ideal audience. In developing your event marketing strategy, you can divide it into pre-event marketing, during, and post-conference marketing.

Pre-event marketing

As mentioned above, you need to have a solid event website in place as a way to capture all your marketing efforts. Furthermore, you can start to develop a content plan where you plot your messaging, content distribution channel, and content formats. 

Some ideas to consider for your pre-event marketing content:

  • Create a freebie or value material that can get your ideal attendees to sign up
  • Develop a series of teaser videos posted on your chosen social media platforms
  • Partner with media outlets or influencers to talk about your conference
  • Post about conference speaker highlights or short clips of interviews with your speakers to excite attendees
  • Use storytelling to share testimonials about your event
  • Create Facebook events or events on social media so you can invite attendees to your Facebook event page
  • Create incentives or affiliate schemes to encourage people to share and promote your event
  • Bring awareness to the problem you are solving in the conference

During conference marketing

  • Live stream your conference to your hybrid or virtual audience. You can also choose to record the sessions to be given to your live attendees
  • Host interactive sessions and networking opportunities for your attendees
  • Include your vendors or sponsors into your event program

Post-event marketing

  • Send thank you notes or gifts to your attendees
  • Gather feedback and post-event survey feedback form
  • Create social media recaps from the conference
  • Offer exclusive reports from the conference that your attendees can share and cite to their circles of influence

Open your conference for registrations/ticket sales

Monitor the number of registrations for your conference. Make your conference registration process a smooth experience on your website. Add a ticket-selling plug-in like Event Espresso for a smooth and seamless process. Offer early bird discounts to incentivize early sign-ups and create a sense of urgency. 

You can also build excitement by adding countdown timers on your event page to communicate limited-time offers and encourage attendees to purchase immediately. Event Espresso has this feature you can include in your event website.

Consider sponsors and partnerships

Corporate professionals shaking hands entering into a conference partnership

Organizing conferences has the potential to reach a wide audience in your industry. Create a sponsorship proposal on how you can work together for your conference. Partnerships can come in the form of finances or products and services. In exchange, your event can give them recognition or exposure to your conference attendees. 

Additionally, partnerships can be in the form of working with thought leaders and speakers. Thought leaders bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and influence that can significantly enhance the perceived value of your event. By featuring well-known experts in your industry, you not only draw attention but also build trust and authority among potential attendees.

Write your event program

A well-designed program highlights the conference’s key sessions, speakers, and activities, giving potential attendees a clear vision of the value and opportunities the event offers. To craft an effective program, focus on balancing informative content with visual appeal. Include detailed descriptions of sessions, speaker bios, and networking events to spark interest and anticipation. 

Incorporating visually appealing elements like infographics and thematic branding can make the program more attractive and easier to navigate. By distributing the program through your website, email campaigns, and social media channels, you can generate excitement and encourage registrations, ensuring that your conference stands out in a crowded market.

Convert your event content to digital marketing content

Your conference is filled with content ideas and potential. The content from that conference can be repurposed for different social media channels like a podcast, reels, carousel posts, static posts, and tweets. 

Transcribe presentations and panel discussions into blog posts, articles, or eBooks to provide valuable insights to your audience. Create highlight reels and recap videos to capture the event’s essence and maintain engagement. Use quotes and snippets from speakers for social media posts and email campaigns. By converting your event content into diverse digital formats, you can continue to engage your audience long after the conference has ended.

Measure your ROI

As the saying goes, what can’t be measured, can’t be improved. 

Return on Investment (ROI) is a crucial metric to measure in conference marketing, providing insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.Tracking the right metrics is essential for accurately measuring ROI. Focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your marketing objectives. Common metrics include lead generation, conversion rates, engagement rates, and revenue generated from ticket sales.

You can also use tools and technology to help measure key performance metrics. For example, you can connect Google Analytics on your event website to get an idea of visitor behavior. 

Plan for post-conference follow-up

Planning for post-conference follow-up is essential to maintain momentum and capitalize on the event’s success. Send personalized thank-you emails to attendees, speakers, and sponsors, expressing appreciation and highlighting key takeaways. Distribute post-event surveys to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement. Share session recordings, presentation slides, and other valuable resources with attendees. 

Keep the community engaged with regular updates, follow-up webinars, and exclusive content related to the conference themes. By thoughtfully planning your post-conference follow-up, you can reinforce relationships, gather valuable insights, and set the stage for future events.

Examples of Conference Marketing for Inspiration

Black Hat Expo USA

Screenshot of a BlackHat LinkedIn  Group

A summit that gathers people who share an interest in information security all around the world. This conference has been running for more than two decades now. The event has become a business in itself with various events like training, summits, and conferences. They are able to charge a high ticket price for their events given their niched and targeted audience.

Their strategy to keep their momentum going is they have a nurtured community on LinkedIn groups for people to continue the conversation. They also continue to educate their audience by uploading high-quality long-form videos on YouTube.

Here’s an overview of their marketing strategies:

  • Expert Content: Regularly publishing high-quality articles, blogs, and research papers on current cybersecurity issues.
  • High-Profile Speakers: Featuring renowned industry experts and thought leaders to attract attendees.
  • Community Engagement: Active participation in cybersecurity forums and social media platforms to build a loyal community.
  • Pre-Event Webinars and Demos: Offering sneak peeks and in-depth technical demos to create buzz and provide value before the event.
  • Exclusive Networking Opportunities: Promoting unique networking sessions where attendees can interact with leading experts and peers.

TED Conferences

You can find a TED video for just about any topic. Motivational speakers and experts share their knowledge and experience in an engaging short time that hooks the audience. TED videos are usually shot live as the speaker conducts their speech. Event marketers for TED conferences do not need complicated marketing techniques because the topic and content itself will attract people. Proper storytelling techniques and engaging hooks has contributed to the success of their content. 

The stage of a TEDx conference

Marketing Strategies:

  • High-Quality Video Content: Recording and sharing TED Talks on platforms like YouTube, reaching millions worldwide.
  • Consistent Branding: Maintaining a strong, recognizable brand that stands for “ideas worth spreading.”
  • Community Building: Supporting local TEDx events to foster a global community of TED enthusiasts.
  • Speaker Highlights: Promoting the profiles and achievements of speakers to generate interest and anticipation.
  • Interactive Digital Platforms: Utilizing the TED website and app to engage users with curated content and event updates.

B2B Summits

The B2B summits is another example of a successful conference that caters to B2B businesses. By leveraging a multi-channel promotional approach, the organizers successfully generated buzz and anticipation across social media, email campaigns, and industry publications well in advance of the event. 

Onsite, the summit featured a blend of keynote speakers, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities that catered specifically to the needs and interests of B2B professionals. 

Marketing Strategies:

  • Multi-Channel Promotion: Engaging potential attendees through various channels, including social media, email, and industry publications.
  • Personalized Agendas: Offering customized agendas tailored to the specific interests and needs of attendees.
  • Interactive Workshops and Networking: Providing a blend of keynote speakers, interactive workshops, and dedicated networking sessions.
  • Sophisticated Event App: Enhancing the attendee experience with an app that helps participants schedule their sessions, connect with others, and receive real-time updates.
  • Post-Event Engagement: Encouraging attendees to share insights and content, fostering ongoing engagement and community building.

15 Conference Marketing Ideas

Early Bird Discounts

Give incentives to your loyal attendees by giving early bird discounts and sparking a sense of urgency.  By providing a limited-time discount, you incentivize potential attendees to commit early, helping you gauge initial interest and secure revenue upfront. 

Promote the discount through email campaigns, social media, and your event website, highlighting the benefits of registering early, such as lower prices and guaranteed spots. Early bird discounts not only drive early sign-ups but also generate buzz and momentum leading up to the conference.


Hosting webinars before your conference can effectively build anticipation and provide valuable content to potential attendees. These online sessions can feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, or previews of conference topics. 

A teaser webinar can be value-added material you can give your email subscribers. Webinars serve as a taste of what attendees can expect at the main event, showcasing the expertise of your speakers and the relevance of the content, ultimately driving registration

Influencer Partnerships

With the marketing landscape today, people value authenticity and recommendations from people they know and trust. Collaborating with influencers who are respected in your industry can significantly amplify your conference’s reach and credibility. 

Influencers can promote your event to their followers through social media posts, blog articles, and video content. Consider inviting them to speak or participate in panel discussions to attract their audience to your event. By leveraging influencers’ established trust and large followings, you can enhance your event’s visibility and attract a broader audience.

Roundtable Discussions

Involve your audience in the conference discussion by creating roundtable discussions. Meaningful conversations can create lasting impressions and network with fellow attendees. Marketers can also use this as a selling point to promote their conference. Promote these sessions as exclusive opportunities for intimate, high-value interactions that go beyond traditional presentations. Highlight the diversity and expertise of the participants to draw interest. 

Networking opportunities

Aside from roundtable discussions, conference organizers can create booths or activities that can create opportunities for attendees to interact with one another. People attend conferences hoping that they can establish beneficial networks from it. Promote the quality of networking opportunities through testimonials from past attendees and emphasize the potential for meaningful professional connections and collaborations.

Strengthen SEO capacities

Enhancing your conference’s SEO is essential for increasing its online visibility and attracting organic traffic. Optimize your event website with relevant keywords, create high-quality content around conference topics, and build backlinks through guest posts and partnerships. Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor and adjust your SEO strategy

With a plugin like Event Espresso, you can easily customize your conference website for it to rank on top of search. Strong SEO practices will ensure that your conference ranks high in search engine results, making it easier for potential attendees to find and register for your event.


Workshops are a valuable addition to any conference, providing hands-on learning experiences and practical skills training. Learning sticks better when it is practiced. By keeping your participants engaged, you can make sure that they are involved all throughout your conference. Hands-on activities in workshops can also give your attendees photo opportunities they can post on social media. 

Create a dedicated event website

Marketing for conferences requires a professional-looking event website that serves as the central hub for all conference information – from registration and agenda details to speaker bios and sponsorship opportunities. Ensure the website is visually appealing, user-friendly, and mobile-optimized. Include engaging content like blogs, videos, and testimonials to build excitement.

Regularly update the site with new information and use it to capture leads through registration forms and newsletter sign-ups. We recommend you use Event Espresso as a plugin for your website or if you don’t want to start from scratch, you can use Event Smart

Fun leadership activities

Include fun leadership activities in your conference to enhance attendee engagement and foster a collaborative atmosphere. Activities such as team-building exercises, leadership challenges, and interactive games can break the ice and encourage networking. 

Promote these activities as unique opportunities for attendees to develop leadership skills in a relaxed and enjoyable setting. Highlighting the fun and interactive elements of your conference can make it more appealing and memorable.

Targeted Advertising

Marketing for conferences is highly specialized and requires precision. Deploying targeted advertising is an exceptionally effective strategy to connect with your ideal audience. Utilize platforms such as Google Ads, LinkedIn, and Facebook to craft campaigns that are meticulously targeted based on demographics, job titles, and interests.

Craft compelling ad copy and eye-catching visuals that highlight the key benefits of attending your conference. Monitor and optimize your campaigns to maximize ROI. Targeted advertising ensures your marketing efforts reach the right people, increasing the likelihood of registrations and attendance.

Guest at podcasts

Appearing as a guest on popular industry podcasts is an excellent way to promote your conference and reach a wider audience. Discuss the event, its key speakers, and the topics that will be covered. Being in podcasts gives you access to a targeted audience who may be interested in your conference.

Share valuable insights and demonstrate the expertise that attendees can expect. Market the podcast episodes through your channels and encourage your host to do the same. Podcast appearances can build credibility and generate interest among listeners who may be interested in attending your conference.

Interactive storytelling activities

Conference attendees listening attentively to a speaker

Interactive storytelling activities can make your conference more engaging and memorable. These activities can include live case studies, role-playing scenarios, and collaborative story-creation sessions. Highlight these sessions in your marketing strategy as unique opportunities for attendees to actively participate and apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. 

Interactive storytelling can enhance learning experiences, foster creativity, and encourage deeper engagement with the conference content.

Gamification elements

Integrating gamification elements into conference marketing can significantly enhance attendee engagement and create a memorable event experience. By incorporating interactive challenges, leaderboards, and reward systems, organizers can transform passive participation into active involvement.

For instance, a mobile app with a built-in scavenger hunt encourages attendees to explore different booths and sessions, earning points and badges along the way. Leaderboards displayed on digital screens throughout the venue foster a sense of friendly competition and motivate participants to maximize their engagement. 

Additionally, offering tangible rewards, such as exclusive merchandise or VIP access for top performers, incentivizes attendees to fully immerse themselves in the conference activities. 

Social media takeover

Allowing attendees or speakers to take over your social media accounts for a day can provide fresh perspectives and authentic content. Select enthusiastic and engaged attendees to share their experiences, insights, and highlights of the event. 

Talk about the takeover beforehand to build anticipation and encourage followers to tune in. Social media takeovers can increase engagement, provide real-time insights, and create a buzz around your conference from the attendees’ point of view.

Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Reality integration

Embrace the benefits of AI Into your conference and impress your attendees with a futuristic feel of your conference. For example, an AI-powered chatbot integrated into the event’s mobile app can serve as a personalized assistant for attendees, answering queries, providing schedule updates, and offering tailored session recommendations based on user preferences and behavior. 

Meanwhile, AR can enhance the onsite experience by creating interactive and immersive environments. Imagine attendees using their smartphones or AR glasses to scan conference badges, instantly accessing detailed profiles, and networking information in a visually engaging manner. 

Build your Conference Event Website with Event Espresso

Host a fully booked conference for your business. You can create high ticket prices for your attendees without worrying about paying for high commission fees with Event Espresso. 

For just a flat and monthly rate, event planners can sell unlimited tickets, customize your registration forms, optimize their website, collect payments securely, and more. Event organizers who have previously organized conferences can vouch for their experience with Event Espresso. 

If you don’t have a WordPress website, you can use Event Smart. Check out our live free demo now or our 14-day free trial

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