Event Marketing for Community Leaders: How to Promote Community Events

Astley Cervania

Astley Cervania

Content Contributor, HeySummit

Published on 1st May 2023Updated 13th December 2023

Here’s a few reasons why event marketing for community leaders is perfect:

  • Events activate a customer population within your audience

  • Events activate a customer population within your audience

  • They position you as a thought leader in your niche

  • Build a favorable reputation

  • Foster community engagement

  • Raise awareness and improve your presence

Events are best for nurturing your audience, which makes them ideal for community leaders and marketers.

There’s a lot of other marketing strategies out there. But in this guide, we’ll narrow down on the most effective of them all for bringing your community to life: event marketing.

The Difference Between Event Marketing and Community Marketing

The main difference is that community marketing puts more emphasis on building a loyal customer base by creating a sense of belonging. 

Community leaders are often focused on building long-term relationships. The goal is to establish a connection with the target audience and foster a sense of community around the brand. 

In contrast, event marketing in general focuses on delivering an exceptional experience to potential customers by creating buzz for a business in hopes of: 

  • Generating leads

  • Converting a percentage into customers

  • Increasing brand awareness

What Is Community Event Marketing? 

This refers to using events as a way to promote your community. 

The purpose of community event marketing is to deliver a personalized experience to your target audience so that you can build trust and develop new or existing relationships with them. An example of this could be hosting a series of webinars to educate community members on a particular topic. 

Or, you could host a fundraising event in the local area to raise awareness and contribute to a positive cause. 

Side note: Feel free to also check out our full guide on event marketing here

What About Community Marketing in General? 

Community marketing uses the power of a specific community as a focal point for showcasing your authority.

But being an authority doesn’t just mean being an expert in your field, it also means being a connector. Your customers (or potential customers) come to you because you’re a prominent figure of the community they wish to be a part of – and you can lead them to other key people too. This is why event marketing works so well for communities; it allows you to showcase your knowledge and network.

How to Promote a Community Event 

We’ll go through 9 strategies that work for both in-person and online community events. Add these strategies to your planning process as you’re creating a virtual event for smoother implementation. 

1. Create a Landing Page

A landing page is a website page where you send potential attendees so that they can sign up for your event. This can either be created through a content management system (CMS) or by using a virtual event platform that offers a landing page builder

A good landing page includes elements such as:

A way to speed up this process is to have a system (like a virtual events platform) that handles the formatting for you or to start with a template with pre-built themes and components. 

2. Create an Email Sequence

After setting up a landing page, you should have a list of emails collected from people who chose to sign up. And therefore you can reach out to them via email to promote the community event. 

Now writing each of these emails does take some time. However, you could speed this up by using customizable event email templates

Here’s a sample email sequence below.

Email 1: Announcement

  • Send 4-6 weeks before the event.

  • Announce the event and share basic information such as date, time, location, and the purpose of the event. Make it clear why it’s important and why people should attend.

Email #2: Early Reminder

  • Send 2-3 weeks before the event.

  • Remind your audience of the upcoming event and emphasize the benefits of attending. 

Email #3: Speaker Spotlight

  • Send 1-2 weeks before the event.

  • Share a brief bio of keynote speakers that will be at the event. The purpose of this email is to create a buzz and excitement.

Email #4: Last Chance

  • Send 1-2 days before the event.

  • Send a final reminder to your audience that this is the last chance to register or attend. 

Email #5: The Thank You

  • Send 1-2 days after the event.

  • Thank your audience for attending and briefly share event highlights. Include a call to action for future events and encourage them to share their experiences on social media.

3. Incentivize Attendees

Incentivize attendees to register for the event or to reach out to their friends and family so that you can connect with a wider audience. 

Here’s a few examples of different incentives to use to promote a community event: 

  • Referral discounts: have attendees invite people they know to the event in exchange for a discount. This encourages word of mouth.

  • Early bird discounts: offer a reduced ticket price to those who sign up early for the event. 

  • Online giveaways: encourage people to enter a giveaway competition in exchange for promoting your brand and/or event. 

  • Exclusive benefits: highlight a unique value of your event that attendees get to experience, e.g. VIP seating.

4. Collaborate With Influencers

Influencers will have their own large network that you could tap into. Collaborating with the right influencer helps you increase brand awareness and attendance rates. 

Here’s how you can collaborate:

  • Content creation: work together on a piece of valuable content for your audience such as creating a video or podcast that answers your community’s questions around a particular topic. 

  • Amplify social media promotion: amplify social media promotion by including tags, event-related posts, and event hashtags. 

  • Shorts: work together on a short video clip that highlights the event agenda to generate buzz. 

5. Collaborate With Other Communities

Collaborating with another community can help with your event marketing campaign. 

For instance, co-hosting at an event for a similar community exposes you more to a closely-related target audience. Or collaborating with a local business allows you to build a stronger presence in the local area. 

However, be strategic with the communities you collaborate with. Consider how you’ll benefit from each other and how you can work together to achieve common goals. An example of this could be adding them as sponsors for your event.

6. Post Video Content

Video content allows you to capture the human element of an event. Compared to written content like blog posts, videos feel more personal and humanizing, which makes them more engaging. 

Here’s a few examples of different types of video content: 

  • Speaker or performer introduction videos

  • Epic trailers (a good example from the top of my head are the trailers for Steven Bartlett’s podcast, i.e. Diary of a CEO)

  • Q&A highlights

  • Behind-the-scenes footage

Then, these can be uploaded on social media platforms such as:

  • Facebook

  • LinkedIn

  • TikTok 

  • YouTube

7. Highlight Networking Opportunities

Here’s something we’re always asking ourselves (consciously or subconsciously): what’s in it for me? 

One of the most common benefits for event attendees is a networking opportunity with other like-minded people. And often, people are looking to connect with others, especially industry leaders. 

Here’s a few examples of different networking activities to promote your event that may appeal to your audience:

8. Send SMS Reminders 

Text messages have way higher open rates than email. 

98% of recipients are likely to read a text message from an SMS marketing campaign, according to SMS Comparison. Therefore, you can be certain that recipients won’t miss your message regarding key event details and reminders.

See a few sample SMS reminder examples below. 

  • Don’t forget to join us at our monthly town hall meeting tonight at 7pm using this link here. We’ll be discussing topics X, Y, and Z. See you there! 

  • Reminder: Our annual charity walk is this Sunday at 12pm. Lace up your shoes and join us to support a great cause! 

  • Hey Name, just a friendly reminder that X event starts in 1 hour. Use the link below to join…

9. Have a Community Group Chat

Group chats feel more personal since it’s a way for your audience to directly get in touch with you. 

That said, Create a community page or channel using a platform such as:

  • Discord

  • Facebook

  • Reddit

  • Slack

The best platform depends on your audience’s preferences. Use this as a way to promote your event and to respond to any questions publicly for other members to see. 

What to Look Out For When Analyzing Community Event Performance

Consider the following when reviewing the analytics of your community event:

  • Attendance: out of all invitees, how many attended? 

  • Engagement: track event metrics related to attendee engagement, e.g. social media mentions and shares.

  • Feedback: get feedback to understand what went well and what didn’t.

  • Revenue: check revenue figures if the event was a fundraiser or involved ticket sales.

  • Community impact: did the event ultimately lead to a positive impact on the community? 

If the event involved ticket sales, use this simple event marketing formula to help you measure ROI:

Event Success = What you get out of it ÷ What you put into it

The Advantages of Community Events: How Event Marketing Benefits Community Leaders

🌰 In a nutshell: jump-starts, lead generation, and nurturing. 🌰

Allow me to explain:

  • Events jump-start your community by getting prospective customers excited about actually meeting each other. In other words, you’re activating your existing network and audience in a dedicated community space.

  • Events are a lead generation tool since you’re ultimately building trust and new meaningful connections. 

  • Events nurture your current leads, increasing the likelihood of bringing in new customers as well as keeping the community active. Put it this way: when you host regular events, you keep your community talking. 

Now, let’s take a step back and look at the benefits of event marketing for community leaders. 

You might also be interested in Siobhan Farr’s story – she built a community from the ground up by launching a virtual summit. Learn how she did it by reading the full story here!

💲 Unlock Passive Streams of Income 💲

Virtual events don’t just happen live: they’re also pre-recorded or ongoing.

With recordable virtual events, they become evergreen. And therefore, it becomes forever available to you and your audience. This translates into a passive stream of income because you can still get ticket sales even after the initial launch date. 

Running weekly recorded events for your community, for example, creates both an active income stream and an entire series of passive income streams.

💃 Reach a Wider Target Audience 🕺

Events are a source of cross-pollination because they bring all sorts of people together. This works in your favor as a lead-generation tool because you’ll have the chance to put yourself in front of new audiences and new opportunities by:

  • Attracting potential attendees with your roster of speakers

  • Catching the interest of potential sponsors

  • Working together with niche influencers 

Your existing community will also be helpful for attracting speakers to your event. Not only do they get to promote themselves as experts in their field, but they also get access to your community.

✌️ Nurture Your Community ✌️

Events nurture your community since it’s a form of experiential marketing. 

That means focusing on delivering an exceptional experience, which leads to stronger relationships as well as a sense of belonging. This is how events are meant to be when you want to build a community around your brand. 

In short, events build a stronger sense of community. The result? Strong customer loyalty with enthusiastic brand advocates.

👭 Partnerships and Sponsorships 👬

Forge new relationships with: 

  • New attendees

  • Influencers

  • Keynote speakers

  • Locals

  • Media/press

  • Sponsors

Community events activate your network in the sense of winning their participation. The benefit of having an active community is that it gives potential event sponsors and event partners a reason to want to work with you. 

🙋 More Community Members 🙋‍♀️

Events help you bring in more new community members by raising awareness. 

Aside from converting event attendees, another way to get more community members is by simply getting in front of the right people that align with your mission who may not have known that you existed in the first place. 

Events Are Your New Best Friend 

To summarize, event marketing for community leaders is a way to bring community growth to the next level. 

And here’s something we can’t stress enough:

📢 You do NOT need a big team behind you 📢

We’ve seen virtual events of 10,000+ attendees run by a duo. Not by a team of 5,10, or 50 people – but a team of 2. 

Now, we won’t pretend this isn’t dependent on your event goals and existing audiences. However, event marketing is by no means out of your reach just because you don’t have a large team; all you need is the right platform. 

If you’re interested in getting started with your first event, sign up here for a free 14-day trial with HeySummit! 

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