The Event Marketing Formula: How to Calculate Your Own Success



Content Contributor, HeySummit

Published on 30th August 2021Updated 9th February 2024

What is “event marketing”?

You may have seen the term “event marketing” being used by HeySummit - we’re the platform that prides itself on helping you maximize your benefits from this form of marketing. But what exactly do we mean? 🤔

When we use “event marketing”,  we’re talking about harnessing the power of events to raise awareness, generate leads and convert customers. So - organizing and running events as a marketing avenue. In the same way someone might use community-based marketing or course-based marketing, you use event marketing to:

Harness the power of events to raise the profile (and profitability) of your business, thought leadership or community.

You could be doing event marketing alongside other marketing strategies or by itself, but in general, any time you want to activate a large number of people in a short amount of time, you want event marketing. 

But, what if I don’t have a huge team?

The word “event” might sound scary, something you’d need a big team to organize. But really, it can be much simpler. 

An ‘event’ just means content delivered at a certain time.

An event can be anything, as long as it’s material delivered at a specific time. At HeySummit, we’ve seen events of all shapes and sizes, and we’ll let you in on a secret: the vast majority of events on HeySummit are run by a team of one or two people. With just a bit of support, you can build something amazing on your own!

Who can benefit from event marketing?

Anyone with video or audio based content who wants to grow, serve or activate their audience. 

If you don’t already have content on hand, but you’ve got a network of people who are experts in their field, you can bring them together to create content 🧑 🤝 🧑. You don’t even have to be a seasoned events organizer either - an event is simple to set up, simply plug in a few details and HeySummit will generate your event site.

The event marketing formula: calculating your success

So, now that you’ve decided event marketing is for you, how can you ensure its success?

Presenting: our event marketing formula.

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

For all forms of marketing, success is usually measured in terms of the time it takes to reach your goals (or your key performance targets) and the amount of energy you put into getting there. It’s thinking “how much of a lift was my virtual event?” and comparing that against the results you see from your event. 

In a nutshell (and if our memory of high school math serves us right), in order for “event success” to be at its highest, we’ve got to maximise the “what you get out of an event” part of the formula, and minimize the “what you put into an event” part. Here’s how:

  1. Make your event work hard so you don’t have to

This one’s about really understanding the value of your time, and being smart with how you use it. But first, let’s take another popular marketing strategy - blogging - as a counterexample. Blogs are a low cost way to start creating content that will capture the attention of an audience. But, if you want to create a blog, you're probably expecting to see results over the long term. You’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort before you start seeing a return on your investment.

A blog might not be efficient if you’re looking to make a quick sale in the short-term, but it can work well if you have a lot of time to build your brand, establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, and grow the number of visits to your website. The down side? It takes a long time to measure the results. From building up your SEO to make your content discoverable, to having enough blog posts written up to analyze trends in your readership, it’s a long, heavy lift.

Unlike a blog, events quickly create multiple touchpoints between your audience and your brand. You can offer lots of ways for people to engage, and really learn who your attendees are. From offering different ticket types (all-access passes or add-ons for a more serious attendee, a basic free pass for the casual attendee) to giveaways to polls and surveys, an event helps you understand what really works for your audience.  

So: maybe you have a new idea, brand or product, but you’re unsure of what exactly your audience is going to be interested in. 

An event allows you to test multiple assumptions and carry out experiments quickly and without putting in extra work

For example: you could launch an event with multiple session types and different themes and see which gains more traction, or launch multiple ticket types and see which is most popular. The data (analytics) that you get from an event is both vast and precise - you’ll know exactly who watched what, how much of it they watched, whether they commented on it and why they commented on it. With this amount of detailed information about how people have engaged with your content, you can play to your strengths and spend your time and energy creating content that appeals most to your audience.

With events, you can also leverage the knowledge of other experts in your field, as well as benefiting from access to their audiences.  This helps spread the workload around - instead of working on several different talks, you can have multiple different speakers working on one talk each. While there are benefits of being a one-person show (for example, you control the content, and you’re never late to submit your videos...right? 😉), when you open things up you also unlock the cross-pollination potential of having more people engaged in your marketing strategy, as well as freeing up time to work on other aspects of your event, such as promotion or setting up data trackers.

  1. Maximize the results of your event

Now that you know how to minimize the effort needed to launch and run event marketing, let’s talk about getting the most out of it. Right off the bat, there’s the benefit of having a group of like-minded people gathered in a specific (virtual) location, at a specific date and time. This is a powerful thing, so while you have their attention, it’s key that you capitalize on it. Ensure you leave a good, lasting impression of your brand throughout the event’s runtime. Things you could do to achieve this include having:

  • your brand logo on the corner of all talks you broadcast

  • a demonstration of your products and services on your event site

  • an offer or giveaway related to your brand, for example a 15% off all products coupon for all attendees

  • emails going out to your attendees after each day of talks 

As with most marketing campaigns, a lot of it is trial and error. What sets event marketing apart is the vast amount of rich data you’ll be collecting from just one event. Including…

  • Where your attendees come from, plus their age and industry: by narrowing down your attendee persona, you’ll be able to tailor future marketing campaigns to suit their needs and interests.

  • Which talks receive the highest number of signups: this will help you find out exactly which topics excite your audience the most, and get the most attention.

  • How your attendees found your page: this is super useful for narrowing down the top-performing marketing tools! Between all your social media pages, email lists and affiliates, you’ll be able to zero in on the ones that get you the most results.

And remember: the benefits of an event don’t have to end once you’ve send out those “Thank You for Participating” emails. Many event organizers end up making their event evergreen, meaning that content is available (and neatly housed on the HeySummit platform) year-round. You can choose to keep registrations open (and reach new audiences daily), or closed - and keep access limited to existing registrants. This not only sweetens the deal when you sell tickets (the ability to access content indefinitely, and not just as a one-off will definitely entice some folks) but it also optimizes SEO for your brand - really ensuring your name gets out there.

Plus, you now have a ton of content you can repurpose and customize for other marketing channels and audiences. With all your content in video form, with any attendee feedback captured via the comments or recording, adapting material into them all kinds of mediums is a breeze. 

The bottom line? 

If you’re someone who is always looking to achieve a bigger impact, with less effort, then events are your future. Ready to get started? Sign up for a free-trial here

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