Event marketing for small businesses: what’s it all about?

Event marketing for small businesses: what's it all about?

Event marketing is an uprising strategy that marketers use to effectively promote their business, brand, products, and services in a human, engaging, and creative way regardless of the size of your company.

Such promotional events have proven to be highly efficient in 2020(44% of experienced marketers state 300% ROI from events) and impactful (75% of content marketers claim that event based marketing is the most productive in-person marketing method).

Boosting your brand awareness

Brand awareness is one of many things that will be directly influenced by your event. In fact, marketing events for small businesses may be game-changing. That is especially effective when it comes to digital companies, that will get an opportunity to communicate with the target audience face-to-face or surprise strangers with the most creative pop-up shop. To understand the true potential of pop-up shops, just consider their 2015th annual revenue of 2.3 billion GBP in the UK alone.

An exciting and engaging event marketing plan will expose you and your brand to your targeted audience, simultaneously making new unexpected acquaintances that will turn into leads along the way. The new and existing customers will receive a chance of getting to know your brand better and taking a closer look at what you have to offer.

But the brand awareness drive doesn’t end there. If you really kick it up a notch and make for truly valuable or fun experience, people will create posts, stories, and tweets, describing just how great your event was. What’s good to know is that 98% of consumers create digital content (EventTrack) during the events, raising the interest of their audience in you and your brand. This way, with the power of social media, your efforts will make your brand awareness fly sky high. 

Here is a great example of a successful event, that drove maximum awareness:

A successful event, that drove maximum awareness

No, if you are wondering, it’s not a private hospital advertising campaign, it’s a pop-up of an organic food chain in Tokyo – Dohtonbori. This little room is targeted at people who abuse fast food too much and supplies bottled lost vitamins and nutrients in exchange for a receipt from a fast-food restaurant. Just imagine how many impressions were drawn by this little stunt! That’s what we call event based marketing.

Elevating Customer Engagement

Customer engagement goes hand in hand with brand awareness due to social media playing a huge role in both processes. In order to max out your brand awareness, it’s quite natural that you have to provoke customer engagement- social media shares.

EventTrack has proven that posts from friends and family about the branded experience make 72% of consumers are more eager to buy from you, so better make sure to create an engaging environment on your event. Moreover, engaged customers buy 90% (!) more frequently and may spend up to 60% more per transaction (researched by Rosetta Consulting). Now you have a picture of what your growing business has been missing.

Make sure to create an engaging environment on your event

But customer engagement benefits don’t stop at awareness alone. An exciting event marketing plan will create a bond between you and your clients, which cultivates trust and loyalty in return for a valuable experience brought by your brand. It’s not rocket science that client retainment strategies bring the biggest bang for your buck. 

Ok, we’ve established that an engaging event is a must, but how exactly do you make one? Well, here’s where your event marketing manager can go wild. Being creative and customer-oriented is all that matters at this point. Consider differentiating from all the local events and bring a truly worthwhile and unique experience. Bring up the emotions and curve into the attendees’ memory!

If you are looking for some inspirational event marketing ideas that will make for a truly engaging event, check out what Lean Cuisine did in New York. The #WeighThis campaign brought them 204 million total impressions, which is astonishing, considering the competition in the city. The event wasn’t directly tied to their products, but it was completely focused on the attendees.

The whole event was a scaling program for women, but the thing that was weighted was not pounds or kilograms, but accomplishments and aspirations. Which brings us to the point, that marketers shouldn’t make pushy and highly commercialized events. Sometimes you have to set your products aside and focus on the message that your brand stands for.

Cultivating Lead Generation

Leads may flood to your business if you play your cards right with event based marketing- 50% of marketers invest in events mostly for lead generation.

Promotional events usually require the attendees to register beforehand. This alone will greatly expand your contact base, but you can also acquire leads by offering demos, pitching for new products and services, and running a competition. The latter options are usually relevant while participating in a larger event.

Leads, that were harvested by your event marketing plan, are usually more convertible into sales. According to Statista, 79% of marketersgenerate sales thanks to event marketing. Event attendees, who had a valuable and engaging experience, trust your brand and understand its image, which turns their decision-making process in your favor.

Besides that, a promotional event will also give you an opportunity to communicate with your customers in a face-to-face manner, which grants you the information needed to improve lead nurturing and sales department strategy, as well as gives ideas on how to improve your products and services based on the live feedback.

In case if your company has decided to host or participate in a seminar, conference, or any other potentially “recordable” event, we strongly suggest you to record the whole thing and treat your potentially interested leads with informative or fun content from the event. This way those who didn’t get the chance to attend will experience what they’ve missed and possibly come next time.

Digitizing Your Event

We can talk about all the benefits of in-person event marketing with no end to it, but there’s not much sense to do so during the world pandemic. Yes, it brings you awareness, engagement, and leads, but, considering current circumstances, it is a threat to your, your customers’, and employees’ health. In fact, 60% of event professionals have pivoted an event to virtual due to the impact of COVID-19.

Virtual events bring you authority, educate the participants, and show that you won’t let the virus ruin your growth

Virtual events are what saves the day. It may be not as effective in terms of engagement, but it still brings real value to all of your attendees and leads to your client base for a considerably lower price. Virtual events may fit perfectly for small businesses. Any webinar, live conference, or trade show will bring you authority, educate the participants, and show that you won’t let the virus ruin your growth.

In 2020 there are lots of elaborate platforms for any kind of virtual event you plan on to be hosting. Some of them are free (YouTube, Twitch, …), but basic and streaming-oriented (fits for webinars), some are more specific in terms of event marketing and management, but might be a bit costly (Run the World, BigMarker,…). Virtual events may be convenient and fun. You can host one event in a video game.

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Having a virtual event may be tricky, though. To guarantee a high-quality, valuable experience, you have to acquire bulletproof tech support and moderation. Keeping everything under control in a digital format might be a hustle, but a certainly worthwhile one. The same goes for its content and social media presence. It’s hard to host a decent event being a small business without an experienced marketing team. 

But crafting a webinar, online conference or any other digital event takes a certain understanding of the market, targeted audience, and content that experts at RGray will gladly provide to you. Our expertise in digital marketing will amplify your brand and bring you the needed clientele with the most efficient methods. Virtual event marketing is no exception.


Considering all the benefits and various forms of event marketing mentioned above, there’s truly no reason not to implement it into your marketing strategy- once again – regardless of your business size.

Event based marketing will remarkably influence your brand awareness, customer engagement, and lead generation. The main thing to keep in mind is that you have to prioritize your attendee experience and be creative (and safe). Consider a theme that is wrapped around your brand’s ideology and be ready to put your products aside. One of the best event marketing for small business strategies is to put your customers first.

If virtual events fit your bill but look like a pill too big to swallow, consider contacting our team and will see what we can do to help. The consultation is free after all.