When your email campaign, webinar, and landing page ideas aren't doing the trick, it might be time to consider hosting an event. We asked business owners and marketers what kinds of promotional events have worked best for their businesses, and here's what they said.
1. Open houses
"We recently moved into our new warehouse location and wanted to introduce our company to the neighborhood by hosting an open house. After distributing some flyers to other local businesses nearby, we had a great turnout.
What worked best was having our open house event listed on Google as an event in the local area. You need to log in to your Google My Business profile and create a post under the section as an Event. We added some photos and a link that interested people could click on to learn more about the event by going to our website.
At our open house, we asked people how they heard about the event, and most of them said they saw it on Google search and wanted to learn more about our company (as well as having free food)."
2. Benefit events
"I work for a Poland-based startup focused on biometric photography for documents. After the Russian aggression toward Ukraine, over 3 million refugees escaped to Poland—many of them with no necessary documents.
Polish NGOs organized a 'Solidarity with Ukraine' event at the National Stadium in Warsaw. It wasn't just a show of support—it also allowed many refugee families to officially register with the Polish authorities.
This was one of my most successful promotional events, as it helped thousands of people and greatly benefited our startup. We offered our services for free, and our support allowed us to increase our brand awareness."
3. Holiday mixers
"I've had outstanding success with holiday parties, which I've invited clients to attend. People are in great spirits at these events, and it helps with building rapport when we want our clients to know that we value them and their business.
In addition, it's good to invite a few prospects to these events, too. Real-world conversations with satisfied clients can be powerful, compared to recommendations they might read online or in an email. And it's a great way to get feedback and suggestions.
People let their guard down at these events, and I can ask clients for suggestions on ways to improve my service to them. In short, a client mixer at a holiday party or other event has the benefits of building rapport with existing clients, getting in-person recommendations for prospects, and getting valuable feedback from clients to make my service better.
"As an SEO speaker, I have seen firsthand the success of holding conferences. I tried out this promotional event for Loopex and the results were exactly what I expected! Our SEO conferences worked great for us to get our name out there in the market. All those attendees learned more about who we are and why they should reach out to us. It was also great for building relationships with the audience and targeting potential candidates for our company.
At these promotional events, you can leverage a word-of-mouth marketing strategy. The more you engage with business owners, the better chance that they will talk about your company to their networks. Even though these people might not be potential leads for you, it's always good to get word-of-mouth advertising! I've had plenty of cases when I got referrals from my conference networking.
Conferences are one of the best promotional events to get your business out there, resulting in new clients and customer relationship growth!"
5. Exciting pop-up events
"The Volvo event is one example of a great pop-up we helped coordinate. We set up a pop-up in Miami Beach to promote the XC90 SUV and focused on what a target audience would see as a fun and interactive experience.
By creating an obstacle course featuring the XC90, we drew a crowd that created a buzz. The course simulated off-roading and helped people experience the vehicle's capabilities. The event was a success, as it attracted a large crowd and generated plenty of publicity and engagement. You should consider the location, timing, and setup of the event to ensure its success. Additionally, it's important to provide an interactive experience that is entertaining and memorable for attendees, such as product demonstrations or activities that align with the brand's mission."
6. Interactive small group roundtables
"It's hard to find a format for a B2B event that delivers tangible and predictable marketing benefits. However, one that FlexMR has achieved success with is small group roundtables.
These events, hosted off-site, bring together current clients and sales prospects for an interactive discussion around a hot-button topic in the industry. Each roundtable involves 6-10 participants and a moderator. Lasting approximately 90 minutes, the events are a space for peer-to-peer connection, problem-solving, and guided discussion.
While the company is never the focal point of conversation, roundtables are remembered fondly by participants—and have become key to driving our engagement with both current and future clients."
Use other people's events to promote your business
You don't always need to host or organize your own event—you can use events from other groups and organizations to promote your business too.