Events don’t come about all that often, but when they do search marketers need to adjust their tactics in order to drive traffic to the event, build leads for potential attendees, and cultivate interest in products or features introduced at the event. Event marketing is a different beast than any other form of digital marketing, or marketing in general. You, as a search marketer, will probably be working with a new set of people who manage the event marketing. And as a search marketer, you need to work with the event marketers to leverage search driven marketing. There are three periods in which you will have to alter your SEM strategy: before, during, and after the event. Here’s what to do in each.

Before

Before the event, search marketers should use their forum to offer discounts and drive customer traffic to the event website and, ultimately, to the event. Be aware of the timeline of traffic, though. As an SEM marketer you still need to follow the trends of other media and news outlet. Organic media will begin to cover events only in the upcoming weeks, so pay attention to that when designing your SEM campaign for an event.

Most attendees or potential attendees will only start searching for an event a week or two in advance. But, you will probably begin to incorporate event marketing into search a few months in advance. To make the best use of this early incorporation, try offering deep discounts or “early bird specials” to those who are looking up your event months in advance. You can alter your discounts as the event approaches.

During

During the event, you want to be doing at least these two things: (1) advertising your event and driving attendees to it and (2) boasting about the happenings and news of the event. Both of these tactics can build leads and event traffic, and you’ll really be playing to popular customer searches if you do so in search. Don’t forget that in search you want to make it easy for customers to find what they want.

During the event you can offer one-day passes for latecomers or walk-ins. You can use geolocation in your SEM ads to market only to those people who are in the area. You can also show off the latest releases and announcements in your SEM. This might build interest in your event or its products, and it may push customers to attend your event now or in the future.

After

After the event, you will want to build leads for next year and advertise your products or releases. Event marketers typically don’t deal with event marketing after the event is over, so as a search marketer you have to show them the benefits of continuing to market the event once it’s finished. When the event is over, people will surely be looking to see what happened during the event. You can offer videos, write-ups, or slideshows featuring excerpts and information about the event. You can even create a unique site or page for this media that only people who sign up can access; this will leverage the after-effects of the event to your search advantage. With this information, you will be able to build a list of potential attendees for next year.

The Role of Search

Search strategies can help drive traffic and build leads for events hosted by big and small companies alike. If you pay attention to the timeline of events, and make use of search tools, then you will be able to build traffic, and cultivate leads for your events. According to the timeline, you may repurpose keywords for events that you typically use for products. If you adjust and pay attention to data, then your event search campaign will be a success.