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 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 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 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.