4 Ways to Support In-Person Events Through Digital Advertising

01.26.2023 Sara Brasfield4 min

Retail and other in-person events have made a big comeback in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. According to a survey from Vimeo, more than 75 percent of marketers believe that live in-person, hybrid, and even virtual events are valuable ways for businesses to engage their audience.

In-person events can be particularly beneficial to small, local businesses looking for ways to increase their local visibility, drive in-store traffic, and cultivate a loyal following in their community. For many of these businesses, the biggest challenge of hosting an in-person event is making sure those events are properly promoted to a local, relevant audience.

Social media, email blasts and in-store signage are great tools to build awareness among your existing customer base, but they all have limitations when trying to reach and attract new customers. Fortunately, digital advertising can help you reach beyond your built-in audience to drive engagement and in-store traffic from first-time customers and other relevant consumers.

Here are four tips for using digital advertising to support your upcoming in-person events.

Promote Events to Audiences with a Demonstrated Interest

Digital advertisements can be targeted to a select audience based on many different data points. Between general demographics and online behavioral data, your business can easily target ad campaigns to local users who fit the description of your target consumer.

Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, the targeting used to promote your event may be different from the strategies used to segment audiences for other digital ad campaigns. If you’re a local gift shop promoting an in-store cooking demo for a seasonal dish, for example, the audience interested in that cooking demo may have a different data profile than the types of consumers that typically visit your store.

Niche events can be effectively promoted by targeting a niche audience. When event campaigns are aligned with the target audience, your business will be in a great position to maximize turnout.

Drum Up In-Store Visits from Nearby Shoppers

Geofenced and geotargeted advertising can help your business attract local foot traffic from consumers in the right place and at the right time. This type of ad can be a great tool for driving impulse visits from nearby shoppers, or for attracting an audience from nearby businesses and residences where the travel time to your location wouldn’t be a big deterrent.

Pop-up events, in-store experiences, one-day sales and other exclusive in-store events are all perfect opportunities to run a geofenced campaign, although you can build this type of campaign to promote virtually any event. Just make sure you’ve coordinated the campaign’s timing with the date and time of the event—otherwise you’ll end up paying for ads that aren’t reaching consumers at the ideal time.

Drive Customer Engagement Through Paid Social Promotion

Social media can be a hard channel for engaging prospective customers if your business relies only on organic reach. But paid social ads are a different story: this type of campaign lets you leverage the powerful targeting capabilities of social media platforms to promote your engaging content about an upcoming event.

You can even use this strategy to promote social posts that achieve high engagement rates among your existing followers. By selectively boosting your top-performing content, you can focus your ad dollars on social posts that have already proven their appeal.

Use Retargeting to Keep Your Event Top-of-Mind

Everyone’s busy these days, and our attentions are constantly getting pulled in different directions—which means it’s very possible that customers interested in attending your event will end up forgetting about it when the day arrives.

Advertising can help those interested individuals remember and keep the event on their mental calendar. Retargeting campaigns can be used to deliver reminder ads to consumers who have visited the event page on your website or taken another action that makes them trackable for your advertising.

This simple retargeting campaign will benefit your in-store event, and it will also strengthen your brand’s visibility and reputation among a key audience segment.

With the right digital advertising strategy, your business can increase attendance for in-store events and strengthen brand loyalty through the quality of your experiences. A digital advertising partner can help you target your ads to the most relevant audience for each event.

Contact Cox Media today to see how we can help.

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About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than eight years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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