Hosting a big event can be seriously stressful (to say the least). What if no one shows up? What if you don’t make your money back? The best thing you can do to ensure success is to have a solid marketing strategy in place. And one of the easiest (and most cost-efficient) methods is advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

We used the exact tactics outlined below for a non-profit client of ours for an event this past month. The results: we sold 224 tickets via our campaigns and left them with a 4X return on investment from the ads. Here’s the marketing strategy for advertising on Facebook and Instagram in 6 simple steps:

1. Make it easy for people to purchase tickets online.

Before you start running any ads to promote your upcoming event, ensure the checkout process is silky smooth. If your event is low-ticket, consider using Eventbrite as a platform to sell tickets. It’s well-known and adds a layer of trust. If it’s a high-ticket event, I suggest having each lead book in a phone call.

For our non-profit client, we decided to build out a custom funnel using Clickfunnels (a simple landing page building software). The goal here was to increase the average order value for them. Tickets were priced at $40 each for the event, but we prompted everyone who purchased a ticket to add an additional ticket for friends and family, plus purchase raffle tickets at a discount. Just taking a moment to ask if someone wanted to buy a ticket for someone else brought the average order value up to $84.

2. Setup the Facebook pixel.

Before you start running any ads, make sure you have the Facebook pixel set-up. Head into your ad account, grab the pixel code and make sure it’s properly installed on your landing pages. If you’re using Eventbrite, there’s an easy integration you can use to set this up.

Having your pixel code correctly installed is critical to track how many purchases came directly from your ads and determine your return on investment. It also allows you to set up retargeting ads (which we’ll get to in a bit).

3. Choose the right marketing objective.

When you’re promoting an event within Facebook’s platform, they’ll often prompt you to boost it to nearby people to reach more potential attendees. Getting the nearby people to react is a start, but it’s nowhere near as useful as going into Ads Manager and building out the ads yourself.

When you click “Create New Campaign,” Facebook will give you different marketing objectives to choose from. If your pixel is set up correctly, and it’s a reasonably low-priced ticket, you’re going to want to optimize directly for purchases. To do this, select “Conversions” as your marketing objective.

4. Test a variety of creatives.

I always recommend testing at least three different images across each ad set your running. And if you have a video to throw into the mix — even better. Facebook’s algorithm will automatically disperse your budget across your variety of images and copy.

Make sure to check back in on your different ads within the next couple of days of launch to see what’s performing best. From there, you can optimize further. If you find one image is outperforming the rest, turn off the ads that are underperforming and duplicate the winning image with a variety of headlines as your next test. Rinse and repeat.

5. Use social proof.

Social proof is a powerful emotional trigger, and it’s one of the best ways to instantly boost the credibility of your event. Think of all the videos you see floating around social media that have over 1M views, comments, likes, and shares. You’re tempted to watch them and see what all the fuss is about.

You can easily beef up the likes, comments, and shares on your ads by running a page post engagement campaign. You’ll want to take the same post ID of the ad your currently running and optimize for engagement.

6. Retargeting is key.

How many times have you been browsing online for something, decided not to make a purchase, then found that pair of shoes stalking you across the Internet? It’s borderline creepy, but also incredibly powerful.

It usually takes several touchpoints for anyone to decide to purchase, so we need to hit potential customers from different angles. One of the easiest ways to do this is to show retargeting ads to anyone who viewed your landing page or initiated checkout at a specific time. Watching these views is where the real return on investment will start to come in.
Roll out these tactics for your next big upcoming event, and I promise you, results will improve on your campaign performance.