by Brian Sun, Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Autopilot

6 Location-Based Marketing Tips to Sell Out Your Next Event

Location-based marketing is a strategic way to reach your contacts in a particular geographic area.

Say you’re hosting upcoming workshops on the West coast, but your team is based in Brooklyn. How do you target the right people to come out to your events from thousands of miles away?

Easy. Follow the location-based marketing tips in this post:

  • Email, text, or Headsup message your contacts in that location
  • Show Facebook ads to people living in your target cities
  • Reach out to local coworking spaces
  • Use radius targeting in Google AdWords
  • Partner with existing communities
  • Try Snapchat geofilters to generate event buzz

Let’s dive deeper into each to learn exactly how they work.

1. Email, text, or Headsup message your contacts in that location

The first place to start your location-based marketing efforts is with your existing database. You already have the contact information for this group since they’ve opted-in to receive communications from you, and they are also the most likely to attend your event because there’s an existing relationship. In other words, this group is your lowest hanging fruit.

Continuing on with our West coast workshops example, let’s pretend your first stop is Portland. Head over to Autopilot and create a smart segment that narrows your contacts down to people who live in Portland, like so…

Location based smart segment

There’s 225 people whose mailing city is Portland, which is awesome. Feel free to add any other segmentation criteria you like – has visited page, has submitted form, is on certain lists, or any other field values that help you personalize more.

I suggest casting your net wide to everyone in the city unless tailoring your messaging to target segments will make a drastic difference.

Smart segment results

Once you have your smart segment of Portland contacts, it’s time to invite them to your event.

Marketers generally default to email in this situation. This is normal, considering that people spend 13 hours of their workweek in their email inbox. But you can also experiment with other channels like Headsup messaging and sending SMS to mobile phones.

Let’s try SMS marketing to spice things up. In Autopilot, link the “Send SMS” shape to your “Portland friends” smart segment trigger, then write your text message.

Create an SMS message

From there, publish your journey and watch the magic happen.

Take five more minutes and set up a Headsup message that shows to Portland contacts when they visit your website, and fire off an email like you normally would to complete the multi-channel marketing trifecta.

2. Show Facebook ads to people living in your target cities

Facebook’s advertising platform can target almost any human characteristic or interest, including location.

If you have the budget, and the ad creative, set up a paid Facebook ads campaign targeted at the specific locations you’ll be hosting your workshops.

Let’s say you’re headed to San Francisco. When you log in to Facebook Ads Manager, open up the dropdown next to “Locations”, where you can narrow your location targeting to:

  • Everyone in this location
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location

Facebook location based targeting

I suggest targeting “Everyone in this location.” This way you’ll grab the attention of travelers, locals, and each person in between.

Afterwards, choose the city you’re targeting. I chose San Francisco in the example below.

Facebook location based targeting example

Target surrounding cities if you want to expand your reach even more. If your content is compelling and valuable, people will come from far and wide to learn from you.

Check out these Facebook ad examples for inspiration as you’re moving forward.

3. Reach out to local coworking spaces

Coworking spaces are a hub of creativity, community, and events. Not only are they a solid place to potentially host your workshops, but they have existing audiences that could end up attending your event.

In my experience, most coworking spaces are pretty tech-centric but still host a variety of companies. Do your due diligence in finding the right spot for your event.

The coworking wiki is the best place to start your search. It’s a directory of coworking spaces on every continent (except Antarctica!)

Coworking spaces map

As an example, we hosted our user retention workshop at TechHub in London. The office hosts a number of startups that deeply care about retaining users to grow revenue. Hosting the event there expanded our reach wider than if we had hosted at a non-coworking-space.

4. Use radius targeting in Google AdWords

Radius targeting is a clever way to use Google AdWords. Once you’ve landed on a location for your event in Portland, San Francisco, or wherever, you can target ads at people within a certain radius.

Radius targeting example

Why is this effective? Because distance is a factor when you host an in-person customer workshop. People have to physically travel there.

In a place like the Bay Area, people in Palo Alto and Oakland and San Jose are used to traveling to San Francisco from time to time to attend special events. The story may be different depending on the locale, or if you’re hosting in the burbs. Think through how far out you want to target depending on your event’s location.

5. Partner with existing meetup groups

Partnering with meetup groups is another way to flex your location-based muscles. Odds are, you can find existing communities that are passionate and engaged with your topic. Join forces with these groups to spread the word about your event. is the natural place to start. For example, I found a growth marketers group that has 1,028 members, a product management group with 3,323 members, and a startup group with 2,676 members.

San Francisco meetups screenshot

Partnering and/or marketing to existing communities saves you the tedious work of finding these qualified attendees in the first place. It’s a shortcut.

6. Try Snapchat geofilters to generate event buzz

Snapchat geofilters are a unique way to generate buzz at your event, as opposed to before your event.

The filters are overlays that you can add to a snap, like so…

Snapchat geofilter examples

The geofilters are location-specific (kind of like AdWords’ radius targeting) and are an extra motivator for your attendees to share your event with their friends.

According to Waze, these location-based overlays already account for more than a million of the messages sent every day on Snapchat.

Prioritize this location-based marketing tactic if your audience is on the younger side – 63% of the platform’s users are aged 18-34 years old.

Now it’s your turn. What location-based marketing tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Author Brian Sun, Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Autopilot

  • Your journey to sky-high growth starts here.

    Subscribe to join a savvy crew of journey marketers and learn the latest trends, tactics, and tools.

    • Facebook ads targeting location is a great idea. What do you think of facebook free beacons?

    More from Marketing
    Smart Segments Reengineered for Faster Performance & Highly Targeted Journeys

    Smart Segments Reengineered for Faster Performance & Highly Targeted Journeys

    Some argue that segmentation and targeting are the most critical part of an automation journey. After all, it doesn’t matter  …

    10 Easy-As-Pie Punchups for Warmer, Funnier, More Personable Copy

    10 Easy-As-Pie Punchups for Warmer, Funnier, More Personable Copy

    We all have THAT friend. The one who effortlessly charms new pals the moment they meet her. Who cracks jokes  …

    Rally Around Your Customers’ Experience with Slack + Autopilot

    Rally Around Your Customers’ Experience with Slack + Autopilot

    We’re excited to announce the Slack integration with Autopilot, which lets companies include automated Slack messages into their marketing and  …