We’ve all been there: pouring our hearts and souls into planning the perfect event, only to have it fall flat due to a lack of attendance. It’s frustrating, depressing, and, to be honest, a major waste of time and money. But, before you throw in the towel and accept failure in event planning, there’s a simple solution that may help you avoid this common pitfall: a great event marketing plan.
Sure, event planning is all about the glitter and glam – creating the right environment, compiling an all-star guest list, and wowing attendees with amazing and memorable experiences. However, if you don’t have a solid marketing plan in place, your event may as well be a private party for you and your cat.
So let us pull up our sleeves, don our marketing hats, and dig into event marketing strategies. We’ll break down the important aspects of a successful strategy, give insider insights from seasoned event marketers, and show you how to host an event that will turn your competition green with envy in this blog.
Are you ready to rock your next event? Let’s get started!
- Why You Should Have an Event Marketing Plan
- Event Marketing Plan Strategy
- Begin Early
- Establish the Event’s Goals and Make Them Clear
- Determine Your Audience Needs and Interests
- Establish the Budget
- Distinguish Your Event from the Competition with a Strong Value Proposition
- Utilize a Multichannel Communication Strategy for Effective Event Promotion
- Create an Engaging Content and Build a Website
- Build Community and Collaborate with Sponsors and Partners
- Create a Timetable and an Action Plan
- Track, Test, and Evaluate the Result
- Follow Up After the Event
- Example Event Marketing Plan Templates
- Launch Your Event Marketing Strategy
Why You Should Have an Event Marketing Plan
An event marketing plan is a strategic plan that is a document that explains how a company or organization will promote and execute an event to meet its marketing objectives. Typically, the plan contains information about the event’s target audience, budget, marketing and communication methods, and action plan.
The event marketing plan’s goal is to lay out a strategy for effectively advertising the event, creating interest, and eventually driving attendance and participation. Event planners may boost the exposure of their organization’s events, build buzz, and ultimately achieve their marketing objectives by following a well-developed event marketing plan.
Event Marketing Plan Strategy
Starting your event marketing strategy early is critical for success. Ideally, you should start marketing your event at least 3-6 months before the actual event date. Some event marketers even advertise their event 1 year prior to the event! In the case of an annual event, you should start marketing the event during or immediately after the current year’s event ends.
Beginning early will allow you ample time to develop and implement a thorough marketing plan, as well as generate enthusiasm and interest from your target audience. It will also give attendees plenty of time to prepare, plan, and schedule attendance.
If your event is larger or more complicated, such as a conference or trade show, you may need to start planning your marketing strategy up to a year ahead of time. Planning early allows you to secure a venue, keynote speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors while also giving them adequate time to make necessary preparations.
In general, the sooner you begin event marketing, the better. It allows you more time to organize, prepare for, and market your event, collect revenue from ticket sales to help with cash flow, which may result in more attendance and a more successful event.
Establish the Event’s Goals and Make Them Clear
You must define specific objectives for your event to measure its success. The purpose of the event might be to sell tickets and sponsorship packages, create leads, raise funds for the organization, and so on.
Sample specific goals are:
- Increase ticket sales by 25% above the previous year’s event.
- Secure at least five new sponsorship relationships.
- Generate 200 new sales leads for the sales team.
- Raise $50,000 for a certain charity or cause.
- Boost brand recognition among your target demographic by 30%.
- During the event, increase social media participation by 50%.
- Organize at least two networking events to help new business contacts.
- Offer instructional workshops that draw at least 100 people.
- Introduce a new product or service and receive at least 50 inquiries.
- Gather and use feedback from guests to better future events.
A specific and quantifiable goal will allow you to track and measure the success of your event while also identifying growth opportunities. The aims of the event should be consistent with the business or your organization’s overall marketing plan.
Determine Your Audience Needs and Interests
Identifying your target audience’s demands and interests is critical to the success of any event marketing strategy. According to EventMB’s State of the Event Industry Report 2020, 63% of event planners surveyed said that understanding their audience is the most critical factor in planning successful events.
Understanding your target audience allows you to personalize your messaging, marketing and advertising strategies, and attendee event experience. This is very important because 80 percent of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a brand that offers personalized interactions.
Aside from that, determining your audience interests will assist you in attracting more attendance, increasing engagement, and driving conversions. Without a good grasp of your target audience, you risk advertising your event to the wrong individuals, resulting in low registration and attendance, and a disappointing return on investment.
As a result, performing market research and knowing your target audience’s wants and interests is a critical component of any effective event marketing strategy.
Establish the Budget
Establishing a budget helps you allocate resources effectively and efficiently. It allows you to prioritize spending and make decisions based on available funds, ensuring that you don’t overspend or run out of money before the event actually starts.
Having a realistic budget affects every aspect of your event marketing plan, from the marketing channels you choose to the vendors you hire. A well-planned and accurate budget can also help you identify potential areas for cost savings and ensure that you stay within your financial limits.
As an event planner, you can take several steps to establish an effective budget. Start by creating a detailed list of all the expenses associated with your event, including venue rental, food and beverage, entertainment, staffing, and marketing. From there, you can determine how much money you need to allocate to each expense category and make adjustments as needed based on your overall budget.
It’s also essential to track your spending throughout the planning process to ensure that you’re staying within your budget and identify any areas where you might need to cut back. Finally, be prepared to make adjustments to your budget as needed, based on unexpected expenses or changes to your event’s scope or goals.
Sample event marketing plan budget:
The percentages listed above may vary depending on the specific event and location. It’s important to research and adjust the budget percentages accordingly to ensure all expenses are accounted for and the event is financially feasible.
Distinguish Your Event from the Competition with a Strong Value Proposition
Any effective event marketing strategy must include the creation of a crystal-clear and persuasive value proposition. Your value proposition should explain to potential attendees the special advantages and value that your event delivers.
The question “Why should someone attend your event?” should be answered. By emphasizing the particular advantages of attending your event, you can successfully set yourself apart from competitors and draw in more people.
Your complete message approach may be guided by a compelling value proposition but make sure that you’ll live up to those promises.
Valuable reasons why people attend events:
- Training: If your event offers training sessions or workshops, attendees can gain new skills or knowledge that they can apply to their jobs or personal lives.
- Certification: If your event offers certification opportunities, attendees can gain credentials that can help them advance in their careers or improve their standing in their industry.
- Networking and relationships: Events like conferences, workshops, and tradeshows provide opportunities for attendees to network with peers or industry experts. They can form new relationships that can lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, or job offers.
- Entertainment: By hosting festivals, fundraisers (like golf tournaments or galas) or summer camps, you offer entertainment or fun activities that attendees can enjoy.
- Fundraisers: If you’re planning a fundraising event, individuals can feel good about contributing to a worthy cause while simultaneously enjoying the event.
You can also consider the pain points of your target audience and how your event can address them. For example, if your target audience is small business owners, they may struggle with marketing their businesses effectively. If your event provides marketing workshops or opportunities to network with marketing experts, attendees can gain valuable insights and resources to help them overcome this pain point.
Other reasons include:
- Learning from industry experts
- Access to new or exclusive information
- Opportunities for personal or professional growth
- Exposure to new products or services
- Meeting potential clients or partners
- Participating in interactive activities or workshops
- Enjoying unique or immersive experiences
- Receiving swag or giveaways
Utilize a Multichannel Communication Strategy for Effective Event Promotion
Creating a communication plan is critical for event promotion success. It entails selecting the most efficient marketing methods to reach and engage your target audience in your event. However, focusing on a single marketing channel may be insufficient to reach a larger audience. A multichannel strategy can help here.
Implementing a multichannel approach means selecting several marketing channels to promote your event/s, such as social media, email marketing, public relations, influencer marketing, event listings, and advertising.
Offering multiple channels of communication provides convenience and accurate accessibility for potential attendees with different demographics. Furthermore, a multichannel strategy will not only raise attendance but also allow you to reach a more diverse audience.
Create an Engaging Content and Build a Website
Developing a user-friendly website for your event is crucial for effective marketing and promotion. Your website should provide all the necessary details and feature compelling copy that emphasizes the value of attending.
Consider using event management software like Event Espresso to develop a comprehensive website that allows you to display all the essential information, such as the event schedule, Google map for the event venue, speaker information, and registration details.
This will help build credibility, increase visibility, and make registration easier for attendees. By maintaining consistent messaging across all marketing channels and directing traffic to your website, you can increase ticket sales and boost attendance for your event.
Build Community and Collaborate with Sponsors and Partners
Creating a community around your event can boost your event’s success. When you have a community that is passionate about your event, they are more likely to attend and bring others with them.
Furthermore, your community can help create a sense of excitement and anticipation around your event, leading to more engagement and participation from attendees. Your community can also provide valuable feedback and insights on your event, helping you to improve and refine it for future iterations.
Getting sponsors and partners involved in your event can help you reach a larger audience, provide additional resources and expertise, and add credibility to your event. In addition, sponsors and partners can provide value to attendees by offering exclusive discounts, giveaways, or experiences. By involving sponsors and partners, you can create a win-win situation where everyone benefits, including your community and the overall success of your event.
Create a Timetable and an Action Plan
Creating a Timetable and an Action Plan is a critical stage in carrying out a successful event marketing strategy. Break down the overall marketing strategy into smaller, attainable activities, allocate responsibility to team members, and define deadlines.
Begin by identifying the main event milestones, such as the launch of the event website, the availability of tickets, the announcement of speakers, and any other critical deadlines. Then, working backward from the event date, set deadlines for every task under every milestone. By following this method, you’ll ensure that everything is taken care of without any delays.
After you’ve set a timetable, make an action plan including the exact specific responsibilities and person/s assigned. Additionally, establish completion dates and update progress from time to time.
6 months before the event: Establish event goals, target audience, and budget
5 months before the event: Develop a message strategy and communication plan
4 months before the event: Choose promotional platforms and develop engaging content
3 months before the event: Build relationships with sponsors and partners
2 months before the event: Launch event website and begin ticket sales
1 month before the event: Finalize event logistics and prepare for the day-of
Day-of the event: Execute the plan and provide excellent attendee experience
Track, Test, and Evaluate the Result
To determine what works and what doesn’t, test and assess the success of your marketing techniques. Track, monitor, and assess the efficacy of your marketing initiatives through your predetermined KPIs.
There are several metric tools that event planners can use to track, test, and evaluate the success of their marketing efforts. Here are some examples:
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a free web analytics service provided by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It can help you understand how visitors are engaging with your website, which pages are most popular, and where visitors are coming from.
Social Media Analytics: Most social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have analytics tools built in that give insights into your audience’s engagement, reach, and demographics.
Email Marketing Metrics: Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact offer metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates, which help you understand how well your email campaigns are performing.
Event Management Software Analytics: Event management software like Event Espresso offers built-in analytics tools that allow you to track ticket sales, registrations, and attendee demographics.
Surveys and Feedback Forms: Collecting feedback from attendees after the event through surveys or feedback forms can help you understand what worked well and what needs improvement.
By using these tools to track and analyze your marketing efforts, you can make data-driven decisions and adjust your strategy accordingly to achieve your event goals.
Follow Up After the Event
Showing your appreciation through follow-up will help you to build stronger relationships and improve your future marketing efforts.
In addition to following up with attendees, sponsors, and partners, it’s essential to continue promoting the event even after it has ended. Here are some strategies for a post-event marketing plan:
- Share event highlights and images on social media and the event website to keep the buzz alive.
- Send out a survey to guests to obtain feedback, which will be used to improve future events.
- Create an after-event blog article or email to summarize the highlights of the event and emphasize attendee comments.
- In future event marketing efforts, use guest testimonials and comments.
- To entice former attendees to attend future events, provide early-bird discounts or special promos.
You may continue to increase interest in your event and establish long-term relationships with attendees, sponsors, and partners by creating a post-event marketing plan.
Example Event Marketing Plan Templates
Event Marketing Plan for a Charity Gala Fundraiser with a Goal of Raising $100,000 and Attracting 300 Attendees
Event: “Hope Gala: A Night to Remember”
Goal: Raise $100,000 for local charities
Target Audience: High net worth individuals, corporate sponsors, community leaders
Social Media: Create a social media campaign on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote the upcoming event. Include event details, ticket prices, and highlights of the evening’s activities.
Email Marketing: Send personalized event invitation emails to past donors and supporters, as well as key contacts in the community. Encourage them to purchase tickets and invite others to attend.
Public Relations: Pitch event details to local media outlets, such as newspapers, TV stations, and online publications. Offer exclusive interviews with key speakers or sponsors to generate buzz.
Influencer Marketing: Partner with local influencers, such as social media personalities and bloggers, to promote the event and reach a wider audience.
Sponsorship: Secure corporate sponsors to cover event costs and increase the reach of the event. Offer exclusive benefits such as brand visibility, VIP seating, and recognition during the event.
Venue: Book a local hotel ballroom for the event and coordinate logistics with the hotel staff.
Speakers and Entertainment: Secure a keynote speaker and local musicians to perform at the event.
Decorations and Lighting: Hire a professional event stylist to design the venue decorations and lighting.
Catering: Coordinate with a local catering company to provide food and drinks for the event.
Volunteer Recruitment: Recruit volunteers to assist with event setup, registration, and tear-down.
Ticket Sales: Use an online ticketing platform such as Event Espresso and Event Smart to sell event tickets and track sales.
By following this event marketing plan, the charity organization can effectively promote the Hope Gala, attract a high-profile person, and raise the desired amount of funds for local charities.
Event Marketing Plan Template for Business
Event: Annual Business Conference
- Increase brand awareness and establish the company as a thought leader in the industry
- Generate leads and opportunities for business growth
- Provide valuable educational content and networking opportunities for attendees
Marketers and industry professionals, including executives, managers, and business owners
Existing customers and partners
Potential clients and partners
Key industry influencers and media
$50,000 for event marketing efforts
$20,000 for event production and logistics
“Join us for the ultimate industry conference – discover the latest trends, learn from the experts, and connect with other business leaders.”
Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
Email marketing: to existing and potential customers and partners
Advertising: industry publications, online ads
Public relations: press releases, media outreach
Content marketing: blog posts, videos, infographics
LinkedIn ads and sponsored posts
Twitter ads and promoted tweets
Facebook event and ad campaigns
Industry publications and websites
Event Espresso or Event Smart’s event website and registration page
Keynote speeches from industry experts
Panel discussions with top executives and business leaders
Educational workshops and training sessions
Networking opportunities, including receptions and social events
Relationship-building with partners and sponsors:
Partner with industry associations and organizations to promote the event
Secure sponsorships from key partners and vendors
Offer sponsorships and promotional opportunities to exhibitors and vendors
Timetable and Action Plan:
6 months before the event: Develop an event marketing plan and budget
5-4 months before the event: Secure keynote speakers and sponsors
3 months before the event: Launch social media and advertising campaigns, send email invitations to potential attendees, create content marketing materials
2 months before the event: Finalize logistics and event production, launch the registration page
1 month before the event: Send reminder emails to registered attendees, finalize event content, and schedule
Evaluation and Optimization:
Track registration and attendance numbers
Measure engagement and reach of social media and advertising campaigns
Collect feedback from attendees and sponsors to improve future events
With this event marketing plan, your business can successfully promote its annual conference, attract potential attendees, and achieve its event goals of increasing brand awareness, generating leads, and providing valuable educational content and networking opportunities.
Launch Your Event Marketing Strategy
Your ultimate aim as an event planner, organizer, or marketer is to create a successful event that makes a lasting impact on your guests. However, event management needs far more than an outstanding concept and some marketing efforts.
You require an all-encompassing event management system that can assist you in streamlining your workflow, automating repetitive chores, and simplifying event planning and advertising.
This is when Event Espresso enters your event planning strategy. Event Espresso is an all-in-one event management software that lets you handle everything from tickets and registration to marketing and promotions on your own website.
If you don’t have your own website, our sister platform, Event Smart can get you your own event website.
Event Espresso allows you to construct a completely personalized event website, manage registrations and tickets, monitor attendees and track their data, and promote your event with email marketing and social media integration.
Partnering with Event Espresso can assist in effectively addressing the 5 P’s of event marketing:
- Product – Event Espresso offers a comprehensive event management platform, enabling you to effectively plan, promote, and manage your event.
- Price – With Event Espresso, you can easily set up ticketing and registration, and even offer different ticket levels or packages to accommodate a variety of pricing options.
- Promotion – Utilizing Event Espresso’s powerful marketing features, such as email campaigns, social media integration, and promotional discounts, you can effectively reach your target audience and generate buzz around your event.
- Place – Event Espresso’s seamless integration with WordPress enables you to easily create a professional and user-friendly event website, providing attendees with all the necessary information about the event location and venue.
- People – With Event Espresso, you can easily manage your attendee list, collect important data and feedback, and nurture relationships with sponsors, partners, and attendees through personalized follow-up and communication.
Start your free demo today!