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How to Create a Successful Event Marketing and Promotion Plan

Whether you are hosting a large-scale international trade show or an executive-level private function, event marketing needs to be an integral part of your demand generation mix. An effective combination of online and offline event...

Whether you are hosting a large-scale international trade show or an executive-level private function, event marketing needs to be an integral part of your demand generation mix. An effective combination of online and offline event marketing is essential to drive success for your company.

Marketing and promotion play a crucial role in spreading the word about your event. According to a recent study by Eventbrite, 40% of respondents said marketing and promotion were their top event management expenses in 2018. Without a solid marketing strategy, it becomes challenging to reach your target audience and generate the desired response.

To create a successful event promotion plan, it's important to consider a mix of approaches that resonate with your audience. This may include email campaigns, public relations, social media, paid advertising, and more. Regardless of your budget, starting early and utilizing multiple channels is key to achieving your event marketing goals.

To keep your marketing activities organized, creating a high-level timeline and detailed content calendars is essential. This will help you stay on track and ensure all marketing efforts are aligned with your event objectives. In this guide, we'll provide an overview of effective marketing tactics and present a sample timeline to highlight best practices.

Identify Event Goals and Objectives

Before diving into your marketing plan, it's crucial to start by identifying your event goals and objectives. This will help shape your offerings and guide your marketing strategy. Consider the purpose of your event and what you hope to achieve. Are you launching a new product or rebranding? Do you want to build a loyal customer base or meet a learning need in your industry? Defining these objectives will help you tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

Event Marketing Budget

Setting a budget is critical for the success of your event. Although social media and word-of-mouth can stretch your marketing dollars, event marketing still requires spending. According to a survey of corporate event planners, 81% stated that budgets were a top priority for the coming year, with ROI as a major concern.

When creating your budget, start by analyzing historical data if available. This will give you a good starting point. Next, list your must-haves and luxuries, such as website development, paid advertising, email marketing, and printing. Evaluate each aspect against your target audience's preferences and allocate your budget accordingly.

Choose Marketing and Promotional Tactics

Once you have your budget and audience insights, it's time to strategize the tactics you'll use to promote your event. Here are some common tactics event organizers utilize:

Email marketing

Email marketing is a reliable way to connect with your existing network and keep your community informed. Develop a messaging plan to provide a unique value proposition in each email. Avoid sending repetitive messages and make sure each email has a different spin on the urgency to register.

Social media

Social media platforms offer a wide reach and diverse demographics. Choose the platforms that align with your target audience and create a strategy for each. For example, Facebook allows you to share updates, engage followers, and create event pages. Instagram offers visual engagement, while LinkedIn is great for B2B networking. Twitter and Snapchat can help you generate excitement and connect with influencers.

Blogging

Consider starting a blog to share information about your event. This platform allows you to provide in-depth profiles of speakers, preview session content, and share logistical information. Utilize your blog at every stage of your event - before, during, and after. This helps tell your event's story and keep the conversation going.

Public Relations

Drive awareness and event credibility by securing press coverage. Create compelling press releases and pitch your event to relevant local or industry press. Give them a good story early on and treat them well at the event. Building positive relationships with the media can result in multiple stories and increased exposure.

Online Advertising

Use search engine ads and social media ads to promote your event and reach a wider audience. Search engine marketing platforms like Google AdWords can place your ads at the top of search results pages and on various websites. Social media platforms provide options for paid posts or sponsored content, allowing you to target specific audiences. Retargeting ads are also effective, as they reach people who have already shown interest in your event.

Sample Marketing Timeline

To help you visualize the execution of your marketing plan, we've created a sample timeline for a mid-size conference. By mapping out all the moving pieces of your event, you can ensure a smooth execution without any surprises. Here's a breakdown of key milestones:

  • 5-6 months out: Save the Date announcement, including email, social media, PR, and website updates.
  • 4 months out: Early bird pricing opens, promoted through email and social media.
  • 3 months out: Keynote speaker announcement, with continued email, social media, and PR efforts.
  • 2 months out: Early bird ticket pricing cutoff, targeted email campaigns, social media engagement, and focused ads.
  • 1 month out: Tease show content through personalized emails and social media posts.
  • 2 weeks out: Last call for registrations through email, social media, and geo-targeted ads.
  • 1 week out: Share logistical information with attendees through email and social media updates.
  • During the event: Utilize social media to highlight speakers, sessions, and other happenings.
  • 1 week post-event: Send thank you emails to attendees, share notable moments on social media.

Remember, this sample timeline can be adjusted based on the specific needs of your event. Be sure to track your progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Creating a successful event marketing and promotion plan requires careful planning, thoughtful execution, and continuous evaluation. By following these guidelines and tailor them to your unique event, you'll be well on your way to achieving your event marketing goals.

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