If you’ve ever planned an event, you know a lot of detail goes into it.
But while all kinds of events exist, all successful events have one thing in common: they all had a plan going in.
The same is true when it comes to marketing your event. If you want to institute a successful marketing campaign for your event, it should involve the following:
- Project management
- Developing a promotion plan
- Coming up with an event marketing strategy
In short, there’s a lot that goes into successfully marketing an event. You’ll have plenty to concern yourself with, but setting up your marketing plan shouldn’t be one of those things.
That’s why you’ll want to have the structure of your marketing plan set up well in advance. This can be achieved by using a comprehensive template.
Having a marketing plan template gives you a repeatable process for your event marketing efforts. You can simply plug and play whether you’re hosting a trade show, summit, or conference.
Read on to learn about what you should include in your event marketing plan, and how Welcome can help make the process much easier for you.
Why Should You Have an Event Marketing Plan?
When you’re looking to plan an event, you have to think of it in terms of these stages:
- Day of and during the event
Each stage of the event requires a different marketing approach.
Before the event, you have to publicize it and let your potential attendees know it’s happening. Give them the value proposition and create an irresistible offer for attendance.
During the event, you want to create the optimal experience for everyone who attends. You also want to promote the larger organization that provided sponsorship for the event to circulate their messaging.
Finally, you need to follow up after the event, giving the attendees a chance to provide feedback while also reminding them of the great content you delivered. This will increase the chances of repeat attendees and help to spread positive word-of-mouth for your event.
Having a cohesive, linear trajectory for these phases of the process requires a well-thought-out plan. That’s where the right event marketing plan comes into play.
Developing Your Event Marketing Strategy
When it comes to event marketing, having a strategy is critical to ensuring you optimize the number of attendees and ensure you give them value. In turn, they are more likely to return for your next event.
You’ll want to build an event marketing strategy that does the following:
- Clearly defines your goals and objectives for the event, and how your marketing efforts will be tied to those goals/objectives
- Identifies means of communicating with your important stakeholders, identifying the best ways to connect with them and engage them in a meaningful way
- Sets you up for success not just for this event, but for any future events
Your overarching strategy can be supported by specific tactics meant to bring those strategies to life. These will be identified by your marketing team and should align with the audience you’re looking to reach. Some sample tactics include:
- Building a comprehensive landing page
- Developing consistent messaging
- Establishing an email campaign
Let’s look at a few of these individually.
Building a Comprehensive Landing Page
Your attendees need an online home base they can go to. Sure, you can send in-person “Save the Date” reminders or invitations if you like, but a virtual home for your event is a necessity.
Your landing page for the event should include the event’s time, date, location, objective, and any major speakers or presentations. This is where you can sell the event to your audience.
There should also be either a way to register or a clear link to the registration page here. The simpler you make this for your attendees, the better!
Include the logo for your organization (or any sponsors) here as well.
Develop Consistent Messaging
What is it you want to achieve with this event? What value can you expect your attendees to get out of it?
You’ll want to have clear answers to these questions, and you’ll want that baked into your event-specific messaging. Draft a set of talking points around your event highlighting its primary mission, value drivers, and any VIP or prominent speakers or organizations who will be attending.
Let’s say you’re putting on an event for private sector representatives within the healthcare industry. If government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are attending, you’ll want to promote that to attract attendees, including that in those talking points.
Your messaging can be reused across your different communication channels and mechanisms like press releases, your website, or your social media channels. Just be sure to tweak it as needed depending on the platform.
Establishing an Email Campaign
You’ve done a lot of hard work to build a strong email list. When you’re holding an event that your subscribers will find value in, let them know!
Tap into your email list for a sequenced campaign to continually remind your subscribers about the event as the registration date approaches. You can tailor your messaging based on segmentation as well, sending different messages to those who have registered as opposed to those who have yet to do so.
The Role of Social Media
A big part of your outreach is going to be social media. While the tactics listed above are important, having a robust social media presence to attract users is also vital to your event’s success.
The type of platforms you’ll use will vary depending on your target audience. Your target market will dictate the most useful social media tools at your disposal.
The kind of event will also determine what social networks give you the most value. A professional association will likely see a lot of value in LinkedIn promotion, while a thought leadership summit of younger social media creators could derive more from TikTok or YouTube.
Beyond just promoting your event, monitoring social media gives you the ability to evaluate feedback in real-time as the event is happening. You can adjust on the fly — make sure to assign a member of your marketing team this role during the event.
No matter what social media strategies or tactics you employ, it should definitely play a major role in your larger event marketing plan.
Event Marketing Plan Template
To ensure you host the best event possible, you’ll want to have it planned well in advance. That means having an event marketing plan in place.
But what precisely should you include?
First off: as noted above, you’ll want to think about your event marketing in terms of three stages:
- During event
Think of these not as separate steps, but as a lifecycle. At each stage, you have different goals, but you will often be in communication with someone from a previous stage.
In the pre-event phase, you’re speaking to potential attendees who haven’t yet decided to attend or getting people who you know will attend to take advantage of your early bird rates.
During the event, you’re promoting your event to attendees to help them enhance their own value while also showing those who DIDN’T attend what they’re missing out on via social media.
Following the event, you’re persuading those attendees to return next time and attempting to capture new ones as well.
So here’s a high-level list of what your event marketing plan template should include in each phase:
- Build event website/registration page
- Identify event goals, objectives, and key messaging
- Use previously identified messaging to promote the event through the proper communication channels (organization website, social media, email campaigns)
- Track registrants
During The Event
- Use your existing communication channels to promote the event while it’s happening
- Monitor social media to gather real-time attendee feedback
- Gather extensive feedback on how the event went via social media or the event website
- Begin promoting the next edition of the event with teaser information based on the great value you provided this time around
- Begin planning your marketing efforts for the next event
Your mileage may vary depending on the specifics of your event, but the items listed above are going to come into play in one way or another for pretty much any event.
That takes us to the next big question.
How Do I Build My Event Marketing Template?
Some organizations like to use Excel spreadsheets for their event marketing plan templates.
You certainly can do this too, if you prefer. But this will involve a lot of time spent manually building and formatting a template.
There are easier ways.
If you’re looking for a solution to your event marketing needs, look no further than Welcome. We offer marketing software for a whole host of solutions and can help your marketing team execute a flawless event with a marketing plan template.
Don’t hesitate. If you want to get more out of your event marketing with a well-coordinated, formatted template, contact Welcome today.