We’ve talked previously about the importance of event planning [link], but no matter how prepared you are for the big day, you’ll be more likely to reach your audience, generate buzz, and achieve your goals if you’re also armed with a well-thought-out event marketing plan.
At its simplest, a marketing plan is a document that outlines how you will promote and manage your event, but a good plan will also serve as a roadmap to help you better reach your target audience. It will help you define your goals, target your messaging to your audience in the right way, build anticipation, and define how you’ll track your progress.
Read on for what we consider some must-have elements for your next marketing plan!
Define your goals; know your audience
We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: before you start digging into your planning, take the time to articulate what you’re hoping to achieve with your event. Your goal might be networking opportunities, building interest in a service or product, or selling a certain number of tickets–and your marketing approach should always keep this in mind.
Hand-in-hand with this is the step of identifying the ideal audience for your event. Once you’re able to clearly establish these two key elements, a great deal of the rest of your planning can develop from there. For example, if you’re looking at a networking event for IT grads, your marketing plan is going to be vastly different from the approach you might take if you were planning a series of seminars for senior roles in the same industry.
Content message and strategy
Your content strategy will depend greatly on your event’s goals and target audience. While the IT grads might like something snappy and silly to grab their busy attention, the seniors might need convincing in a different way to get them to make time in their schedules.
As well as thinking about targeting the content to your intended audience, you’ll want to take some time to research different marketing channels and determine which groups of people they most appeal to. Armed with this information you’ll be in a better position to make the most out of each platform you decide to use.
Whatever online spaces you choose, make sure your messaging focuses on the key benefits of attending, and tie that message to your event’s theme and brand. All of your channels should complement–not compete–with each other, and your theme and brand should tie everything together.
As well as these different channels, you’ll want to create a landing page to act as a hub and bring everything together. Theme and branding are important of course, and also including the links to your different social media platforms–but make sure key information like date and time, location, agenda, and registration options are also front-and-centre.
Your landing page is also where you can supply extra information to those who need it, such as maps and accessibility details, definitions about early bird pricing or a deeper dive into your event’s goals and purpose.
Timeline and schedule
Once you have a feel for your intended messaging and platforms, consider setting up a calendar to schedule your posts and content releases.
Not only will a calendar help you stay on track with regular messaging, but it can also help you take a more strategic view. Is your focus balanced? Do you have gaps in your reach? Are you going for just an online approach, or are you combining this with more traditional channels, like print, tv or radio, or merchandising?
A calendar can also help you track other marketing elements that can be tied-in with content releases, such as early bird tickets, giveaways, or competition deadlines.
Make the most of socials, but don’t forget other channels and strategies
Unless you have a large team and budget, it’s likely that you’ll be communicating on a few key channels. Still, be aware of not spreading yourself too thin; consider the medium which is best for each channel and whether this is appropriate for your event. If you frankly don’t have the time and resources to put into making a TikTok video, either outsource this (and budget for the cost) or consider the benefits and reach of other channels and strategies, such as:
Consider reaching out to existing people in your networking circle with emails. If you use segmentation with your broadcasting tool you can further tailor your emails and be even clearer and more direct in your communications.
Collaborating with industry leaders, sponsors, or other influencers can also be a great way to give a boost to your visibility and credibility. They may also do some signal boosting of their own, extending your marketing reach even further.
Similarly, if your event has speakers they will also be spreading the word to their audience; consider sending them a media packet (or collection of links, hashtags, and digital resources), and any information on upcoming promotions or specials, so that you can all present a unified front!
Early bird discounts or other special offers can help build a sense of urgency, as they can encourage potential attendees to act quickly to make the most of a good deal. Aside from these, options such as group discounts or referral incentives can be a great way to attract more attendees.
Finally, social proof can be as useful as word of mouth, and people who share their experience with previous years’ events, through social media, hashtags, and testimonials can also resonate with potential attendees.
Monitor and measure (Metrics)
As you work through your plan, you’ll want to continuously monitor the progress of your marketing. Think about what you need to measure, and what elements are key to the success of your event. Don’t be afraid to give yourself KPIs to aim for, or to establish some targets.
Most platforms offer tools to help track traffic, determine engagement rates, and how many emails are opened and interacted with. Using metrics to identify which messages and platforms are reaching your audience will help you further refine your marketing approach as you go. Using an example that’s close to home, Lil Regie has built-in integration with industry-leading platforms, and our dashboard and reports will also let you analyse registration data with ease.
Following up with your audience after the event can also provide a great deal of useful information to help with future planning. Circling back and comparing this data with your initial assumptions and plans can also be really informative.
In conclusion, a marketing plan doesn’t need to be complicated to be an effective and powerful tool that can contribute to the success of your event. With clear goals and an eye on your audience, you’ll soon be tailoring your content and messaging, and using a range of different marketing strategies to reach the right people and build up excitement as the day approaches.
Lil Regie Team
Our passionate and experienced team loves to share insights on how to set up and execute exceptional events.