Marketing for Events: The best practices for a successful event marketing plan
Updated: Jul 8
Events can be a good way to create brand awareness, strengthen brand advocacy, or give demonstrations to potential customers of your product or service. Event marketing is a useful strategy for businesses because it involves face-to-face interactions (even virtually). If you have an idea in mind and want to promote an event or if you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to marketing for your business and need to brush up on how marketing for events works, then you should read on. We’re going to outline the necessary steps to get your event on its feet from ideation to actualization.
To get an event marketing plan underway you need to keep a few things in mind, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your event marketing strategy, but you have to follow a certain path to outline what works and what is needed for your event. We recommend the following tactics to get you started:
Step 1: Identify the goals and budget for your event
It is important to ask yourself the right questions when starting out with your plan. You have to ask yourself what your event is trying to achieve. This could be anywhere from launching a new product to building brand advocacy. Your event could also be a means to display to your customers how to effectively use and benefit from your product or service, such as a demo.
These goals are essential to understand the bigger picture behind your event. On the other end, there are goals that are specific to your event which could be called the objectives for your event, such as driving X number of attendees to the event or X number of unique visitors to the event website. Both are valid and necessary parts of the process when creating a plan. That is why it's critical to really hone into why you want to host your even and why you want people to be there.
When you have these in mind, it is essential to work out the scope of your event and the budget allocated for it. We like to think that the sky’s the limit and that when it comes to getting the word out about our business then the more, the merrier! Take time to outline the marketing budget necessary That being said, it’s important to understand the limits of our resources and when it comes to marketing a focussed approach can yield better results than a generalized one.
Step 2: Outline event promotion and content creation tactics
With your budget accounted for, you can begin thinking about how to implement your marketing plan for your event. You’ll need to work out what and when information will be shared about your event. Also, who will be sharing it, whether it be partners, sponsors and whether the content will vary for them as well. You should have in mind what is going to be shared and when.
Some content categories that could be beneficial for an event could be:
Dates & venue information
Photos and videos from previous events.
When you’re confident about your content and what you plan to share, then you can think about the ways you can distribute this content to promote your event.
Email marketing can be a great way to get the word out about your event, all you need is a list of contacts or if you don’t know where to start you can collect the email addresses of industry professionals using tools like Rocket reach or Lusha which could help you pinpoint your audience and target them for your campaign.
Email marketing campaigns could be useful to provide useful information about the event and to incentivize your audience to register. We recommend using Autopilot, which is especially effective in creating an omnichannel campaign that rolls out in a way that reflects where you’re at with your event. For more on how to develop the right kind of email campaign with the customer’s journey in mind, check out The Simplest Email Marketing Tips on How to Best Use The Customer's Journey, where we outline some recommended practices.
A very necessary channel for the promotion of your event. Selecting what to share on which channel will be important because each social media channel whether it be Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media platform has its benefits and pitfalls and so you have to make sure that your content is relevant to each channel and engages your audience effectively.
Step 3: Leverage PR, Speakers and Attendees to promote your event
Once you have these channels decided on, you can start branching out. Contact PR or media outlets that could have an interest in your event and would either be interested in joining on as media sponsors or could potentially promote your event through the right channels
It should go without saying that the speakers at your event should be encouraged to use their own social media profiles to share and promote the event. Make sure you have the right captions and content adapted for them, and that you’ve gathered the necessary headshots and information ahead of time.
Before the event, you can always find ways to get attendees to share user generated content.
Which could include the following ideas:
sharing event tickets on social media
Posting with the event hashtag
Competitions to gain access to the event or special incentives
Now that you have internal and external sources to promote your event, you can start thinking about how to check if you’re achieving your goals.
Step 4: Keep Metrics in mind
The best way to ensure that you’re aligned with the goals you decided on in step 1 is through having the right kind of metrics that show whether your event has succeeded. This can be anywhere from the number of attendees to the number of people in the contact list, but can also be the metrics and data associated with your social media and email campaigns. This data can be useful if you need to adjust your plan or for the next event you hope to do in the future.
Step 5: Don’t limit your plans to the pre-event preparations
As a final step, to any marketing for events plan: Make sure you consider that your event does not stop on the days of the event only or the days leading up to it. Take the time to lay out a plan of what needs to be done, filmed, and posted for the event days and also for the days after. As an example, You can send a thank-you email to attendees providing a link to photos and recordings, or keep the spotlight on the event by sharing notable quotes from speakers or photos as a throwback. The importance here is to not limit your plan to the days when you’re trying to reach your audience to get them to attend, it’s also about retaining them and building awareness for those who did not get a chance to attend this time.
We know that it might be overwhelming trying to devise a marketing plan for your event if you find that you don’t know where to start, feel free to schedule a call with us, and we can provide you with the guidance you need to get your event on its feet!