8 Steps for Creating an Event Marketing Plan

How did you find out about the last event you attended? Was it through a friend’s Facebook post, an email from the organizers, or a targeted ad on Instagram? 

No matter how you discovered the event, it’s likely that some sort of marketing strategy was involved.

Event marketing is the key to getting attendees to show up to your event, whether it’s a conference, concert, or just a small get-together. Without it, you might miss out on potential attendees even if your previous events were out of this world.

Creating an effective event marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow these eight steps, and you’ll be on your way to putting together a successful promotional campaign.

Step 1: Define Your Event and Its Purpose

Before you start planning the specifics of the event, take a second to ask yourself:

  • What is the event all about?
  • Who is it for?
  • What is the purpose of hosting it?
  • What is my goal for the event?

Your answers to these questions will determine the overall tone and direction of your marketing strategy. This is absolutely necessary for creating a successful event marketing campaign.

If you take the time to define your event’s purpose from the get-go, you’ll be able to create a marketing strategy that’s in line with what attendees are looking for. This, in turn, will make it more likely for people to sign up and actually show up to your event.

Step 2: Create a Marketing Budget and Stick to It

No matter how much money you have, you want to be sure you’re a good steward of your event budget. Before you start shelling out cash, take a step back and think about how much you’re actually willing to spend.

Creating a budget will help you focus your marketing efforts and make sure you’re not overspending on unnecessary things. Once you’ve set a budget, stick to it as closely as possible.

Here are some factors to consider while setting a budget.

  • How much value are you getting from the event?
  • What are your goals for the event?
  • What is your target audience?
  • How much can you afford to spend?
  • How will you measure your return on investment (ROI) for the event?

Step 3: Choose a Theme for Your Upcoming Event

Your event’s theme should reflect its purpose and goal. For example, if you’re hosting a conference for small business owners, then your theme might be “growth.”

Your theme will guide the rest of your event marketing, from the visuals to the copy. It should be consistent across all of your marketing assets, email campaigns, and your event mobile app

This will go a long way in ensuring a cohesive strategy that boosts attendee registration and provides a good experience for attendees.

Step 4: Choose the Right Marketing Channels

Now, it’s time to think about which marketing channels you’re going to use. There are a plethora of channels available and each one serves different event promotion needs.

Here are some factors to consider while choosing marketing channels:

  • Your target market: Your target market will play a role in which channels and marketing tactics you should use. If you’re targeting a specific group of people, then you’ll need to use channels that reach them directly. For example, if you’re targeting small business owners, then you might use LinkedIn or Facebook groups.
  • Your goals: If you’re looking to generate awareness, then use channels that have a wide reach, such as Facebook. But if you’re looking to build relationships, then you’ll want to use channels that allow for more personal interaction, such as email or SMS.
  • Your budget: Your budget will limit the number of channels you can use. If you have a small budget, you must be more selective about your choice of channels. A larger budget allows you to afford more channels. For instance, your event marketing strategy might include a full-blown PR campaign, which wouldn’t be possible with a smaller budget.
  • Your event location: The location of your event will also play a role in which channels you use. Event apps keep attendees engaged before, during, and after an event.
  • Your resources: Last but not least, consider your own resources when choosing marketing channels. If you have a large team, then you can afford to use more channels. But if you have a small team, then you’ll need to be more selective. For example, if you have a small team, then focus on one or two channels that you can manage easily.

Step 5: Set Up an Event Marketing Timeline

A successful event marketing plan requires careful planning and execution. One way to ensure that your plan is executed properly is to set up a marketing timeline.

Here are key pointers to keep in mind while setting up your timeline.

  • Start early: Start marketing your event at least 2-3 months in advance. This will give you enough time to create a comprehensive marketing plan and execute it properly.
  • Create milestones: In order to keep track of your progress, create milestones for each marketing task. For instance, if you’re planning to launch an email campaign, then your milestones might comprise a series of emails to prospective attendees in the months prior to the event.
  • Assign tasks: Once you’ve created your milestones, you need to assign tasks to team members. Make sure that each task is assigned to someone who is responsible and has the necessary skills to complete it.

Step 6: Create Compelling Content

We are facing an overload of information today, and you need to create content that will stand out from the noise. Compelling content is the key to successful event marketing.

Some tips for creating content:

  • Make it interesting: Write about topics that will interest your target audience. Once you create content, closely monitor which topics generate the most engagement from potential event attendees and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Make it useful: Write content that will help your audience solve a problem. For this, understand their business and their pain points.
  • Make it relevant: Write content that is relevant to your event. Don’t try to promote your event in every piece of content you create, but make sure that each piece of content you create is related to your event in some way.

Step 7: Implement Your Marketing Plan

We are finally there! You have done all the background work, and it’s finally time to market your event.

Remember to keep the following points in mind while implementing your marketing plan:

  • Monitor and adjust: As you carry out marketing tactics, keep a close eye on the results. Based on the response you’re getting, make necessary adjustments to your marketing strategy.
  • Be flexible: Be prepared to change your plans if something isn’t working. A successful marketing campaign is all about being flexible and making changes on the fly.
  • Focus on your event goals: Throughout the marketing process, keep your goals in mind and make sure that all your efforts are aligned with them. It’s easy to lose sight of the key goals in a high-pressure environment.

Wherever possible, take help of an event management software to automate and streamline marketing tasks. This will help you stay organized and on track.

Step 8: Evaluate Your Results

After your event is over, it’s important to sit down and evaluate your results. This will help you understand what worked and what didn’t work. Based on your findings, you can make necessary changes to your marketing strategy for future events.

Here are some ways of assessing how the event attendees found your marketing campaign and the overall event.

  • Polls: Get your users’ anonymous opinions with an in-app event poll. This page can hold one question and an unlimited number of multiple choice options—perfect for gathering feedback, thoughts, and votes.
  • Social media: Check social media platforms for comments and feedback about your marketing campaign. 
  • Number of attendees: This is the most important metric you should focus on. If you didn’t reach your attendance goals, then it’s a sign that your event marketing strategy did not hit the mark.
  • Post-event survey: Create a short post-event survey using SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or similar, and link users to it from your event app. For maximum participation, give attendees time and incentive to complete the survey before leaving the event.

Simplify Event Planning with Yapp

We know that creating successful event marketing campaigns is a lot of work. That’s why we’re here to help!

Yapp is an event app platform that helps simplify event planning. With Yapp, you can easily create a custom mobile app for your event. This means a single place for all your event planning needs, including scheduling, notifying, updating, and sharing on social media.

Excited to learn how you can use Yapp to make your next event successful? Start your free trial today!