- by Alyson Shane
Event marketing can be one of the most time-consuming parts of event planning. Luckily, by breaking down your process into simple steps you can create a plan that saves time, sells tickets, and gets your attendees excited and talking about your event.
Even better: creating an event marketing plan means you have a repeatable process that saves time on future events.
Below are 5 easy steps you can take to start building your event marketing plan today:
The first step to promoting event on social media is to build a website or landing page dedicated to your event. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, but should focus exclusively on your event, what it’s about, who’s involved, and what attendees can expect.
A website or landing page also gives you a place to brand your event, optimize for SEO, and send visitors who may not have found the website if it were only listed as a footnote on your business’ website.
Link to your event page from your corporate website, since this will organically improve their search engine page rankings, and to ask anyone involved with planning and promoting the event to share the URL on their own blogs and social media accounts as well.
If the event is recurring, create a blog section on the website and post regular updates to build anticipation as you release the names of your speakers, talk times, session topics, activities, and more.
Each new post on your blog gives readers a new reason to visit your website, so don’t miss out on this valuable marketing opportunity!
Once these pages are complete, link them to your social media accounts and run your registration through them to create a seamless attendee experience from start to finish.
One of the easiest ways to ensure commitment from attendees early on is to incentivize them with early bird discounts and packages.
Not only does offering early bird discounts help you sell more tickets, but it also gives those early bird attendees time to contact their friends, family, and colleagues to encourage them to attend as well.
You can also consider using marketing tactics like referral incentives, where an attendee earns a reward or deeper discount on their ticket if they refer a certain amount of people who also register to attend.
One of the easiest ways to promote your event is to lean on your speakers and their ability to promote it to their audience.
One of our favorite ways to leverage your speakers’ knowledge and skills is to invite them to publish guest posts on your blog, or to participate in an interview leading up to the event.
This will help position your speakers as thought leaders in their respective industries, and it will motivate other industry leaders to attend your event.
For example, most digital marketers would jump at the chance to hear Ann Handley talk about content marketing, just like most VR developers would bend over backwards to hear John Carmack talk about what Oculus is up to.
By empowering your speakers to promote their upcoming appearance at your event on their own blogs, social media channels, and newsletters, you can encourage their audience to register to attend your event and connect with an industry expert they love.
Give your attendees even more reason to be excited about your event by hosting contests and giveaways on social media.
Contests can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like, but they should all share these basic qualities:
For example, you could host an Instagram contest where users submit entries by Liking, sharing the post on their own feeds, and commenting by @ mentioning someone they want to bring to the event as their guest.
A prize pack could include free registration for two, meal vouchers, and any other items or experiences you can spare to make the contest as appealing and exciting as possible.
The people you partner with can make - or break - your event, so take care to choose relationships that compliment your event and attendees.
For example, choose to have your startup-focused event catered by a local restaurant instead of choosing a corporate catering company; or partner with local hotels to secure discounts on rooms for out-of-town attendees.
Include your partners and sponsors in your content marketing plan, and partner with them on contests and giveaways, if possible. Feature them on your blog, @ mention them on social media, and ask them to do the same in return.
By taking the time to develop your social media event marketing plan you can develop a repeatable and well-tuned process that saves time, sells tickets, and helps attendees feel excited and inspired to attend your event - and tell their friends to attend, too!
- by Alyson Shane
The secret to selling out your event isn't just about having the best speakers or the hottest venue (though those don't hurt.)
The secret to selling out your event is being organized.
Unfortunately that can be hard to do with so many deadlines, dates, and details to manage at once - especially in the months and weeks leading right up to your event.
That's where your promotional calendar comes in.
By organizing your event's significant dates into a campaign-style calendar, you can have a better understanding of what to say, and when.
To get started, download this free event promotional calendar template and follow along as we walk you through how to use it:
Sit down and make a list of all the important dates between now and your event, such as:
Identifying these dates in advance means you always have something to build towards in your promotional content.
Countdowns and posts highlighting that there's only a few days left to save on early bird tickets, for example, is a great way to incentive people to register early.
If you'd like some help generating and scheduling that content, fill out the box below:
There's a lot to do in the weeks before tickets go on sale, but now is the time to start promoting your event to your community.
First, announce to your followers on social media that tickets will be on sale soon. This will start to generate some initial buzz that you can build on later.
Second, if you have a list of attendees from previous events, send them an email letting them know when they'll be able to register.
Start working with sponsors, speakers, volunteers, and other partners to coordinate a promotional strategy for the day tickets go on sale, and make sure your website is created (or updated) to start promoting the event.
Tickets should now be on sale.
Send out an email to your mailing list to let everyone know registration has opened, and publish updates to your social media profiles and event blog (if you have one.)
Make sure your sponsors, speakers, and other partners are in lockstep and ready to start promoting ticket sales on the same day. Provide them with tracking links and any special codes they can distribute to attendees, and plan to check up on them every 3-4 weeks.
Roll out any social media or search ads announcing that tickets are now available. Make sure to highlight early bird pricing if you're offering it.
Start heavily promoting your event and the benefits of attending.
If you've been selling early bird tickets, now's the time to end the sale and introduce regular registration pricing.
Start sending your attendees more personalized emails by segmenting them into categories based on why they're attending.
Use these emails to highlight the benefits of attending that are unique to each group and their needs, and that encourage them to share the event with their colleagues and friends.
Use your mailing list and social media to highlight speakers and topics, give shout-outs to sponsors, and testimonials from past events if you have any.
If you have a blog, ask speakers and sponsors to write guest blogs and share with their communities.
Keep track of your email open rates and click-through-rates (CTRs) to see how different messaging resonates with different categories of attendees. Now is also the time to end any unsuccessful ad campaigns, and to reallocate their budget into new ads, or ads that have been performing.
Now is the time to add a sense of urgency to your promotional content.
Your social media, blog posts, ads, and emails should all be notifying interested attendees that time is running out.
Use this time as an opportunity to "dig deep" into your event and highlight different or unique ways to be prepared to attend. If attendees have to travel to attend, highlight interesting or unique things about the city you're in, or the venue where the event is being held.
Blog posts with subjects like "everything you need to know about XYZ event" and "everything you need for a successful XYZ event" can also be great ways to help attendees get excited about attending.
If you've been running ads, retarget users who have visited your event website and started the process of registering, but didn't finish.
Now is a great time to run a contest to keep the momentum going. There are lots of contests and giveaways you can choose to do, but the key is that contests should encourage your community to share something and, ideally, post about why they want to attend.
Send an email to everyone who hasn't registered yet and remind them that there's barely any time left, so they should act now.
Your social media and blog content should also be sales-focused, with lots of calls to register worked into your copy.
If you were running a contest, it should have ended by now.
Take the guesswork out of promoting your next event and download our free event promotional calendar template.
We've created it in a spreadsheet so you can modify it to your needs, after all, some events need more than 4 months' of promotion - some get promoted all year!
If you're not excited by the idea of writing 4+ months of social media content to promote your event (we get it) sign up to be in our closed beta and start saving time on your event marketing: