What’s an event without guests or attendees? Other than a pricey venue rental, not much.
That’s why having a promotion strategy to get people in the door is a must for success—no matter what kind of event you’re planning.
Luckily, you can put a solid event marketing plan together in just a few straightforward steps. We’ll review what an event marketing plan is and key components that will help you drive ticket sales and attendance.
We’ll also share a free event marketing plan template with examples to help you build a promotion timeline quickly and easily. If you’re looking for event project management software to help you run your next event more seamlessly, we’ve got you covered.
An event marketing plan lays out a strategy and timeline for event promotion. Think of it as your roadmap for all the tools, tactics, and channels you’ll use to get word out about your event so you can hit sales and attendance goals.
So how does event marketing work? It starts with a firm understanding of your target audience and where they hang out so you can promote your event effectively across multiple channels (e.g., social media, email, radio, print). It also factors in the types of content you’ll produce to raise awareness and ultimately guide prospects to attend your event.
One big question that always comes up is how far in advance you should promote your event. The exact timing really depends on the size and type of event you’ll be hosting. For example, you might promote an annual business conference 6-12 months in advance, while a monthly seminar series would have a much shorter promotion window.
Here’s an example of how you might structure your promotion timeline for a sales or networking event:
Whatever timing you decide on, just know the earlier you promote your event, the more time you’ll have to maximize your reach and adjust your strategy, if needed, to hit your goals.
A lot of groundwork goes into launching and promoting an event, so let’s take a look at the basic steps you’ll want to consider when creating your own event marketing plan.
You should always have a way to measure success for any event you throw. While ticket sales and attendee numbers will likely be your main target, you may also want to use your event to launch a new product, drive leads, or increase customer retention. Be sure to take all of these key metrics into account when formulating a promotional strategy and budget to ensure your event marketing plan aligns with your big-picture goals.
An event website or landing page is essential because it’s where people learn about your event and ultimately sign up to attend. It should establish your event brand and provide key program ad registration details. Make sure your site is easy to navigate with a clear call-to-action and optimized for mobile so a large portion of your audience doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Good content enables you to connect with your target audience and create ongoing excitement around your event without being too salesy. Make it easy for people to see the benefits of attending by sharing a clear vision of your event’s mission and value proposition, and think about what kind of content will work best for each marketing channel. Want to extend your content reach? Consider partnering with industry leaders to write guest posts.
Social media’s a great way to promote and build community around your event. As with any social media campaign, begin with your audience in mind, and create compelling and entertaining content that people can’t help but share. Focus on the social channels that align with your audience best, and don’t forget to create an event hashtag so it’s easy for people to find, follow, and share your event.
Your top social channels are a natural place to start when it comes to paid advertising. But you may also want to invest in retargeting ads, pay-per-click campaigns, and display ads on other relevant websites. While paid ads put your event in front of a lot more people, you’ll need to monitor performance and update your promo strategy to ensure you get the biggest bang for your advertising buck.
Email can be a powerful tool in your event marketing arsenal because it enables you to build a 1:1 relationship with people. In fact, most marketers (40%) surveyed by Bizzabo say email is the single most effective channel for promoting an event. So why not put it to work for you? Tap into your database to announce the event to existing customers and subscribers, and set up an email campaign to nurture prospects and registrants before and after the event.
Event outreach helps you cast a wider net and boost attendance. So get to work securing sponsorships as soon as your event launches to build momentum early. Then collaborate with sponsors on marketing strategies, and make sure they have the resources they need to amplify your event. After all, they have a stake in your event’s success too.
Even in the age of information overload and digital media, a press release can still be a valuable tool for letting people know about your event. The right press release—pitched to relevant media outlets with clear and unique event information—can drive a significant amount of attention to your event.
We created a free event marketing plan template to help you promote your next big event. It’s a perfect base to build on if you want to get a quick start on planning.
What the template is:
A high-level event promotion timeline that outlines when different campaign elements will be executed so you can keep track of event marketing efforts.
What the template is not:
A detailed breakdown of every marketing task you need to complete for each channel. (If you’re looking for something like that, check out our marketing templates. You’ll find a lot of great resources for planning marketing campaigns there!)
You can use this template to:
Let’s look at some other helpful ways to use this event marketing and promotion template.
Here are two examples of how you can use our event marketing template to plan and manage promotion timelines for your event.
A gantt chart enables you to schedule marketing activities for your event in a simple, visual timeline that’s easy to update and track as work progresses. It gives you a high-level view of your event’s major promotion strategies, while enabling you to collaborate on and share your plan with your team and stakeholders.
TeamGantt isn’t just for gantt charts. Transform your event marketing plan into a calendar instantly with our Calendar view. It’s perfect for seeing how event promotion timelines stack up on any given day, week, or month!
Ready to start promoting your next event? Use our event marketing and promotion plan template in TeamGantt, and save time on timeline setup!
Customizing the template is quick and easy, thanks to TeamGantt’s drag and drop simplicity. And since everything’s online, your whole team can collaborate on activities in real time.
Sign up for a free TeamGantt account today, and get access to event planning templates—plus many more helpful project templates—in our library.