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How to: A Successful Event Marketing Plan
The Sprocket Report
This article has been updated on 2/28/2023 with the article entitled “A Good Marketing Plan is at the Heart of Every Successful Event.”
Want to know the Number One item necessary for a successful event marketing plan? Actually making one! You would not believe how many companies and organizations are just winging it. Take a look at these real-life examples and see if you’re guilty of these planning omissions.
Teaming up with folks to get their event message online is what we’re all about and every win a client racks up is a win for us as well. But when there’s no game plan for the team to work on together, pulling off a win gets mighty tough. Recently we saw a number of events that could have used a few of the following tips:
Set enough lead time
A client wanted a big crowd at their shop for an upcoming event featuring a special guest they were flying in, but they were so busy preparing for people, they forgot to invite any. They missed all the deadlines for local print publications and didn’t advertise at their store until a few days before the event. They had to rely solely on social media, which had never been their strongest marketing vehicle. With little time to build excitement or give people an opportunity to consult their calendar, let’s just say there was a lot of cake left over. Always give yourself enough lead time to market your event to the fullest.
Invite the right guests
Business expo organizers do well at providing info to attract exhibitors such as flyers, social media and news releases. They also support that marketing with comprehensive web pages and online forms. But rarely do they provide info specific to the general public such as hours of operation and where to park.
Since the whole point of an expo is get exhibitors in front of the public, you’d think an invitation/advertisement page that exhibitors could link to in their social media campaigns would be a great idea. We love to share news about expos, but we don’t want to link to a page that gives the cost of a ten foot skirted table.
As always, it’s important to determine the correct target market for your event. For something like a business expo, there are two distinct audiences that need to be engaged.
Assign and follow up on tasks
When running an event on a regular basis, it’s easy to fall into “the way we always do it,” a complacency that allows important details to be overlooked. Assignments and checklists may seem like overkill, but they help catch silly mistakes such as last year’s dates on the new event page as well as heading off “but I thought you were doing it” surprises. Put your best foot forward because if people aren’t confident that you are the definitive source of information, your reputation will suffer.
Broadcast your message
The word “broadcast” comes from the way a farmer scatters a lot of seeds over a wide area, a process every event marketer should take to heart. Stop assuming that “everybody” knows about your event. Even if you already have a following, folks lose touch or they forget about you so reminding them often – without irritating them – is essential.
And don’t just rely on your past supporters. Always try to get in front of new groups and add them to the list. Open rates on emails, postcards and other forms of communication are tiny, like 1-20%, so you need to get your message to a whole lot of people to insure a good turn-out.
We didn’t mention any names in these examples because no one is perfect. The important thing is to learn from these stories and avoid making the same mistakes. You know your business or organization best. We know website marketing. Together, we can create the perfect plan for your next event, so give us a call. We’re always happy to help.
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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history. Other posts by Kate Gingold
I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.