You've planned the ultimate event. There's great food, the perfect venue, an awesome guest list, fun entertainment, and honors to be bestowed. But... no one showed up!
Don't worry! That's just your worst nightmare. But it doesn't have to become a reality. All it takes to get people to come to your event is the right event marketing plan.
How do you make that plan?
It's easy with a free event marketing template! Learn how to plan and market your big corporate events right here.
Planning an event involves three stages: the pre-event plan, the day-of and during the event, and the post-event. Every single stage involves a marketing approach (yes, even the during and after).
Stage one is the pre-event plan. This involves making sure that word gets out about your event. But it's about more than telling people the event exists. You have to have a plan that makes it easy to understand what the event will be like. Draw in the right crowd and establish the correct atmosphere right away for event success.
There's an event marketing plan aspect to the event itself, too. In this stage two, you need to market your sponsor to make sure that their brand message gets out. You can also use this time to encourage attendees to share their experience with the event while they're there. It's harder to get people to post when they've already gone home.
In stage three, you need to focus on follow-up and feedback. Ask attendees to share their experiences and feedback. Keep posting long after the event to share the success and increase the likelihood of repeat and new attendees for your next event.
You understand the importance of having a plan now. It ensures that people come, people share about it, and that they return. But there's a lot there to keep track of.
That's where event marketing strategies and event marketing templates come in. Without a defined, pre-written plan, a lot of those components can fall through the woodwork, and your event can end up unsuccessful.
So how do you make a strategy that actually works? Focus on these few objectives while creating a strategy to make sure that all of your event's marketing needs will be met.
When planning an event, you need to go in knowing why you're doing it. Are you looking to find new clients? Are you trying to honor and reward your current clients? Is this a networking event for your brand to engage with other brands?
Once you know exactly what your goals are, you'll be better able to curate the rest of the event to meet those goals. An aimless event is unstructured and a waste of everyone's time. Make sure that the following focuses always support your primary goal.
Obviously, you need to get the word out about your event, but as you've identified your goal, you've likely also identified your target audience. Now you need to meet them where they are.
There's no use advertising your event in a location where your target audience won't see it. During this step of the event market plan, identify where your target audience spends most of its online time.
You can target social media services that they most likely use or get a little more personal through email engagement.
The last thing you want is for your audience to become interested in your event, and then not be able to find you. Expect that your attendees won't click the first link that they see. They may remember the ad they saw later and then try to search up the event without a link.
You need to have two things to make sure that they can find you. The first is a landing page that clearly outlines the event, and the second is SEO content that makes it easy for attendees to find your web content no matter what search terms they use.
Let's start by addressing exactly how to achieve the goals and focuses above. Building a landing page makes it easier for attendees to find information about your event, get excited for what's to come, and even RSVP.
While emails and ads are effective for getting the word out, they still need a home base to come to for information.
On your landing page, you should include the following
Now your attendees can know exactly what they're getting into.
Identifying those key goals from before is the first step toward creating consistent messaging in conference and event marketing.
But now that they've been identified, be clear, open, and transparent about why you're having this event. There's no use trying to trick people into thinking your event is one thing when it's actually another. That will just end up with people feeling used and disappointed.
Bake into your marketing the following:
None of the above should conflict with your ultimate goal. Through this, you will achieve consistency and your audience won't be confused about what the event is. If they can't tell exactly what it will be like and why it will be valuable, they won't come.
We all know the value of having a strong email list. While social media can do a lot to expand your brand's reach, the people who are most likely to want to attend your event are the people who are familiar with you and have expressed an interest.
Plan a sequenced email campaign with periodic emails to be sent out first explaining the event, then highlighting the most exciting aspects, and then reminding them that it's coming up. Consistency is key at this stage of the event marketing plan.
Social media is an amazing marketing tool and a way to get the word out to both followers and a new potential audience.
Make sure that you only use the social media platforms that your clientele is most likely to use.
One of the best things about a social media campaign is that you can get real-time feedback on how your campaign is doing. If you notice that certain kinds of posts aren't working, you can adjust them to get more engagement.
Here is a template that can easily be copied and modified for your exact use case - https://www.airtable.com/templates/marketing/expVcLYH4p9fNSPkz/event-marketing. We recommend making your own event marketing template from this airtable base since every event is unique, and so they need a unique strategy to be effective. Also, so many templates online cost money. Save by making your own!
The pre-event is making sure that you have all the tools you need for marketing ready to go and then implementing them. This is the most important step in the process because you need to make sure that people actually come to your event.
An excel spreadsheet can help you make sure that you've hit all of your goals as you go along. Color code things as ongoing, finished, and still to be done. An even easier way is to use event management software which will help build a plan for you!
Make sure to include the following in your pre-event template:
During the event, your template plan should include a way to communicate what's currently happening. You should prioritize the existing channels that you've been using to advertise the event.
Send out an email that says it just started in case people forget the date. Then share stories, posts, images, and live streams on the social media platforms that you've identified as the most effective.
Keep an eye on social media to monitor attendee experience during the event. You can also remind attendees to post using a hashtag for greater visibility. A photo booth is a great way to get people to participate in sharing the event online.
Now is the time to get feedback about the event's success and to ensure even greater attendance for your next event.
Send out an email asking for feedback from attendees that you can share on your business's social media. Continue sharing that feedback and media from your event in the upcoming months to build excitement around your next event.
By identifying goals early on, using the right advertising channels, and keeping engagement going before, during, and after the event, you can ensure that your corporate event will have great attendance and success. Use a free event marketing template to make sure that you hit all of the necessary goals.
Looking for more solutions to make corporate events easier? Check out our advice and services!