by Whova | Last updated: January 31st, 2017
So you’ve been tasked to lead an event marketing team. Congratulations!
Your first task is to create a stellar marketing plan for your event. There’s a lot to be considered but don’t be overwhelmed! In this article, we provide you with a guideline on how to compile your marketing strategies and create your marketing plan. Don’t forget that there are many pieces of software out there to help you execute your marketing plan, such as Whova’s event marketing platform.
Increase Event Attendance with a Great Marketing Plan
A good marketing plan for event promotion will guide you to strategically increase event attendance and attendee satisfaction in order to maximize event ROI. With the right plan, you will identify who would be interested in your event, communicate and engage them effectively, and spread the word about your event.
Use the following steps as a guide to creating your event’s marketing plan: When you’re working on the details of your event and managing concrete action items within your event’s timeline, you’ll find this popular article to be helpful: 8 event planning and management software that will make you a rockstar.
Step 1: Set Your Event’s Goals
As we mentioned before, your event’s goals are what your marketing plan is based off of, so you must absolutely set them before moving onto the next steps. Ask yourself. Do you want your event to achieve a tangible goal such as attracting 700 attendees, or an intangible goal such as strengthening relationships with your association members or business partners through the event?
Step 2: Determine Your Budget
Big or small, you should be aware of the budget allocated to your marketing efforts. While constraints will set limits on certain things, they’ll also show you where you can get creative.
Step 3: Identify Your Target Market
To properly identify your target market, you need to define them through demographics such as age, race, gender, marital status, income, education and occupation as well as psychographics such as lifestyle and personality characteristics, usage of technology, interests, and motivation for going to events. You should first analyze attendee data collected from previous events so you get an idea of their demographics and psychographics.
A trait you must look at in your target market is technology usage as it will tell you what channels and tactics are an effective means of reaching out to them. While older folk may be better informed through more traditional methods, teens and young adults are almost exclusively found through digital channels, such as social media.
< Whova’s automatic event listing service that posts your event to well-known websites >
In general, event listing websites such as Eventful, Hey Event, and 10times, are good places to promote your event, regardless of the age of your attendees. If you’re not familiar with these sites or you don’t have time to post on each listing, try an automatic event listing service that can post to well-known event listing websites for you.
Step 4: Summarize Your Communication Tactics
A successful event is created through solid interaction and communication with attendees so you really have to set your communication tactics straight! You need to make sure people are well-informed about your event so that they’re motivated to go.
When it comes to inviting people to an event, e-mail marketing is a classic way to go. There are many e-mailing systems like Mailchimp, but if you’d like to save time and manage your event more conveniently, you can consider using an event management system including e-mailing, agenda management, event app, online registration, etc.
< Utilize an event app for effective attendee communication and engagement >
As for communicating with people who are already going to your event, and making sure they’re up-to-date and excited, it is much more effective to use both e-mail and push notifications via an event app. With one click on Whova, you can reach open rates of your messages from 70% and up, compared with the event industry’s average e-mail open rate of 20%. (Would you like to learn more? Click here)
Step 5: Develop Personalization Tactics
< Whova’s e-mail marketing platform for events >
Once you know how you’re going to communicate to your audience, it is important to tailor the messages you’re going to send to them in a way that attract their interests. By adjusting the content of your e-mails and promotional material to potential attendees, they will be more likely to see the value in your event and attend.
If you’d like to properly personalize your e-mails and push-notification messages, it’s a good idea to use an e-mail marketing and announcement system specially designed for events instead of a general e-mailing systems. For example, Whova’s event marketing platform includes e-mailing and announcement systems that provide you with useful templates made for events. Using experienced event marketing consultants (a complementary service for Whova customers) to further personalizing your email content so that it’s relevant to an event’s target audience is awesome too.
Step 6: Put Together Your Collaboration Strategy
You and your sponsors / exhibitors share the same goals in terms of attracting more attendees at your event and increasing brand visibility. You should use this common goal to motivate your sponsors and exhibitors to participate in promoting your event. For example, you can request them to help pass on flyers or encourage them to spread the word about your event on social media. On the other hand, you can increase their brand visibility through event websites, and putting ad banners, company profiles and coupons/giveaways on your event app. It’s a win-win strategy!
Step 7: Establish Last-minute Promotion and Engagement Tactics
In regards to marketing, the final stretch before the event is a stressful one as you not only try and get attendees to go last-minute, but also raise excitement for those who are already going. This is why you have to include promotion and engagement tactics in your marketing plan.
Great ways to reach out to invitees include mentioning how many attendees would be there, highlighting speakers and their sessions, interesting event activities and networking opportunities, and more. As for those who have already registered, you can engage them through an event app, providing a bulletin board to set up things such as ride sharing, and reminding them of important information such as directions to your event’s venue.
Step 8: Set Your Performance Evaluation Metrics
In your marketing plan, write out what exact metrics you’ll use to to evaluate your event’s performance, such as the number of attendees, networking activities, or social media posts. If obtaining statistics by yourself is too tedious or time consuming, consider using an event management system to collect the data for you.
Use the statistics in a report to show your team and stakeholders your event’s success, as well as for promotion in a newsletter or PR purposes. The data and the insights you gain will help you make the next event you plan even better. For example you can use them to attract new sponsors, improve certain logistical aspects of your event, and of course, further increase attendees.
While drafting and executing a comprehensive event marketing plan can be a challenge, there are many event management and marketing software that can help you. Would you like to effectively promote your event, increase event attendance, and make them happy with event engagement? Don’t hesitate to contact us and check out how Whova can help you!