Your team has come up with a next-level event idea. You’ve secured the date, the location, and the speakers. Now all you need is the people. This is the tricky part and the one that you’ll spend the most time working on in the leadup to your spectacular event. After all, 90% of event organizers say that reaching a new audience and finding sponsors are their two most significant challenges. It shouldn’t be too hard, though, if you have a proper Event Marketing Plan. Let’s break it down for you.
- What is an event marketing plan
- Why each event must have a marketing plan
- Main features of marketing plans for events
- Know your event’s audience, budget and venue
- 10 steps for creating an event marketing plan [template included]
- Which promotion channels are best for event marketing
- Kaltura’s event marketing platform
What is an event marketing plan?
An event marketing plan specifies your goals and KPIs and how you’ll promote your event to achieve those goals. There are different reasons for hosting an event: product launch, company promotion, meet-up, honoring a stakeholder, or even fundraising for a specific cause. To have a successful event, you need to create hype and interest to get your targeted audience in the door.
44% of marketers experience a 3:1 ROI from event marketing.
Why each event must have a marketing plan
Each event should be handled differently according to its needs. If you don’t create a strategy for each event, you may miss out on some opportunities.
Important Note: At some companies, the marketing team is also in charge of the event’s organization and execution: theme, topics, speakers, agenda, sessions, etc. If your marketing team is only responsible for promoting the event, make sure to always stay in sync with the other teams so that everything runs smoothly, and nothing gets lost in the cracks.
Main Features of Marketing Plans for Events
The main features you want to have in your event marketing plan are:
- Target Audience and their contact information
- Branding and Website
- Marketing Channels you plan on utilizing
- Team Assignments – Who is doing what and what are their deadlines?
- Analytics and Results so you can replicate or do better next time.
Know your event’s audience, budget, and venue
This is a good time for your team to decide on the audience to target. Get together with Sales and BizDev to discuss who they want at this event. Is there a particular vertical or industry you want to attend? Would you like to focus only on C-suite executives, HR professionals, or fellow marketers? Create an Ideal Customer Profile and use your CRM to create a fine-tuned invitation list.
Is this an annual event? Go back to your notes (PLEASE tell me you took notes), look through the receipts, project your costs and create a budget. Prices and vendors might change, and nothing is ever exactly the same, so it won’t be perfect, but at least you’ll have a more-than-educated guess. Is this your first time? No sweat. Here are typical items Your budget should account for:
- Website hosting/ticketing
- Catering staff
- Speaker’s honorarium
- AV tech
Are you hosting the event live? Virtual? Hybrid? They’re all valid options. Make sure your stakeholders agree on the best format for your event and that it works for the audience as well. Get the word out about the event well in advance so that people can clear their schedules, make travel arrangements, etc. Be prepared to remind them about the event often. Virtual events don’t require much commitment and you will most likely receive last-minute registrations.
10 steps for creating an event marketing plan [template included]
1) Finalize your topic, date, speakers, format, and venue
You can’t start marketing your event effectively until you have at least some of these details. Don’t rush through all this. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s better to give the particulars adequate thought from the get-go than deal with a myriad of changes later. When you’re done, confirm everything. You don’t want to send an email with the wrong location or misspelling your keynote speaker’s name.
2) Do your homework
At this point you’ll have at least talked about your budget but it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Use our Event Brief template to get organized. Make a wish list for marketing channels you want to use and see if they all fit in with your overall event budget. Remember, there is a lot you can do for free.
3) Create a website/page specifically dedicated to your event
Make sure this page has the Who, Where, What, When, Why and How much. Participants who register online want to pay for tickets using a credit card/PayPal on your site. Don’t forget to have a Contact Us section for questions. Here you can also direct media inquiries or share a media kit with branded assets. Do you want to create sponsorship opportunities? Say it. And once you get some, get those sponsor logos on your website and all marketing materials. Ask sponsors to publicize the event to their networks.
4) Branding is Key
You may think sticking a logo onto a webpage is enough, but trust us, it’s not. First impression is key, and you want your audience to see that you have it together. It’ll also make your event recognizable at every turn. Your designer will know all that but just to make sure, branding is a whole language with guidelines. Choose a color scheme and design that will appear on all your event assets, pick a fun and memorable tagline, and create a hashtag, among other things. And don’t forget to order SWAG to match. Who doesn’t love SWAG?
5) Early Bird Pricing
The best way to get those first registrants is to make them an offer they can’t refuse. Be clear about what the cost is for early registrants, when it will go up and by how much. Make sure you highlight that this is a special not-to-miss opportunity. Send reminders to let people know the price is about to go up as the early bird deadline is drawing closer. Creating a sense of urgency will help you sell tickets.
6) Get Social!
Come up with witty and visually stimulating social posts to attract new people. Using event branding, share relevant information on your different feeds. If a well-known speaker is headlining your event, mention their name, attach a photo, and link to their socials. Get your speakers to share your event invitation. If there are special interest groups that may be interested in this topic, post on their pages.
7) Create a mailing list
Whether you use HubSpot, Marketo, Mailchimp, or the likes of them, constantly update and perfect your mailing list. Ask your salespeople to look over the list and add new clients. Use prospecting software to find potential customers with a high intent to buy or who fall under your target audience guidelines. Use this same list for digital marketing ads on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
8) Copy That: Work on your messaging
Explain to the reader why your event is worth attending and what they will learn – the Value Proposition. Keep it short and simple and make sure to always link back to your event website. Write up an elevator pitch for participants to use to get their managers to approve their attendance at an event.
9) Pitch your event to media outlets
70% of marketers say the amount of media exposure generated is the most common metric to judge event ROI. Find out where your target audience consumes their information and industry news. Write a press release and start sending it to different media outlets. Digital magazines can bring in a lot of traffic to your event website and will increase attendance and ROI for your event.
10) Keep track of results
Set up your registration site to track registrations and gather analytics. Have your event marketing team meet often (weekly closer to the event date) to discuss what is working and what isn’t. Where are your event page visitors coming from? What’s the clickthrough rate on your event emails? Are your banner ads bringing people to the site? Ask your sales team to update you on what they have been hearing from customers and align your strategies to get more people registered.
Which Promotion Channels Are Best for Event Marketing
- Website – Use your existing website to promote your events. Place your branded invitation image on your homepage and make sure to have a link to an Events Calendar.
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Digital Marketing
- One-on-one – Have your sales teams go through their contacts and reach out to customers they think may be interested in your event. Event information and links should be in everyone’s email signature.
Kaltura’s Event Marketing Platform
If you read through this list and feel overwhelmed, don’t worry, we’re here. Our virtual event platform will help you create, manage, and measure all your events on a single platform. Using customizable templates, you can make sure every event is on-brand and 100% you. The platform makes participant registration a breeze and lets you build an agenda, add speakers and moderators, and track who attends and what sessions did better than others using our video analytics capabilities. Our technology allows you to stream live (like a town-hall or webinar) or on-demand (for company training or playback) and is built for all event types and sizes.
We know how hard it is to run an event and measure its success.
- An efficient event marketing strategy will allow you to target existing and potential customers to get them registered for your event.
- Using the right marketing channels and the tools laid out above, you can run a great event and create a solid template for future company events.
- As you think about whether you want your events to be in-person or not, remember that a virtual or hybrid event is well within reach.
Want to learn more? Check out our other post about Event Marketing. If you are interested in learning more about Kaltura’s Event Platform, please click the link in the banner below.