You’ve chosen a venue, booked the speakers, and locked in a date for your big event. You’ve selected which snacks and meals you’re serving (because, let’s be real, we all remember what the food was like). You’re starting to wonder which talk people will love the most, and maybe a little anxious about making sure your guests, sponsors, and speakers are all happy. But before you can start the countdown to the big day, there’s one more big step that needs to be tackled: your marketing plan.
Without a clear direction of how, when, and where you’ll promote your event, you risk a hefty bill, discouraged speakers, and an empty echoing room. You need a clear marketing plan that’s simple to follow and will impress all parties involved.
Even if marketing isn’t your strong suit, don’t let that scare you off from launching your event in style. Follow these steps, use our already made for you templates, and before you know it the big day will be there with a full house.
Before you promote your event
Once you’ve got core details sorted like your type of event and event vision, it’s time to start checking things off your marketing to-do list. You could use an event management software to make streamline this process.
Make a website
Your event website is the home for all of the details about your event. It’s where you can direct attendees, sponsors, journalists or anyone curious about the event. It should include all the important details like ticketing prices, sponsorship packages, the conference schedule. You can even use our Qwilr event template instead of a website if the idea of setting up a full site is a bit daunting.
Reach out to potential sponsors
Unless you’ve got a big budget, you’ll need sponsors to help you foot the bill of the conference. Not only can sponsors help on the money side of things, they can also help you promote the event. Not sure how to get started? Get inspired by our Qwilr sponsor package template.
Check-in with your existing fans and followers
Assuming you’ve got an existing network, reach out to special invitees and see who would be interested in early bird tickets. You can create custom invitations for those special people and offer them a discounted price, or limit the reduced rate to the first few people who sign-up for your event.
And it’s a go! Launching your event
This is the part where your marketing plan goes full steam ahead. Most of the next steps will need to be drafted ahead of time but don’t be afraid to get creative and tackle these as you get closer to the date of your event.
Share with your network
How you do this will probably depend on your target audience, though it’s fairly common to send an email out to your network and announce it as part of your regular newsletter. You can also create a social media campaign, and promote your event on online forums for your industry and much more.
Send press releases to relevant journalists
Make a list of local journalists and reporters who cover topics related to your industry. Then, send them a short press release telling them about your event and how to reach you if they’d like more information. Include basic materials like a link to your site, a link to the schedule and some basic visuals such as your logo.
Officially release the full event program
It’s not uncommon for a full conference program to only come together as you approach the event date. So once you’ve got all your speakers booked and the schedule sorted, use a conference schedule to promote your event. Announce it on your social media channels, send an email to the attendees that have already booked in, and ask your sponsors to share it too. We’ve laid out a simple approach to conference scheduling in our template to help you get started.
Between launch day and event day
There are many other activities you can do between your official launch day and the event day to keep the buzz going around about your event. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on those activities. Focus on doing the steps you’re the best at.
Regular email updates
It’s important to keep your attendees, sponsors and usual followers in the loop as you near the event date. Let them know when available tickets numbers become limited, especially if you’ve got different ticketing prices as the event draws nearer. You can also create a buzz by sharing when a brand new speaker has been booked. And don’t forget to ask them to share your event with their friends and connections.
Use paid and sponsored ads
On major social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram you can simply paid for ad space that look like a normal spot, minus the mention that it’s a paid spot. You can also decide to use paid sponsorship opportunities on social media where you pair up with influencers from your industry to promote your event in return for a payment or a ticket to your event.
Create a community
Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote an event. And one of the best ways to make this happen is to create a community around your event. It can be as simple as creating a Facebook group or a Slack channel where you keep the attendees and speakers up to date about the conference. You could also create a flyer to get the conversation started.
Last call! Get your tickets while you can!
Ready for one last big push before your conference is on? These are the last few steps towards a successful event.
Send out the important information
When the date draws near, it’s time to create one last email to send out to all those who purchased a ticket, and your sponsors and your speakers. You need to give them all the details about the event, from the best parking spots to the keynote speaker biographies.
All this information might already be available on your website, but sending out one last email to remind everyone of the logistics of the event will help make sure you get less last minutes questions. Using Qwilr’s conference attendee information template you can be sure that you’ve covered all the crucial points.
While you’re at it, you can also give out details like hashtags to use during the conference and links to your social media accounts so that people can keep talking about the event while it’s happening.
And thank you for coming
You’d think that once an event has happened, you can simply close the books on them and take a long nap before thinking about the next one. But if you add these extra touches to your marketing plan, you’re paving the way ahead for your next conference.
Track your results
Whether it’s tracking social media shares, the number of attendees, or results from a post-event survey, chose a few metrics you can use to help you prepare your next edition.
Thank your sponsors
But don’t just leave it at a simple note. Send them something to show them how successful the event was. If you got some feedback from the attendees that have positive mentions about specific sponsors, share it with them. Show them the metrics you’re happy with and that will make them want to be on board again for your next conference.
Thank your attendees
Again, a thank you note is nice but if it’s packed with even more value, it could bode well for your next event. This is a great place to ask attendees if they’d like to be added to a special email list so that they can know about early bird deals when you’re ready to launch the next event.
Planning and promoting an event or conference crosses multiple disciplines, and requires strategic foresight to avoid falling behind, and guaranteeing both your attendees and sponsors are content. Whether you stick to this plan, or expand on it, our simple to follow event marketing plan will help you tick all the boxes you need to successfully promote your event. Use these steps to promote a conference of any size or length of time—even smaller intimate events like workshops and meet-ups can be promoted using these tips and tricks.