Promotion is a critical part of any event and requires creativity and some advanced planning. To create the perfect promotion plan, there are a few things to keep in mind. When deciding on how to promote your event, the main factors are time and money. Luckily, with technology that allows automation, it’s easier than ever to create more robust promotion plans.
First Steps to Creating a Plan
There are various factors that go into creating a promotion plan. Before you even get into the nitty-gritty of coming up with creative and a unique hashtag, you need to understand two major factors: budget and manpower.
What are you working with? If you aren’t tracking your budget as well as you’d like, here are a few tips. Money has to be set aside for promotion, but there are ways to do it inexpensively. With social media and email marketing, many forms of promotion are relatively free. If you do have a good budget dedicated to promotion, you can look into paid advertising. Some of your budget might go into investing in technology to make promotion easier. That could be social media scheduling tools, email marketing systems, and more. Investing in automation tools will allow you to spend cut down time spent on promotion. Many tools can be tried for free or at a relatively low cost.
If you haven’t handled promotion before, you may not realize what a drain it can be on your time. It might not seem like too much to promote your event on every social media channel with original posts multiple times a day, but that’s hours added to your already full workload. The key is to identify from the beginning the time you’re able to dedicate to promotion and create your plan around it. By using systems that allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, you’ll be able to cut down on real-time updates. Additionally, by using email marketing systems that allow you to automate emails and send to segmented lists, you’ll save a lot of time.
Creating a Promotion Plan
There are endless ways to promote an event. You can get creative, stick to the basics, or do a mix. One thing’s for sure – your promotion plan should include social media and email marketing.
There's a big question that you need to answer. Where your potential attendees hanging out? Based on the demographics of your target attendees, you’ll be able to figure out the best channel to promote your event. Instagram may not be a great channel to promote an educational healthcare conference, but Twitter might be. It all depends on the age of attendees, the industry you’re in, and the type of event you’re planning. Not every social channel needs to be used. While social media is essentially free, it takes a lot of time to create different posts that work on each channel and monitor your channels.
When crafting posts, share more than you create and use images. By using automated scheduling systems, you’ll be able to schedule posts months in advance. Don’t forget to check your account frequently to respond to comments and always search the hashtags you want to use before you post them.
You’ve been gathering lists of contacts for years. You know who attended the event the year before and who might be interested. Email can be a great promotional tool. The most important things to keep in mind are not to bombard potential attendees with emails and to keep emails short. If you send five emails in one day, your contact will unsubscribe and you won’t be able to contact them again. If you send really long emails, no matter how important the information is, they won’t be read.
Use emails to target contacts that would be interested in the event. Entice them. Great subject lines, strong visuals, and brief emails will get the highest open and click-through rates. Send reminders, but be careful of your frequency.
Easy Steps for Creating a Promotion Plan
Those guidelines should help you as you decide how to promote your event. Below is a very basic list to use when creating a promotion plan. For even more, check out Event Marketing Tips.
- Figure out your budget
- Evaluate how many hours per week you have to spend on promotion
- Identify if you have the automation tools you need
- Find out where your customers are on social media
- Gather graphics and key event information
- Create a calendar with pre-event milestones like speaker announcements and agenda unveiling
- Create a 6+ month promotion plan leading up to the event utilizing milestones
- Check in often, adjust as needed
Read more- Event Management Technology for Dummies