Concert, fundraiser, conference, or 5k - no matter what type of event, your main goal is to get people to show up. That’s a LOT of pressure! Even if it’s an event you’ve been hosting for years, there’s a lot about event planning that makes attendance unpredictable.
To ease your mind, I recommend creating an event promotion plan - but treat it more like a guideline. You’ll want to be flexible and make changes as needed, but having a blueprint will keep the momentum going and make the whole promotional process feel a lot less hectic.
That all said, here are the four steps to take toward building your event promotion plan:
Step 1: Segment your audience
First off, you gotta know who you’re talking to. You probably have a good sense of who is in your overall audience, but what about the smaller groups within it? Those segments will be the foundation of your promotional plan.
Now, “segments” could mean a lot of things depending on your organization and the event. Start by thinking about demographic differences: age, career level, location, role at their company, etc. Then, move on to different behaviors that members of your audience tend to exhibit: if they’ve attended an event before, made a donation, are a member of a related group, what specific products or services of yours they use, etc.
Step 2: Determine what messaging will resonate with each segment.
You can send an email blast to your entire audience all day long, but to really make an impact and drive event registrations, you’ll want to speak to each segment directly. Chances are, your event provides value in a number of different ways, right? But not everyone cares about everything: Segmenting your audience allows you to create messaging that’ll hone in on what matters to them.
For example: If you're targeting alumni attendees, remind them how much fun they had last year; target a group living within a certain radius of your venue and demonstrate how easy it would be to attend.
Step 3: Meet them where they are
Now that you have your segments and the different messaging for them, think about where your audience spends time viewing content. Is it on Facebook? Instagram? Their email inbox? Their physical mailbox? It’s likely a combination of platforms. List your various touch points and decide 1) which segments of your audience will be where, and 2) how to best get your message for each segment across these different touch points.
Starting to feel like there’s a lot of details floating around now? That’s where the next part comes in.
Step 4: Calendar it up!
Create a calendar that’ll show you which audience segment you’re contacting, when, through what platform, and with what messaging - all at a glance, if you can. If you’re not ready to set dates in stone, that’s ok! But getting a general idea of your promotional schedule laid out will give you time to prepare a solid communication strategy while allowing you to be flexible as different needs arise. Who knows - two months into promoting you could come up with a whole new segment!
And, having a clear view of who you’re going to contact, with what message, on what platform will give you instant visibility into if you are over-communicating with one group, or need to pick up the slack with another.
It’s all about balance! But doing the legwork ahead of time means more strategic promotion and, therefore, more attendees. Now that you’ve got the strategy down, what about specific tactics? We’ve outlined a number in our free guide that’ll really amplify attendance! Check it out -