Online or in person, hosting an event is no easy task. But the effort you put into promoting and supporting that event is crucial to its success. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to promote your next event from beginning to end and share a checklist to keep you on track.
Before the Event
- Solicit sponsors. Start with potential sponsors that you or your organization have direct relationships with. Use your network to determine who can provide warm introductions to new potential sponsors. Create and distribute sponsor value presentations to communicate the benefits of participating in your event.
- Create an event landing page. Add attendee, media and sponsor details and establish tracking and analytics for all social media platforms, advertising campaigns, etc.
- Order swag. Plan and order your swag well in advance. Work with the promotional item company to assure correct art, quantities, and delivery.
- Consider virtual event boxes. Especially relevant for virtual meetings and events, these themed boxes transform your flat-screen presentation into an engaging experience with event swag and gifts sent to attendees prior to event time.
- Select an event management tool. Organize and collect speaker information, attendee registrations and encourage attendee interactions using a tool like Cvent.
- Assign personnel. Work with your team in advance to determine who will represent your business at the event and how. In addition, schedule alternates in case your original representative(s) are unable to attend.
- Alert your printer. It’s always a good idea to request a printing estimate in advance and give your printer an idea of when and where printed materials like flyers, signs and other collateral should be delivered.
- Partner with a PR firm. Start developing media hooks with their assistance.
- Launch a branded targeted campaign. Directed to attendees, this campaign should use social media content, SMM, micro-influencer promotions, email marketing, paid in-network advertising across relevant podcasts, video platforms like CTV/ OTT and display, relevant trade publications, and traditional media outlets as applicable.
- Widen sponsor search. Expand your outreach to new sponsors with paid promotions. Take a competitive deep dive into an industry-adjacent event sponsor list and target decision makers with a high-touch ad campaign customized to highlight the benefits of your event’s sponsorship opportunities.
- Track your results. Install sponsor tracking pixels in analytics for a clear picture of return.
- Distribute social media content. Sponsors and influencer attendees can use the provided content and preferred hashtags to assist in promoting the event.
- Send Save the Date communications. Also, roll out the active PR outreach to industry media.
- Send invitations. Whether by mail or email, send invites 6 -10 weeks out so potential attendees can plan their attendance in advance.
- Share on social media. Customize and publish event-specific social media profile images, cover images and posts to get people talking about your event. Remember to boost posts and run targeted SMM ads to potential audiences.
During the Event
- Set up area. Place signage and get ready to distribute your preplanned flyers or other collateral materials. Are they “take one” items or are you chatting with attendees when handing them out?
- Hand out swag. Are your swag items set for grab and go or will you be handing out items individually? Make this decision in advance, especially if you have a limited number of items to give away.
- Share on social media. Share behind the scenes and take away content style event pics and videos on your social media platforms using an event hashtag. This is especially effective in garnering interest for multi-day event attendees. Leverage social media day of engagement with follower games and new follower incentives.
- Gather data. Don’t miss out on crucial data like the names and email addresses of your attendees or booth visitors. Utilize the event management software or digital business cards to organize and collect networking connections. It will allow you to follow up after the event.
After the Event
- Again, share on social media. Post event videos, pics, and thank you messages on your social media platforms.
- Send a thank you email. Using the crucial data you’ve collected, send an “It was great to meet you” or thank you email to attendees. Follow up with them on discussions or questions that came up during the event.
- Save data to use in the future. Save all advertising data, website traffic, event management software downloads and any other data for future planning purposes.
While this is in no way a comprehensive list of tasks, bookmark this blog or download our checklist to help you do a fantastic job promoting your company’s event before, during and after.
Written by Dana Comfort Gay || Senior Graphic Designer, Financial Services