As businesses are slowly starting up in-person events again, it’s important that the time, expense, and energy you spend on these events pay off. Below is a comprehensive timeline of event marketing activities to promote your event and execute effective follow-up after the event for the best results.

Marketing timeline prior to the start of the event

action plan prioritiesPromoting an event needs to start well in advance to give participants enough time to plan on attending. Here’s a suggested timeline your marketing person can implement:

3 months before the event

Try these tactics 90 days out:

  • Start planning website collateral for the event
  • Start designing print collateral to promote the event
  • Start social media messaging, including early bird pricing; 2 posts
  • The first email announcing the event (direct to the website, early-bird pricing, etc.)
  • Identify other events to collaborate with
  • Reach out to local press for potential coverage of the event

 2 months before the event

Here are a few action items to do 60 days prior to the event:

  • Launch website collateral for the event
  • Ask speakers to submit videos to showcase on-site, social, and email marketing
  • Create event attendee how-to guide (downloadable with an email address)
  • A second email regarding the event (showcase speakers)
  • Continue social messaging (images from past events, planning insider peek); 2 – 4 posts
  • Post the event on third party event sites like Eventbrite
  • Start paid social ads
  • Identify 3rd party industry sites for potential ad placement opportunities

 1 month before the event

contentWith 30 days to go, start ramping up promotion efforts:

  • Start speaker and vendor PR outreach planning
  • Solicit speakers for guest posts
  • Reach out to speakers and sponsors regarding social media support
  • Reach out to speakers and sponsors regarding email marketing support
  • Send out an event press release
  • Post and promote attendee how-to guide
  • Last push for early bird pricing
  • A third email regarding the event (showcase sessions and events; early bird ending)
  • Continue social messaging (weekly), showcase sessions
  • Post paid ads on 3rd party sites if identified in month 2

 3 weeks before the event

Start making your messaging more specific and detailed during these last few weeks. Try:

  • A fourth email regarding the event (highlight activity during the event such as a golf tournament or silent auction)
  • Weekly social messaging – showcase speakers and sponsors
  • Share speaker and sponsor PR

 2 weeks before the event

email subject lineWith 14 days to go, increase your messaging online:

  • A fifth email regarding the event (helpful hints on attending. Promote attendee guide)
  • 2x/week social messaging – ask who is attending and why (solicit engagement)
  • Share speaker and sponsor PR

1 week before the event

7 days out, increase your messaging and provide helpful content:

  • A sixth email regarding the event (last-minute planning, etc.)
  • 3x/week social messaging

Day before event

It’s almost go time! Make sure everyone is ready to attend and have all that they need:

  • Send an email regarding the event – reminder email, looking forward to seeing you, helpful local info (weather, local attractions, etc.)
  • Social media messaging (see email messaging above)

Marketing timeline during event marketing

social media messagingJust because event day has arrived doesn’t mean your marketing efforts are over. Here are a few ideas to keep the momentum going and shine the spotlight on your event:

  • Solicit participant feedback
  • Shoot video snippets
  • Live tweeting
  • Daily social media update (create a dedicated event hashtag like #CoolMarketingEvent)
  • Post images on social channels
  • Remind speakers and sponsor to continue their marketing (social media, etc.)

After event marketing activities

Once the event is over, don’t let the excitement wane. Take advantage while the occasion is still fresh in the minds of attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers. Try these tactics to leverage in your marketing efforts:

  • Write post-event wrap-up article
  • Survey attendees
  • Survey speakers
  • Survey sponsors
  • Create a culmination video
  • Get presenter presentations on Slideshare
  • Thank you email to attendees
  • Share images of the event
  • Share a glimpse into what’s on the agenda for next year (announce the location, keynote, etc.)
  • Promote access to presentations online for potential members who join within 30 days of the event.

Anyone who has ever put on an event knows the substantial amount of work that goes into the planning and execution of a successful affair. Having an event marketing plan in place will help you get the best ROI for all that hard work.

Patty Hughes
Follow Us!