How to Get Set Up for Success with Event Marketing Systems
Today we are talking about how to get set up for success with event marketing systems. We’ll cover what backend processes and systems are available to help market your events.
When I first started out with speaking gigs and workshops I didn’t really have a system for marketing them. I showed up where I was supposed to and gave relevant presentations that got fantastic feedback and reviews, but I didn’t announce anywhere I was speaking. That was a mistake. The more you speak, the more other people want you to speak. Even though I wasn’t responsible for getting butts into seats for those events, I still should have added them to my events calendar to let people know what I was up to. I’m much better about doing this on the regular now.
Events need a little special attention. There is so much to think of ahead of time and plan! I’m a bit in awe of large event planners who organize the details around venue, meals, and the many, many physical things that have to happen for an event to feel good to its participants. I highly suggest working with an event planner or coordinator if you’re doing a major event. You will pay a fee up front, but you will save time, headache, and money in the end for sure!
3 Types of Attendees
When I first started marketing my group classes and workshops, I made the mistake of only giving two weeks’ notice. I was good at marketing myself as an expert in general and how to hire me privately, but I wasn’t letting people know exactly when and where they could attend my in person events soon enough. My client care coordinator, Kelly, had much more event marketing experience than I, and she made a great point: You need to give each type of person appropriate notice and remind them of your event at the right times. Planners need more heads up than I was giving them.
1. Far Out Planners (Or Extreme Planners)
These are they people who, like me, put things on their calendar years in advance. As soon as they hear about an event they are interested in attending, they schedule it. These people are already committed to activities two weeks out, and even if they are not, they don’t like adding things last minute. So it makes sense to announce a save the date as soon as you have one and open registration to early birds when that makes sense. I love to buy tickets during a pre-sale because I’m a dork.
2. Loose Planners
People who start looking for events 1-2 weeks in advance are still planners; they just aren’t as structured as the other type of planners. To get these people to attend your event, you need to make announcements more frequently as the date draws closer and make sure it’s easily searchable. These people are actively looking for something to do, so make sure they can find you!
Those lovable free spirits who fly by the seat of their pants don’t make any plans until the day of the event – for the most part. This is Kelly, in case you were wondering. She would plan things out for other people but would rarely choose to make plans until the last minute for herself. Hilarious! Pantsers are why you need to continue advertising your event and making sure it’s searchable right up until the event itself.
There’s no right or wrong way for people to approach their personal calendars per se; they’re just different. They’re all out there – extreme planners, loose planners, and pansters – so presenting your events in a way that makes sense to each of them means you get more people to attend your event and everybody wins!
Systems, Processes, and Templates You Need Before You Promote
Before all the details of this event can come to pass, you will need systems in place to attract your ideal attendees and convince them to purchase a ticket and show up! You need to play your event launch as a customer journey. Yep, that’s a marketing funnel. There are plenty of materials for you to prepare.
Landing/Sales Page: This details why the event works for your attendees, who is a good fit, and who is NOT a good fit. Let your non-ideal clients weed themselves out early; there are plenty of other people out there who are your ideal client. Be sure to mention the venue, date and time, price, and speaker/sponsors. I currently use Thrive Themes to creating landing pages and SamCart for sales pages because they convert!
Registration Software and Payment System: In order to get paid, you need a ticketing system. Use whichever one feels natural and easy to you, and pay the fee to be able to accept cards. The extra business will more than make up for it. I use vCita with Stripe integration for registrations and ticketing because it allows my attendees to easily register online.
Email Follow Up: Your email series should be ready to go before you start. Trust me, this will save you time and headaches galore. Your regular promotion series should include an announcement, stories and testimonials, social proof, opportunities to make a change or stay the same, and last chance offers. Your reminder and activation series needs emails thanking customers for purchasing and setting expectations, reinforcing expectations and inviting them to share your event, and reminders of event date/time, dress code, parking, meals, etc. Do not underestimate the power of email marketing.
After the Event: Be sure to send an event recap to everyone and a thank you to attendees with a request for feedback. You can also opt to offer a discounted ticket to the next event as part of your thank you.
For Social Media: You will need to create graphics packs, quotes, images, banners, and headers. Banners and headers announce sales open, sales closing or at the door only, any specials or bonuses, featured speakers and keynotes, sponsors, and testimonials and social proof. These take time to create, so be sure to get started early.
Supporting Materials: Blog articles and content upgrades related to your events. These are not straight advertisements. Instead, they are educational materials designed to get people interested in the topic(s) of your event.
Guest Podcasts, Blog Posts, and PR
Have outreach emails ready and send them in advance, so you can time your appearances on podcasts, others blogs, etc. Have descriptions written and ready to post on event sites. For networking events and speaking engagements, create physical flyers or cards, and have press releases ready to go.
Remember, this is a launch! You may use the 90 Day Launch Plan to organize this content for a major event. If your event is smaller, you can scale it back a bit, but the idea is the same. Download your 90 Day Launch Plan Here.
Example of Planned Systems, Processes, and Templates
Emails: Create segmented lists. One for past attendees acknowledging they are return clients and reinforcing the fantastic experience they had last time, and a similar email series inviting first timers and showing the value and benefit of their attendance. Segmented lists are essential. You don’t want valuable return clients to think you forgot who they are. Also create a follow up email series thanking attendees for their time.
Social Media: Make your event hashtag, so your event is searchable and categorized. You never know, your chosen hashtag might catch a viral wave, increasing your exposure and attendance. Compose promo videos and images for before, during, and after your event because making posts engaging and sharable is easier when done in advance. There is less pressure before your marketing and event really get going. Bring in spontaneous fun by also posting live during the event. Build your ads and consider making a thank you ad for after the event that retargets attendees and offers them an exclusive pre-sale for your next event! If you know what your next promotion after this event will be, keep an eye out for photo ops, quotes, and testimonials from your current event you can use for your future event.
PR: Have your press releases and press kit ready to go. To track new mentions, set up Google Alerts.
Website: Do NOT leave your landing/ sales page to the last minute. This is where people BUY! Meet your attendees’ needs immediately by anticipating and answering frequently asked questions on your website. This is where you can really spell things out for people who need extra information to feel secure in their decision to spend their time and money with you. Call out any elephants in the room and clearly address them.
If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it IS! However, all of this time and preparation frees your time up later. Why? Because this is a repeatable system AND because when you have the system down you make more money. This is a case of causation not correlation. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is yummy! 😉
Special Guest, Danielle Fitzpatrick Clark
Danielle Fitzpatrick Clark uses her virtual summits and podcasts to fill her in person events.
Danielle is a #1 Bestselling Author, and the Better-Than-Blueprint Business Coach for the influential entrepreneur. She has helped 6 and 7-figure small business owners and entrepreneurs become more visible, scale their business, increase their cash flow, and tailor their success to build their dreams on their terms, following their yellow brick road.
Find out more about her at https://daniellefitzpatrickclark.com/
A Repeatable Plan of Action
A large part of marketing successfully without drowning in overwhelm is getting ahead of the project. Setting a timeline and getting organized makes an enormous difference, but you also need a plan of ACTION.
Much like every other area of business and marketing, when you create these systems and templates with a purpose it becomes much, much easier to repeat the process. The first time is always the hardest. You should literally congratulate yourself for completing the project! Meeting your goals and filling the seats is also awesome, and you are much more likely to accomplish your mission when you put in the work up-front. The sooner you can get your marketing collateral and back-end systems set up, the better. Last minute can get the job done in a pinch but it’s so much less stressful to get ahead of your events with marketing systems, processes, and templates.
I have a question for you.
Answer me on your favorite social channel.
Do you host live events for your clients? Why or why not?