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Promote your event like a pro

Watch our live class replay as Shunte Gamble shares her process for creating the marketing plan and graphic assets for her annual Women Empowering Change conference. Shunte touches on everything from how to build your event blueprint to launching your marketing campaign.

PosterMyWall live class: Promote your event like a pro

Planning and promoting an event is no simple task. There are many elements involved: developing your vision, inviting attendees, creating promotional materials, finding sponsors and partners, and more. The secret to pulling all of this off (without going too crazy) is to employ a streamlined management process.

In this week’s live class, Shunte Gamble shared her process for building an event plan and timeline, creating a compelling event brand, and launching an effective marketing campaign. She also shared a workbook you can use to apply her process to creating and implementing a marketing plan for your own event.

Shunte is an author and entrepreneur. She runs her own radio station called “Mix Talk Radio,” and is the producer of the annual Women Empowering Change conference. 

Watch the replay above or continue reading for a summary of Shunte’s presentation. 

Build a blueprint for your event

Step 1: Create your purpose

Shunte explained that just like every tool and device we own, every event has to have a purpose. Without a clear purpose, you’ll have a hard time attracting attendees, speakers, or sponsors.

It’s alright if you’re confused about where to start. At this point in time, your event is just an idea in your head. So, here’s what Shunte does: Take out a journal, grab a pen, and start writing. Flesh out your idea and scribble down everything that comes to mind. 

As you scribble, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you doing this event?
  • Why should people come to it?
  • Why should a sponsor invest in your event?
  • What are you hoping to achieve by doing it?

Keep going until you feel you’ve achieved clarity.

Step 2: Construct your vision

The next step is to define your vision–or how you will achieve your purpose. What type of event are you going to host? Who will your guests be? What will it all look like?

To develop your vision, sit down with your purpose in front of you and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where will your event take place? (If it’s an outdoor event, you will have to take into account the weather on the day of the event.)
  • What are the dates? 
  • Is it a seminar, a conference, a gala, a bash, a summit, or a combination?
  • Will your guests be dancing or sitting down?
  • Will your guests learn anything? 
  • Will there be a speech? Will you need a stage and a podium?
  • What will your guests be taking with them after the event? (This could be knowledge, a business connection, a smile, or something else.)

Shunte believes crafting your vision is the most important part of your event planning process. “Don’t rush this part. Think hard about what your event will look like. Envision it in your mind. And think about what you hope to accomplish by throwing it,” Shunte said. This is also the step where you’ll finalize your itinerary and the things you’ll need (e.g. tables, chairs, speakers, water bottles.)

As you develop your vision, remember that things don’t always go according to plan. Shunte recommends that you prepare for the unexpected by leaving room in your vision to pivot if you need to deviate from your original plan due to unforeseen circumstances. What if a vendor pulls out last-minute? What if one of the speakers cancels on the day of the event? What if your guest of honor gets sick? Knowing that things can go wrong, and being prepared to adjust ensures that your event will be a success regardless of what life throws your way.

Step 3: Build a guest profile

This is where you create your ideal guest. Who do you want to attend your event? Who will you market the event to? This, of course, will depend on the type of event you’re organizing. 

Here are a few things to consider when defining your ideal guest profile:

  • Age
  • Profession
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Goals

Your ideal guest will be someone who has a problem, need, or challenge that your event solves.   Someone who will leave your event feeling happy and empowered. For instance, let’s say you’re organizing a yoga retreat. You might define your ideal guest as someone in their twenties, thirties, or forties who has a high-stress job and needs to unwind. 

Step 4: Build a sponsor profile

To run a good event, you need the right support and resources. If you are looking for sponsors to support your event, don’t reach out to just anybody. Reach out to people who already have a vested interest in the topic of your event. This will make it more likely that they will say yes to your request. 

This requires that you conduct some research to determine who your ideal sponsor will be. In order to reach out to a potential sponsor, you have to figure out where someone who fits your profile is likely to be. For instance, it’s easier to find a 40 year old business professional on LinkedIn than it is on TikTok. If you’re running a women empowerment conference, your best bet would be to approach women-owned businesses.

Next, identify what that sponsor’s vision and mission is. This is so that when you pitch to them, you can communicate how your partnership will benefit them. “Sponsorship requests are most likely to be accepted when the sponsor feels like the partnership is mutually beneficial,” Shunte said. 

Shunte’s first formula: Purpose + Clarity = Blueprint 

Create your marketing plan

Your blueprint will drive your marketing plan. For instance, the look and feel of your promotional content should be selected to appeal to your ideal guest. (I.e. if you’re marketing to a younger audience, you might want to use  bright colors and images.) 

When you create your marketing plan, consider these questions:

  • What is the timeframe for your marketing? How far in advance of the event should your campaign launch?
  • Do you have the tools to launch a successful campaign? (These may include video editing software, graphics software, a laptop, etc.)
  • Will you need outside support for your marketing? Any third party websites?
  • What is your social media strategy?

Shunte’s marketing chart below demonstrates what her planning process looks like:

Social media marketing

Always consider the top five social media platforms:

1. Facebook

Facebook is for connecting with your audience. It allows you to post multiple paragraphs of text with images so you can share about your event in detail. It’s also the perfect promotional tool if your ideal guest is over 45 years old.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great for marketing your event to potential sponsors. You’ll find a ton of entrepreneurs and business executives here, and you can use LinkedIn to network with them and promote your event. Like Facebook, you can also post lengthy paragraphs and images that offer in-depth information about your event.

3. Instagram

Instagram is primarily about images. “Make sure your images aren’t always static. Mix things up by posting GIFs and short videos,” Shunte said. This will drive higher engagement and make your event look more exciting. 

4. TikTok

Believe it or not, a lot of businesses now have TikTok pages, which means you can even use TikTok to find sponsors and reach attendees. Here, you can create bite-sized videos and video conference posters to spread the word about your event.

5. Twitter

Twitter is great for updating your potential guests and sponsors about the happenings surrounding your event. It allows for short, quick texts so everyone can stay in the loop about any last-minute changes or exciting news. 

Shunte recommends selling event tickets through Eventbrite, and then linking your social media accounts to Eventbrite so that people can easily purchase their tickets through your social media pages. 

Website marketing

Having your own event website builds brand authority and brand trust. It also serves as a one-stop resource for anyone looking for more information about your event. “Now, if this is your first event and you don’t own a business, you might not want to invest in a website. But I highly recommend that you do because it will increase the chances of your event becoming a success,” Shunte said. 

There are plenty of free ways to make a website, for instance, through WordPress. It takes very little time and the templates help you create a professional website in just a couple of hours. 

Manage your time

For a successful event, start your planning nine months to a year in advance. This will give you plenty of time to work through the kinks in your organizing and marketing plan, and improve on strategies that don’t work the first time. Remember, the earlier you start the process, the less stressful it will be for you. 

Shunte says that if a marketing strategy doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up. “It takes time to be perfect. So give that to yourself and don’t be afraid to fall on your face the first couple of times,” Shunte said. Learn from your mistakes and apply what you learn to build an even stronger marketing strategy the next time. 

Shunte’s second formula: Blueprints + Marketing Tools + Time = Plan

Create your marketing materials

PosterMyWall makes it incredibly simple to make all your marketing materials, whether they’re for your website, your social media, or your in-person marketing. You don’t have to outsource anything. All you have to do is pick a template that you like and get started. 

To figure out what your promotional content will look like, answer Shunte’s guiding questions:

  • What do you want your guests and sponsors to see?
  • How do you fit your brand into your content?
  • Does the content deliver your message clearly? (People shouldn’t have to think too hard to figure out what they’re looking at. Your message should be front and center.)

When it comes to flyer making, Shunte has three main goals. 

Goal 1: Always provide important information

This includes the date of the event, the time, and the location. These pieces of information are key to the effectiveness of your promotion. So make sure they’re present and visible.

Goal 2: Choose the right colors

Select colors for your marketing assets that complement the mood and tone of your event. Darker colors reflect a more serious, professional mood while lighter colors reflect brighter, happier moods. 

Shunte recommends creating a color palette and then incorporating your chosen colors into different elements on your flyer. “Limit yourself to three main colors on your flyer. There can be other secondary colors, but any more than three main colors might overwhelm your audience,” Shunte said. 

You can use a website like Coolers to generate your ideal color palette in minutes. 

Goal 3: Stamp your style

Your brand should be present and visible in your flyers, through your colors, images, and font selection. A consistent brand helps to improve your credibility as an event organizer and expresses who you are as a business or individual. PosterMyWall templates allow you to customize every element of your design, so that you can create a design that’s really you in minutes. 

When you launch your promotional campaign, start with an initial announcement. The goal of this announcement is awareness, so it should go out weeks or even months before your actual event. While this asset doesn’t actively encourage people to sign up, it will give your target audience a feel for the event, and build initial hype. 

Next comes a focus piece  where you actively promote your event and advertise the speakers and the agenda. The focus piece should be launched at least a month prior to your event, especially if your attendees will need to sign up to attend.

One type of focus piece is the “countdown flyer.” This encourages people to act fast. You can countdown the days to the event or let people know that tickets are going fast. 

Shunte’s third formula: Blueprint + Plan + Tools = Your Campaign

Following Shunte’s process is a simple way to tackle your event plan and marketing campaign.  If you’d like Shunte’s complete event planning course and workbook, download the free bonus content.

“Remember that you’re not in this alone. Planning and promoting is a group effort, so take help from anywhere you can get it — whether it’s through tools like PosterMyWall or through sponsors — and kick off your campaign,” Shunte said.