You already know that email invites, social media promotions, and online advertising are essential to driving ticket sales and registrations. But to maximize attendance, you’ll need more than a few trusty promotional tactics — you’ll need a plan.

Promotional calendars help you get the most out of your event promotion strategy. They can make sure you’re sending out the right message at the right time, and through the appropriate channels.

To get started, download this free 16-week template and use the suggestions below as a guide for how you can plot your marketing and advertising activities for your event.

16 weeks before your event

From venue contracts to vendor and sponsor requests — you have a lot going on before your event goes on sale. But if you take the time to build anticipation and excitement in the weeks leading up to the launch, it will be worth the effort.

On social media, let your community of followers know the date and time that tickets go on sale or registration opens. If you have a list of attendees from previous events, send an email saying the same.

Behind the scenes, you should be laying the groundwork for a successful launch. Sync with speakers, sponsors, and other partners to coordinate on cross promotion strategy for launch.

And while your event website is in the final stages of development, set up your search engine marketing and display advertising campaigns. Your first campaigns should promote the early bird discount and drive awareness.

14 weeks before your event

Your website is launched and the event is now on sale. As is customary, send out the first email invite to let everyone know the event is on sale. Do the same on social media and, if you have one, your blog. Also, if you haven’t yet, consider an early bird ticket discount to incentivize people who plan ahead.

Now is also the right time to launch your search engine marketing and display advertising campaigns. Keep an eye on their progress but don’t make drastic changes just yet. You’ll need a few weeks of data to make more strategic decisions.

Last but not least, make sure your speakers, sponsors, and other partners know tickets and registrations are on sale and that they can start promoting your event. Provide tracking links to monitor their progress and plan to check in with them on a monthly basis.

10 weeks before your event

By now, if your early bird hasn’t sold out, it’s time to end it. Your messaging should demonstrate the value of attending the event. Do this by highlighting speakers and topics, as well as other content that connects attendees to the event experience in your social media and blog posts.

If you have a blog, get speakers and sponsors to guest post and share the post with their networks. This extra distribution channel can help spread the word about your event.

Next, segment your attendees into relevant groups and send more targeted, personalized emails that speak directly to their needs and aspirations. Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue for online businesses. Analyze their performance to find out which messages resonated the most and use the data to inform your email marketing strategy moving forward.

Take a look at your search engine marketing and display advertising campaigns. Evaluate your keywords and targeting to find out what’s working or not. Cut the ad groups or campaigns that didn’t perform, and reallocate their budget into the ones that did.

6 weeks before your event

With your event on the horizon, your messaging should create urgency. Your ads, as well as social and blog posts, should tell interested attendees that time to register is running out. Space out emails over the next three to four weeks to let those on the fence know that they have a limited time to buy.

Now more than ever, you should use retargeting to reach out to people who’ve started the purchase process but never completed it. (You can learn more about retargeting in this post.)

2 weeks before your event

Your event is just around the corner and with a couple of weeks left, it’s time for your last push. One final email to people who received but didn’t open previous emails should let them know that it’s “last call,” and urge them to purchase or register before it’s too late. Final social media and blog posts should also have a sales-focused message with direct calls to make a purchase.

Download the template

As it was mentioned earlier in the post, this is a guide meant to inspire and inform your own event promotion strategy. Your event may need a longer runway to ensure there’s enough time to promote it properly — some events spend an entire calendar year doing it! Whatever the length of your promotion timeline, download this free template, adapt it to your specific needs, then put your plan into action.

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