What is an event marketing plan?

What is an event marketing plan?

I spent ten years promoting events in music venues, so I have written quite a few marketing plans in my time. There are variations to these depending on the sector of events. This article just focuses on the key elements that will apply to most sectors. 

An event marketing plan shows all of the steps needed to achieve the marketing objectives you set at the start of the event, for example, ticket sales, social engagement or brand awareness. That plan will outline the tools, techniques and channel you will use to achieve those objectives.

Right now, you’ll probably be reading this thinking how to start writing an event marketing plan. It can seem daunting because there is always pressure on to meet event objectives like selling tickets or generating sponsorship. 

Just to be clear, in my view, at this point, an event marketing plan is not the same thing as a marketing event. A marketing event is a type of event ( often for brand awareness) that in itself may have its event marketing plan to attract people to attend.

The key elements of an event marketing plan

  1. Event goals or objectives
  2. Target audience for the event
  3. Marketing channels
  4. Communication and promotional tactics
  5. Marketing timeline
  6. Evaluation

Let look at each of these key elements in detail.

What are my event goals or objectives?

Before you can even begin to write a marketing plan, you need to understand what your event objectives are, also called goals. The terms are interchangeable and can mean slightly different things, but for this article, we will focus on setting your event goals.

These will of course vary from event to event, but you must write these first.

The goals you set must be SMART,  be you can find help on setting smart objectives for events here. By making your event objectives SMART, they should have specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely element. The first two are the most important as it will allow you to under some evaluation of your event marketing plan at the end.

Example of specific event goals

  • Number of tickets to sell
  • To break even financially
  • Engagement on social media (e.g. likes on Facebook) 
  • Clicks on a link on a promotional email
  • QR code scans from a flyer campaign.
  • Sponsors satisfaction.

Your event marketing plan will then illustrate how you intend to achieve those goals. 

Who is the target audience for the event?

A good event marketing plan will clearly illustrate and identify the target audience for your event. The marketing plan will identify this early on clearly describing how the marketing and promotional elements will reach this target audience to satisfy your event objectives.

The target audience for an event can be large or small,  and sometimes you may find that you have more than one audience. 

Having multiple target audiences doesn’t mean you need numerous event marketing plans, but you may need to use different marketing channels such as social media for each. Writing this down in a marketing plan enables you to clear ear about how you will do that.

Which marketing channels will you use?

Your event marketing plan will outline which marketing channels best fit your target audience and therefore offer the best chance of meeting your event goals. You may think that you simply want to use as many marketing channels as possible, but this is untargeted marketing and not advisable.

Untargeted marketing will be expensive as you may be spending money or resources on marketing channels that are not reaching your intended target audience. The alternative to this is to use targeted marketing.

Targeted marketing means you only use those marketing channels where your defined target audience also exist for use.

For example if you wanted to target and mainly teenage audience, you may consider music social media platforms such as Snapchat or Tiktok. This demographic is known to use those marketing channels heavily full stop; this might not be a good strategy if your target audience is made me retired people.

OK, that is a bit of an extreme example. Still, I hope that illustrates why giving due consideration to the marketing channels you intend to use is so essential, especially if you are on on the tight budget and have limited resources.

This method target marketing allows you to gain the maximum return turn for the minimum amount of import. Your event marketing plan should therefore include a list of marketing channels most suited to reaching your target audience.

Communication and promotional tactics

Your event marketing plan should be clear ear around the types of communication and the language you plan to use to promote your event full stop this may start with your brand and the values that you wish to be known.

You should consider the type of language that you want to use in all of the communications you plan to put out. Does your event suit a more formal tone, or would you prefer to speak with more casual language? 

It is essential to make this decision early on and then act consistently throughout the promotion of your event. A communication plan in your marketing is all part of delivering a consistent experience to your potential attendees.

For events, photos and videos are now a crucial element of any marketing campaign, and so you need to consider how and when to use them to best effect. 

Videos can be handy for delivering large amounts of information such as ticket prices and release dates without having to post a long page of text and can often be more attractive to view for your audience.

Promotional tactics vary depending on where you are in the timeline of your event marketing plan. It may also depend on how new or popular your event is,

For example, a brand new event may need to employ promotional activities such as ticket discounting during the early part of the marketing campaign, which often helps to get sales moving and maintain adequate cash flow within the event.

Other promotional tactics could include ticket deals for groups, discounted tickets for previous attendees or using partners such as sponsors to help sell the events as they may have a larger audience than you do.

One final point to consider here is how your potential attendees can interact with you. Many events now rely on the co-creation of value, which means allowing attendees to have a voice and contribute towards the event experience.  Consider how you will manage and facilitate this voice to ensure that people feel their views of valued and therefore building a stronger relationship with them.

Marketing timeline

Your timeline is another crucial element of your event marketing plan. When approaching this experience of past events and evaluation of those event marketing plans should allow you to improve this timeline each year. 

Typically these timelines are designed in software such as a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel), but there are custom event management software available. See our resources pages for ideas.

Another tip to give you here is to consider using social media bookers to pre-plan or schedule social media posts. Again depending on the social media that you plan to use it’s worth investigating even what time of the day is the best time to post your content. We have some of our favourites on our resources pages.


Evaluation is always the last thing in your event marketing plan, but it can be the most crucial element if you run an event that happens regularly. One of the reasons that you set yourself SMART objective at the start was so that you can then measure if you achieve those goals within the context of this marketing plan.

You should look back at various checkpoints during the marketing plan, and your goals for that point,  did you achieve these?

Depending on the original goals, there are a variety of tactics that you can use with your evaluation. Sometimes short surveys of customers can best, other times, perhaps you need to engage in some feedback with contractors or suppliers.

So they have a short overview of what an event marketing plan is. There are variations to this depending on the type of event that you have. But all should have these core elements included. 

How often should you promote an event on social media?

It’s certainly a given that you should be using social media to promote your event online, but are you posting too much or too little? 

Does this even matter?

Posting too little could mean a lack of traction for your event and no one sees your posts, while over-posting could be spammy and equally a turn off for people.

Luckily Coschedule went through 14 different studies to see what the ideal frequency was for posting online. In this article, we reflect on how this impacts onto event promotion.

You should promote an event on social media at the following frequency:

  • Facebook: 1 post per day or five posts per week
  • Twitter: 15 tweets per day
  • Pinterest: 11 pins per day
  • LinkedIn: 1 time per day
  • Instagram: 1 time per day

One of the most prominent internet experts in marketing, Neil Patel makes a fantastic point about posting consistently on social media:

“If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance, and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed”.

Quality over quantity of post

While you’ve come here to understand what the optimal number of times to post on social media, an essential first consideration before that is understanding the quality always beats quantity in the social media world.

It is much better to post quality content at a lower frequency than it is generally posting too much. Of course, publishing high-quality content in high volume is unlikely to do you any harm. 

But don’t feel the need to pad out a schedule with lower-level content for the sake of it.

One way to look at it is how will each post adds value to the day of the person viewing it. 

When you’re trying to sell an event, the creation of value in this way can be demanding as you become distracted by click-throughs to your ticket page and anxiety about whether or not tickets will sell.

 If you’re like me, I easily to get distracted

While it is tempting to post information about your ticket page, that won’t necessarily add value to someone’s day. That’s why understanding the optimal number of posts is important.

Consistency on each social media platform is always key, try to establish a regular pattern of posting content and then stick to it. You might find this is a particular time of day that works well with your audience. Check the analytics on your posts and tweak as you go.

Set some goals about what you want to achieve with your social media promotion so that you’re able to measure success when it hopefully comes.

But what does all of this mean in the context of event promotion? Lets look at each social network in turn.


Hubspot looked at Facebook data from their 13,500+ customers to see if posting more often, helped to reach more people. They found that if a business had over 10,000 followers, then they were the only ones who saw a benefit from posting over 61 times a month (or twice a day) 


They also found that businesses with less than 10,000 followers received 50% fewer clicks per post when they published twice a day!

So if you’re a small event with less than 10,000 followers or you are just starting, you should consider sticking to the one post a day rule, but try to make that post amazing and give something of real value to your followers.

You might want to consider how a post can help to grow awareness of your event page or the event you have set up on Facebook.

Key Takeaway: You should stick to posting high quality, engaging content once a day or five times per week about your event.


Twitter is slightly different to Facebook posts as tweets have a very limited lifetime of 15-20 minutes, according to RevLocal. 

After this time, your followers have received enough new tweets that yours have been are pushed to the bottom.

Twitter uses a metric called Engagement Rate that refers to retweets, follows, replies, favourites and click-throughs received by your tweets. You should keep a close eye on how your tweets perform and at what time of the day. 

Again, understanding your audience and the content they like to engage with is key to improving this Engagement Rate.

The data from CoSchedules points to tweeting 15 times a day as the optimum frequency. Given that’s quite a few tweets it is worth engaging with some automatic software (Like Buffer) that can handle your social media queue and post automatically. 

Key Takeaway: 15 tweets is the optimum, but it that number and timing may vary for your audience. Key an eye on your Engagement Rate and tweak as you go.


Events and Instagram are seemingly made for each other. Events produce highly visual and engaging experiences that are intangible, so future events rely on imagery to sell themselves.

Because of this, much of the research suggests that one post is enough, but it must be of a consistently high quality that people on this platform expect.

Key Takeaway: 1 post may be enough, but you should put as much effort into making that post as high quality and value-creating for your audience as possible. 


Pinterest is one of the largest search engines in the world and has a very particular user base who like to curate boards with images and posts relating to topics they love.

In this sense, it allows someone to build their personal event experience through images before they come to an event.

When posting to Pinterest, you should share new pins as often as possible. It used to be the case that Pinterest favoured rapid repining of posts, but now seems to favour new content.

Pinning and repinning images 11 times a day can be time-consuming. Luckily there is an amazing program called Tailwind that will help to this for you. It also has some premium feature, like Tribes that will help to grow your audience. 

Key Takeaway: As with Instagram, use high-quality images. Pinning and repinning each day is time-consuming so consider using an automation tool like Tailwind.

How to auto post on social media

There are many great tools available which allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, so you don’t have to worry about posting each day. These tools will help you to streamline your workflow and save you time.

It would be best if you still tried to work with about a month of material in advance of posting. This volume should help to keep the quality of your posts high without the risk of nothing of having nothing to post.

Some of the more popular also posting programmes are listed below:

Buffer – This is a great tool that I’ve used many times before. It has a free version that lets you use a limited number of social media accounts for free. You can schedule regular slots each day for each social channel so that to can fill up your Buffer queue. If you are on a budget, this is a great starting point.

Tailwind – Made for Pinterest, this also covers Instagram posting so it’s got you covered for photo-based social media. As with most of these programs there is a free trial but the paid version gets you access to the premium features like Tailwind Tribes and Smartloop which help you to grow your following.

PromoRepublic – This allows you to manage multiple accounts in one place so might be worth looking at if you have several different event brands that you manage. You can even recycle old posts again, which is a handy tool for something like Twitter.

For other tools, check out our resources page as we keep that up to date with our latest reviews and recommendation on how to promote your events. 

I hope that has been useful, it’s often a question that I get asked repeatedly by students of mine, and so while no two events are the same, it gives to a good starting point. Always remember to focus on what your target audience likes to consume!


How Often To Post On Social Media? – CoSchedule

How Often You Should Post On Social Media Platforms

How early should you start promoting an event?

Timing is a question that I get asked all the time from my University students. The honest answer is it depends on the type of events that you are promoting. I have over 20 years’ experience in marketing events, so I have a lot of experience to share, both good and bad!

In this post, we’re going to explore time scales needed to promote a variety of the most popular types of event, focusing on local, regional, national and even international.

When promoting events, you should leave a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks; this will allow your audience enough time to learn about your event and decide about attending.

How much time do I need to promote an event?

Knowing what is the correct amount of time to promote your event can be the difference between success and failure. If you leave too little time, people will not have the chance to discover your event or worse, forget about it! Too much time and you may find that you waste valuable expenditure on marketing materials or adverts.

Understanding who your audience is and the type of event is key to this process. Not only will the event-type dictate how long it will need to promote, but you also need to consider your audience. Consider what the audience buying behaviour is for the type of event that you plan to promote.

For example, large music festivals will often put their tickets on sale shortly after the previous year’s event.  They know people have just enjoyed the experience and will be keen to relive that the following year.

In contrast, smaller events such as local music night may only need 6 to 8 weeks for marketing. This audience rarely make an informed decision about attending until the week or even the day of the event.

This concept is perhaps better understood by considering the scale of the events in terms of local, regional, national or even international. Primarily, the larger the event, the longer the amount of time needed to promote it.

Now clearly some international events such as the Olympics promote themselves. There is very little active promotion may be needed to sell tickets as demand is so high. However, they will still need to consider a brand and marketing communication plan years in advance.

Launch your event.

Now there is a difference between launching the event to the public and actively promoting the event. As soon as you’re able to confirm the date for your event, you can announce it with a “hold the data” date teaser and website.

Launching puts the notice out there for those who may be interested. This tactic works particularly well for annual events where people come regularly, and the event manager has an email database.

One top tip here is to add an email address subscription tool to your website for people to sign to notifications. Email lists are a far more powerful way to promote any event than using social media. Start making an email database as soon as you launch the event date so people can sign up for more information.

Remember that first impressions count! You should ensure that all of your branding and website is complete before you launch the event. You can’t go back and undo any poor representation of your event afterwards.

Launching puts your event onto the attendee’s radar which starts to help build a buzz around the event in anticipation of tickets going on sale and your active promotion.

After you have announced the date, then you can continue to plan the event without actively promoting it, that will come at a later phase. Let’s look at the different sizes of an event to understand the ballpark times when you should consider starting your active promotion.

Ramping up your promotion

When you start the process of ramping up to be actively promoting your event, timing is everything.

Local Events

Local events are those that attract anywhere between 50 to 500 people and more often than not happen regularly week to week or month to month. Local events can often be the hardest to promote as you may have a small target audience but also more commonly quite a tiny marketing budget.

For this reason, you must pick the right time to start actively promoting your event. You don’t want to start promoting too early, and then people forget about the event. Vice versa you don’t want to leave it until the week before as you may find you can’t reach out to enough people in time.

Typically local events should allow between six and eight weeks to promote actively. That is not to say that if you have an annual local event, you cannot put out some light marketing information up to a year in advance. For example, you are asking people to hold the date for a particular local music festival. This is true if you know the date for next year.

You will actively start to promote the event eight weeks before to get people interested in buying tickets.

Regional Events

Regional events typically are those that ranked between 500 to 10,000 people and will usually only take place once or twice a year. With this number of people, the amount of time to promote the event is between 6 and 9 months.

Again these numbers allow for a launch date before you actively start promoting the event. Again, it would help if you considered who your target audience is. Is your audience the kind of people who like to buy tickets early or perhaps your event as an artist that will cause people to buy tickets on the day they go on sale.

If it is, great but unfortunately, not all events can be this lucky and will need to give serious strategic thought as to when to begin actively promoting the event.

National Events

National events will almost certainly have a promotional timeline of a year or more, again depending on the type of events and the target audience.

National events are typically those that take place once a year such as major festivals, sporting events or exhibitions. Again as with the previous two types of events comment a launch date holding a date is fine. Still, in this case, active promotion usually starts at that point as well.

These types of events will often put tickets on sale immediately after the previous year’s event as they try to ride the wave of good feeling from those that attended.

The type of marketing channels (e.g. TV or radio) that a national event may use may also have much longer lead times.  Again, a careful and strategic marketing communications plan should be created to divide up how the year’s budget will be spent.

International Events

International events will often promote themselves, and an excellent example of this is the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup. Such is the popularity of these events that they require very little promotion. They will be promoted up to four years in advance depending on their cycle.

They are so popular they often sell themselves especially, and demand will be quite high when tickets go on sale.

Events at this level will have marketing and branding budgets in the millions of dollars range and a serious and strategic marketing plan we required.


So to summarise the key takeaways from this post are that you need to understand the size of your event; who’s coming to your event and when they will buy tickets for your event. From here, you can start to develop a marketing communication plan based on the time frame as described above. Hopefully, you’ll have a successful event. Best of luck