by Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM | May 01, 2015
An effective event-marketing plan is the result of research (competitive intelligence, extensive market and audience knowledge), analytics (reviewing statistics from previous and similar events, as well as comparable industry data) and the strategic use of multiple channels (direct mail, web, digital and print advertising, social media).

If you are underwhelmed by your marketing results or feel it's time to revamp your current strategy, a few simple tweaks can set you on the right path. The following tips can help you see both an uptick in attendance and a stronger bottom line.

Time It Right
Timing is crucial for the success of any event: Market your event too far in advance of the meeting date and everyone will forget about it; market it too late and nobody will be available. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof algorithm that can predict the perfect timeline for marketing different types of events. You need to study and know what works best for your industry, your organization and your event. However, a few general rules hold true:

• Annual events should be promoted at the close of the current year's meeting. Some associations promote and market their events as soon as they are booked, even if they are several years in the future.

Exclusive small meetings and workshops might need only months or weeks to market.   

A general rule of thumb is that the more an event costs to attend, the more advance notice to potential attendees is required.

Tap Into Social Networks
Increase your event's visibility and reach by tapping into social media networks. Share your event details with affinity/networking groups, and let them tell your story. Package your event details so they can be easily shared, forwarded and "liked," and let the social media networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram) do the work for you. If Facebook taught us anything, it is that friends and peers influence us arguably more than any other direct marketing can.

Keep It Brief
Most planners use 75 percent more copy than is necessary in their emails, in my experience, typically because they are trying to cover too many bases at once. To be more effective, consider the following:

Target your audiences so you do not have to include all the information that will appeal to all attendees in one email. Keep emails as brief and relevant as possible.

Segment your mailing lists by specific criteria, e.g., members, past attendees, special interests, etc.

Be sure each communication lets the recipient know why and how they will benefit from attending the event.

Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM, is an event producer and writer who specializes in strategic global event marketing. She is based in Pacifica, Calif.