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As tens of thousands of socially deprived fun-seekers are vaxxing it up and getting out there in public again, we are seeing more and more events pop up on calendars everywhere we look. From concerts and grand openings to festivals, sporting events, and much, much more, it’s almost like “normal time” again. If your company is considering planning an event in the near future, I want to share an easy event marketing strategy that we use for our own clients such as Green Top Sporting GoodsCOMPASS Entertainment ComplexVirginia Department of Health, and others.  Yes, it’s news you can use from the creative marketing minds at Madison+Main. Ready?  Take out a sheet of paper and write “Three / Three / Three / Three” at the top of the sheet. When we plan any event, regardless of size, we assign tasks based on the calendar — three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours.  

Three months: Three months before your event you need to have all of the event details finalized. #failtoplan #plantofail. You need a simple statement describing the event and the particulars of where it is going to be held, the date, and the time. If you have registration for the event or are selling tickets, this also needs to be up and running (on your website or a third-party website) at least 90 days prior to your event. At this point, you should be sending “Save The Date” postcards/emails to past and potential attendees. And your marketing of the event (online marketing or traditional marketing) should begin slowly, then ramp up over the next two months, and ramp up again in the final three weeks. Don’t forget to add the event to media website calendars at this point.

Three weeks: Twenty-one days before the event is a crucial period because that’s when about 20% of your attendees who pre-plan their calendars will start buying tickets or RSVP. Consistent messaging across email, social media, online marketing, and direct mail should arrive three weeks before the event. Half of your marketing budget for the event should be spent during this time prior to the event.   

Three days: Seventy-two hours before your event is “go time.” Your emails, social media posts, and other marketing should express a sense of urgency…”Get your tickets now! Limited space available!” “Don’t miss our event this Saturday! RSVP today!” It is our nature as human beings to procrastinate. The majority of event-goers will make their decision to attend on the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday before a Saturday event. At this point, your marketing should be equivalent to a basketball full-court press. Speaking of press, this is the right time to send a media advisory or press release to every single media outlet — especially broadcast assignment desk folks — promoting your event and giving the reporter a reason to come…or free tickets.  

Three hours: Most event marketers make a fundamental mistake on the day of the event. They are so busy focused on the program itself, that they forget to send reminder messages – through email or social media – that give attendees additional details such as where to park or a heads up on the weather. “We have free parking at the corner of First and Cary Street” Don’t forget to wear sunscreen — it’s going to be a hot one!” People lead busy lives and they are constantly bombarded with information, so sometimes they may forget about events that they already registered for. These last-minute tactics can boost your attendance significantly.