Planning an event at the last minute? Challenge accepted. Even when you’re racing against the clock, there’s still plenty of time to think creatively. Take a breath, grab a coffee, and let’s leap into planning your event – stat.

The clear benefits of event planning are that you can focus your valuable time and energy on creating an excellent event. To help you do that, here’s an event planning timeline example of creative event planning ideas to help you to stay on track from start to finish.

Planning the event: Getting event traction

Social media advertising

Your event’s edging closer and you need to sell tickets last minute. Should you panic? There’s no time for that. Instead, it’s the ideal time to capitalise on the value of social media to generate buzz about your big day. To make the most of your social media marketing in a limited amount of time, take these essential steps to promote your event on social media and drive ticket sales. For example, you might leverage multiple platforms to reach different segments of your audience, create and sell tickets through a Facebook event, and launch paid ads to boost the visibility and impact of your marketing campaign.

Event branding

They say you only have a matter of seconds to create a first impression. Great – if you can make a good impression in seconds, then that’s incredibly time efficient! Clear, consistent, and appealing event branding that reflects your values can entice your desired attendees to commit to your event.

If you’re promoting an event at the last minute, use familiar branding to attract people that already recognise your brand (for instance the same colours, fonts, and logo). Your event branding should feature in all of your marketing strategies, whether on social media, in emails, or on the tickets themselves.

Email invitations

Putting ink on paper has an added time cost (and an additional financial cost, too). Sending email invitations is a simple tool that will save you time and money as there’s no need to print invitations and flyers. After your event is live online, you can use Eventbrite to tap into your mailing list and send customised email invitations to potential attendees. Remember, time is of the essence, so apply these email marketing tips to help the invitation to your event stand out and drive traffic from your emails to your event listing.

Event management software

Time’s short – don’t use it on admin tasks if you don’t need to. It’s quick and easy to set up your event using Eventbrite’s integrated event management software to streamline the planning process from budgeting to managing attendees to accessing real-time analytics. Learn how to fully use Eventbrite’s event management technologies sooner rather than later to free up time that you can spend on developing a memorable experience.

At the event: Simple ways to engage attendees

Unique giveaways

People love a freebie. Considering the tight time frame, you might not have time to order personalised gifts, but you could explore opportunities for co-branded event giveaways that connect related brands to attendees and possible future customers. For example, you could run a competition at your event and include competition entry in the price of event admission – the chance of winning a special prize can quickly engage and excite attendees.

Hashtags and photo frames

Isn’t it nice that some of the best tools to engage your audience are fast and free? Your creative event planning ideas don’t have to come with a price tag. Hashtags certainly fall into that category. Encourage attendees to post and share photo and video content of your event on social media using an event-specific hashtag. If you’re hosting a series of events, create a consistent hashtag to tie the series together and boost loyalty among your attendees.

To nudge your attendees to take some great happy snaps, offer an appealing giant photo frame for people to use as a backdrop in event photos, or knock together a DIY event photo booth on a budget. Don’t forget to include your hashtag or the event name on the frame for a little extra marketing.

Live streaming

It’s easy to stream live events for free thanks to popular online broadcasting technologies. Connect to one of the top three social media channels – YouTube, Facebook Live, and Instagram – to share a glimpse of an event to remember. Live streaming is also a simple tool to instantly make your event more accessible to people who can’t attend in person.

Local food, art, and music

Looking for food and entertainment at the last minute? Try your luck in your local area – even small event organisers may be able to engage a local food producer, artist, or musician at short notice. Highlight the best that the area has to offer to attract and engage more attendees, whether that’s by using local produce at a food event, asking a local band to play at your event, or featuring table decor created by aspiring local artists.

After the event: Keeping attendees talking

Post-event write up

After you’ve hosted a top-notch event that has all your attendees talking, it’s time to keep them talking. Happy attendees are more likely to mention your event to other people if you remind them about the good times they had. Publish a post-event write up on your site and social media platforms, and share it in your post-event email to attendees to sell the experience.

Images from the event on social media

A great photo can continue to sell your event long after the event ends. Select the stand-out shots from your event to feature on your social media highlight reel and drive future ticket sales. Need to brush up on your photo-taking skills? Check out our event photography tips for creating click-worthy social media images before you say “cheese”.

Post-event thank you and survey

You’ve just pulled together a stellar event in a tight time frame thanks to thinking out of the box with creative event planning ideas. You’re pleased, justifiably exhausted, and curious to find out what your attendees – and perhaps sponsors – enjoyed about your event and what you can do to make it even better next time. Your post-event email is one of the most important emails in your marketing campaign (that’s right, marketing continues after your event!) and Eventbrite makes it easy to manage and send emails to event attendees so you can do just that.

Take inspiration from our event email templates and our list of questions for your post-event survey to help you gather valuable insights about your event. This is also a great opportunity to say thank you to your attendees for coming along, and maybe even include a sponsor discount code to accompany the email and reinforce the relationship you’ve created, helping it to continue into the future.

Plan all your events (last-minute or not!) with Eventbrite

Planning an event at the last minute is more than doable if you approach the things to think about when planning an event in stages and use creative event planning to come up with the right strategies for you. Whether you’re under the pump or planning ahead of time, we’re here to help you create your event and reach hundreds of possible attendees interested in adding it to their calendar.