So you’ve decided to hold your first business event.
Maybe it’s a conference, a boot camp, or a sponsorship event. Either way, it needs meticulous planning and a lot of attendees in order to be a success.
This involves phoning a lot of contractors, negotiating a lot of prices, and calculating a lot of budgets. Be prepared for a few late-night stints of planning and preparation, and always have a backup plan for when the main pillar of your event pulls out!
Here are our top 4 tips – learned through trial and error – that we would love to have known before embarking on our first event planning.
1- Be Clear on Your Goals
First thing first, you need to have a clear event goal before you start planning your event.
Here are some factors that need to be absolutely clear about before you go ahead:
- What is the core idea behind the event? What do you want to achieve? Is it that your audience goes home with a new skill, that you raise $1000 for charity, or you’ve gained new customers?
Whatever it is, summarize your goal in one sentence and keep that at the center of ALL your planning.
- How many tickets are on offer? This will likely be dependent on the venue for the event.
- Calculate your costs and your budget and be very realistic. It’s tempting to overspend on decorating the venue and making the experience one-of-a-kind for attendees but finishing up your event at a loss will land you in hot water.
2- Create a Website
How else will people know about your event? A professional website will entice far more people to buy a ticket than if you simply invited colleagues and a few business contacts.
After you’ve created your website and filled it with all the necessary information (make sure you hold back some of the best announcements until last to build anticipation, such as a special guest star speaker), spread the word as far as you can across all social media channels to get the widest reach. Perhaps even put out some paid advertising campaigns, depending on your budget.
A great way to get people excited about your event, while filing all your organization and planning factors in one place, is to use an event planning app. You can download MeetApp or an equivalent program to see what it can do for you. You can even customize it to your brand and add sponsorship and advertisements to monetize the app.
3- Market Your Event
Use email lists and social media, as we previously said, to shout about your event and ensure everyone who needs to know, knows. You could even send out some physical invites to important invitees. Everyone loves getting mail.
If your event is mainly focused on your local area, such as a charity fundraising event, your marketing priority will be physical leaflets, flyers, posters, and banners.
Make sure everyone in your area knows about the event and set it at a time and date that the most people will be able to attend, like a Saturday afternoon. (This doesn’t mean you should forget about digital and social media marketing, however, this is vital to capture the millennial and young adult market!)
4- Focus on the ‘Take Away’
Similar to point number 1, your event goal should ensure that there is a firm take away that people leave with from your event.
Use a number of devices to ensure your attendees get a lot out of your event, with the idea that they will definitely want to attend your next one.
Ideas for ways to achieve this include:
- Use different delivery methods of information throughout the event day – such as speeches, workshops, and activities, so that people feel like they’re participating in different mediums and don’t get bored.
- Provide information guides and leaflets that people can take home to remind them of what they’ve learned.
- Carry on the event afterward. This doesn’t mean an afterparty, but perhaps create a mailing list or a social media group so that everyone can stay in touch, and you can continue to inform people of updates and new events in future.
Planning a business event requires some thinking, planning and oriented goal actions to ensure that the money, time, and energy that you are going to invest in this event successfully lead to the goals that you’ve set for your business.