Here’s the dilemma: You need to plan an event, but you have little or no experience in event planning. Somehow this duty has been thrust upon your shoulders. Many organizations don’t have a dedicated point-person for event marketing management. Yet, an event can make or break a campaign. Here are some handy event planning tips to help you from your initial stages of planning to the big day.
Bring out the Whiteboard
No matter what the type of event you’re planning, you need a strategy. What is the goal of your event? Are you introducing a new product or service to customers? Whether your end goal is to get in front of key influencers or present before a group of executives, you’ll want to map out a strategy. Look at your target audience, identify the message that will resonate with them, and figure out how you are going to measure results. Remember, you’ll have no clue whether your event was a bust or boom unless you have the right metrics.
Bring Up Budget
Once you have outlined your goals, you need to consider how much it will cost to accomplish them. Think back to events you’ve attended and imagine all the little things that were involved. Will you need name tags? Are you planning to serve food? Will you be giving your guests a parting gift for them to remember your presentation? What do you absolutely need and what can you live without? Make up a checklist and start developing an overall price tag.
A Time and Place for Every Event
Are you hosting executives or managers? Is it a presentation or a mixer? Is this event part of your demand strategy or about brand awareness?
The answer to these questions should determine when and where your event is held. If you’re targeting busy executives, for instance, you might want to plan a fancy breakfast in a professional conference room. A networking event is best served in the evening with cocktails. A presentation feels forced in a bar. Better to hold that kind of an event in a conference room.
Be aware of how surroundings influence attention spans and the type of message that is expected to be heard.
Iteration of an Invite
The invitation to your event is one of the most important aspects of the entire planning process. You don’t want to send out the first invitation too early or too late. Three weeks out is a good rule to live by. But if you want to get on executives’ calendars, you might want to send it out even earlier. A more detailed, elaborate invitation for a dinner event is appropriate, but you may want to be simpler and straight to the point. Include directions that show access to public transportation. Make it easy for your attendees!
You’ll also want to follow up. Those who have RSVP’d should receive reminders that differ in timing and message than those who haven’t.
Walk a Mile
Visit the venue the day before your event. Envision how you want attendees to experience the event. What signs need to be in place to avoid confusion? Where should you station staff? Basically, you want to understand what your guests will see from the time they walk into the venue to the registration table to the actual event. The way your guests feel matters, and the only way to anticipate this is to walk a mile in your guests’ shoes.
What are your tips for throwing an event? Have you learned any lessons along the way?
To host your next business or social event at the Business Expo Center, Southern California’s premier event venue, give us a call at (714) 978-9000 to schedule a tour of our facility or visit us at www.businessexpocenter.com.