There’s no doubt about it, running events are great for your biz.
There’s the opportunity to make new connections, get your brand out there to people you wouldn’t usually be able to reach, drive product sales, get new leads, build your list and of course provide a great avenue for others to do the same.
Proper planning is crucial. It’s no good booking your venue and then just muddling through – your business credibility is at stake here!
Here are 30 tips to help you plan and run your event with ease.
- Decide on your target audience first. What sort of business would you like to exhibit? Who will be attending as a delegate?
- Decide on the size of your event. Do you want 10-15 exhibition slots? How about footfall? Is it a full day event or just a morning/afternoon. If it’s all day you need to think about catering arrangements for lunch and/or dinner.
- Plan your event far in advance. Start planning at least 6 months in advance.
- Scout a great location. You need to go and see venues in your area to see which is most suitable for your event. Ensure you ask for written quotations so you can be sure what the costs includes.
- Don’t pick a date that conflicts with other industry events. Search online for important industry/national events (even sporting events might have an impact on your footfall).
- Stay flexible on the details. You may need to alter some of your initial plans so don’t get too het up on the finer details at this stage.
- Know your limitations. You can’t do everything yourself. Can you outsource any of the tasks to a virtual assistant?
- Develop a budget for your event. Decide what you want to spend and have a buffer of at least 10% of the total cost. How much are you going to charge exhibitors, sponsors and delegates?
- Find sponsors to offset costs. Businesses love the publicity of being sponsors for events or awards. Make sure sponsors get a mention on your website (see #24).
- Consider crowd funding for your events. A great way to advertise your business, the event and of course the sponsors.
- Tirelessly market your event. Come up with a marketing plan and budget. How and where are you going to advertise your event?
- Give people a reason to show up. What can they get from your event? Are there inspirational guest speakers? Do they get a goodie bag? Can they learn something?
- List those reasons in your marketing. Don’t be afraid to really show off about what delegates get for their money.
- Send a press release to local media. Find a VA to write a press release for you. Many VA’s have PR experience and can get your press release out to all the right avenues.
- Tap into the power of social media. Set up a Facebook page and create an event. Post regular bulletins to your likers.
- Create an event hashtag. Get your event trending by setting up a unique hashtag (do a search first to ensure it’s not already been used).
- Buy targeted ads on Facebook. Get your ideal target audience seeing your event by choosing the excellent targeting capabilities of Facebook ads. Increase your daily budget as the event draws closer to create even more of a buzz.
- Create a YouTube video for your event. Record a short video raving about how great the event is going to be. If you’re camera shy, find a VA who can create an animated video for you.
- MeetUp.com is great for events. Use MeetUp.com and other event websites to advertise your event.
- Considering co-hosting an event with another business. There’s power in numbers and by linking with another business in your niche, you can more than double your reach and credibility.
- Allow people to register online. Find an online booking system for convenience or use PayPal buttons on your website to make it quick and easy for people to pay.
- Make early bird tickets cheaper. Stagger pricing in increments so people can see the price rising – encourage them to buy early by offering irresistible discounts.
- Delegate responsibility to your staff. Employ people to help you – even if you can’t afford a VA, maybe one of your guest speakers or exhibitors can help in exchange for additional promotion or skills swaps.
- Make sponsors feel like royalty. Give them lots of fuss! If it’s a 2 day+ event ensure they get the best hotel rooms. Add them to your website, give them social media shout-outs and make sure they have a upgraded goodie bag.
- Practice, practice, practice. Check all your technical bits and bobs are working (microphones, laptops, projectors etc.). Practice your intro speech and monitor timings. Ask speakers to forward you their slides and timings too. You need to know practical stuff like where the toilets and fire exits are and where people go for coffee breaks/lunch.
- Lead by example – attitude is contagious at events. Fake being calm, even if you’re not. Smile and be friendly. If people see you running around like a stress head, it’s not going to go in your favour.
- Let crowd reaction be your barometer. On the day you’ll get a pretty good feel for whether people are digging your event. It’s worth considering feedback questionnaires so you can learn what people liked and what they didn’t like, so you can run your event bigger and better next time.
- Dress for success. Plan your outfit. It’s not a job interview so you don’t have to be too formal. A statement piece of jewellery or bright scarf can work wonders.
- Roll with the punches. Things might go wrong and that’s ok. Have a laugh about it and show that you’re human.
- Follow up and thank attendees. Post on your event Facebook page and send an email to your delegates. You may wish to send a thank you postcard and small gift to your speakers, exhibitors and sponsors as an extra touch.
Hope you find my tips useful. You are welcome to share my infographic, but please ensure you link back to my website.
Happy planning! Have you got any advice or tips you’d like to share based on your event planning experiences? Comment below and let me know what’s worked for you.