Organizing events can be stressful or enjoyable. It completely depends on how you plan, organize and execute the event from beginning to end. You will have more success if you have a plan that covers all the relevant areas so you don’t have any nasty surprises along the way. Here are 20 tips to help you set up and manage a successful event.
1. Who’s coming? Your first step when organizing a business event should be to clearly define your target audience. Once this is decided, decisions regarding format, content, prices, location etc. will fall into place.
2. Details, details, details. Now is the time to consider the nitty gritty details. Everything from lighting and public transportation, to content and refreshments should be planned. Make a list from A to Z to ensure you have covered your bases.
3. What’s the purpose? Why are you holding this event? Is it for lead generation? Is it to create awareness of your company or a particular product? Is it to develop customer loyalty? It’s important to know your objective so you can plan accordingly and get the results you want.
4. Schedule appropriately. Check the calendar. Make sure you don’t schedule your event on or too close to holidays or popular vacation times, or you may have an empty room.
5. Be flexible. As you get into the event planning process, you may find that your event changes in size, location, and many other ways than you originally envisioned.
6. Budget. Develop a financial plan for your event, and calculate the numbers so you know exactly how much you need to pay for the event. You may consider fundraising, online ticketing and crowdfunding to pay for the event.
7. Start marketing. Create a marketing plan for the event so you can attract the type of attendees and numbers you want to reach. Define reasons for people to show up to the event. For a retail product it might be a celebration with entertainment and product demos and freebies. For a business crowd it might be educational content or an industry speaker.
8. Talk to the media. Get that press release ready. Build a relationship with local, national and trade journalists. They can help you reach your target market so make sure you have all the relevant information at your fingertips.
9. Use Social Media. Facebook, Google hangouts, twitter feeds et al. Social networks are a powerful way to get the word out about your event. Use appropriate hashtags and keywords to get noticed and watch your event go viral. You can grow excitement organically by encouraging discussion or pay for advertising to reach your demographic quickly. Social media advertising is cost effective and easy to measure.
10. Leverage event registration platforms like Meetup and Eventbrite. These are both great and easy to use platforms for promoting and hosting events.
11. Partnerships. Offer partners incentives to promote you. They can run giveaways, competitions etc. to build excitement and help you reach a wider audience. Ask local speakers or experts to publicize to their followers either in person or via email newsletters.
12. Early bird incentives. Offer early bird tickets at a reduced rate to get advanced sign ups. This is a great way to get people to take action rather than wait until the last minute.
13. Delegate. You can’t do it all alone, so you need to delegate responsibilities to ensure your event is a success. Hire, outsource or get volunteers to work on areas that they are best at.
14. Get Sponsors. Get your sponsors registered early. They will be helping to fund your event so you need to create a sponsor package that is attractive and tiered to suit different budgets. You can also ask sponsors to promote the event through their connections too.
15. Social media team. Have a few people work as your social media team. This is imperative to get folks talking about your event online not just during the buildup, but while the event is going on and the aftermath too. The more publicity you can gain online, the more support you can get for future events.
16. Be Positive! Go into the day of the event with energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude. This will spur you on, encourage your helpers and excite the attendees to everyone has a good time.
17. Content. Make sure you offer content that is relevant to over 80% of the audience. The audience must walk away with tangible strategies to improve their business and career.
18. Practice. As the host or MC, you should practice your presentation and how to handle questions from the audience. As they say, practice makes perfect!
19. Be prepared for hiccups. Yes sometimes things do go wrong at live events. Speakers fall ill or equipment fails; make sure you have back up plans for every contingency.
20. Follow up. Have a brief survey form available for attendees to fill out before they leave. Give them an incentive to do so and you will get invaluable advice that will help improve future events and ensure success.
Tya Bolton is the CEO of the award-winning Exceptional Business Solutions, LLC. EBS has three divisions – Exceptional Events, Exceptional e-Marketing, and Exceptional Training & Operations. The EBS team partners with small to mid-sized organizations around the world, strategically helping them implement mistake free systems and generate multiple income streams through the perfect repertoire of events, e-Marketing, and operations guidance. When businesses are ready to stop winging it and make a total commitment, Tya’s team takes them on a profit launch extravaganza.
She is the founder of Exceptional Business Solutions and is the facilitator for the Alexandria and Waldorf Her Corner groups.
You can view her profile HERE.