Staging a successful event requires work. Nonetheless, starting with a strategy paves the way for success. If you play your cards right, you can deliver a top-class experience, even if it is your very first attempt. To help you off to a flying start, we here list the 10 top tips for planning your first event.
1. Identify the purpose
Most importantly, start by asking yourself why you are holding the event. Summarize the prime goal of the activity. By identifying the goals early on, you can plan the event in a way that aligns with your strategic thrust. Thus, before you start planning an event, you must have a clearly formulated purpose. So that you can measure results and thus optimize the event right from the start, establish KPIs.
2. Coordinate your team
A good event requires input from many different people. Begin by deciding who is to be involved and what their roles are to be all the way through. This helps to streamline work and prepares you for questions when bringing more people in. Have someone in charge of communicating with the people heading up each area. In turn, these latter are to allocate tasks within their teams. This ensures that things move efficiently forward as the event approaches.
3. Find a venue
The venue is immensely important. Thus, choose the D-day locale carefully. If you are arranging a business conference, check what hotels and conference facilities have to offer. If you are staging a crafts fair, look for open, industrial premises that are readily accessible via public transport. Book a date and establish the cost in good time. That way, you will know how much you need to charge for tickets.
4. Set a date
Do not choose a date at random. Take target groups into account and ascertain that these people are generally able to attend. If you are holding a business conference, you should check for competing events and ensure that potential sponsors and participants will not be attending those. Also avoid public holidays when it is likely that people will be travelling. (Unless, of course, you are planning and marketing a music festival as the ideal way of spending a stay-at-home holiday).
5. Book attractions
To ensure that the attractions bring people in, you should aim high while keeping within your budget! Consider which type of speakers or performers would best draw your public. If you are holding a business conference, who are the most attractive personalities available to address your target group? If you are arranging an event for parents, bear in mind their daily challenges and get hold of an expert who can tackle the chosen subject.
6. Create the programme
Once you have booked the main speaker or performer, it is time to decide the shape of the programme. Of course, the best slots must be reserved for your attractions. However, outside those, you can have panel debates and other programme highlights. For overall management of the event, you need to put together a programme that keeps participants interested. Remember to leave room for breaks and pauses in which people can network, socialize and interact with each other.
7. Bring sponsors on board
Decide how you want to work with sponsors. Should they sponsor a particular element in a conference programme or a mix and mingle over cocktails? Or will you be having a display floor where sponsors can pay to demonstrate their products and services? Consider what best suits your event and start wooing potential sponsors who can contribute to financing the overall show.
8. Develop a marketing plan
Marketing is the key to getting people to visit your event. To maximize attendance, think multichannel. Draw up an email and send it to anyone in your network who may possibly be interested. Encourage them to pass it on to friends. Using the channels relevant for your event, launch a concerted campaign in social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter are excellent places for reaching various target groups. To keep track of the conversations, use a hashtag. Ensure also that the event’s stars push your event on their social media channels and use the relevant hashtags.
9. Contact the press
Line up journalists, bloggers and radio personalities who you think may be interested in your event. To encourage direct reporting from the event, send them entry passes. So that early media reporting can help to spread the news, you can also seek to ensure that speakers are available for advance interviews.
10. Sell tickets
Once you have put time and energy into finalizing the shape of your event, never forget to examine whether registering for and buying tickets is easy. On your website, use a smooth process that makes it easy to get tickets at any time. If you are going to sell tickets at the door, advertise this in advance as the event approaches. This will encourage any waverers to turn up.
We wish you every success!