The ABC’s of Event Planning
Ensuring you have remembered every little detail for your event can be hard. This A-Z checklist will help you survive the stresses of event planning and ensure everything is in check for the big day!
AUDIENCE: It is vital that you have established who your audience is so that when it comes to event promotion and invites to attract customers, you know how to correctly target them. If you assume that all people will react to marketing material in the wrong way, then you’re being naive. You need to make sure you attract the RIGHT audience. After all, you don’t want to attract the wrong people to the event because they won’t be right for the products/services you’re trying to sell.
BADGING AND CHECK-IN: First impressions are everything. If the first thing your customers experience when they arrive is a long queue, slow check-in or even staff members that cannot find their ticket order, you’re asking for moody customers. Make sure you have an efficient check-in process to ensure you and your customers do not feel stressed.
CONTENT: The content of your event is the very reason customers signed up to attend in the first place. You sold them an event that will educate them, develop their skills or even give them some new connections. Not following through with these content promises will ensure a negative opinion about your company and your events. Make sure that your content aligns with attendee expectations, your capabilities and speakers with the right experience to match the theme of the event.
DELEGATION OF ROLES: Planning an event from the start to finish is always stressful. Make sure you get to know your whole team. Delegating your work to someone else may seem scary at first because you know exactly how you want everything to be, however, in the long run, it will allow you to focus your efforts somewhere else and make the planning and execution a lot more efficient and effective.
ENTERTAINMENT: A lot of companies tend to push this to the bottom of their list of priorities. Perhaps they don’t see the correlation between mixing a business event with live music or perhaps they don’t think they have the budget for it. The important thing to remember is that nobody expects Rihanna to turn up to a business conference all about personal branding, but some light entertainment from local Bolivian dancers or a local band is always a massive hit with guests. It allows them to let their brains relax from all the hardcore presentations they’ve just sat through for the last 4 hours! If you’re willing to put the effort to find some low-priced entertainment you can expect to satisfy guests and reignite their motivation to sit through 4 more hours of presentations!
FIND SPEAKERS: Speakers add credibility to your event. Having a name to add to your event description or your sales pitch makes people more interested. Not only will customers be able to meet some great people that suit their current career or where they’re trying to go, but it offers customers real experience and knowledge from those who are experts in their field. It is important to make sure your speakers are relevant to the event theme. For example, you wouldn’t invite a social media influencer to an event about accounting. Don’t just invite big names because you can, invite big names that coincide with your event.
GOAL: Establish a clear goal for your event before you start planning. This way you can plan your event in such a way that ensures you will achieve what you want. Deciding on a goal half-way through will lead to lots of unnecessary stress.
HOSPITALITY: Venue, coffee, lunch etc. Set time aside to create a budget for your event and relate it to how many attendees you expect. If you’re on a budget for 5k and it needs to include venue, a coffee break and lunch for 150 guests, you shouldn’t waste time looking at venues that charge £100ppp. Make cost and time-efficient decisions to tackle the hospitality for your event.
INVITATIONS: You have finally narrowed it down to one theme for your event, finalised a venue, booked your caterer and organised your entertainment, it’s now time to let everyone know about the fantastic event you have been tediously planning! You can use your website and social media channels to reach large audiences. Email campaigns are also very effective but it is important to make a plan of when you will start/finish your campaign in line with the date of your event.
JUST STAY CALM: No event planner can say that nothing has gone wrong in the planning process. A speaker cancels, the caterer got the flu, the venue caught fire… Somewhere along the road, you will hit some bumps. As long as you’re able to stay calm and work slightly longer hours to sort the problem, you don’t even need to stress.
KEEP YOUR GUESTS IN THE KNOW: As stressful as events are for the planners, they can actually be quite stressful for the attendees. If attendees are unaware of the location, the timings or even the dress code, you can create a negative vibe with them without even realising. Keep your attendees updated by always informing them if details to change through email, social media, your website or even an app! Your attendees shouldn’t and don’t want to feel like they have to go out of their way to find out the information they need.
LEAD RETRIEVAL SOFTWARE: Most companies events happen to increase sales and leads. It will be impossible to talk to everyone on the night or even to give everyone a call back the next day. You can use software to follow-up with your attendees for you and fast-track you to a phone call with the most promising ones.
MAKE GOOD RELATIONSHIPS: In an industry that requires lots of communication and liaising, building strong, fruitful relationships is key. Positive relationships can often lead to your contacts ‘pulling a few strings for you’ which is never a bad thing.
NETWORKING: The majority of people attend events not only for the content they may learn but for the connections they will make. In a world where contacts really can make or break you, having networking time at your event will convince customers to attend which will ultimately lead to more potential sales for you.
ORGANISATION: There are so many details that go into planning your event: budgets, invites, venue searching, suppliers, the list is endless. Make sure you’re on top of all the finer details by keeping relevant information together. It’s always great to create spreadsheets that list all your contacts, your supplier offers, the dates for your email campaigns, your budget and so on.
PUBLICITY: Most people these days are active on at least one social media channel, so utilise it! Create event marketing material for customers to share, like and comment on to increase the breach of your content. You can also create event-specific hashtags. This is always great if people want to refer back to an event and see loads of content from people. After all, reviews and comments from attendees are way more credible than that of the event organising company.
QUALITY VS QUANTITY: Pack your event with quality content that your attendees want to see and will get the most out of. There is no point cramming 20 speakers into a two hour event that leaves your attendees with no time to have a break, ask questions or even network. It’s best to have 3 or 4 keynote speakers as attendees will be able to focus on a few topics instead of trying to cram and understand way too much information.
RESEARCH: Take time to really plan every step of your event. It’ll lead you feeling more prepared for any questions clients have, problems you face and ensuring you’re on track to achieve your goals.
SPONSORSHIPS: When planned and executed properly, sponsorship’s are often a win for both sides. Sponsorships can increase your ROI and actual budget for your event and they help sponsors get their name out there.
TAKE TIME TO MEET YOUR ATTENDEES: It’s great to have a smooth running event that goes exactly as you planned. BUT, it’s important that you put a face to the name that everyone has attended the event to learn more about. Taking time at your event to meet guests on a one-to-one basis makes their experience feel more personal and plants a seed for a relationship to grow between the two of you, hopefully leading to a sale in the future.
UTILIZE ALL OF YOUR RESOURCES: You’ve got a perfect picture in your head about how you want the event to turn out. Your biggest worry is that if you don’t do everything yourself, it won’t be right. However, if we all had this mindset, everyone would run one-man businesses but of course, this is impossible. Every company has its individual teams whether it’s marketing, sales, admin, HR and more to all take on smaller tasks of one giant product. It’s important to make use of all your resources, they’re there to ensure projects are completed in a time-efficient manner and in the long run, they will save you tons of stress!
VENUE: Find a venue that speaks to your customers about the personality of your company and the standard for your event. If it’s a business conference, dont have it in a wine bar, but if it’s a social networking event, a wine bar would be suitable. When finalising your venue and a suitable date, it is important that you don’t work around the dates that your clients can do as everyone will be available on different dates and you will create unnecessary stress for yourself. Find a date and let your clients know, usually, they can edit their schedule if needs be.
WORK SCHEDULE: Creating some kind of way to record when everything needs to be completed by will ensure you work hard to meet strict deadlines and avoids everything being left to the last minute.
X-HALE: Getting yourself worked up and stressed is okay as-long as it doesn’t affect your work in the log run. Take five minutes to breathe, get some fresh air and just disconnect yourself mentally from the work.
YESTERDAY: Check off all the things you completed yesterday and make a list of the things that you need to catch up on. This will ensure that missed tasks are not forgotten about and that they are completed by the deadline.
Zzzz: We all know how many hours we need to sleep at night to be able to function properly the next day. Sleep might seem like the last thing you want to do when there’s still so many things to get sorted, however refreshing your brain and coming back to your work with fresh eyes is always a good thing.