Updated: Apr 20
Planning an event takes time, lots of time. Leaving everything to the last minute will not only stress you out beyond belief but also reduce the chances of you creating the best event possible and attracting a bigger audience.
A lot of companies book their events months to years in advance. Do you think they book this far in advance just to secure the local town hall or the University lecture hall? No, they book so far in advance to book the best venue! Leaving your booking to the last minute means you will end up with the town hall or University lecture hall. Venues also get more expensive in their peak periods so while they may have a few slots available, it’s probably going to cost you your house. Moreso, your venue is one of the biggest selling points for your attendees. If it’s convenient, luxurious, interesting, or anything else that intrigues the mind, you’re going to attract more people. Finalising your venue also means you can start planning your room layout, attendee numbers, advertising and so on. Your venue largely decides a lot of other factors for you. A good thing to do is to make a list of everything your event requires early on, so you can rule out the majority of options that don’t make the fit.
If people only start to find out about your event a few days before, the chances of them already having plans, is very high. Unless you can offer them something so crazy that they feel like changing their plans, your turnout is going to be poor. Advertising and promotion for your event should happen at least three weeks before the big day. This gives you enough time to inform enough people and enough time for your attendees to book in advance.
If you have any kind of guest at your event, whether that’s a speaker or an exhibitor, a good thing to do is to promote them alongside your event. Afterall, one of the main reasons people choose to attend events is because they believe the return on investment will be worth it. Even if the event is free, they are investing their time into attending. They will expect to feel as though their time was well invested. Promoting the people that will provide them with new content they are interested in will encourage a feeling that they will receive a good return on investment.
Naturally, if you have left everything to the last minute, you are going to feel the stress. While under stress, you will almost definitely forget things which automatically hinders yours and your events performance. You will start to panic with so many aspects of your event not ready for the big day that you will start to make compromises that you never even considered before. Forgetting small aspects that make your event unique to you and your brand will cause you to lose brand identity and ensure your guests receive a confusing or even wrong message.
Your event goals and aims need to be set months before the big day. If you leave planning it until the last days, there is no way you can ensure that you will deliver on these measurements, which ultimately means your event was a failure. So, even though you found a last minute event, which cost you lots, booked some average speakers, got half your expected number of attendees, with a good team beside you, your event failed.
A good method to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything is to create an event booklet with a step by step process of things you need to pre-event, during the event and post-event.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools of advertising. Social media is too. Whether your event was great, mediocre or awful, people will talk about it. If your attendees posted where they were going on social media or released some photos after the event, people will ask. So if your event was a failure, which it probably would be if you left everything to the last minute, people will talk, and word will spread. As a result, even if in the future your promotion was great, and your venue was even better, people would not come because they have already had a bad experience. Ultimately this will mean you are unable to sell your product/service to the best of yours and it’s ability.
How to Plan Better
They key to successful planning is to remain calm, create deadlines for yourself and be proactive. After all, a successful event never happened on it’s own. Follow your step by step event booklet to make sure you don’t leave anything out. Create a marketing calendar to manage the advertising and promotion for your event. Manage your time best through a Gantt Chart. Gantt charts are a go-to for time management because they allow you to create deadlines for yourself and your team from the get go right through to the end of the event. Plan weekly meetings with your team to see where everyone is at and if you are on track with the deadlines set. Create attractive event promotional material and spend time ensuring they are the best they can be. Images and videos get more viewers than text.
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