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Event Planning Tips

Define your goals for the event

Determine your expected return on event (ROE). The single most important question to ask yourself before planning your event is, “What is the goal of the event?”

It might be as simple as doubling the number of registrants from your previous event, or perhaps you would like 100% of the people you train to obtain their continuing education credit (CEU).

And since it’s rare to plan your event in isolation, it’s important to share what success looks like to all of those involved.

Figure out when to start planning your event. The question I get most from people is, “How far in advance should I start planning my event?”

The answer: It really depends on the number of events you’re hosting each year.

If you’re doing only one event a year, I would start planning about nine months in advance. This will give you plenty of time to secure a date and location. If doing a few events a year, I would start planning at least 90-days in advance.

Regardless, it’s important to send out a “Save-the-Date” email as soon as possible. This will give people the opportunity to offer input about what they would like to get out of the event and make sure they get it scheduled on their calendar.

Create a timeline for your event. Once you have secured a date and location, you can start putting together a road map to make sure you achieve your ROE.

I would recommend writing out a schedule of weekly tasks, with specific dates for completion, and who is responsible for completing them.

And, most importantly, make sure everybody on your team is aware of the “plan.” This will keep things on track so nothing falls through the cracks.

Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes — what things would YOU look for in an event?

Make sure attendees can get the information they need—when they need it. One much overlooked practice is to have a single point of contact for an event. This would include a name, phone number, and email address for this person. If potential attendees have a question, you want to make it easy for them to get the answers they need—when they need it.

You also want to make sure the event details are clear. Whether it’s directions to the event, transportation information, parking facilities, etc., you want to avoid no-shows or late comers because the little things weren’t included in your event materials.

First impressions do matter—make yours count! It’s likely that the first impression someone will have of your event is derived from your email invitation, so it needs to sizzle (or pop)! It should look professional and communicate the basic information about your event.

This is your call to action for the invitee to take the next step, which is to click “Register Now!” And this link should reside in two locations—one at the top of the invitation and one at the bottom. This way it can’t be overlooked.

Make it easy & affordable for people to register. If there is a fee to attend your event, I would highly recommend you provide an early-registration discount. This will encourage people to register early.

It can also have a domino effect for increasing attendance. The act of seeing early registrations will provide social proof to others that this is something they should jump on—ASAP.

Successful meetings and events are vital to the overall success of small businesses and nonprofits! It’s your opportunity to speak face-to-face with your audience, so it’s important to make this a great experience—for everybody!

Keys to A Well-Branded Event

BRAND EVERY DETAIL

Every aspect of your live event needs to reflect your company’s brand. From lighting colors to the overall ambiance, it’s critical that your attendees experience your brand in every step. Think branded giveaways, beautiful decor and consistent fonts/colors. The little details matter and are worth every penny of your investment. Be sure to also consider what your attendees will take photos and videos of at the event. Do you have a beautiful flower arrangement or a keynote speaker? Branding these popular places is incredibly important so consider having a branded background behind your speakers or a beautiful placard in front of your floral arrangements.

CREATE A FACE-TO-FACE CONNECTION

There is no better connection than a face-to-face connection. While you talk with your customers via email, social media and online classes, you will never create a stronger bond than when you see each other in the flesh. Many brands find that hosting a live event is worth the investment just to meet their target audience and leave them with a positive experience.

To achieve an authentic personal connection, encourage the executives of your organization attend the event and remain approachable. People buy from people they know and trust and the goal of doing a great, branded event is to make that relationships more tangible and successful.

MAKE IT MEMORABLE

This is where your event will really make an impact over the competition. Think outside the box and design an event that will leave a positive lasting impression all attendees. The more engaging, the better. Use entertainment to draw in a crowd and keep their attention throughout the event. Take risks!

MAKE IT SHAREABLE

Social media is a great tool to prolong the life span of your event. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks to share the success of your event and encourage your attendees to do the same. Make it easy for them to share the content via RFID or integrated iPad apps. Also, create picture perfect photo and video moments at your events so attendees can more easily share QUALITY, branded content from your event.

CREATE LONG TERM ENGAGEMENT

Events are part of a long term strategy when executed well. As the event is ending, provide incentives as a way to get your guests to remember your brand. Whether it’s a coupon for a future service, a giveaway for free product or an invitation to your next event, capture an excited audience and give them reason to stay engaged. This is paramount for your brand as you look to grow a fan base that is familiar with you and passionate about the way you treat your consumers.

Article provided by CEvent

Ways to Keep Any Event Budget on Track Read

First – Locate and Review Any and All Expenses

Review all areas of your event starting from the venue contract to speaker fees to entertainment and giveaways. Every single element of your event requires a checklist to make sure it is accounted for, and also an understanding of how each item requires payment. Keep track of all of the vendors you work with at each event.

Sometimes you will find yourself working with the same vendors over and over again, which can be super helpful having an understanding of how particular vendors require payments to be handled, and how your company or business prefers to manage payments with certain vendors.

Remember every vendor is different, so compiling a master list of every person you work with is a great idea to help keep track and manage your budget at the end of the event.

Second – Set Goals and Measure for ROI

Once you have an overall idea of what your budget should realistically be, plus a master list of all of your vendor contacts, take a step back and measure for ROI.

If you’re preparing for a corporate conference and selling attendee passes, monitor how many attendees are registering from the moment you launch the registration page. Or, if you’re planning to have sponsors at your event, make sure you strategize creative and detailed packages for each sponsor during the planning process.

Will there be an upside on profit from sponsorship dollars? Be sure to account for all areas where you may break even or make a profit from your event – setting goals in the beginning is very important. Keep track of what you’re spending on from the very beginning. Keep your budget sheet handy at all times, and updated daily to reinforce the event team to stay on budget.

If you find items being bought that were not discussed by the event team, or on the event master plan, bring those items to the attention of your team, and make sure the spend has a purpose. Going over budget is never a great feeling as an event planner, and having to account for items that were not needed and made the event go over budget will always fall back on the event manager.

Third – Make a G.I. Joe Plan of Action

Let’s face it – if you stay 100% within your budget as a lot of event planners do, then you have done an amazing job! However, there are sometimes spur of the moment items events may need, but consciously keep in mind your budget at all times.

It’s a great idea to have a small back-up budget as a go-to, must-have, hand in the piggy jar moment. This budget should only be used for absolute event emergencies. Make a list of what those emergencies could be, and hand it our to the event staff as well.

Creating checklists and event survival kits for event staff is a creative and useful way to keep everyone on point and in the know before, during, and after any event. This way, if a question comes up where someone on the team needs to make a judgment call on purchasing something not within the budget, they will know if they are making the right decision.

Article provided by Event Manager Blog