Event season is just around the corner! Whether casual or formal, intimate or epic, your business will host an event at some point. Are you prepared? If not, here are a few tips to help you corral the many steps of the event-planning process.
Know Your Goals
This is a simple step in the event-planning process, but it must be prioritized if you want your event to be a success. Before you begin planning, decide what you want to get out of your event; is it a fundraiser with a dollar amount goal, a meet and greet marketing event geared towards creating B2B connections, or perhaps a client appreciation event with no string attached? Outline your goals and get specific. Return to these bottom lines frequently throughout the planning and promotion process and with each step asking yourself: Will this decision help us achieve our goals for this event? Your goals will help you determine your target audience which in turn determines your marketing plan, your budget, and a host of other things.
Create a Timeline
Once you start planning and promoting an event—investing time and money, alerting clients and businesses, reserving space—there’s no turning back. After you’ve outlined your goals, create a timeline of sub-events leading up to the event and then use this timeline when planning and executing logistics. Set deadlines for orders (food, invitations, marketing materials) and RSVPs, and outline your marketing plan, complete with dates. This is the phase of event planning that involves real project management and organization skills; if you don’t have those—hire a pro.
Offer Advance Signup or Registration
While it seems obvious, events that do not follow this rule lose would-be attendees. Even the most organized person probably won’t remember an event they didn’t put in their calendar; make it simple by creating a link that will input the event into a calendar with an automatic reminder. Offering guests a chance to RSVP also benefits your business by giving an idea of how many guests you can expect so that you can prepare accordingly. Don’t forget to send a reminder emails a week or two before as well as a couple days ahead of the event.
Make it Easy to Say Yes
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask yourself what you’d want. Your event will give others an impression of your business—make it a good one! A bad event is no way to start a professional business or client relationship. The following apply to your marketing materials, invitations, correspondence, advertisements, and the event itself:
-Aesthetically pleasing and inviting
-Information is clear and easy to access
-Professional yet personable
-The event needs to be affordable and easy to attend
Plan for Disaster
Surprises, mistakes, and even disaster happen—but they don’t have to ruin your event if you are prepared. Know your venue’s requirements and rules and plan accordingly, keep the time of year and weather in mind, know your crowd, and know your business’ limitations. Check lists twice and confirm orders and requests. If you’re prepared, you can turn disasters into minor speedbumps.
At the very least, you need to start promoting your event two weeks ahead of time. If your event is a big one, where you expect lots of attendees and have a large budget, invite guests and promote your event much earlier than this—at least two months—to ensure that calendars will be clear. Mail out paper invitations and/or marketing materials if appropriate, and create an event through your business’ Facebook page. Utilize all forms of social media and promote your event often—but don’t ONLY promote your event! It’s important to keep a human, personable face on your company, so when advertising via social platforms make sure to do so only once per day.
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