What I Learned About Planning a Successful Event
Sometimes you focus so much on the big picture you forget the small details. – Lauren
If there’s one thing you get from this blog, let it be this: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. One thing I’ve learned about planning an event is that a well-defined itinerary helps you tackle each task effectively, and raises the awareness of all the activities involved in the execution of the event.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the things I’ve learned, and I also offer tips for planning a seamless event.
First Things First, Define the Purpose of the Event.
It’s simple. When you know exactly what you want to do, it’s a lot easier to plan for it. Once you’ve figured out the main purpose for your event, you need a strategy. Create an outline or group message board where all parties involved can jot down ideas and assign tasks. I like to use Slack.
Slack is a seamless way to share ideas with those you’re working with. Unlike email, slack can be turned off at any time you wish to disconnect from your project. It’s “real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams and tech enthusiasts.” It’s also cost-efficient (meaning it’s free!).
Think Ahead of the Curve.
This will help you map out each obstacle, allowing no room for something to slip through the cracks, which can ultimately ruin your event.
Ask yourself questions like: Did I confirm the venue would be available? Has everyone (including sponsors) RSVP’d? Who’s in charge of PR? Who’s in charge of catering? Is there enough room for parking at the venue or will I have to coordinate a shuttle service?
If you’re preparing for an outdoor event, things like checking the weather and making sure a downpour won’t affect attendees is very important. The last thing you need is an empty affair courtesy of Mother Nature.
Will I stick to my budget?
You should – you need – to offer your clients creative solutions to combat budgets and still accomplish a successful turnout. Create an Excel spreadsheet and list all your client’s inquiries with the cost for each, then group them by priority. This helpful article highlights some of the most important factors to keep track of when it comes to sticking to a budget.
Spread the Word.
How will you do this? By staying up-to-date with new developments, products and services. Social media is the most cost-effective way to promote any event.
Another way to promote your event is to send out email blasts and pitches to bloggers. Create Facebook events, Twitter/Linked In groups and combine them with other relevant marketing tools to spread the word like wildfire. Find out about message boards and networking sites, too. You can also search for networking apps like Prosimity to share the event with those who have similar interests. You’ll be happy you did the extra 10-second Google search.
But Will They Come?
One thing I learned the hard way: even if a big-name brand, sponsor, blogger or other influential attendee says they will show up, you must continuously follow up. “We’re excited to see you this weekend. Is there anything I can help you with?” Don’t assume that everything is going according to plan; it rarely goes according to plan. Sure, you might feel like a babysitter, but trust me – your event is worth the effort.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up.
Did you know? 75% of leads are not followed up after an event. The fact that any are neglected is sad and more poignantly, rather pointless. Would you walk into a store, pay for goods, and leave without your purchase? I didn’t think so. Remember, the quicker and easier it is for you to capture all attendees’ details, the smoother and more memorable the event will be for them.