So you are in charge of planning a pretty big event, but the problem is that you have zero experience in event management planning. With this huge responsibility, you could quickly get overwhelmed and lose focus on the result. Take a deep breath and relax, the process for planning this event can be broken down into five smaller tasks that will not cause you to feel completely out of your element here. When it comes to event planning, it is all about paying close attention to the smallest details, and these handy tips will help with all the planning to help make that day truly memorable.
Mapping Out An Event Strategy
Regardless the size or type event, the key to your success is all in the planning stages. Grab a whiteboard and write down the answers to a few key questions first to help laser in your focus.
- What is the ultimate goal of the event?
- Are you going to be presenting new services or products to clients?
- Will you be running a demonstration for prospects?
Once you get the focus on these answers, you can work towards your goal more easily. Take a look at the people in attendance, think about the message you want to resonate with them and then how you can measure the results. The right metrics will provide you the feedback you need to measure your success.
Discussing The Budget
Now that your goals are clearly outlined, you are going to have to consider how much money it will take to achieve those goals. Start by making a checklist of each expense you will incur to make the event happen. These items will range from invitations, signs, food and beverages, giveaways, entertainment, the event rental, and website design. Simply consider the last successful event you attended and make sure to incorporate as many of those items and services as you can afford.
Planning The Right Event
Be sure that you are planning the event that matches closely with what people you are expecting. Consider the audience, whether the general public, a mailing list, or a group of local managers or executives. Are you trying to create brand awareness or do you have a strategy in place for growing traffic? When and where you hold this event must be in line with the audience that is attending. For example, if the guest list includes mostly business executives, the ideal event planning schedule will have them arriving for breakfast and a meeting as early as possible. Networking events work best after business hours with a more social type of event. Presentations are best held in a conference room or event space rather than a local bar.
Focus On The Invitation
The invitation that you design and send to those you want in attendance can make or break the event. Without the right invitation and marketing plan you might not have anyone in attendance. Timing is everything too; don’t send the invitations too early or late. The rule of thumb here is three weeks out. If the event is focused on executives or busy managers, you might want to get on their calendars a little earlier. For simple presentation events, short invitations work best. For events that involve dinner, detailed and more elaborate are preferred.
The invitation should have directions to the event, as well as access to any public parking if available. The goal here is to make attending the event as easy as possible for the attendee. Use marketing automation to segment your invite list. Follow up with anyone who has responded with a gentle reminder as the event gets closer.
Have A Trial Run
Take a trip to the center before your event is expected to happen. Walk around the facility and envision how you would want your attendees to experience their time at your event.
- Where should signs be placed to help avoid any confusion?
- Where should the staff be stationed to help attendees during their time at the event?
- How can you make their time more enjoyable?
You need to see exactly what your guests are going to see when they arrive, from the time they stop at the registration table to sitting at the actual event. These feelings definitely matter, so try and get it right before they show up. The only way you will understand how a guest is going to feel when they walk in that door is taking those steps prior to the event and getting the feel for the place.