We are experts in event management, from a birthday party for a loved one, charity events to large corporate exhibitions. We can take care of everything, leaving you to sit back and enjoy your event.
1. Figure out your goals and timeline for the event
Planning an event is a massive undertaking. Before you get too far into it, think about why you want to host it. Are you looking to grow your customer base? Drive sales revenue? Educate customers? Recruit new employees?
You may even realize that an event isn’t the strongest choice for your goal. After all, only 49% of businesses employ event marketing as a channel in their multichannel marketing campaign.*
If you are ready to move forward with an event, though, expand your goal to specify your target attendees. For example, an event with an engagement goal would target leads at the top of the funnel.
These determinations will dictate a lot of your decisions later on.
Now is also a good time to set the timeline for your event. This will help you figure out how much time you have for each of the following steps.
You don’t want to pick a date where there are a lot of other conferences in your target industry for a few reasons:
Increased rental prices
Harder to stand out
Do some digging to find out when the majority of events in your industry are happening, and pick a date outside of that realm. Contact the best professionals with accessible prices, https://mylimoservices.com/orange-county/ will help you out with the transportation for special events like weddings.
You should also make sure you set the date far enough out to get everything done without burning out.
2. Establish your budget
It’s the least glamorous part of the whole shebang, but you’ve got to figure out how you’re paying for all the fun stuff (food, speakers, swag, confetti canons). Events can, after all, get pretty pricey.
Bizzabo reports that, for companies that hosted events, 21% of their marketing budgets were dedicated to those events. It’s important to properly allocate your resources.
Here are a few things you should consider when planning out your event budget:
Logistics of the event (size, length, venue, staff, shipping)
Software needs (from niche tools for digital signage to the necessary event management software)
Experience necessities (catering, A/V equipment, decorations)
Amenities (e.g., wellness offerings, dog adoptions, swag bags, etc.)
Additional expenditures (you always want some wiggle room)
Once you’ve figured out exactly how much everything is going to cost, you’re ready to make a business case for where all that money is going.
3. Find your venue
If you’re throwing a larger event, you’ll have to select the city you’re planning on hosting in. If you’re throwing a smaller, local event, that’s less of a concern. Regardless, plan an event that’s easily accessible to the majority of your consumers, leads, and target audience.
Once the general location is set, it’s time to pick the specific venue.
Build a shortlist of locations you want to explore based on popular event venues in the area, referrals from other businesses, and local trade publications. Vet the venue and/or their holding company as much as you can on your own, and then schedule tours of the venues that survive on your list.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself and the vendors you meet with during these tours:
How many rooms (large and small) will you need?
How close is it to the airport?
How close is it to multiple hotels?
Does the venue already have a deal with a catering company?
What A/V equipment is included in the rental?
What is their security policy?
What amenities do they offer?
4. Select your tech
There’s a lot of software out there. Some of it will be helpful for your event, and some of it might help with future events.
At the most basic level, read Capterra’s event management software buyers guide and figure out which tool is right for you.
Event management software can help you with registration, promotion, organization, and—most importantly at this stage—planning.
You should also consider the following tools:
For tickets, promotion, and payments: Event booking software
For signs at the actual event: Digital signage software
For livestreaming the conference: Web conferencing software
For marketing and promotion: Email marketing and Social media management software
For attendee experience: Mobile event apps
For the event itself: Conference software
If you’re investing in multiple tools, make sure they all integrate with each other before spending your money. This will ensure a seamless user experience, and that nothing falls through the cracks.
You’ll also want to make sure that your attendees have a similarly smooth experience when registering. Make it as easy as possible for your audience to find their way to clicking that purchase button.
One way to do this is to make sure your various marketing software tools (marketing automation, email marketing, and social media marketing, to name a few) can integrate with your registration software.
5. Find your partners and vendors
Depending on the venue you choose, they might offer specials or have their own in-house caterers and A/V offerings. If you can’t bring in outside vendors, you should check to see if they offer any particular deals you can take advantage of (for example, they might offer deals for nonprofits or discounts if you meet a certain attendee threshold).
If you’re allowed to bring in third-party/outside vendors, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Beyond food, sights, and sounds, you should look into the following:
Transportation (to and from the venue for those staying in hotels)
Wellness offerings (including fitness classes, dog adoption, crafts classes, etc.)
Temping agency (to make sure your event is fully staffed)
Security (to make sure your event is fully safe)
Entertainment (because events shouldn’t just be about business)
You also want to be on the lookout for any potential partners that could help fund and organize this event. By combining resources, you cut costs for yourself in terms of money and resources, while also potentially boosting attendance by hitting untapped markets your partner has access to.
For the same reasons we talked about with venue selection, though, it’s important to properly vet your partners and vendor.
6. Figure out your main attraction
What is it that’s going to get people to attend your event?
Maybe it’s the subject matter, maybe it’s the speakers. It depends on the event, and more than that, it depends on your attendees.
Think about your audience. What’s going to get them excited? What’s going to motivate them?
If, for example, you’re throwing an awards banquet for your company, the food might be one part of the evening, but the awards are what everyone will be focusing on. If you’re organizing a corporate event, think about the market you’re tapping into and their pain points. What do they need to know? Find speakers who can speak to that.
Try to focus on attractions with a wide appeal. If your attraction is a person/group of people, find someone with a large and passionate following who will now be more likely to attend your event.