What do people remember most about an event? The speeches, the food, and the drinks or the activities? The entertainment or the speakers? The décor or the catering? Whether it’s a networking event, a gala dinner, or something more unusual – planning an event is no small task. There are many elements to consider, from deciding on a theme and organizing logistics to researching potential speakers and booking venues. If you’re thinking of organizing an event as part of your marketing strategy to engage with potential customers, partners, or collaborators, this guide will help you get started. Here you’ll find helpful tips on where to begin, what to take into account, and what not to overlook when planning any event.
Knowing your target audience is essential.
Before planning your event, make sure you know your target audience and how this event can help you engage with them. This way, you’ll be able to determine the best audience for your event and then decide on the format that would be most engaging. Knowing your audience will also help you decide on the most appropriate date and time for your event and the location. For example, if you’re planning an event for international clients, you would ideally want to host the event during their time zone, so it doesn’t impact their daily work and travel schedules. Knowing your audience will also help you determine what your event’s theme should be and the objectives behind it. For example, if you’re hosting an event to celebrate a partnership, you may want to consider hosting a celebratory dinner or drinks reception.
Decide on your event’s purpose.
The next step is to decide on your event’s purpose. This will help you determine what your event should achieve. Are you looking to launch a new product or service? Or do you want to celebrate a significant milestone? Or are you hosting a corporate event to strengthen client relationships? What is the objective behind your event? What are you hoping to achieve? And is there a particular message you want to convey? You should also consider how you want your event to be perceived by attendees.
Choose the right venue.
A well-chosen venue can contribute to the success of any event. It’s essential to select the right venue for your event’s size and occasion. Your venue should be consistent with your event’s theme, and it should be easily accessible for guests. If your event is primarily on-site, you’ll also want to select a suitable venue for your audience. For example, suppose you’re planning a conference or seminar. In that case, you will likely want to book a venue that can accommodate hundreds of people and includes the necessary facilities, such as a stage, vendor booths, and ample seating. If you’re hosting a smaller event, such as a reception or dinner, you’ll want to find a venue that fits your guest list and allows for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. When selecting a venue, you’ll want to consider the following: –
- Capacity: What is the maximum number of guests you can host?
- Location: Where is the venue located? Note that you may have to travel to the venue, which will impact travel expenses.
- Seating: Will you need seating for guests? Consider how many people can be seated at one time.
- Sound and lighting: Will you need sound or lighting capabilities? – A/V equipment: Will you need to plug in any equipment, such as projectors, microphones, or screens?
- Cost: How much will it cost to rent the venue? What other associated costs should you take into account?
Select your speakers
Depending on the event you’re hosting, you may want to select speakers to address your guests. You should choose speakers relevant to your industry who can speak about a relevant topic for your event. For example, if you’re planning a conference or seminar, you’ll want to select keynote speakers who are experts in their fields and can provide valuable insights to your audience. You can also consider selecting speakers relevant to your business or brand. You can invite brand advocates or customers to speak at your event. You should choose your speakers as early as possible, so you have plenty of time to work with them and prepare for their participation in your event. This will help to ensure their involvement and give you enough time to prepare for their participation.
Plan your marketing activities
One of the most important aspects of any event is marketing it properly. You should start marketing your event at least six months ahead of time to build buzz, attract attendees, and encourage ticket sales. Here are some things to consider when marketing your event:
- Who are your target audiences? Where can you find them, and how can you reach them?
- When is your event being held? What else is happening in the world or relevant to your industry that could impact your event?
- How much does it cost to put on the event? How will you be funding it?
- How can you make your event stand out from the crowd? What makes your event different from others?
Social media, influencers, advertising online, sponsored ads, and networking within your industry can quickly help you reach the right audience and promotional materials, flyers, and media advertising. Marketing your event can be a full-time job, so you might want to consider hiring a specialist marketing company to help you get the word out about the event.
Depending on the type of event you’re planning, you’ll want to coordinate the various suppliers that are necessary for hosting it. You should research each supplier thoroughly and make sure they meet your expectations. You should also keep in mind any specific requirements or restrictions you have, such as any necessary certifications. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may need the services of the following suppliers:
- Venue: The venue will be responsible for the space and may also provide chairs, tables, and other necessary equipment.
- Catering: The catering company will be responsible for providing and managing the food and providing kitchen staff.
- Audio-visual: The AV company will be responsible for providing any necessary equipment, setting it up, and running the event.
- Marketing and PR: The marketing agency you work with will be responsible for promoting the event and helping you to reach your target audiences.
- Other: Depending on your event, you may want to hire other suppliers, such as a transportation company, an event planner, security, or cleaners.
Hire the right technology
Depending on the type of event, the technology you hire may vary. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may want to consider hiring technology for certain aspects of your event, whether you need screens for everyone to be able to see speakers or performances, microphones, entertainment equipment for music and video, or even digital screens for guests to find their way around the venue and get from one session to the next.
If you are allowing virtual attendees, you need to make sure you are using the right tools and equipment to allow for seamless streaming with no interruptions or disruption on the day. This includes a stable internet connection using a hotspot rental to boost the signal.
Depending on the event you’re hosting, you may need to consider accessibility. For example, if you’re hosting an event where people will be standing or walking around, you’ll want to make sure that pathways are wide enough for people using wheelchairs, crutches, or other mobility aids. For significant events, it’s also essential to make sure there are plenty of available restrooms and that they are accessible for people with disabilities. Depending on the size, you can provide enough toilets for your guests and make them easily accessible by placing them near the entrance or frequently throughout the venue. Ensure all personnel working your event are trained on how to help people you need assistance with and what to do in the event of an emergency to assist attendees if required.
Other accessibility points include traveling out and from the venue and the area around it. Can it be reached easily by car, or do you need to access it on foot? How will you help people find the venue, and are you considering different situations and circumstances in the local area, such as school pick-up times, sporting events, or major holidays, which can increase traffic and make it harder for people to get to the venue?
Pay attention to the small details.
The small details really make an event, from knowing your guests to providing them with complimentary items appropriate for your event to meeting and greeting everyone who arrives if possible.
Think about all of the events you have attended and what made them memorable and what you did and didn’t like. Use this to improve your own event and ensure you pay attention to even the smallest details, from easy access to the venue to clear signage and navigation. Every little thing matters, and our guests will notice everything you do right as well as everything you do wrong.