Whether you’ve decided to run an event for 5 people or 500 people, there’s a lot of things that you’ll want to cover to ensure it’s a success. Once you’ve run a number of events, many of these things will become second nature to you, but it’s still best practice to build out a checklist of things you’ll want to cover. Once you’ve decided on your venue and know how many people you want to attend ideally, there’s a few key things that you’ll want to ensure you cover.
- Ensure you make your message clear
Both pre-event, during the event and afterwards, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got a clear message in mind that you want your attendees to understand. Fundamentally this is the reason “why” you’ve done this event instead of another type of marketing and it’s the thing you want your attendees to leave knowing clearly. If you haven’t got this clearly in mind then perhaps an event isn’t the right choice? Once you’ve defined it keep it at the heart of everything you do at your event – whether it’s an hour or a day duration, you want to ensure you get this across clearly and concisely during the time you have.
As you can see with the above website – albeit one done a pretty high budget – the site clearly has a number of clear CTA’s on why attend. It highlights the values and the benefits of attending the event and makes it clear to the website visitor what is going on and why it’s going to add value to someone to attend.
- Always think “attendee first”
It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of putting your event together, planning the details and building the setup, but you must NEVER forget to think from your attendee’s perspective first. Their time is valuable so ensure you treat it as such and if they’re giving it up to spend it with your organisation you’ll want to ensure they feel it was worth that sacrifice. It can also be tempting to want to just “sell, sell, sell” during the event but if you do that you’ll like put off your attendees. Think of ways to add more value to the day for them and ensure they know you’re not just treating them like a potential sale.
- Stick to your budget
This might seem obvious and is with any marketing investment you want to keep tight control of your budget, but with events it’s easy to go over that figure. Perhaps you’ll come up with a great idea at the last minute for signage, or perhaps a giveaway for your attendees you feel will make them feel more special? Try and ensure you plan everything in advance when it comes to budget, including adding contingency funds for extras that may come up and factor a cost for the “worst case” scenario. Doing this will ensure you can definitely afford the spend and will help you from getting hit with costs you weren’t expecting down the line.
- Set clear goals
So you’ve clearly defined what you want your attendees to get from the event, but don’t forget to define what you want from it too. Events can cost a lot of time and resource to deliver and if you’ve not defined in advance what your objectives area, how will you know if you succeeded? This could include numbers of registrations and attendees, numbers of tweets during the event, number of post event meetings booked, numbers of sales and more. The more objectives you can build into your event, both big and small, the better you will be able to deliver it. It’ll also help you in the long run as you’ll have a better idea of the figures to expect the next time you do it!
- Create a timeline
A timeline for your event should be a living document that you’ll use to help you map out all the elements that will happen along the way before, during and after your event. Think of it like a to do list and you can check things off as you work through them. You’ll want to include things like contractual elements, pre-event marketing and promotion, agenda building, post event debrief and everything in between – spend time on this as there’s a lot of small elements to an event it’s easy to forget. Allow yourself ample time to deliver it – rushing an event is the easiest way to set yourself up for failure. If you’re thinking you can do things in 1 month, why not allow 2 and so on. Be realistic on your timeframes and don’t overestimate the time things will take.
- Always think about the follow up
Just because you’ve delivered a fantastic event that met all your goals, don’t forget to have a plan – in advance – for how you’re going to engage with your attendees after the event. If you’re sending a thank you email, build it in advance and have it sent promptly afterwards. If you promised to do something during the event, make sure you keep that promise and keep it punctual too. No one wants to get a call like “Hi John, you may remember we met at XYZ event a month ago and I said I’d get in touch”… if you’d said you’d get in touch after the event, ensure you do within days, not weeks.