Is it time to plan your event? No matter how small or large this event, the experience can be stressful. Yet, if you get this right, you will find it a wonderfully rewarding activity. The starting point for a successful wedding, music festival, dinner party or team away day is a definite plan. You need to understand what needs to take place and for how many.
However, this is just a beginning. Here are some more tips for a successful event that impresses all who attend.
Planning and preparation.
The starting point must be the planning of the event. There are a series of decisions to make, including:
- The goals of the event
- An outline timeline
- The budget
- The venue
- Who will manage the technology, if needed?
- Who will be your partner or your vendors?
- What will be the main attraction or the selling point of the event?
- The marketing of the vent
- Developing engagement and the relationship with the attendees
- How you will follow up with attendees after the event to get feedback
- The use of social media
- How you can build a template for future events.
Promoting the event.
Most of your promotion will likely be done via social media and with the use of targeted ads. You will seek to gain traction with your users with regular posts about the event. You could also produce posters, flyers and leaflets – and dispersing these within appropriate areas where they will have the highest impact. This print media will be most effective with a highly targeted strategy. Other audience demographics might respond more to promotion in the mainstream media.
If the event is more personal than corporate, you can still use social media to build anticipation. If you are organising a wedding and you want the expectation to grow – you can use social media to offer insights into the preparations. You can then gather a whole load of photos, posts and tweets on the day if your hashtag is well established.
Management on the day.
On-site event management is the key to its success. Any planning will be pointless if you do not have a presence on the day to answer questions, direct staff and orchestrate the different elements of the plan. You need to be there to offer an overview of the bigger picture, making sure the small details fall into place to result in the success of the whole.
You may want to hire someone specialised in running an event on the day. This might be a sound choice if you are expected to host and/ or participate in the event yourself. You do not want to take on the responsibilities of troubleshooting if you are meant to be enjoying the experience too.
Learn to move forward.
The event might be a one-off – a wedding, a birthday party or a village celebration. In such circumstances, your feedback is likely to come through posts on social media and word-of-mouth testimonials. These are important to help build memories. However, there is little need to reflect and learn. The same is not valid if the event is for work or for something that will reoccur year on year.
You will want to receive post-event reviews for two reasons. 1) You can publicise the success of the event using positive feedback as quotations on social media and in the press. 2) You can reflect on the comments and put changes into place ready for next time. The more you learn, the more you can streamline the organisation of the event for future years.
Not all events are equal.
Remember that every event is unique. There will be a set of metrics to judge the success of this event. If you can anticipate what these metrics are, you can aim to achieve them. The considerations will be different if this is corporate or social, or even a form of cultural festival.
When you are deciding on the metrics, you are also helping define your priorities. Are you interested in making a profit from ticket sales? Then, your preference will be on marketing the event to the people most likely to attend. Is your priority an increase in leads and interest in your project? Then, your focus will be on the gathering of information from those who attended and making sure there is a follow-up.
Planning an event is part science and part art. There are a host of techniques you can apply that will add to the success of your event. However, there is something intangible about how the best event managers make people feel welcome and the goals fully achieved. This can only come from experience and reflection.