It may seem like a long time away, but 2020 is just around the corner. If you want to start the next decade with a bang, you should start thinking about planning your next event. Events such as conferences, awards shows and exhibitions can all help to put your company on the map. Events also get people talking.
In this blog post, we will share our tips for getting ready for 2020 with your biggest event yet. From choosing the venue to spreading the word, this step by step guide will tell you everything you need to know to make sure your event is a success. We’ve split the guide into three parts: planning, building and implementing. If you want to host a successful event in 2020, read on!
Stage One: Planning
Evaluate previous success
Before you launch into your next event, take some time to reflect on previous events you have hosted. Answer the following questions:
What didn’t work?
What feedback did we receive during the event?
What feedback did we receive after the event?
What impact did our event have on the wider industry?
What problems did we face?
Answering these questions will help you to identify the best aspects of previous events that you will want to carry forward to your future events. Even if you feel like a previous event was a complete disaster, there is a huge benefit to picking apart the event to figure out what when wrong. If you want to avoid making the same mistakes twice, then a little bit of self-reflection is essential.
Do your research
You don’t want to fall into the trap of doing what everyone else is doing and making your event completely forgettable. Make sure your event stands out by doing your research and coming up with something truly unique.
Have a look around to see what events in your industry have already been announced. If nothing has been announced yet, look at the events that happened in the previous year. Could any of these events become an annual event?
Through your research, you should also look at the public perception of these events. Were people happy or disappointed? Did they note that anything, in particular, was missing from these events? Could you offer an updated or improved version?
Remember that most events these days are highly targeted. There’s nothing wrong with creating a niche event with a smaller pool of potential attendees.
Set a budget
Now that you have an idea of the type of event you want to host, it’s time to think about money. Budgets help to bring form to your ideas by imposing limits. At this stage, you can start to think about venues, entertainment, decoration, staff, security and catering.
As an event manager, you will no doubt be creative with your budgets. You will know how to make the most of an opportunity and how to boost a budget through sponsorship and strategic partnerships. Can you barter for goods and services in exchange for advertising to a highly niche audience?
If you are planning to sell tickets or exhibition space for the event, now is the time to get realistic. If you are too optimistic, you could end up with lots of unsold capacity. Likewise, if you are overly cautious, you could end up selling out too soon with lots of people unable to attend.
Define your goals
Before planning any event, you should always think about what you hope to achieve. Are there specific business goals you can attach to your event? Do you have an ROI in mind? At this stage in the planning process, it helps to refer back to your previous events. Do you want to match or exceed performance from a previous event?
Make sure your goals are SMART, which means they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. This will help you to stay accountable and stop you from going off track.
Step Two: Build your event
Now you have completed the research and planning phase, you can start to think about building your event. You can choose a venue, pick your suppliers, build a team to support you and put a plan in place for spreading the word.
Choose a venue
Your choice of venue will come down to two things: budget and scale. You should also think about how easy the venue is to get to and if you will need to provide transportation. If the venue is out of town, is there enough parking to accommodate everyone? And if they will rely on public transportation, will you need to be in touch with the local council to inform them of the event?
Accessibility is also a key consideration. You don’t want to exclude anyone from your event simply by putting it in a venue which isn’t accessible to everyone. Event attendance can be damaged by the wrong choice of venue, so take your time in this vital stage of the planning process.
Pick your team
Events cannot happen without powerful teams. Building your event team is one of the most exciting phases of the planning process. You will need all sorts of event staff, including:
Speaker or artist liaison
Set up and take down crew
You will need to think about timetables throughout the event to make sure you always have enough staff and that the staff get sufficient breaks. You will also need to think about training. Who will liaise with staff in the run up to the event and on the day? And do you have the skills in-house or do you need to hire externally?
Create a marketing plan
You need a marketing strategy in place to help you get the word out. Now that you have a venue, staff and suppliers in place, you can start to think about how to sell the biggest benefits of your events. You could market your event using the following channels:
Build a website or landing page
Blogging and guest blogging
With so much online activity, you need to find a way to cut through the noise and deliver something that really grabs attention. You don’t have to have a large marketing budget to be able to make an impact. Think about what your audience will gain from attending your events and make sure you are pushing these benefits.
Step Three: Implementation
The day is almost here. It’s time to think about selling tickets, getting sign ups, or encouraging companies to exhibit. All of the planning has been building up to this point. If you have been effective in the planning stages, you should find this next step a breeze.
Spread the word
You have a marketing strategy in place. It’s now time to unleash your plan on the world. You might choose to test your message on a select group of people or create a campaign that builds suspense. Your marketing plan should be constantly evolving, allowing you to adapt to what is working well and doubling down. If something isn’t effective, it’s time to pivot and try a new angle. This is the best way to ensure your marketing spend is used effectively.
Marketing doesn’t have to stop with your pre-designed plan. You can also use your own network to spread the world. Let your friends and family know what you are up to and share the news with your personal network to ensure maximum coverage.
Document your event
Your marketing efforts don’t stop when the event begins. Documenting the event is a great way to collect marketing collateral for future events. You should be blogging and tweeting throughout the event to ensure that your attendees aren’t the only ones who benefit. This will also help to encourage them to share their own perspective. There’s nothing quite like a well-timed tweet to spark a little FOMO and encourage sign-ups for your next event.
At this stage, the event is done and dusted. You’re enjoying a well-deserved rest following a successful event. You might think your work is completed once the clean up crew finish cleaning up the last of the event debris. Wrong. This is when you need to think about following up with attendees, assessing how well you performed, and putting plans in place for your next event.
Look back at your budgets and your SMART goals to determine how successful your event really was. Getting feedback from attendees will not only help you to improve in future, but positive feedback can also be used in future marketing campaigns. Keep the conversation going and keep the spotlight on your company so you can strike again with an event that is bigger and better than the one before.
If you are looking for your next opportunity in events, get in touch with the friendly recruitment team at Live Recruitment. We’re actively seeking applicants in the North of England, including Leeds and Manchester for a range of exciting new roles.