18 January 2016
So what’s the top secret to organising a successful event? In one word: preparation!
Preparation is an imperative to ensure a successful outcome for everything in business and life. It seems pretty obvious then, that you would need to prepare for an event, whether it’s a small private dinner or an annual user conference, you need to start planning in advance.
Kick-start your event planning with the following top 5 tips and you’ll quickly see the importance of preparation, allowing you time to delve into the detail…
The foundation behind any successful event is to define meaningful and measureable objectives that will guide your decisions throughout the planning process. Do you want to partner with industry relevant organisations? Are there sponsorship opportunities? Do you want to generate more recognition? What is your revenue goal and budget? Confirm your objectives with key stakeholders who will also work to support the same desired outcomes.
Now start building your strategy. Create a timeline with milestones and identify who is responsible for accomplishing each step of the process… and stick to it!
Aim to create an event that is a different experience for your delegates and something that will keep them talking. Maybe it is an unusual venue that they aren’t expecting to see? Or new, innovative technology that you’ve never used before? Who are the most appropriate and impactful presenters to fit the theme of your event?
Get the right people involved, think beyond the rigidity of the past, be imaginative, and don’t be afraid to try new things!
A great event is achieved if you have the right delegates. Identify your target audience and create a network that they’d want to be a part of. Create exciting invites and entice people to find out more information via your website. Once registered, produce valuable updates to promote your ‘must attend’ event; content could include promoting your high profile speakers, exclusive event ‘sneak peaks’ or exhibitors attending.
Don’t forget to make use of social media; Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook give the opportunity to create an online presence – pushing speaker blogs and articles that discuss latest industry trends will position you as a thought leader.
From dietary requirements to contingency planning, everything requires thought and re-thought to ensure you’ve covered almost all eventualities. If your keynote didn’t turn up, what would you do? Is there someone who could stand in? Or maybe your event is outside, do you have appropriate weather protection such as sun-cream, shelter or umbrellas?
Always have a backup plan, and think about how you might have to communicate quickly with your guests if the changes impact them.
Learn from your delegates and improve for the future by asking for feedback. The easiest way to do this is by providing them with structured questions to tease out their opinions about your event. What did they like / dislike about the event? How interesting did they find certain sessions? What would they like to see next year? Not only does this give you valuable insight into what your delegates are looking for, it may also provide you with fantastic case studies to use on your website and in event materials.
Finally, measure the success of your event with the data you have gathered, which should be both qualitative and quantitative.
You’ve created a buzz by sending invites and updates for the event, but don’t stop there – stay in communication with your delegates after your event.
You have a network of engaged delegates who want to be part of your community. An effective way to keep your network alive post event is to continue issuing blogs which capture key takeaways from the event. You could also consider capturing testimonials from delegates on the day which could feature on your website, and of course, in future marketing activity. And why not identify future events or webinars to invite your delegates to next!
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