Looking to plan an event that will further promote your brand and bring in large numbers of attendees? Here’s how.
It’s better to start too early than too late. Start by researching the main components of your event: venue, catering, speaker(s), etc. While planning ahead may seem like an obvious point, it’s easy to lose track of time or forget the small details; things like water bottles provided for the speaker or table centerpieces can get lost in the process of planning a large event. Keep the guests in mind as your first priority while planning any piece of your event. Will the guests have enough elbowroom with the table and chair layout? Is the location you’re looking into wheelchair accessible?
Hallie Slade, events coordinator at LB Event Planning, a corporate and wedding event planning company in Los Angeles, says: “The biggest key to any event is guest convenience – Guests need to have easy access to parking, food, beverage, restrooms, heat/air conditioning, etc! If a guest can navigate their way through an entire event without thinking, they are going to have a great time!”
And after all the hard work and months of planning, so will you. Planning at least 4-6 months ahead and considering all aspects of the event will put less stress on you (and your team) as well as provide your target audience with a positive association with your brand.
Don’t be afraid to be up front with the venue in regards to your budget, even if it’s small. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to have your event at your dream location within your allocated budget! Keep a running document of what’s spent in the budget so you always know how much you have left to work with. Leave yourself a little cushion room in case of last-minute emergencies.
Schedule, script, and get support.
Once you gauge how your event will run, create a document of the who, what, when, and where of the event. Who is doing what, and when should they be doing it? Recruit and train volunteers as early as possible to help you execute your event. “Expert and competent assistance on the day of the event is vital in ensuring that everything runs smooth. They should be able to take charge and handle unexpected situations efficiently and promptly,” advises Beverly Harris, a lavish wedding coordinator for Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. In addition to a printed schedule for each person assisting with the event to carry on them at all times, create a script or brief outline for any person that will be on a microphone. Staying organized and ahead of the game are essential for a successful event.
Partner with sponsors.
Not only will you have an opportunity to collaborate with a company or individual that shares the same beliefs as you, but partnering with sponsors also allows you to gain their following in addition to your audience. Casting a wide net for your audience is essential to expanding your brand to different markets.
At least 2-3 weeks before your event, it is extremely beneficial to follow up with key contacts: the venue, speakers, volunteers, etc. Kindly confirm the date and time with each of them so you know that they didn’t forget. Following up with each person involved in your event emphasizes the organizational aspect of events.
Harris emphasizes the impact on attendee numbers from high quality marketing materials such as announcements and literature. No one wants to see a pixelated image with Comic Sans smacked over it to promote an event. Use some of your budget on a brilliant designer and on print materials such as postcards, posters, and brochures about your brand. Staying consistent with your brand colors and typefaces in high quality marketing materials for your event will help identify your brand in advertising and in future events.
Plug in to social media.
Blast all of the social media outlets that your brand is associated with. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ are just a few of the many platforms that Internet users frequent. Create captivating photo captions, give your event a specific hashtag, and put your brand out there in the social media world. Use your event as an opportunity to reach out to those who have not yet heard of you as well as increase your brand’s social media presence.
Whether or not your event will happen again in the future, keep in touch with everyone involved in your event, even the attendees. More often than not, attendees are recurring, so if they had a good time at the first event, then you can encourage them to keep showing up at future events. Follow up with evaluation cards or thank you emails to everyone who made your event a success.
After the event, powwow with your team about your event. Correct any flaws you observed and question not what went wrong, but how your brand can improve. Create an event evaluation form to fill out with your team and reference it for future events. Did planning ahead help with the implementation of this event? How did social media affect the number of attendees? Always remember to make the event representative of your brand in order to be successful. Whether you’re planning your first event or 100th, aim to host an event that showcases your brand to a variety of audiences and increases the number of people that stand behind your brand.
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Ottilie Yee is a senior majoring in Multimedia with an emphasis in Web Design & Interactivity at California Lutheran University located in Thousand Oaks, CA. She can be found on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo Credit: TedXNickelCity