20 Steps To Plan A Great Event
We at Climbing Goat Event Solutions have created memorable events for brands across Kerala. We have worked closely with Siemens, Tata DoCoMo, Skylight, Yamaha. Memorable events don’t just happen. Organizing and holding an event takes planning. Whether it’s a conference, seminar or a customer Recognition day, and whether you have two weeks to plan or an entire year, your event’s success is in the details.
Here are 20 steps to plan a great event, this is what we learned from our own experience.
First Things First
- Decide upon your target audience: The first step before you do anything else should be to clearly define who your target audience is. From this all the other decisions will fall into place in terms of format, content, prices, location etc.
- Make a list of details: When you decide to have an event, everything matters. From program content and lighting to transportation and parking, everything counts. And your audience will attribute everything to you and your brand. Making a list will ensure you don’t overlook things.
- Have a clear business purpose for holding the event.Before you can begin planning a successful event, be clear on why you are doing it in the first place, because every decision after that should support your main goal. Is it lead generation? Is it to create awareness of your company or a particular product? Is is to develop customer loyalty? Or do you simply want to make money (which is okay too)? And make sure the team is aware of the purpose.
- Watch out for other industry events when scheduling. Check the calendar. Make sure you don’t schedule your event on or too close to holidays or popular vacation times. It’s just as important to check for other events that your target attendees might be going to.
- Be flexible with changes in size, location and other details. As you get into the event planning process, you may find that your event changes in size, location, and many other ways than you originally envisioned. This is natural and perfectly fine as long as you don’t lose sight of the reason you’re doing all this work in the first place. Some flexibility is necessary.
- Create SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, result oriented and time bound. Always start with strategy. Just like building any business, great events start with a strong, thoughtful and measurable strategy. Live events are an amazing way to share your brand, connect with your target market, get feedback on your product and more, but you need to know what you are trying to achieve. Stick with SMART goals and outline what you are aiming for. Then make sure that you proceed in line with reaching these goals.
Plan the Budget
- Develop a “financing plan” for your Event.Know how you are going to pay for the event. Most events are funded by sponsorship, ticket sales, internal marketing budgets — or a combination of all three. When you create your budget for the event, you’ll need to estimate how much money you can realistically raise from each area. Before you book your venue or sign any contracts, it’s a good idea to start signing sponsors first, or selling advance tickets to make sure there is enough interest in your idea to fund it.
- Create an expense budget – and save money through “in-kind” sponsor donations. Events tend to cost more than what we may think. Make a comprehensive list of all the expenses— primarily in regards to the venue and food and beverage. Remember to price out all the permits and licenses you will need as well and then highlight areas where you think sponsors can play a role to offer something “in kind.” The more you work with other brands and partners to host your events, the more you can save.
Marketing: Getting People to Attend
- Define good reason(s) for people to show up. What’s the draw for attendees? You need to define WHAT you’re doing at the event that will bring those target attendees in the door. For a consumer product it might be a party with entertainment and product demos and freebies. For a business crowd it might be educational content or an exciting, well-known expert speaker. Whatever it is, don’t lose the connection with what you want.
- Offer local partners incentives to promote you.Press releases sent to the relevant media outlets will help generate news buzz and you could look at getting media (online and offline) involved as partners.
Team: Together Everyone Achieves More
- Delegate responsibilities. No matter the size of your business, always try to delegate responsibilities. Having one person in charge of every detail typically doesn’t work out well. Whenever possible, let people take control of the areas they most enjoy. For example, let the foodie in your company handle the catering details. The more someone enjoys their responsibilities, the more likely they will carry them out with success.
- Follow up and follow up again. Check in early and often. Though no one wants to be micromanaged, make sure that employees and vendors are on track with their event duties. As long as people know you expect updates from time to time, they are less likely to become frustrated when you call or email for one.
- Have a skilled social media team cover your event. Don’t forget a social media team. While not imperative for every event or industry, more and more events are focusing on harnessing the viral power of their audience. If your audience is tweeting, Facebooking and taking pictures on Instagram — you should be doing the same and you will need a trained team to execute.
- Look for vendors who serve your niche and are willing to get involved. The best vendors you can work with are those who are passionate about what they do with great people skills and time management skills. Look for vendors who are resourceful and flexible or who would get involved on a bigger level than their role. We at Climbing Goat have expertise in handling all kinds of events and have successfully worked across Kochi, Trivandrum, Calicut and other parts of Kerala in creating awesome events for our clients.
Event Day: The D-Day
- Set expectations carefully – then deliver.Ensure that the audience has a GREAT (not good) experience; and that you give them what they expected from attending.
- Let crowd reaction be your barometer. Read the audience during the event. Ask people how they are doing. If things are going great, or if they are not, you’ll know.
- Always ask yourself: How is this relevant to attendees? Make sure you are offering content that is relevant to over 80% of the audience. The audience must walk away with tangible tactics to improve their business and career … and they must feel the speaker’s energy. Speaking about your business and what you do — without offering the audience what THEY need — is a waste of time and money for all.
- As the master of ceremonies or a speaker – practice. You know your business, but do not assume that you know how to put on a presentation. Practice giving your presentation, answering questions and handling difficult and confrontational members of the audience. The more prepared you are the better.
Contingency Plan: The Plan B
- Imagine the event, step by step, and make a 2-column list: what could go wrong in one column, and your contingency plan in the second. Be prepared for the unexpected. Maybe the sound system fails. Maybe your keynote presenter fails to show up. Can you cope and move on?
- Be ready to lend a hand to fill any gaps. Although planning ahead is a great formula for success, it is never enough. Something unexpected always comes up. Thus, it pays to put in a little extra elbow grease for extenuating circumstances. This applies to catering arrangements, printing requirements, guest accommodations, weather forecasts, entertainment and more.