Planning an event exposes a business to risk and reward in equal measure. There are certainly plenty of things that can go wrong, which could damage your brand and harm important business relationships, but the potential rewards of a successful event are enormous. That’s why business owners, often against their better judgement, take that daunting step into the world of event planning.
Event planning requires a diverse skill set. You have to be a stickler for detail without losing sight of the overarching goal.
For many businesses, hiring a professional event planner is a wise step, but not every budget makes that possible.
That’s why we’ve curated some of the best event planning tips to help you host a business event to remember.
- Select the right date
One of the first and most important decisions you must make is to choose the date of your event. While this might be a decision you’ve made quickly, it really requires a lot of thought. There are lots of different dates you could choose that might limit your attendance. For example, events during holiday periods or on the weekend might not generate the interest you might like.
After-work events on weekdays can be attractive and venues are also more likely to be available. However, Fridays are generally not a good choice for business events as people often travel home after the working week. Tuesdays to Thursdays tend to work well as they avoid the sluggishness of a Monday and the ‘almost the weekend’ mentality of a Friday.
- Prioritise and accept your limitations
Very few budgets can stretch to everything you think a great event needs. To that end, it’s essential you consider your priorities and understand what you can realistically achieve. Be aware of your constraints, be they time, money or resources.
If you want to throw an event to support the launch of a product or celebrate a success, then time is likely to be the most important factor. Alternatively, if your budget is the limiting factor, be prepared to think creatively and do a lot of the preparation work yourself.
- Introduce yourself to attendees before the event
When it comes to any personal interaction, it’s the small things that really matter. Research shows that 88 percent of marketers use social media channels to increase awareness about their events before they occur. But sending a barrage of messages en masse to prospective attendees about how brilliant your event will be is not going to endear you to anyone.
Instead, you should take the time to connect with your attendees personally prior to the event. Simply letting them know how excited you are to meet them in person will create a lasting impression and make it much easier to connect with attendees on the day.
- Harness the power of new technology
New technology can help to create a lasting impression. Simple gimmicks like digital twitter walls that add an element of interactivity to the event or voting systems that allow attendees to complete polls can make events much more engaging.
Many event planners are investing in new technology, but factors like cost and concerns about the integration of tech can prevent businesses from implementing this type of solution. However, these days, it is possible to rent the latest technology for just a few days to put memorable tech within the reach of every business, regardless of its budget.
- Don’t forget to follow up
After an event that’s taken weeks or even months to organise, all you’ll want to do is breathe a huge sigh of relief and get back to business. But this is no time to rest. Straight after the event is the perfect opportunity to capitalise on all that goodwill you’ve created. Most sales happen in the first few days after an event, so it’s essential you follow up with attendees to upsell your products and services and try to create new customers.
It’s also the perfect time to ask for feedback from your attendees. This will give you a wealth of information about what worked well and how you can plan better events in the future. Even if you don’t plan to organise similar events anytime soon, knowing what worked and what didn’t will help you evaluate whether the event was a success. Importantly, you should not be afraid to ask for feedback as there are few things people like more than sharing their opinions! Here are some more tips to help guide the follow-up process.
- Turn to an event planning expert
If the thought of planning your own business event seems like a nightmare, there are plenty of event planning experts out there you can turn to as well as event planning guides you can use for inspiration. Although the expertise of a professional will cost you initially, their experience can be invaluable, reducing the stress of planning your own event and allowing you to focus on the day-to-day running of your business.