Planning An Event? – Here’s How
Planning your next private or business event? Events are a fantastic opportunity to mark a special occasion, promote your brand or celebrate business success – but behind every successful event is months of intensive research, planning and logistics. Not sure where to start? This guide is designed to give you all the information you need when planning an event.
1: What are your event objectives?
Get together with your events team, committee or colleagues and make sure that you all have one clear vision about your event. If it’s a business event or conference, do you want to drive new sales leads, celebrate a particular milestone or launch a new product? If you’re organising a private event or birthday bash, do you want a spectacular celebration to remember or a quieter, more informal affair? Deciding on your event goals will lay the foundations for the entire planning process and will make it much easier to evaluate once the event is over.
2: Who’s on the guest list?
The next crucial step when planning an event is to decide on your target audience. If you are planning a corporate event to impress new clients, then it’s likely to be invitation only which takes the pressure off your marketing budget. Or if you are planning a public music event for 200 guests, target demographics who are likely to be interested and can act as social ambassadors to promote the event to their friends and networks. Deciding on your target audience early on means that your marketing and promotion can be far more effective and tightly controlled.
3: Set a robust event budget.
Before you really get going with logistics and booking venues or entertainment, go through your budgets with a fine toothcomb. Here’s how to plan your event budget:
- Event income: how will you cover the costs for the event? Look at all opportunities for generating event income – ticket sales, advertising and sponsorship. Try to be realistic – if this is your first event then you may not sell out a 500-strong venue, so look at the financial implications of selling fewer tickets.
- Event expenditure: clearly set out all of your event costs. It’s easy to remember the major costs, such as venue or catering, but don’t forget the smaller expenditures as these can quickly add up. Note down where these are estimated or fixed costs. Don’t forget to add a contingency fund into your event budget – we’d recommend 10-15% to cover any unexpected expenses.
- Once you’ve got a clear indication of your income and expenditure, you can work out your break-even point and identify where you may need to increase income generation or reduce costs.
4: Planning an event – key logistics.
Once you’ve got clear event goals, a target audience and a budget framework, you can start planning your event. Create a plan that provides a step-by-step guide to help your event run smoothly. Here’s an example of the main points to consider:
- Find a venue. Start researching venues early, keeping in mind your target audience. Make sure that there is plenty of car parking, good access and kitchen/catering equipment available. Does your venue have a unique selling point? Is it an exclusive manor house that’s never opened to the public before, or is it a sports venue that’s never been used for an upmarket business event until now? Identifying your venue’s USP will greatly help when marketing your event.
- Once you’ve secured a venue, decide on catering or refreshments. These often come with the venue, but you may be able to source your own catering which can reduce costs considerably. Find a catering company through recommendations so that you can be sure they will deliver on the day and check that your venue has the appropriate licences to cover your event.
- Now the real fun begins. How will you keep your guests entertained at your event? For business or team-building events, high-energy fun such as Rodeo Bulls or the ever-popular photo booths and fun casinos will create an unforgettable experience for your clients or guests. If you’re organising a private birthday celebration, music is essential to get everyone in the party mood so you’ll need to hire a local band, DJ or mobile disco equipment.
- Don’t forget to book a photographer to capture the best moments of your event. For business events this is essential for future marketing and for private events, photographs will create a lasting memory of your special occasion.
5: Marketing your event
- All of your marketing materials – from social media posts and web copy to leaflets or posters – should clearly explain why your event is special and what the benefits are for your target audience. There may be a high-quality speaker, a celebrity appearance or the launch of a brand new product. Your marketing messages need to be clear, simple and compelling.
- Make sure it’s easy to book online. You need clear navigation from social media posts or websites through to online registration – and consider if your target audience may need offline registration options too.
- Social media advertising and media coverage are excellent low-cost ways to get the word out about your event.
- Once people start buying tickets or registering, get them to spread the word; social ambassadors are one of your strongest marketing platforms.
6: At your event
On the run-up to the big event, make sure that you have a clear logistical plan with timings built in; this should cover the entire event from the moment guests arrive to the moment they leave. Assign clear tasks and responsibilities and arrange a pre-event meeting so that the events team understand their roles on the day.
Planning an event can be one of life’s more stressful activities, but the end result makes it all worthwhile. Don’t forget to arrange a post-event debrief where you can look back at your key objectives, analyse success and note down learnings for the next time. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us.