So you’ve decided to host an event. Maybe it’s for educational purposes, brand awareness, networking, or entertainment. Whatever the reason, you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to it, but you want to appear professional and minimize the time spent managing the event details.
Planning an event is a process that can be both challenging and time consuming, yet is a very effective way for businesses to promote their goods and services. Some challenges include choosing a venue, managing invitations, organizing responses, and tracking payments.
Take a look at the following tips to help you overcome these challenges and transform your event vision into an exceptional reality:
Plan for Success
Consider your audience when scheduling an event. The “when” and “where” are important considerations to maximize attendance. For every event, you should set two goals: what you hope to accomplish, and what you hope your attendees will accomplish. These planning tips will help to focus your efforts, communicate effectively, and provide a meaningful experience for all involved.
Invitations – Make it Personal
There’s a very good chance that your customer’s first impression about your event will result from your email invitation, so your invite must be engaging. Your invitation should look professional and communicate the basic information about your event. Here are some tips to sending great online invitations:
- It’s important to segment your list. You want to invite the people who are most interested.
- Personalize it (include invitee names).
- Brand the invitation with your company’s logo and colors. Your customers should know it’s coming from you without seeing a single word.
- Include the purpose for, and the benefits of, attending your event.
- Provide clear details on the where, when, and costs associated with the event, as well as contact information.
- Include a map, if possible, and driving directions.
Invitations may not be enough to guarantee a packed house. There are a few extra steps that can help raise awareness, encourage attendance, and fill seats at your event. Suggestions include:
- An event specific website. This is a great place to list all the details of the event: the general description, purpose, fees, activities, links to other websites, special guests, and additional resources.
- Like the original invitation, ensure all promotions include your brand, company logo and colors.
- If the event is open to the public, consider promoting your event on social networking sites. My experience is that social networking is complementary to promotional tools like email invitations. I find that I can increase attendance by at least 10% or more by incorporating social networking into the mix.
- Remember to send a reminder in the days leading up to the event.
- Include an events calendar to promote future events.
- Capture more than standard information for use in future marketing efforts.
- If there are fees for your event, collect these during registration. Collecting fees electronically avoids the security risks of managing and storing credit card numbers on your own computer. And, if you can get registrants to pay at the time of registration, you’re getting a firm commitment from those individuals that they will attend the event.
- If you collect fees, always include a refund policy.
Leverage the Right Tools
Small businesses should value their brand and strive for professionalism when communicating with their customers and prospects. A tool designed for professional use offers the best solution to meet these demands. As with email marketing and online survey, there are online tools available to help you plan, track, and manage your event.
Make It Count
There is always opportunity to improve on your event after the fact. Post-event activities can reveal useful information about what worked and how you can improve your next event.
- Track those who attended vs. those who did not.
- Send a timely follow-up communication to include highlights of the event, pictures and overall summary.
- Conduct a post-event survey of attendees to capture their experience at the event.
- Ask about areas for improvement in your next event.
From pre-event planning to post-event analysis, a successful event will greatly benefit from using the right online solution. By following these suggestions, you can be more productive in less time, look professional, and provide a satisfying event experience for your attendees.