The thought of planning an event (especially if this is your first time) can be very stressful.
There is so much work, so much to coordinate, so many invites to send out. And who is doing exactly what?
We are here to help.
We have pulled together a guide to help you with your event planning in the best way possible.
A. What is an Event Plan?
An event plan is like a blueprint containing details of how an event will be executed. It contains all the activities that surround an event which can be a party, a festival, a conference, or a concert. The primary components of an event plan include start and end dates, budget, venue, marketing, and more.
The scope and complexity of an event will vary depending on the size of the event, but the process and the fundamental challenges will remain the same. The goals of an event plan use the elements of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) against a specific timeline.
B. The event plan process
Before proceeding, let us know what an event planning process looks like-
Without establishing the objectives of your event, you are likely to get astray. Start with finding out what the sponsoring organization or client hopes to achieve with the event.
A budget includes the true estimates of key elements of the event. It is one of the primary components of event planning determining how big the event will be. Provide an outline of the budget in the event plan including travel and accommodation costs for the site scouting team, speakers, presenters, and special guests from out of town.
Planning an event successfully requires a team effort. Identify an event manager or event chair as well as chairpersons for subcommittees that may include venue selection, entertainment, speakers, volunteer management, and marketing.
4. Date and time
The date and time of a recurring event are already established. But if this is a new event, you need to consider a few things before finalizing the date-
- Allow enough time for preparation
- The selection of the lead time is dependent on the size, nature, and timing of your event
- Larger events may require 4 to 6 months, or even longer to execute an event plan
- Be mindful of national and other holidays
- Check the availability of key participants such as honored or VIP guests, speakers, presenters, entertainment, etc
5. The plan
The final event plan should include the following aspects:
- Venue, logistics, catering
- Presenters, keynote speakers
- Entertainment and activities
- Marketing efforts
- Registration logistics
- Sponsorship or partnership management
- Volunteer management
C. Tips for a successful event planning
1. Identify your audience
Figuring out who your audience is important to make sure the right people are attending your event. The first step to do this is identifying your goals. It usually revolves around the areas of –
- Customer engagement (target customers)
- Driving new leads or increasing brand awareness (review your current audience profile and target similar customer profiles)
- Closing deals (target your in-pipe or late-stage prospects or high-value accounts)
It is relatively easy to plan an event for small events. You probably already have a list of people in mind, and creating a guest list can be simple. But the attendee pool gets a lot more dynamic for larger events like conferences or community-wide events.
It is best to begin conversations with internal stakeholders such as the leadership and sales team to gain insight on who they think would benefit from attending as well as any external event partners to know who they are expecting to attend. These stakeholders can help with driving registration numbers and connecting with your target audience.
Defining attendees’ persona profile
Depending on your business, industry, and event goals, defining your persona profile will involve looking at the characteristics and interests of an attendee.
For example, if you are promoting or showcasing a new corporate IT software, you would define persona characteristics such as industries and companies that would be interested in your product rather than defining the specific job titles within a company that would show direct interest in your product.
Here are some of the characteristics you should focus on while defining a customer persona profile:
- Marital status
- Income level
- Education level
- Geographic location
- Ethnic background
- Religious beliefs
- Technological knowledge
Have a look at some of the ways you can quickly identify your target audience.
Scan your past attendees
If you have organized a similar event in the past, you already are aware of and experienced in event planning. Even if the event was great, a wrong set of attendees could keep you from reaching your goals. Try to have a closer look at your past attendees and their behavior to understand your target demographic.
Using a ticketing platform like Ticket Generator can help you dig into the data of your past event attendees.
Look at your competition
If you don’t happen to have previous event attendee data or don’t have event planning experience, simply look at events that are similar to yours (your competitors).
Consider scanning these things-
- Their website
- The tone of voice they write
- How do they promote on social media (and which platforms)?
- What kind of content are they using (blogs, images, video, or audio)
- Comments and engagement are they receiving?
Write everything you find down and analyze it closely. You should now have a much better idea of what kind of audience to promote your event to.
Send a survey to your mailing list
If you have a mailing list, use it to find out more about the people who have subscribed and their motivations behind doing it.
You can create a pre-event survey where you can ask them about their background, interests, and anything else that can help you identify your target audience.
2. Establish your budget
Creating a budget allows you and your team to generate ideas within realistic parameters. Here is a quick guide on how to set up your budget in the best possible way.
Set an overall budget
Start by determining how much money you have available to spend on the event. This will include calculating your incoming revenue and examining your variable expenses, which may change as you plan. An estimate can help you allocate expenses appropriately.
Research past events and make a list
Researching previous events and current market trends can help you create an outline for your budget. Remember to consider every aspect of your event that may incur a cost.
Make a list of all the items you wish to include in your budget. You may list them in order of priority.
Set a time frame
A time frame helps you keep track of budget progression. The end date also serves as a deadline for finalizing the balance sheet.
Create a fund for contingencies
Having a contingency fund will keep you ready for any unforeseen expenses that may occur like in cases of additional health and safety precautions.
Pitch to your sponsors
Write a pitch for potential sponsors briefly summarizing your event. Mention things like who you are, what your event is about, and why you are organizing it.
Even though it is one of the most time-consuming aspects of budgeting, contacting vendors can provide more accurate costing information. Start by calling different vendors, detailing your requirements, and requesting a quote. Ask them to provide a comprehensive cost breakdown so that you can compare all quotes.
Calculate advertising expenses
Estimate the cost of each form of advertising including web-based advertising like social media ads and website banners.
Determine estimated revenue
Estimating your potential earnings can help you decide how to allocate funds and plan for other expenses. Include all pertinent information from statistics about your target market to the number of attendees you anticipate.
3. Find the right venue
Choosing the right venue is a crucial decision as it can have the largest impact on your event. It can influence a lot of factors like the date of the event, speaker lineups, and catering options for audience attendance.
Now the question is how early should you start looking for a venue? The earlier the better. But first, make sure you have these 3 things sorted out-
- Estimated event size
- Space requirements
Ideally, you should book a venue at least 8 months in advance so that you will have enough time to plan over critical things such as creating an event program and website, securing great speakers, starting ticket sales, event marketing, and more.
Consider these things when searching for a venue-
For a local event, look for a venue within a reasonable distance from most attendees’ homes or places of work. If many attendees are coming out of town, a venue near the airport or their hotels is recommended. Also, remember to consider traffic, transportation, and parking options.
If the venue has parking lots, that’d be a great deal. But if there is no parking available, here are a few alternatives:
- Reserve nearby parking lots (you can either include the cost in the ticket prices or have attendees pay when they park)
- Contact cab services like Uber or Lyft for discounts offered for events. Negotiate with them to set this up and distribute the promo code to your attendees
- Offer valet parking, even if the venue doesn’t. It is an essential factor, especially if the event is an upscale event such as a gala
Services and Amenities
Can the venue provide catering for your event? If so, typically a venue will waive the facility fee and charge a down payment in addition to the cost of food for each attendee. Venues without any kitchen and catering facilities may have a partnership with a food provider. Make sure to check the food in advance.
It is important to have a rough idea of what types of activities you will be including, the amenities you will require, and the needs of your team and the attendees. While scouting for venues, try to get an illustrated floor plan of each venue and visit for favorites at least once. Don’t forget to make note of important things such as where the outlets are and where the AV equipment can be located.
A venue’s poor acoustics can interfere with your attendees’ experience making them feel unfulfilled. Acoustics is essentially how sound travels through the venue. A ceiling will make the venue cozy, but it can make the sound louder if it’s packed. On the other hand, a large warehouse-style venue will result in echoes or reverberation. So make sure to test the acoustics before making your final decision.
4. Organize your team
As a visionary or originator of the event organization, your commitment is to make sure that all the processes of event management and planning are powered by professional team members. Look at these suggested committees you can create to manage an event
The team lead should be responsible for how things go and check on the completion of core operations.
People in program administration take full control of the event activities from speaking sessions to catering. You can make the tasks more specific by assigning responsibilities to attendee number control, menu development, and activity scheduling to different groups of people.
The creative team pays attention to visuals, online promotion, and interaction with attendees. They are also responsible for communication with the press, website creation, and visuals.
This section of the team takes care of activities like equipment setup, cleaning, and attendee support. This can be a great target sector for event volunteers because the majority of operational tasks require only minimal training.
This section takes care of payments and budgeting and makes up a separate category of tasks.
💡 The use of automated event management platforms is a great solution for minimizing team involvement, without interfering with the event’s success.
5. Make a strong marketing plan
There is no one-size fits all approach to a marketing plan. Some may benefit from small partnerships and local SEO (eg local women’s meet), whereas others may need a solid social media strategy (eg product launch).
You are likely to concentrate your marketing efforts on three main channels-
- Social Media
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are some of the most popular channels to promote your event. Most of your budget is likely to go to targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram. Each of the platforms has its strengths. It depends on you how you utilize them.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is about how much you optimize your spending.
Google’s organic results rank web content by how useful it is to the user which is based on several factors. We have some helpful tips for you to use while creating content:
- Ensure to create content around keywords, and use those keywords in your SEO title, page or post title, page URL, and in the body text
- Longer content (1800 words or more) tend to rank better. Create content that is not just long but provides value to the user
Email is a great channel to launch drip campaigns or gather some qualitative feedback. Follow these tips to get the most out of your email marketing:
- Create useful or informative content in the weeks or months leading up to the event. For example, the best tourist spots in the host city
- Send out surveys and gather feedback. This will help you identify areas of errors and improvement and the areas you did well
- Announce the next event ASAP if your event occurs regularly
6. Choose your event Software
Last but not least, choosing the right software can make all the difference in streamlining your process when planning your event.
An event management software can help you with:
- Event website
- Lead tracking tools
- Attendee management
- Secure check-ins
If you are sick of processing event registrations and payments by hand, an event registration software could be right for you.
Here’s what it can do:
- Allow easy creation of online event registration forms
- Put a calendar of events on your website
- Automatically update your website with upcoming events
- Deposit event payments directly into your account
- Send automatic invoices and event reminders
- Dump event attendee data directly into your contact database and more
There are a lot of correct ways to plan an event. Most of it will depend on how well you plan and work with your team.
But human errors are inevitable. Despite a lot of work, effort, and concentration, sometimes errors happen. Even if errors are involuntary, they can cost a lot.
That is why we have Ticket Generator for you.
Ticket Generator is an event registration and ticketing software allowing event organizers to produce single-use event tickets and validate them using a smartphone app. Event organizers can easily design, generate, and distribute event tickets in minutes eliminating the need for graphic designers or expensive design software tools.
While you concentrate your efforts on where it requires the most, let us do the heavy lifting and monotonous work.
Sign up for free. Your 1st 10 tickets are on us!