Event Planning Checklist
Posted on 24th January 2020 at 17:49
Planning an event isn't easy, particularly if it's your first time. It's so hard to know where to start and you'll often find yourself forgetting something if you don't set out a clear plan before you begin. That's why we've created this handy little week by week guide to ensure nothing gets missed and your event is a huge success!
Our checklist takes into account a six week lead time which is the absolute minimum we would recommend giving to successfully create, promote, fill and manage your event. If you have more time to prepare, great! Simply spread the tasks out across several weeks.
Don't get disheartened if people don't start booking on straight away - people generally don't start doing this until about 2 weeks before the event.
If you haven't already read our blog on 'how to plan a business event' we recommend doing that before you get to work on this checklist simply because it will help you lay the foundations of your event before you even begin - making this whole process a lot smoother and more enjoyable!
1. Confirm your reason for hosting the event (are you planning to up sell? Raise money for charity? Launch a new product?)
2. Understand your target demographic (who is going to benefit from the event?)
3. Confirm the event date, time and venue
Refer to our last blog if you need some help with these!
4. Book the catering (This is optional but advised for optimal guest satisfaction!)
5. Create a booking page where guests can purchase tickets
We use Eventbrite to advertise all of our events but there are a number of other event platforms you can use - be sure to research which one will be most suited to your event theme and target audience.
6. Outline your marketing strategy, consider;
Will you use a combination of PR, print, digital, video and telemarketing to promote your event?
What social media platforms are your target audience most likely to be using?
Who are you going to target first?
What aspect of the event is going to appeal to your target audience the most?
7. Create a wish list of businesses/people you would like to be involved in the event, consider;
Who is going to draw in the audience?
Who has an established network which they can promote the event to?
Who else would be interested in connecting with your target audience?
8. Put together your delegate/sponsorship packages, consider;
Why should they attend?
What are the ticket entitlements?
Who else will be attending the event and why is this going to be important to them?
What will they be charged? (If anything)
Consider getting a graphic designer to help you with this if you're not very artistic because you want something that looks professional. If you're on a budget but have plenty of time and a flair for creativity then Canva is a really useful tool for creating beautiful yet professional designs.
9. Add your event to your website (try to avoid using stock imagery when advertising the event if you can)
10. Add your event to relevant social media channels and begin marketing, consider;
Are the platforms you re using to advertise on relevant to your target audience?
Have you read the messaging out loud before posting to make sure it makes sense?
Can you join any relevant groups to promote your event?
We are firm believers of quality over quantity, don't overwhelm your social media platforms with event promotion as it gets boring and will cause your audience to become less engaged as a result. Try writing blogs and articles & providing interesting statistics that relate to your event to keep your content informative and varied.
11. Create and distribute a press release (this is not mandatory but a good way to build awareness of your brand and the event)
If you aren't the best copywriter, try using sites like people per hour who can proof read, edit and write content for you. You'll then want to find someone in PR who can help circulate the story around all local publications, why not contact us and we can put you in touch with someone?
12. Construct a promotional video for social media
Videos generally receive more engagement on social media than text or images so it's a good idea to consider this if you want more people to know about your event.
Your video doesn't have to be anything to fancy; even a video of you explaining what the event is and who it's for with some images of the venue and other related b-roll footage will be better than nothing. If you would like a more professional finish, try looking for a local videographer.
13. Begin email marketing campaigns to your database of contacts
If you don't have an email database of contacts, try sending your event to people you are connected to on social media or to friends and family instead.
14. Begin telesales inviting people to attend/sponsor/speak at your event (don't wait - target and engage with your audience)
15. Attend relevant networking events to promote your event to the right audience
Read our blogs on how to get the most ROI out of networking and different types of networking to figure out the best groups to attend.
16. Start designing any promotional print materials such leaflets or media packs that you would like to hand out at the event
Use sites like Canva if you're planning to design your own content and sites like People per hour if you need help designing or printing.
17. Post about your event on all your social media channels 2-3 times per week (remember to post additional content too)
18. Share your event into relevant Facebook & LinkedIn groups (try to start a conversation instead of just advertising)
19. Continue sending targeted messages to database (about 50 per week if you can)
20. Telemarketing follow-up calls from direct messaging
The fortune is in the follow up so make sure you follow up with every single person that you've contacted, whether it's via email or social media, try to find the company's contact details online and ask for the person you've messaged if you don't have their direct dial.
21. Record all contact details and correspondence on a CRM
A CRM is a great place to store contact and correspondence information so that you can set yourself tasks and avoid missing out on follow up opportunities. We use a site called Capsule but there are a variety of different sites out there with varying capabilities which you can use to store information. CRM's are particularly useful if you have a team because that way everyone can be kept updated with a contact's progress.
22. Announce any speakers, sponsors or exhibitors on your social media and email marketing campaigns
23. Ensure print marketing and any handouts for the day are printed and distributed accordingly
22. Prepare and send an event itinerary to all attendees
23. Inform attendees if there is anything they need to remember to bring with them (ID, business cards etc)
24. Call all attendees to confirm they are still attending
Try investing in SMS marketing software to send text reminders to your attendees as these often have a much higher open rate than emails.
25. Confirm any dietary and access requirements with your guests (where needed)
26. Ramp up your social media activity to at least 1 post per day if you're in need of some last minute bookings
Try putting together a logo compilation of all the businesses already attending to grab people's attention.
27. Prepare any handouts or good bags that will be given to gets on the day of the event
28. Once the guest list has been finalised, create name badges for all attendees (not a requirement but good for formal events)
Please note that this is a rough guide for planning a small-scale event with 10 – 50 delegates, so please adjust the time scales and quantities to fit your requirements.
If you would like to host your own event but don’t have time or need some professional advice, let us help take the burden off your shoulders, contact us today.
By Chloe Evans
Director of Operations
Business Live UK
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