GBEA 2015

Attending events are part and parcel of the business world, however planning one for the first can seem like an overwhelming task. They’re often fraught with challenges and stressful situations, yet some organisers seem to thrive. So what’s their secret?

We look at the top five tips to consider when planning your next event.

Get organised

Whilst the event might be your number one priority, that doesn’t mean it’s at the forefront of your guests’ minds. Give yourself plenty of time to send invites and reminders, especially during the week leading up to the event. It might sound simple, but make sure you cover the basics, and include things like a contact telephone number and directions to the venue. If you’re hosting an evening event, it’s likely that guests will come straight from work, so make sure there are plenty of refreshments.

Get the venue right

If you want to reach your target audience, selecting the right location is key. If you’re planning a pop-up event or product launch, your approach will be very different to preparing for a corporate networking evening. Find out the capacity of your venue in advance and give some thought about the best ways to maximise it. Whilst it’s important to fill the space, you should also consider a zone for networking, space for refreshments and registration.

Be realistic about your budget

When planning your budget, it’s important to be accurate, as costs can quickly escalate. Work out a budget at the earliest opportunity, and take the time to factor in every possible cost. Does your venue provide chairs free of charge? Are glasses included in the cost of venue hire? These are all things you don’t want to be thinking about on the day.

Visit the venue and do a run through of the event to make sure you’ve got everything covered. If you’re planning to sell tickets, calculate a price point that wont leave you out of pocket. If you’re unsure where to start, look at other similar events and research what the target audience is used to paying.

Get social

Social media is an event organiser’s best friend, so use as many social channels as possible to promote the event and encourage engagement. Create a hashtag that attendees can use on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to have reminders of it on the day. Schedule a Twitter Q&A or Google hangout during the run up to give attendees the opportunity to ask questions about the event – you could even invite speakers to participate.

A bit of social advertising goes a long way – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all offer targeting options that allow you to reach a specific geographical location, age group or gender. You don’t need a big budget for this either and results can be easily measured.

Keen to secure some media coverage for your brand? Inviting local, relevant journalists and bloggers along to the event is another great way to engage with your audience and generate some coverage.

On the day

It’s important to delegate responsibility on the day, as having one person in charge of everything simply won’t work. Let team members take control of the tasks they most enjoy, that way they are more likely to carry them out successfully. Make sure you look the part too, dress comfortable but appropriate for the audience. Most importantly – have fun!

By Ami Sibbick, Senior Account Executive, Fugu PR