These are often the event areas that surprise.
For small and medium businesses, getting to meet their customers face to face is a luxury in today’s social media world. But when the opportunity presents itself to participate in or sponsor an event, there are several “must dos” that can make the experience rewarding and revenue generating.
Here are 7 of those “must get right” items:
1. Plan, plan and plan again.
There is no substitute for planning an event thoroughly from beginning to end.
The plan starts with the company’s objective. Ask yourself, does this event support the company’s objectives?
Is the intended audience for the event the audience for your company? Do you have the resources (time, money and people) to make this event a success? Are there others, either sponsors or co-sponsors, who would be interested in reaching this same audience?
When you are satisfied with the answers to the strategic questions, then detail every action that is needed to make the event a success. Nothing is too small – from speakers’ notes to food caterer to access to the venue. Start a list of these items early and keep referring to it and updating it each day.
2. Location, location, location.
This step is often overlooked but is very important especially if you are developing an event for just your company.
Venues reflect your company’s image. Does the college auditorium tell CEOs of small businesses that you are socially responsible or watching your budget?
Does the hotel room at the Four Season say that your product is “expensive” or that your services will be “first class”? The impression the location gives is first consideration.
If you are satisfied with the impression, then you can move on to the more mundane considerations such as is the space adequate for trade show booths or tabletop displays?
Is there adequate space for catering? Does the location provide for large group presentations as well as panels and what about small group break out sessions?
Remember, too, that locations carry with them hidden costs and sometimes not so wonderful surprises. Be sure to check security and access for both your set up crews and your attendees.
These are often the areas that surprise:
3. Play-by-play analysis.
If planning is important, then making sure that each person knows exactly what they are responsible for is essential.
Like football teams that play positions and review plays, event management teams need to be just as disciplined about what needs to be done and who has the action. Action plans without owners and timelines are doomed to be ineffective.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Today, social media makes it easy to communicate broadly and immediately.
That doesn’t always mean that your messages are hitting the right targets. Well before your event create a communications plan that includes traditional media such as email and advertising as well as social media such as posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Make sure that your posts are positioned on the sites and with the people that can get the most views. Your goal with any communication is registration for the event. Remember, you usually need about 50% more registrants than people you expect to attend.
For all events there is a 20 to 30% dropout rate. So, signing up 150 people for an event venue that can accommodate 125 is a good rule of thumb.
Next page: Getting things right #5 through #7