Planning business events isn’t as simple as you would deem it to be. There are considerations to be made regarding event goals, building the event website, sending out email blasts, deciding on an event management software, and in the end, ensuring event goals are achieved.
Organizations that want to be recognized as industry leaders should invest in event planning and strategy. In this guide, we’ll guide you through the critical stages of event strategy. If you’re planning a business event in the future, go through these tips and use them as a checklist to assist your event strategy.
1. Planning the Event
The event planning of your overall event strategy is arguably the most important stage. It’s where you’ll set the goals of the event, and decide on what kind of event it’s going to and should be.
Leading business firms are now leveraging the power of events as a core part of their business strategy. Event strategy needs to be taken seriously, as a badly managed event can do a lot of harm for your company’s reputation. For example, cancelling an event without proper communication with registered attendees can be an absolute disaster for your company’s image. Choosing the wrong event type will only lead to a series of failures across the whole strategy.
- Some event goals to think about at this stage are:
- To increase awareness
- To generate new leads
- To educate prospects
- To improve your company’s image
- To educate employees
- To build trust with existing customers
You can already see how big of an effect setting the right event goal is going to have. Your event’s end goal should be the driving factor in all subsequent decisions.
2. Setting Event Success KPIs
When all is done and the event is over, you need a way to gauge whether it was successful in achieving your desired goals. Setting event success KPIs will help you determine this.
- A few event success KPIs to consider (depending on your event’s goal):
- Number of attendees
- Attendee engagement
- New leads generated
Of course, these aren’t the only event success KPIs out there. Think about the goals of your corporate event, and think how these goals can be translated into measurable KPIs.
3. Event Budget
Now it’s time to draft an event budget. It’s no use having 100 new qualified leads when the event costs more than what these leads are worth. Get in touch with company leadership to figure out a reasonable budget for the event. Understanding your event budget will help you make better decisions regarding event promotion in the future as well. Understanding these processes not only helps you budget but also planning events people will want to attend in the future.
4. Event Management Tools
Let’s face it, managing an event on paper can be a huge hassle. Thankfully, there’s no need to do that as there are several helpful event tools to assist you.
- Here are some types of event tools to consider:
- Event registration system
- Analytics software
- Event marketing software
- Mobile app (for attendees)
- Event management software (should include all of the above)
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, your event goals will drive much of your event decisions overall. If you’re hosting an event for creating brand awareness, you’ll need to invest in an event tool that provides a registration feature, integration with analytics software, and a mobile-friendly front end that’s easily accessible by interested parties.
5. Event Branding
Your event branding should be consistent with your company’s branding elsewhere. Use messaging, decor themes, newsletter design and registration that’s consistent with your company’s brand.
Something else to think about event branding is the feeling you want to convey to attendees. If it’s a serious corporate event for example, branding needs to reflect this. Using bright colors and ‘fun’-looking fonts in your marketing for the event will create an enormous disconnect between people’s expectations and what the event is really about.
6. Event Website
Your event website is inevitably going to be the focal point of all your marketing efforts, so you have to ensure it’s created the right way. In most cases, it’s the first thing potential attendees and stakeholders will look at regarding your event.
Don’t create an event website as an afterthought, make sure it communicates what your event is going to be about at first sight. If you’re creating the event website on a separate domain, make sure it’s consistent with your company’s branding, and should of course feature your company’s brand prominently. Your event website is just like any other lead gen website, so it needs to have a strong call-to-action.
Don’t wait for your event planning to finalize before launching the website. You can create a pre-event website that features a simple landing page with information about the event like mission statement, venue and dates.
Hashtags are not gimmicks, they lend your event a sense of credibility. So research hashtags that haven’t been used already (good luck!) and start using them to promote your event on social media. A good thing to consider would be to include the year the event takes place in, in the hashtag. For example, #smmw20, is the event hashtag for the Social Media Marketing World 2020 event.
8. Outreach for Partners, Speakers and Sponsors
What is an event without speakers? To make sure your event will deliver the value it promises, you’ll need to reach out to a variety of people to ensure it over-delivers and engages the audience.
Reaching out to partners, speakers and sponsors can also be an excellent way of marketing the event. Famous speakers tend to be influential with a considerable following as well, so if you get them on board, guess what will happen when they announce it on their social media? You can also partner with different synergistic companies, giving them a chance to showcase their expertise in order to attract an even larger audience.
9. Event Launch
- Now that you’ve gone through the important phases of business promotional event planning, it’s time to market it. Start by sharing event details via these channels:
- Email marketing
- Press release
- Social media
- Blog posts
- Guest posts
Promoting your event shouldn’t be a problem in this digital era, you just have to make sure the messaging is clear and that the event delivers on its promises. Setting marks like successful KPI’s, event budgets, management tools and branding greatly helps to organize your efforts. However, you consistently need to be mindful of improving your business website, your hashtages, and preparing for event launch. If you are interested in the essential steps for planning business events, consider the points mentioned above.