Whether you are new to the world of event planning or have years of experience, organising a successful event can always be somewhat tedious to achieve. It often feels as if there is a never-ending to-do list that you must work your way through in order to have peace of mind that the day itself will run smoothly. Regardless of what stage of your career you are at, there is no such thing as too many tips on how you can plan an unforgettable event. So, with this in mind, we have put together a guide on how you can ensure that your plans fall perfectly into place.
The Big Collective Guide On Organising A Successful Event
Putting together the hundreds of components required to run an event is most definitely not a simple task, which means that preparation and planning are key. From putting together a corporate networking event to even a summer fun day, all occasions can be planned successfully using the same format. Find out more about these in our points below:
- Understand Your Goals & Target Audience
- Determine Your Budget
- Track Down The Perfect Venue
- Begin To Delegate Tasks
- Establish Sponsors & Partnerships
- Hire Showstopping Entertainment
- Nail Event Promotion
First and foremost, before putting together any significant plans, it is vital to gain an accurate understanding of precisely who you want to attend your event. Determining your target audience will begin to form a foundation of your planning efforts and will make the remaining steps considerably more straightforward. According to an insightful article by Eventbrite, failing to decide on the ideal attendee is one of the biggest mistakes which leads to a failed event. Without a precise audience to attract, you will not be able to create a realistic budget, focus your marketing activities or even choose a location for your event.
So how can you begin to define your audience? Well, it all starts with a lot of research, so we would always recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to dig deep into who you would like to target. Research into your competitors – has their event been successful? Have they seen a return? Is their website visually appealing? Fundamentally, you need to pick apart every component of their events, understanding their strengths and weaknesses to then decide whether you want to take a similar route.
Once you have a broad idea on the type of attendee you aim to attract, you can then delve further into the smaller details. Much like you would when designing a product, you will need to put together a persona profile. This will include information such as the ideal attendee age, occupation, hobbies and even where they live. Together, these will make the following tasks such as finding a venue and advertising far less tedious. For more information on how to create attendee personas, take a look at EventZilla.
By far, one of the most important steps in planning an event is putting together a detailed budget plan. Much like the attendee persona, the budget will give you a starting point, allowing you to follow a strict plan of action. Without a budget, it can be incredibly easy to fall into what many call “the snowball effect” which means that expenses begin to add up at a scarily fast rate, leaving little margin for errors.
To ensure that you do not run out of cash, it is imperative to tackle establishing your budget before moving onto making any arrangements. It is more than likely that your budget will need to cover an extensive list of expenses, so we suggest beginning with creating a mindmap. Working with your planning committee, brainstorm all of the costs that you will need to cover, from the most significant investments such as the venue, catering and entertainment to the smaller details, including decorations and perhaps freebies. These can then be put into a budgeting spreadsheet or workbook – you can find a host of free templates on Smartsheet. You will then be able to refer back to this document at every stage of the planning process and record any changes.
When organising your budget, it is vitally important to ensure that you factor in a contingency budget. A contingency budget is a small percentage of your total, usually between 5-10%, which is put to one side to use in the event of an emergency. It works as a form on ‘insurance’, meaning that should any unexpected expenses arise, you do not have to sacrifice any other aspect of your event to cover the cost.
Your most significant investment is likely to be your event venue, which means that it is expected to take a substantial amount of planning to ensure that your final choice meets all of your requirements. A venue which is incapable of bringing your vision to life may risk the success of the day itself, meaning that you should strive never to settle for anything less than what you believe is the ideal location.
As anticipated, there are several factors that you must consider before shortlisting your favourite venues, these include:
- Budget – How much money have you set aside for your venue? Does your budget allow you to cover separate catering, decorations and entertainment or must you find a venue that offers all?
- Location – Will your event be just for those in the local area or will people need to travel? If they must travel, should the venue be nearby to the train station and hotels?
- Size – What is the scale of your event? How many people do you need to accommodate? Do you need to have several rooms or just one big space?
- Date – What time of the year would be ideal for your event? Are there any other large event that is planned for the venue around the same period which may overshadow yours? Are you willing to be flexible?
- Target Audience – Are you planning a family event? If so, does the venue cater to children? Or is it a luxurious evening event for adults only? Does the venue encapsulate the VIP feel?
Planning a successful event is most definitely a team effort, so if you have a planning committee on hand, use their strengths to your advantage. Distribute tasks across your team, allowing each member to have their own responsibilities during both the planning process and on the day of the event. In doing this, each individual will have an aspect of the event which they can put their sole focus into, ensuring that results are maximised. This is a much more constructive approach than attempting to tackle every job independently.
When delegating roles, keep personal strength and skills in mind as this will help to determine who will be the best for fitting each role. For example, if you know that one member is fantastic at communicating, their responsibility can be meeting with vendors, arranging meetings and negotiating deals. Those who take a more strategic approach, on the other hand, would be perfect for managing the budget and keeping finances organised.
Opting for enlisting sponsors and partnerships for your event comes alongside a host of benefits. Not only are sponsors ideal if you are limited in terms of budget as they will make a contribution, but if you secure a known brand, it will significantly improve your marketing efforts. They would already have a platform in which you will now be a member of, meaning that you instantly have an audience, resulting in increased publicity. Sponsors will also help you to network with new businesses, which may also strike an interest in being involved in your event.
Before beginning your journey to securing sponsors and partnerships, you must make your event desirable and show them clearly why your event will be a valuable investment for their brand. Ensure that aspects such as your branding and online presence have been tackled before beginning to contact businesses as they will want to see clearly what you have to offer. They may also ask you to present and pitch, so consider spending time creating this to ensure that you are fully prepared. Included in this can be the different ways that they can get involved in your event, whether this may be a silent auction, catering or venue decor. Wild Apricot has put together a super helpful article on how to write a sponsorship letter, which includes several templates.
No event is complete without entertainment that is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on attendees, so once all of the tedious tasks are out of the way, you can begin to get creative. Having offered event hire services for many years, such as our popular photobooth hire in London, we would always recommend booking entertainment as far in advance as possible. Especially over busier months, such as the festive period, entertainment services are at a higher demand, meaning that availability is likely to be limited. The earlier that you make your first enquiry, the more likely you will be to secure the date and time of your event.
When it comes to planning entertainment, your target audience should be at the forefront of your decisions. Consider whether you would like interactive entertainment or something that attendees can watch while enjoying their meal. Does your entertainment need to be used as an additional marketing activity? If so, how will you ensure that you boost brand awareness and the investment benefits your return? For example, when planning a product launch, your focus needs to be on building up excitement for your latest creation, so entertainment that allows your guests to get involved is key. We have had several clients who have used our digital graffiti wall in London for their launch as every aspect can be customised to their brand. Not only can personalised stencils be created but all artwork can then be printed onto a keepsake of their choice. Alternatively, if you are looking for a tasty addition to your event, why not consider a sweet treat such as our chocolate fountain in London? The possibilities truly are endless!
You can spend hours meticulously planning every component of your event to the finest details, but without promoting your efforts, how will you ensure that attendees are queuing up on the day? With this in mind, you will need to begin marketing your event as early as possible to create engagement. One of the most effective ways to do this will be through social media and your website. Although traditional marketing activities such as designing leaflets and posters will always work towards your advantage, the majority of people now use online channels to find events. And even better, social media is a free resource, meaning that all you may have to pay for, if you choose to do so, is paid ads on channels such as Facebook or sponsored posts on Instagram. Proven ways that you can promote your brand on social media include:
- Create A Hashtag – Devise a hashtag which can be used on posts from the very beginning of your campaign; this will help to keep your event in people’s minds. Then on the day of your event, encourage attendees to use the hashtag whenever they post about it.
- Consider Special Tickets – One of the most effective sales-driven methods event planners use is offering special tickets such as an early bird or group tickets. These will be available for a short time early at a slightly discounted price, guaranteed to give those interested in the event a gentle nudge to purchase.
- Direct Links To Ticket – With every post that you upload, ensure that you include a direct link to where people can buy tickets. The easier that tickets are to get hold of, the more likely people will make a purchase.
- Be Consistent – Social media users view hundreds of posts every single day, which means that to leave a lasting impression, you need to ensure that you are not lost in the feed. Staying consistent and posting every few days (or every day if possible) with updates or fun, interactive posts, you will create a hype around your event.
- Competitions & Giveaways – Everyone loves a freebie, which means that competitions and giveaways are an excellent way to drive engagement. Whether it may be a chance to win free tickets or a little treat, perhaps from your sponsors, encouraging followers to interact with your posts will most definitely benefit your marketing.
Organise An Unforgettable Event
While no one ever said that planning a successful event was easy, it needn’t be a stressful task. With meticulous planning and a hardworking team on hand, everything is sure to fall into place. Don’t forget to create a detailed roadmap for the day of your event itself, ensuring that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and are in the loop on how the day will pan out. You could also consider asking attendees to leave feedback, sharing their experience at your event so that you can accurately measure your success and use your findings for your next project!