So, you’re planning an event to promote your business or art. Whether it’s a panel, exhibition, lecture, meet-up or promo party, at some point you’ll have to make some key decisions: Which venue to use, should you hire a catering service, what type of sponsors to look for, etc.
If you attended one of our events at the Wix Lounge NY, you probably noticed that we know a thing or two about planning a smashing event. To help you out, we’ve put together some expert tips that will bring you six steps closer to making your event a great success!
1. Identify Your Goal
Be specific about what you want to achieve and the type of audience you are targeting. Do you want to promote a product, or position yourself as an innovator in your industry? With a goal in mind, you can structure your event in a way that will appeal to your target audience.
2. Find Speakers
Brainstorm with colleagues and friends about what kinds of presenters and topics would work best for your event. Be open to ideas – your audience will appreciate a diversity of perspectives. Find speakers through recommendations and by searching professional social networks such as LinkedIn.
Reach out to potential candidates by email, outlining the target audience, how the event is structured and the topic. If you invite several speakers, agree on a sub-topic for each of them so as to avoid repetitive content.
3. Choose a Venue
Each venue has unique benefits and challenges, but there are some things you can’t live without. Decide on your non-negotiable needs, such as microphones or a great sound system, and cross-out venues that can’t accommodate them.
Once you find a potential space, ask for an itemized estimate of cost so you can see exactly where your money is going. Be sure to ask (repeatedly) about any extra fees – otherwise you might discover that you’ve been charged for that additional table, or for staying an extra half hour. Also ask about insurance, liquor licenses and similar issues that your venue may not cover. For example, if you bring in caterers, you might have to add that to your liability insurance.
4. Reach Out to Sponsors
Look for sponsors that are connected to your industry or can reinforce your community and the goal of the event. For example, if your target audience is people interested in sports and you would like to get sponsors from the food industry, be sure to contact brands that market healthy food. Ask your sponsors if they provide cups, napkins, stationary, etc., and adjust your expenses accordingly.
5. Cross-Promote Your Event
Your sponsors, presenters and venue can help cross-promote your event through blog posts, links to your event page or on social networks. Increase the chances of attracting an audience by providing them with content, such as pre-formulated tweets, Facebook photos and texts for blogs.
You can also use Google Analytics to create and provide sponsors with customized links to your online event page, and track where your page visitors are coming from.
6. Create a Meaningful Connection
For promo parties or social gatherings that don’t require presenters, it’s a great idea to provide a fun, interactive element that guests can connect with. For example, as part of AIGA’s Leadership Retreat after-party, AIGA incorporated a Wix design competition. Members of ten chapters worked through the evening on 10 monitors donated by Rutgers, thus providing live entertainment for attendees while emphasizing AIGA’s values. With a well thought-out strategy, attention to detail, and the creative use of resources, you will put on a fantastic event that your guests will remember for a long time to come!