The average time an event planner has to plan an event is just six weeks. With clients to please, guests to engage, and budgets to balance, there’s just no room for anything unexpected to occur! With this easy-to-follow guide, event planners can secure everything necessary for the event, create an engaging marketing strategy, and cope with last-minute changes.
Weeks 1 and 2
This is when the big decisions are made. Rushing into major decisions when planning an event is a mistake – it will cost you time and money, and you probably won’t end up with the event you want. Do you know what impact you want to make? Take time to visualise your event – what do you consider to be a ‘success’? When you know this, you’ll be able to work out exactly how to plan it (and how much it will cost).
When you have firm answers, then you can choose a date, time and venue. Popular venues might not be available at short notice, so be prepared to think outside the box. If you’re considering an unusual venue, check out our blog How to Plan Events in Unusual Locations.
Now you’ve got the major details firmed up, it’s time to let people know about the event! You can save a heap of time by teaming up with an event registration platform like Get Invited. It’s simple – enter the event details and a beautifully designed web page allowing users to buy tickets easily and securely will be created in seconds. Flexible ticketing ensures that you can set a range of ticket prices to maximise sales.
You should be promoting your event on social media and traditional media. Event marketing doesn’t have to be costly, in fact you can do it for free! Head over to 5 Tips on Marketing Your Event for Free.
Make contact with caterers and event entertainment organisations. If you don’t work regularly with these companies, ask your team members, friends and family for recommendations.
By this stage, you’ll be very aware of the cost of pulling off an amazing event. It’s time to start contacting local businesses about sponsorship opportunities. One of our most popular posts, How to Land a Strategic Event Partner, lets you in on all the secrets of finding the right sponsors.
If you’re planning an event when people will be expecting a speaker, then it’s time to get out your little black book. Reach out online to influencers and members of the local community with expertise in your subject area. It might not be possible to work with the keynote speaker you have in mind, but step back and ask yourself Do I Really Need a Keynote Speaker? There’s more than one way to organise a successful event!
By now, the early bird discount period will have ended. But you can still market the event with additional promotions. VIP tickets allowing attendees special privileges are a popular way to encourage attendees to purchase. Ask your exhibitors and suppliers to promote the event – it’s in their interest too to be part of a sell-out event!
Have you been blogging about the event? It’s important to keep letting people know about what’s happening. Tell them about the speakers, food, venue – anything that will get people interested!
At the end of the week, get in contact with the venue to make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of logistics. This is a good time to finalise with them how the event will run on the day.
Everything should have been organised by now, so in an ideal world this week will be a breeze! But, in the event that something unforeseen happens – and let’s face it, it probably will! – you’ll have plenty of time to deal with it. Familiarise yourself with the questions that guests will ask using our post 10 Questions Your Guests Might Ask (and What to Say).
A final marketing push might be all it takes to sell those last few tickets! This is the time to send a final email blast and ask influencers to share your event information online.
Don’t leave it until the last minute to collect posters and merchandise and (if you’re decorating the venue yourself) the decorations. Collecting these items a few days early means you’ll have time to fix any mistakes that might have been made.
And after the event…
It’s time to start post-event marketing! While you’re celebrating the success of your event, it’s a good time to work out exactly what made it great and where you can improve next time. A good event registration platform will provide you with lots of data to help you streamline your ticketing process.
How long does it typically take you to plan an event? Share your tips on event planning with the Get Invited community below or on Twitter!