How to plan a successful event

Learn the secrets to planning a successful event including goal setting, timing, value proposition and audience engagement

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Planning and marketing an event to success can be tough, so here are some hard and fast strategies you should employ to maximise the overall success of your event.

Related: 7 best marketing channels for event promotion

Set goals and be clear

It’s important to have clear objectives and goals when creating an event. You need to have a clear idea of the work to be undertaken, your goals and what you plan to gain from the event, otherwise, you run the risk of having poor attendance and not being able to measure the outcome of your event against KPIs.

Market at the right time

Often one of the biggest failures of events comes down to marketing too early or too late; you need to switch on and scale your marketing at the right times to maximise attendance. Timing is also greatly dependent on your marketing strategy but a good rule of thumb for smaller events is to start marketing 4-6 weeks earlier, this gives people enough notice to book.

Create a strong value proposition

The success of an event is greatly dependent on initial planning stages when the theme and format are put together. It’s critical you have a good value proposition that will resonate with the audience you’re looking to attract. The topic should be interesting, current and highly relevant and the format should take into account the content, experience of your audience as well as event objectives.

Make sure you’re properly engaging the audience

If you have specific sales, brand awareness, product education or upselling objectives for your event, you need to make sure you have ample time and touchpoints to engage with your audience in the most effective way. For example, try to make sure you have enough team members for mingling during networking sessions, if you’re focused on sales make sure there’s call to actions at the end of presentations pre-networking, that you have a dedicated company/demo area and moat important rule of all, don’t sell! Be informal, engage and build relationships, soft selling is the best way to approach an event.

Tweet and tweet some more!

With the majority of your audience on social networks, being socially active and engaging with your audience across platforms during and after the event is a great way to build awareness and relationships. It’s also an opportunity to reach a wider group and more potential business in attendee networks. Make sure someone is dedicated to actively engaging on your event, and relevant social platforms are up and running.

Follow up with attendees and non-attendees

If you’re looking to gain feedback, drive sales or build relationships, it’s critical you follow up with both attendees and non-attendees alike after events. A lot of the value generated from an event will be seen in post-communication.

Prove ROI and measure it

As we mentioned at the beginning, it’s important to have clear goals of what you want to attain from an event; this will allow you to assess later how successful it’s been. Measuring event results can be tricky as a lot of the value can seem abstract compared to other marketing efforts, where you spend X and get Z. A few key areas that are useful to measure are overall social engagement, feedback form results, lead generation, and customer upsells, of course always dependent on what your objectives are.

Related: Event marketing and planning mistakes to avoid