Want to pull off an event? Plan it out – down to the very last detail. Whether it’s a trade show, community event, convention or training, the stuff you miss is likely to be what goes unmissed. As the old adage goes, you have one shot to make a lasting impression. The thing is, that is so true.
But no worries, we have five easy steps to make your event planning a success!
- Know Your Audience – No matter the nature of your event, it’s most important to understand who you’re communicating to and why they might be interested in what you’re saying or marketing. Every event coordinator has the number of attendees and overall demographic in his/her back pocket. Ask for it. This will let you know what kind of marketing collateral to bring with you in order to effectively get your message across. Knowing your audience ahead of time is key!
- Don’t Spare the Details – Details, details, details – yes they matter. If you’re wondering what you’re missing as you’re finalizing plans, it’s a good trick to put yourself in an attendee’s shoes. What would you want to know as an attendee? What would you want to get out of the event? Run through your event document. Keep a checklist of pending items to ensure tasks are being met in a timely fashion and nothing is left out. And lastly, don’t be afraid to walk the floor and hear what potential customers are asking competitors.
- Grab Their Attention! – See what I did there? No, don’t yell at them, but stand out in a good way. Signage, giveaways, demos. Stand out and offer something different than other vendors. In the case of a trade show, you’re up against numerous other companies who want the same time and attention as you. Make sure you have a way to hook attendees’ attention (and keep it). Other than marketing collateral, swag or sweepstakes are effective draws. It can be simple as candy or a large ticket item for a lucky winner. But as mentioned, it should be different, make sense with the environment and promote your business. Take advantage of your space without causing noise and clutter. Banners, signage and brochures should serve a purpose and fit neatly within your spot. Be clear and concise. You don’t want to waste time to get to the point.
- Touch Base Often – Keep everyone in the loop. There are a lot of moving pieces and plenty of stakeholders involved in company events. Schedule reoccurring touchbases to get in front of issues and plan more effectively. It’s also helpful to have one shared document outlining dates, time, location, booth location, conference map, session schedule and contact information. Go over logistics. Make sure all involved parties have a copy and understand where they need to be and when. Use this as a time to solicit questions and check that everyone is on the same page.
- Wrap Up & Follow Up – The event is over. But, before you celebrate, collect attendee contact information and follow up with a sincere thank you email (especially for meaningful conversations). Also, send a thank you to everyone involved on your end. Survey your event team to gather feedback for future events. Sites like Survey Monkey can be easily added to your team email, as a clickable link (plus it’s free!). Questions should cover pre-show processes, as much as day-of execution. Send any photos or fun facts from the event to your clients. Determine lead generation and deliver a report to appropriate stakeholders. Finalize all payments and provide your client with a budget report if applicable. It’s also smart to send an email to the show staff to receive their feedback and thank them for their assistance throughout the prep process.
Remember, planning makes perfect. Keep perfecting your skills and improving your success rate by paying attention to detail, taking feedback into account and using proper etiquette.
Event: NYSEG /RGE | NYS School Facilities Manager Conference | Saratoga Springs, NY | October 2016
Whether behind the scenes or face-to-face, Meghann Goddard is an asset to the marketing department's team of digital experts. She works closely with clients and program staff to research, develop, launch and manage marketing plans for a variety of program type. An internal expert in growth-driven website design, Meghann also develops market-facing materials, creates tests and tracks their results to ensure they meet requirements and continuous improvement goals. She holds a master's degree in communications from Queens University of Charlotte and various digital marketing certifications.