How To Plan An Event ( 8 Simple Ways! )

August 3, 2018 - 9 minutes read

Planning an event takes a lot of effort and you can’t afford to make any mistakes as it can have serious repercussions on your brand. So, it is crucial to develop a strategic plan to go about the entire process.

And if it’s your first time planning an event, you’ll have a gazillion questions in mind.

How to plan an event? What should my budget look like? How do I brand my event? And where should I look for sponsors?

Don’t worry! This article will answer all your questions and help you throw a kick-ass event.

Develop objectives and goals

Before you plan an event, you need to set goals and objectives. This is a must if you want to have a great start. Start off by splitting your objectives into categories, making it easy to approach several issues at once.

Your goal is the foundation of your event. It’s a breakdown of what you’d like the outcome to be. Establish your goal by asking yourself these three question:

  1. What is the purpose of this event? This question will help you determine the type of event (luncheon, promotion, business event, etc) you want to throw and what you want to accomplish through it.
  2. How many attendees do you want to attract? For a first-time event planner, the goal must be to nail down target attendees and for others, it must be to increase attendees on a yearly basis.
  3. How much money do you want to make? Answering this will help you determine your budget and lay out ways for you to recover expenses.

Setting goals and objectives will help you set a budget for your event. Failing to do so, your event can be a costly affair without the power to attract attendees.

Organize a team and allocate responsibilities

Once you build your event goal, it’s time to assemble a team that’ll help you reach it. Organizing an event is a team effort so assign responsibilities to your team members.

What you can do is identify key aspects to take care of such as venue management, entertainment, sponsors, volunteer management, and publicity. And pick someone to manage each department, thus, making it easy to coordinate with one another.

Also, establish communication channels to make it easy to collaborate work and stay connected. You can use chat and management softwares like Slack, Wrike, and Google Hangouts for better communication.

Brand your event

You have your goals and your team. Now, it’s time to brand your event. Start with:

  • Name the event – must bring out your event’s difference
  • Create a tagline – a slogan that defines your brand
  • Decide on a theme – to set you apart from your competition
  • Design your logo – your logo will offer recognition to your event
  • Pick a color scheme – helps people identify your brand

Next, create material for marketing your event.
You can use free graphic design tools like Canva, Piktochart, and Pixlr to create branded materials for social media marketing efforts.

While creating material for social media optimize it for each social channel. Every platform has a different image size and has a different content requirement.

You can refer to this cheat sheet:

FACEBOOK 1200 X 630 px
TWITTER 440 X 220 px
INSTAGRAM 1080 X 1080 px
PINTEREST 222 X 150 px

Pro tip: Clients will recognize you by your brand so pay a great deal of attention while deciding on your logo and tagline.

Choose a date and venue

Everything revolves around the date of your event. And try picking three potential dates to compare availability and prices.

Consider the following before confirming a date:

  • Avoid school holiday period (winter, summer and spring holidays)
  • Check dates with key participants like a guest of honor, speaker, VIP guest, etc.
  • Make a list of statutory and religious holidays

While selecting a venue don’t just rely on what you find online. Go to the place and see it for yourself. Meet the venue manager and the team, to make sure you can work with them. And try keeping at least four to five options before picking a venue.

Draft a budget

Budgeting is the most important component of planning an event. It determines the venue you use, the food you serve and the entertainment you hire.

Bottom line is: No money equals no event.

Here’s a list of expenses you need to include in your budget:

Venue
A/V such as projectors, Wi-Fi, speakers, microphones, and cameras
Catering
Marketing efforts
Entertainment
Miscellaneous costs like venue decor, seating, additional staff, etc.

Also include revenue source as a part of your budget, which would be ticket prices and sponsor amount.

Establish partnerships and sponsors

To stretch your budget and increase your reach, partner with corporate sponsors and community organizations. Such partnerships can help you in building potential attendees and boost engagement.

In addition, buy-ins can open advertising avenues, add stability, and increase your chance of success.

Follow these tips while seeking for sponsors:

  • Talk to the right person so you don’t end up repeating your pitch. Some businesses leave the decision making to the marketing team while others require you to talk to someone at the executive level.
  • Your sponsor must compliment your vision. For example, if you’re running an animals rights event you can’t partner with foods or agribusiness companies. Seek sponsors whose business vision matches with your event.
  • Ask at the right time. Most of the business make sponsorship decisions at the beginning of a fiscal year. So make inquiries beforehand.

Get the word out

There are multiple ways to market your event to potential attendees, and each appeals to a specific demographic.

If you want to target an older demographic, then send out invites through emails. After which you should make follow-up calls and send out text reminders 2-3 days before your event. Use phone banking software to make follow-up calls and engage in one-on-one conversations.

Millennials aren’t responsive to phone calls or emails. They prefer text messages or evites. So, use peer-to-peer texting tools to send out event invites and to get in RSVPs. This way, you can have personalized conversations at scale. You can easily manage thousands of individual conversations over peer-to-peer texting the day before the event and boost attendance.

You can also market your event on social media. For this, create a key message which will be broadcasted on all channels. Make sure it is brief and conveys the idea of your event.

Evaluate your event

After throwing a kick-ass event, you need to evaluate it and see if you’ve reached set goals and objectives. Also, debrief and review with your team after an event. This will let you know what worked and what didn’t.

We recommend you set S.M.A.R.T. goals to evaluate your event. For example, if your aim is to boost attendance, then success will be measured by the number of registrants and on reaching the break-even point or by making a profit.

Planning an event can be daunting, but with effective communication, staying on top of your list, and following the aforementioned tips, your event will be a smashing success.

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