An event that looks seamless and feels effortless is the ultimate barometer of event planning success. Because the truth is – major conferences and tradeshows don’t just require an available date, venue and guest list. Rather, there are robust teams, lists, meetings, endless hours and inevitable stressors that are poured into making an event perfect. Luckily, there are companies like Sagefrog that specialize in corporate event planning which includes developing SMART goals, determining logistics and implementing pre-, during- and post-show marketing.
Whether your next event is a global B2B conference or a local workshop that aims to drive awareness and leads – your company has value to showcase and a lasting impression to make. This Spring, the conference seasons’ most successful events will brim with new leads, media opportunities and competitor insights. To be among them, the time is now to hit the ground running with a plan.
Step 1: Determine Your SMART Goals
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” – Linus Pauling
The first step to planning a successful event is making the conscious decision to host an event in the first place. Host a group brainstorming session with key stakeholders or department heads to create a list of any and all things you’d like to see happen at your event. Utilize SMART objectives to develop goals that support the “big picture” vision for the event; this includes objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Brainstorming solid goals for your event will set you and your team up for measurable, indisputable success. To ignite your brainstorming session, figure out what type of event aligns best with your goals. Here are a few common types:
- Board and Shareholder Meeting
- Business Card Exchange
- Client Appreciation
- Company or Organization Milestones
- Employee Appreciation
- Production Launch
- Sales and Business Development
- Seminars and Conference
Step 2: Formalize the Large & Small Details
“Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” – John L. Beckley
Once you’ve decided on the type of event your company will host, it’s time to iron out the details:
- Timeline: We highly suggest starting backwards! Creating a timeline for your event starting with the end date in mind will help you determine the major details such as venue, event date, budget and number of attendees.
- Budget: Budgeting for your event is vital to its success. With your SMART goals properly determined, you can figure out where to spend your money without breaking the bank. Your event budget will dictate a lot of the major event planning questions:
- Who can help me with the details?
- What do we want to do during the event?
- Where can we hold the event?
- When is the best time of day for this event?
- How can we make it special and memorable?
- Checklist: From seasoned event planners to first-timers, it’s essential to create a checklist so no detail goes amiss. As a proud Google Partner, we recommend utilizing these helpful and free tools from Google for your event management logistics:
Step 3: Market Your Event Before, During and After
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
It’s essential to market your event before, during and after. Communicate the value of your event through online channels such as social media, blogs, email– and don’t’ forget about the media. Promoting your event before, during and after will ensure not just positive attendance but engagement and results that meet your SMART objectives.
- Public Relations: Many media sites, especially the hyper-local news sites, let you post events. See if the organizations that you’re affiliated with will help you promote to other members. Also, be sure to alert the press of your event. There are journalists out there who cover local events. If big news is being announced at your event, be sure to issue a press release as well.
- Landing Page: Develop a specific landing page for attendee registration that includes a compelling event description. The page should state the event’s intent, topics, time, place as well as specific benefits for each type of attendee. Include speaker bios with photos, add a branded event image and a prominent registration button.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is an important tactic to use before, during and after your conference. Use targeted email lists to get the word out about your event ASAP in the form of a ‘save the date’ and send a series of reminder emails leading up to your event. During the conference, email marketing can be an effective tool for communicating schedule changes and promoting exciting booths or speakers. After the event, use email marketing to thank and survey attendees to garner their feedback. If the goal of your event was to drive leads, be sure to send follow-up information on any of the products and services your company aims to sell.
- Social Media: Before your event, use social media to drive potential attendees to your event landing page and start promoting your event using a simple and memorable hashtag; consider your organization’s acronym followed by the year, such as #SF2017. During the conference, encourage attendees to post videos, pictures and insights on their own pages, using the hashtag. This will help drive awareness, reach and engagement!
- Blog: Blogs are a great platform for promoting your event. Consider publishing a “series” which features the different reasons why certain personas should attend your event. After the event, blog about the event’s biggest announcements, insights or the most tweeted/retweeted content.
Did you find these tips helpful? Here’s another resource you might enjoy!
Are you interested in other B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.