Event Planning Tips

Planning Your Event

Set your budget. Consider all costs as well as the number of participants you plan to attend. Typical event costs are venue rental, catering of food and drink, decoration, printing of invitations, postage for invitations, giveaways, etc.

Create a guest list. How many people (and who) will you invite? How many people do you expect to show up? These answers will help you with the rest of the items on this list. Use other upcoming events prior to yours that you plan to attend to pass out info about your event, if appropriate.

Select a date. When is the best time for your event? Select a few dates that work for you and your potential invitees. Most people won't be able to attend your event if it's held during normal work hours. Keep in mind that your date needs to coincide with your venue availability. The more flexible you are, the better your chance of getting a great location, and a good price.

Scout the Location. Walking through your event plan as your attendee would will help you to identify those needs you may have otherwise missed. Do you need to put flowers in the restrooms or offer mints? Is additional signage necessary? Where exactly do you want your tables set-up? Does the venue offer an event coordinator to be on-site the day of your event? What is the capability of the audio/visual equipment? 

Brand your event. Your event is a direct reflection of you. Be sure to use signature colors, flowers, and fonts that reflect your own personal or business brand.

Promoting Your Event

Consider the best way to reach your target audience. Tip: Social media offers cost effective advertising tools that can target your audience by their demographics and likes/dislikes.

What is the drawor "incentive" that will make them attend?

Work backwards from your event date with a timeline for promotion. Keep in mind, you'll need a minimum of 4 weeks of full promotion to reach your target audience. People need to see your message an average of 3 times in order to retain the information. This works with weddings as well, which is why "save the date" cards have become so popular in recent years. Give yourself enough time to order giveaways, mail invitations, etc.

Choose the right method for invitations. Try using different methods (paper, email, social media) to send out your invitations. You know your audience, what will work best for them? You may want to use multiple methods.

Partner Up. Consider timing your event with another event in the local area. The promotion of both events will benefit you both. Or, find a similar business to co-host an event with you. You can combine customer lists to reach more of your target audience. Get donations from other businesses. They can help your "bottom line" by sponsoring your event or provide you with giveaways for your participants. 

Have invitations on hand at all times to pass out. You never know when you'll need them.

Work the room. Designate one or more persons to play "host" at  your event to help keep conversation flowing and make sure refreshments are replenished.

Don't forget to thank them. Be sure to add post-event thank you's to your event checklist. That special touch with leave a lasting impression of your event.