Events can be a great marketing channel for your business – as long as you plan and measure them properly. Raising your profile and helping you to reach new customers, a good event is useful, memorable and helps you and your customers to get results.
So here’s our checklist for event planning and organisation:
1. Know what you want to achieve
It’s important that you know exactly what outcomes you want from your event. Whether you’re planning a small exclusive dinner or a large conference, you need to set out your goals clearly from the beginning. Ten new enquiries, for example, or a meeting with your most important prospect, or a target percentage take-up of the offer you have on the day. By setting goals, you can measure the success of your event.
2. Make an event plan
The best events are organised to the last little detail, so it’s worth putting together an event plan. This should have a checklist of all the things that need to be done, including room hire, food organisation, name badges, sales literature, speakers and presentations and a running order and timings for the event. You might even neeed to use a virtual event management assistant to help you with phone calls, event bookings and event marketing, to make sure that everything is covered.
3. Look for funding or sponsorship
You might be covering a specific area in your event, in which case it’s worth seeing if you can partner with another business or a sponsor to help you keep costs down. If you’re planning an awards style event, you might want to look for sponsors for each award, which is commonly done. This way, you keep your own costs down whilst giving additional caché to your event. With or without funding, set a budget for your event that’s linked to your goals, so that you can measure your return on investment.
4. Advertise and communicate
For events where you need to get a good audience, you’ll need to advertise both to existing and prospective customers, suppliers and contacts. Make sure you have your plans in place before you do this – even for a free event, people want to see what they’re getting, because events take time out of the working day. You could advertise your event via direct mail, email campaign, social media or by phone, and this is an area where it really helps to have a virtual assistant on board.
Make the booking process as easy as possible – most people expect to be able to book online and pay using credit cards or PayPal. And once booked, make sure you communicate well, sending personalised emails that thank them for booking, give them timings, directions and any other information they might need, including finding out about food requirements. Keep communicating up to the event, to show attendees they are valued, and to pique their interest.
5. Manage and follow up
Never assume that the work is done when the event starts. Attendees need to feel that they have received great value, useful information and come away with something worthwhile. That means handing out aide-memoires that they can take back to the office with them, or giving them an unbeatable offer that’s only available on the day. Or perhaps a link to a dedicated web page that only attendees can access which gives them more information. Managing your event and the expectations that go with it help to ensure success.
And finally, you must follow up once your event is over. You will already have the details of everyone that’s booked, so use that information to make personal calls in the day or two after the event. You don’t need to actively sell, but a general chat will find out what they enjoyed most, what they learned, and where you might be able to help them. Then put a meeting in the diary to take the process to the next stage. Finding a virtual assistant who can help with this stage is really useful – they can make the follow up calls and diary appointments for you, helping to make the events process smooth from start to finish.
To find out how virtual assistant event planners can help you with essential elements, like running and following up events, or if you would like to know more about our other virtual business assistant services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.