Event planning is never easy. Even organizing a seemingly simple, small meeting involving only 5 people can be very challenging with so many moving parts and potential issues. We can only imagine the challenge of planning and hosting the Super Bowl or a concert with hundreds of thousands of attendees.
When planning an event, it’s very important to consider all the different elements as early as possible, and this is where having a pre-planned template or a step-by-step guide can help you.
With that being said, here we will share the key event planning steps you’ll need to know to make the process as stress-free and streamlined as possible. Without further ado, let us begin with the first step.
1. Define Purpose and Objectives
First things first, what’s the purpose of this event? For some events, it might be very obvious, but for others, less so.
Will you launch this event to support a product launch? Increase brand awareness? Generate more direct sales on the event? Be as clear as possible in defining the purpose of your event.
Next, what are the objectives based on this purpose? Your objectives should be more specific and measurable, such as:
- Increase overall registration by 20% from the last event
- Increase social media engagement by x% and followers by y
- Generate 100 sales for a new product launched in the event
And so on. Use the S.M.A.R.T goals principle when establishing your objectives: your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
2. Draft Your Rough Plan
Based on the objectives you’ve defined, you can now draft a rough plan for the event where you can start planning for details like:
- Time frame: doesn’t have to be precise, for example, “next summer”, “in 10 months”, or so
- Type of event: will this be a keynote speaker? Trade show? Concert? Will the event be a one-day event or a multi-day event?
- Target attendees: how many attendees are you targeting? Obviously, the number of attendees will also determine the size of the venue you’ll need. You should also consider who you will be targeting (demographics, psychographics, behavioral, etc.)
- Venue: if possible, create a shortlist of the venues you’d like to book. If you’re going to host the event in multiple locations, then you should also create different shortlist for different cities/countries.
3. Estimate a Budget
This one is pretty self-explanatory, based on your rough draft, estimate an event budget. Don’t underestimate the importance of planning a clear budget, which will help in clarifying your next steps.
While this doesn’t have to be set in stone, try to be as detailed as you can when estimating your budget. Don’t forget to also estimate your marketing budget, and how you are going to fund the event (i.e. sponsorships).
4. Building your Team
If you are going to plan the event by yourself, then you can skip this step. You don’t need too many people when building an event team, and in fact, you can start with just 2-5 people where each can cover different roles. However, make sure that your team covers the following key responsibilities:
- Event manager: supervising the whole team and is responsible for the execution of the event and manages the budget.
- Venue manager: the go-to person for everything related to the venue, including the vendors and sponsors when on-site, food/beverage arrangements, and more.
- Scheduling: ensuring the event stays on schedule and making sure the schedule is up-to-date.
- Design: responsible for designing the creative collaterals like posters, web materials, and so on.
- Marketing: developing, executing, and supervising the promotional plan for the event.
- Sponsorship: managing relationships with sponsors and securing new sponsorships
- Registration: making sure the registration process (ticket booking, check-ins, etc.) is running smoothly.
With your team in place, you should start creating an event project plan detailing every single task for these different roles. This is where you can leverage an event management system like Eventtia that can help you monitor the progress of each task and track your event’s timeline.
5. Booking Your Venue
Pretty self-explanatory, secure your venue and date. You should do this as early as possible since which venue you get and the fixed date for the event will dictate many other aspects of the event, especially when you plan on holding your event in a major city, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Las Vegas.
6. Finalize Event Branding
Based on all the information you’ve secured above, develop your event branding while considering:
- The event name. Make sure it’s unique yet easy to pronounce and remember
- The overall theme for the event
- Logo, brand colors, typography, and other design elements
- Decoration, email signature, signage, and other branding collaterals
7. Securing Talents and Sponsors
Secure your talents and speakers first before finalizing your schedule. Build a shortlist of talents/speakers/exhibitors and sponsors you’d like for your event. Research each of them, and reach out to them accordingly.
For sponsors, take some time to develop personalized sponsorship packages before reaching out to your sponsors.
8. Develop Finalized Schedule
Develop a finalized schedule. Plan all the details of your event program as early as possible. While the schedule can remain flexible, you should at least have a basic framework for the event.
9. Develop a Marketing Plan
Once all the other details of the event have been finalized, you should create a comprehensive marketing plan for the event. Consider what channels you are going to use to promote the event.
The better you understand your target audience, the better you can develop an effective marketing plan for your event. Know which channels your target attendees frequent, which influencers they often interact with, and others. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy based on this information.
By following the steps we’ve discussed above, you are now ready to plan and host a successful event. Due to all the different moving parts in planning and managing an event, it’s crucial to establish a system in place to help monitor all these different variables.
This is where having an event management solution can help in tracking and managing your event team, your schedule, your budget, and other important details related to the event.