An event planner faces so many problems when he organizes a corporate event, and how to make it a successful corporate event. Thus, here is a guiding checklist for the event planner from start to end.
A corporate event can be defined as ” A gathering that is sponsored by a business for its employees, business partners, clients and/or prospective clients”.
These events can be for larger audiences such as conventions or smaller events like conferences, meetings, or holiday parties.
How to Plan a Corporate Event (Step by Step)
Following are the important steps for planning a successful corporate event:
1. Decide Upon Your Target Audience Befour Anything Else
The first step before you do anything else-should be to clearly define who your target audience is.
From this, all the other decisions will fall into place in terms of format, content, prices, location, etc.
This structured approach will also help you to stay focused on achieving specific goals and not allowing the scope to become too broad or watered down.
2. Make a List of Details
Everything including lighting and public transportation, to content and refreshments.
When you decide to have an event, everything counts.
And your audience will attribute everything to you and…your brand. Making a list will ensure you don’t overlook things.
3. Have a Clear Business Purpose for Holding Event
Before you can begin planning a successful event, be clear on why you are doing it in the first place, because every decision after that should support your main goal.
Is it lead generation? Is it to create awareness of your company or a particular product? Is it to develop customer loyalty?
Or do you simply want to make money (which is okay too)? And make sure the team is aware of the purpose so that you don’t have “scope creep.”
4. Watch Out for Other Industry Events When Scheduling
Check the calendar. Make sure you don’t schedule your event on or too close to holidays or popular vacation times.
It’s just as important to check for other events that your target attendees might be going to.
5. Be Flexible with Changes in Size, location, and other Details
As you get into the event planning process, you may find that your event changes in size, location, and many other ways than you originally envisioned.
This is natural and perfectly fine as long as you don’t lose sight of the reason you are doing all this work in the first place.
Some flexibility is necessary.
9. Know your Limitations
We all know the goal is to throw a great live event.
To that end, we also have to be aware of what we can or cannot realistically do- be it budget or time-wise.
If you decide to throw a live event in a week’s time, plan for a more intimate affair.
If it’s a big event, prepare several months ahead. If the budget is small, you may have to counterbalance with creativity and a lot of doing it yourself work.
7. Create SMART Goals
Always start with strategy. Just like building any business, great events start with a strong, thoughtful, and measurable strategy.
Live events are an amazing way to share your brand, connect with your target market, get feedback on your product (and more!), but you need to know what you are trying to achieve.
Stick with SMART goals and outline what you are aiming for.
Then make sure that you proceed in line with reaching these goals.
8. Develop an Event Budget and Estimate the Numbers
Know how you are going to pay for the event. Most events are funded by sponsorships, ticket sales, internal marketing budgets, or a combination of all three.
When you are creating your budget for the event, you will need to estimate how much money you can realistically raise from each area.
Before you book your venue or sign any contracts, it is a good idea to start signing sponsors first or selling advance tickets to make sure there is enough interest in your idea to fund it.
9. Create an Expense Budget
Creating an expense budget and save money through “in-kind” sponsor donations.
Events tend to cost more than the average small business owner thinks- primarily in regards to the venue and food beverage.
Remember to price out all the permits and licenses you will need as well. (This is where an event planner can help you avoid headaches).
Make a comprehensive list of all the expenses and then highlight areas where you think sponsors can play a role to offer something “
in-kind”. The more you work with other brands and partners to host your events, the more you can save.
10. Consider Crowd Funding
If this is your first time running events, use crowdfunding platforms to ease the risk.
By publishing your events on these platforms attendees will need to pledge for tickets for the event to take place.
If the minimum number of attendees required is not met the event does not take place.
11. You will Need Detailed Marketing Plan
Create a Marketing Plan for the event.
The more organized you are, the more professional your event will be.
12. Be Tireless in Your Efforts or Your Event will Fail
If You don’t want to be at your event alone, then the market, market, market, and market… some more.
13. Define Good Reason for People to Show Up
What’s the draw for attendees? You need to define WHAT you are doing at the event that brings those target attendees in the door.
For a consumer product, it might be a party with entertainment and product demos and freebies.
For a business crowd, it might be educational content or an exciting, well-known expert speaker.
Whatever it is, don’t lose the connection with why you want this particular audience yelling to get in.
14. Layout in Writing Why Your Target Market Should Attend
When promoting an event be sure to tell your target market what they will learn, who they will meet, and why they should be there.
Don’t assume your friends will tell their friends.
If you are using speakers, give them advertising copy so that they can promote the event to their audiences.
15. Learn How to Talk to Media
Journalists are very busy and always on deadline.
They don’t have time to hear a sales pitch.
Let them know that the information exists and for future stories- that you are an expert in that field. include that information when you reach out.
16. Use Twitter Hashtags
Twitter is terrific for promoting events and for creating a sense of online community around an event.
Set up a unique hashtag early on.
Search Twitter first to make sure it is not already in use. Put the hashtags right on the event website, and if you use the Tweet button for sharing on the site, work the hashtag right into the premade verbiage.
When people tweet, it promotes the event automatically on Twitter.
17. Use Online Social Pre Events to Promote Main Event
To build interest in your event, trying holding a Facebook or a Twitter chat a few weeks before the main event.
Invite a few of your speakers to participate in the online social event.
Give a preview of what is to come at the main event, by doing some discussion of what speakers will cover, or highlight the activities. It generates anticipation.
18. Buy Advertising on Social Media Networks
Buying advertising on a social network is often overlooked by small events.
Social advertising platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) offer in-depth targeting options that can significantly help to reach our target audience in our geographical location.
The good news is that no large budgets are required and ticket sales can be easily measured.
19. Use YouTube to Promote Your Event
YouTube is the second search engine in the world after Google.
Uploading videos from our previous events or interviews with our speakers/performers is a great way to convince prospective attendees to click on buy.
Video provides significant visual cues thus impacting heavily on our decision-making process.
With events, we always feel the risk of not knowing what will happen, video eases that tension.
20. Create an Awesome Low Budget Promotional Video
A little creativity with some poster board, a royalty-free music clip, and good smartphone video cameras will create a fun video to help publicize what is to come.
Here is a good video example that did just that on an online webinar budget, to promote a small business idea event.
21. Get Local Bloggers Involved
Be smart with bloggers. Involving local bloggers to participate in the event is usually a great strategy to gain an audience before, during, and after the event.
Bloggers usually count a wide reach and do not usually follow traditional media rules.
22. Leverage Event Registration Platforms like Meet Up
Use existing platforms. If this is your first attempt at running an event and you lack the skills to promote it, have a look at Meetup.com.
Other than offering a suite to manage events online, meet up is a great offer for the relevant audiences in your area.
It also features registration and RSVP management capabilities that are particularly handy if you are inexperienced.
23. Use online Registration
The easier way to scare people away is by having analog registration (faxes, bank draft, or at the door only).
Offer online registration to secure as many attendees as soon as possible that will help to forecast numbers and release budget soon.
24. Get Listed on Sites Catering to Your Group
Once you know who you want to attend, the next step is to put yourself in front of them.
There are websites that specialize in listing events nationally and locally so start there and research which are the most appropriate to get listed on.
25. Offer Local Partners Incentives to Promote You
Press releases sent to the relevant media outlets will help generate news buzz and you could look at getting media (online and offline) involved as partners.
They get exposure to your event in return for publicizing it.
If they don’t want to get involved at that level, approach them with the idea of running a competition for their readers to win tickets.
26. Make it Easy on Your Speakers to Publicize to their Followers
If you have any experts/speakers attending, encourage them to publicize their attendance to their social media followers/email subscribers.
27. Give Early Bird Incentives
Early bird tickets at a cheaper rate are a great way to get early sign-ups by giving people an incentive to act now rather than wait and forget.
28. Delegate Responsibilities
No matter the size of your business, always try to delegate responsibilities.
Having one person in charge of every detail typically doesn’t work out well.
Whenever possible, let people take control of the areas they most enjoy.
For example, let the foodie in your company handle the catering details.
The more someone enjoys their responsibilities, the more likely they will carry out with success.
29. Follow-Up- and Follow-up Again
Check in early and often. Though no one wants to be micromanaged, make sure that employees and vendors are on track with their event duties.
As long as people know you expect updates from time to time, they are less likely to become frustrated when you call or email for one.
30. Sponsors are Royalty- make sure they feel like it
If you have sponsors-treat them like kings.
They fund your event and enable you to do it (if that’s your business model).
Be very clear before the event what they will get as sponsors.
31. Always Underestimate Turnout, for sponsors
If you think you can get 200 attendances, base your sponsorship pitch on a lower estimate-especially I this is your first event.
It’s better to give sponsors a pleasant surprise than a disappointing one.
32. Ask People What They Think, and be Ready for Feedback
If you have done half a decent job, you will get lots of kudos.
Say thanks, but then ask for the critique and be ready for it.
33. Have a Skilled Social Media Team Cover Your Event
Don’t forget a social media team. While not imperative for every or industry, more and more events are focusing on harnessing the viral power of their audience.
If your audience is twitting, Facebooking, and taking pictures on Instagram-you should be doing the same and you will need a trained team to execute.
34. Look for Vendors Who Serve Your Niche And are Willing to Get Involved
The best vendors you can work with are those who are familiar with small business culture.
Look for vendors who work with small businesses frequently or who would get involved on a bigger level than their role.
35. Set Expectations Carefully-then Deliver
Ensure that the audience has a great (not good) experience and that you give them what they expected from attending.
36. Attitude is Contagious
Your guests in large part will play off your attitude and dynamics during the event.
Lead by example and have a good time.
37. Let Crowd Reaction be your Barometer
Read the audience during the event.
Ask people how they are doing. if things are going great, and if they are not, you will know.
38. Always Ask Yourself
How is this relevant to attendees? make sure you are offering content that is relevant to over 85% of the audience.
The audience must walk away with tangible tactics to improve their business and career and they must feel the speaker’s energy.
Speaking about your business and what you do-without offering the audience what they need – is a waste of time and money for all.
39. As the Master of Ceremonies or a Speaker- Practice
You know your business, but do not assume that you know how to put on a presentation.
Practice giving your presentation, answering questions, and handling difficult and confrontational members of the audience.
The more prepared you are the better.
40. Look Your Best
Look the part… be comfortable but fashion-forward.
Even if you are an accounts or lawyer, choose your most distinctive suit or tie.
People remember how comfortable you are in your own skin.
41. Imagine the Event, Step by Step, and Make a Two-Column List
What could go wrong in one column, and your contingency plan in the second. be prepared for the unexpected.
Maybe the sound system fails.
Maybe your keynote presenter bails. Can you cope and move on?
42. Be Ready to Lend a Hand to Fill any Gaps
Although planning ahead is a great formula for success, it is never enough. Something unexpected always comes up.
Thus, it pays to put in a little extra elbow grease for extenuating circumstances.
This applies to cater to arrangements, printing requirements, guest accommodations, weather forecasts, entertainment, and more.