Business marketing

Your event organising checklist

- August 8, 2010 3 MIN READ

Running your own events can be daunting. If things go belly up, you could jeopardise the very business you were hoping to secure. This event organising checklist will help ensure your event is a success.

There are many worthwhile reasons for organising your own events. They can deepen relationships with existing clients or introduce you to new ones, establish you as a trusted authority and provide a platform for the launch of new products and services. They can also be far more cost effective for your business than sponsoring or exhibiting at large trade shows.

Here is my event organising checklist for making sure your events run smoothly.

1. Set realistic objectives

Before you start planning your event, establish some clear objectives. For example, how many people do you want to attend? Do you want to use the event to build relationships with your existing clients or to convert potential clients into customers? Are you launching a new service? Do you want to secure sales appointments with prospects, or are you actually looking to sell your products and services during the event?

2. Do your research

Before you decide on the format for the event, it is vital to do your research. If you own a clothing boutique, you might like to host a VIP evening where your loyal customers get to preview the next season’s range or get access to your upcoming sale before the general public. In that case, your research could be as simple as asking some of your customers whether they’d be interested in coming to the event before you organise it, and what they’d like to see on the night.

But if you’re a management consultant thinking about running a public seminar and charging participants to attend, your research needs to be far more thorough. In this case, you should speak with your target market in more detail about their needs, and use that input to help you determine whether you’re on the right track with your event idea. If not, at least your research will have given you some valuable ideas about restructuring the event so it becomes one they feel compelled to attend.

3. Create your program around the research results

Your research will have given you a profile of your audience’s needs that you can now use to ensure your agenda meets their requirements.

For example, if you’re running a seminar and your research uncovered concerns about the decreasing effectiveness of traditional marketing channels, your program could include a case study of a company that increased sales by focusing on internet marketing techniques.

Your research should also help you determine who to invite to speak at your event.

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4. Choose the right venue

If you’re running your event off-site, you’ll need to select a venue. If at all possible, inspect the venue before you book it. Some important things to consider include whether the venue can accommodate the number of guests you’re expecting, whether the seating arrangement is suitable and whether the stage can be seen from all corners of the room. Don’t forget about noise levels, lighting, location and ease of access either.

5. Know your budget

Your budget should include (where relevant) costs for the venue and catering, speakers and their travel, audio-visual equipment, insurance, marketing and the production of workbooks.

On the other hand, you may be able to offset some costs by giving other businesses the opportunity to sponsor the event.

6. Market effectively

Whole books have been written on event marketing, and it would be impossible to do the subject justice in a short article, but some of the ways you can promote your event include:

  • Through business networking groups, community groups and special interest groups such as your industry association
  • Direct mail
  • In newsletters, magazines and newspapers
  • Listing in event calendars
  • With press releases
  • On a Facebook event page
  • Through business partners and affiliates
  • By email to your database, or an external source
  • On your website, or even via a dedicated event website

Do you have any extra tips to add to this event organising checklist? As an organiser or attendee, how do you judge the success of an event?