Hosting an event is one of the best ways to put your organization or product in the spotlight. Even if your budget doesn’t include a full-time event planner, these pro tips will help your next event be a total success for everyone involved.
Establish a Goal for Your Event
Define exactly why you are hosting an event. Are you a non-profit aiming to raise funds? Maybe you’re an indie band and you want more people hearing your sounds. Whatever your purpose is for hosting an event, set tangible goals to measure success like the amount of money raised and the number of attendees.
Make Your Event Engaging and Fun
When hosting an event, focus on ways to make it fun. It’s not just about showing guests a good time– entertainment builds loyalty. An Accenture Loyalty Study found that 47% of millennials are more loyal to organizations that provide unique experiences and events. And Facebook asked 14,000 people to describe brands they love most: the top word used was quality, followed by “fun.” Check out these fun ideas for hosting an event:
- Hire a local dance instructor to teach attendees new moves.
- Companies like Plant Nite and Paint Nite send in instructors who guide guests in creating a terrarium or painting to take home.
- It’s easy to host a live trivia night that will bring guests together over some friendly competition.
- Bring in a local artist to do a live painting, then auction off or sell the final masterpiece.
Create an Event Checklist
You know the saying. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Instead, plan for success with this handy event checklist. Here are a few essentials to plan for when hosting an event:
- Budget: How much do you have to spend on hosting an event? Don’t forget extras like tipping waitstaff or musicians, marketing fees, and insurance.
- Tracking Attendees: Will you require paper or e-tickets? Is the event free or what’s the cost? Even if you’re hosting an event that’s free, require RSVPs or you risk turning away folks at the door…
- Capacity: Know the max capacity for your event space, and track RSVPs so they don’t go over that number.
- Staffing: First, designate an event “captain” for hosting an event. Who is working the door? Will you need security? How about a photographer? Outline your staff plan.
- Set Up and Take Down: Who is responsible and when will it happen?
Create a Concrete Marketing and Promotion Strategy
The promotion and marketing strategy of your event needs to be one of the first things you outline and plan for. Together, these two things can help ensure your audience knows about your event and they know what to expect when they attend. There are some great free resources and tools and your disposal that you should always take advantage of. Some of our favorites are:
- Use a service like BuzzSumo.com to identify a social media influencers who can help promote your event.
- Set up a Facebook event. Once people start RSVPing, Facebook starts showing your event to others who may be interested (for free).
- Write and send a one-page press release about your event to local TV, radio, and online newspapers.
Maximize Your Face Time With the Guests
This is your moment! Guests are pouring into your event. Now, make the most of this valuable face time and be with your guests. As your mingling with the attendees, you can use it as an opportunity to personally thank them for coming and to hand out any event swag or merchandise you’ve prepared for them. We’ve found that custom event t-shirts, water bottles, and notebooks are some of the best items to give out.
Take Photos Throughout the Event
You should hire a photographer or have someone from your team to take photos of the event. First, purchase a step-and-repeat banner with your logo – you see these behind celebs on the red carpet and it costs just $250-$300. Put the banner at the entrance and take pics as guests arrive. Consider doing a “live from the red carpet” video using Facebook Live or Instagram Live. You can also use the banner to create a photo booth. Set out fun props like giant sunglasses and boas.
Another top strategy is to sell or give away branded merch at your event like t-shirts, key chains, or tote bags. The Promotional Products International Association reports that 88% of those given a branded item will remember the organization’s name. Plus, they’ll be wearing your merch in public – like a free walking billboard.
Thank Your Attendees
Boom! You hosted an awesome event. But your work isn’t done. Use those emails you gathered to send a thank you email with the link to a photo gallery of event pics. Send thank yous to anyone else hosting an event with you: the venue staff or entertainers. You could even include a link to a quick event survey using SurveyMonkey.com.
As a final action item, you need to take some time to to analyze your event to determine if it was a success. . Did you meet your goals? Would you host the same event again? There’s always room for improvement when hosting an event. Hopefully, these tips will help you rock your next event!
This guest post was contributed by Buzztime, an interactive gaming company known for bringing the best trivia, cards, arcade and sports games to tablets.