Event management, whether of a virtual or physical event, has diverse requirements, from the coordination of vendors, to bringing in experts and influencers, from getting permits, to crisis management, basically everything needed for an event to succeed.
Successful event management can pave the way for your business’s growth, considering events bring about an opportunity to meet new partners, team members, prospects, and customers. Every event is an opportunity for you to represent your brand in a respectable fashion and build trust in industry circles.
Of course, planning an event from scratch is far from easy, and event managers must possess certain skills to carry out the demands of event management. Those skills include:
Although excellence comes from experience, there are some proven strategies for holding the perfect event. Let’s dive in!
6 top strategies for holding a perfect event
1- Define the event’s purpose clearly, plan date and speakers
The first thing to think about when arranging an event is what you’re doing it for. As with any marketing effort, events should serve your marketing strategy and help you accomplish business objectives.
A product launch event, for instance, is a place where you get the word out for your new product. It’s also a branding opportunity if you manage to put out a great event. Yet if you have too many goals, you might lose focus, as well as struggle to keep track of budgeting and time management. Define your event’s purpose from the start, and make sure attendees will understand it immediately.
Once you decide why you’re holding the event, it’s time to look at dates and speakers.
If you hold the event during a dead season for your target audience, you’ll miss out on many attendees. On the other hand, it can’t be right before a busy period. Consider seasonality, market trends, your audience’s habits, and relevant conditions to set the most convenient date.
As important as the date of your event is your speakers. In many cases, good reputable speakers are the main magnets for attracting a large audience. However, this does not mean that you should only work with celebrities. Depending on your budget and your goals, you can find the right speakers with good track record and presentation skills.
Speakerhub is a platform that helps you a lot in this process. There are hundreds of speakers with various backgrounds, fees, languages, and locations to choose for your event. You can find the right expert for your needs, check out their background and sample presentations, and contact them to check their availability and close a deal. All free of charge.
2- Consider hybrid events
The global pandemic moved our professional and personal spaces online, and many people are spending more time online than they spend in physical gatherings. Hybrid events are a perfect solution giving your participants the best advantages of both physical and virtual event attendance.
They not only help you reach a larger audience with varying preferences, they do it without raising costs. For instance, you don’t have to reserve a larger venue for the additional audience members that will be participating from the comfort of their homes. And hosting speakers located around the world will also be easier, especially if their time is valuable or location remote.
Nourish the virtual component of your hybrid event with interactive elements, where the audience can see the effort and contribute to it. Since you’re offering two largely different experiences, you should expect different outcomes. Maybe you connect attendees for quick one-on-one mentoring sessions. Creating opportunities for networking can be a big draw for virtual attendees.
Another consideration is that physical attendees will likely be easier to convert to customers, while getting just a demo request from a virtual attendee could be considered as success. So be sure to use effective landing pages and CTAs for your virtual attendants.
3- Promote your event
It’s important to start hyping up your event a while before its actual date, taking into consideration the events hosted by businesses and other establishments that target the same audience as you. A variety of tools and social channels can help you do that.
Add the event to your content calendar for inbound efforts, like social posts, blogs, Instagram reels and stories, and so on. Use those mediums to remind your audience that an exciting event is on the way and tell them what they’ll get from attending it. Mention key takeaways, the backgrounds of the speakers, and what makes this event worthwhile.
Make use of paid channels too. If a business event, definitely promote it on LinkedIn, where people spend time with a personal growth mindset. They’ll be more open to learning about a new solution or strategy than during the time they spend on Twitter or Instagram. LinkedIn also allows you to define a well targeted audience, although it’s a little more costly compared to other ad channels. Video works exceptionally well when it comes to catching attention, so create a fun, dynamic and short video about the details of the event, and promote it.
Announce the event in your newsletter too, with a reminder a few days before the date. You can also build a newsletter audience for people who’ve attended your previous events, but with their consent of course.
4- Find ways to boost engagement
The best way to keep your audience engaged is to choose trendy and engaging topics – topics that are a burning issue for your audience and have a strong influence on their lives. To find these topics you can run surveys and polls and ask your prospective audience directly.
Employee survey tools are specially handy for not only running these tests and surveys on your employees but also giving you insights on their work satisfaction and engagement metrics. These insights could in themselves be interesting topics to hold events about.
Besides trendy and engaging topics, the fun factor plays an important role in keeping your audience engaged. Business topics are particularly boring for many if not presented in a fun, engaging manner. That’s why you have to work on that too, otherwise people will either leave the event or remember the event as a time loss.
Having live polls is a great way to entice your audience to take part in what is going on. Open polls during the event and talk about the results. You can even bring up a discussion about the results to further engagement.
Also, devise small games or competitions for your attendees. You could organize something like a scavenger hunt, where you expect the audience to use information you’ll provide to solve problems.
You don’t have to offer expensive gifts as prizes, the pure joy of taking part in a competitive group event will keep people engaged. But it’ll be perfect if you come up with a prize that will encourage them to stay engaged in the future too, like a coupon or a free subscription to your solution.
Even the most simple request of action, such as asking participants to friend you (as a speaker) by scanning a QR code will make a difference. So it doesn’t call for a fat budget, you just have to think creatively.
5- Provide on-demand recorded versions
Adobe’s study on Webinar Engagement found that only 36% of webinar registrants actually watch the live event, while more than half of the remaining registrans who don’t attend watch the on-demand recorded versions later. Record both virtual and in-person events and upload them on to your social channels and web site. Also display the recording on the event page and ask for contact info in exchange for access.
You can always improve the content later, by adding new material and removing any content you’re not happy with. If a certain part didn’t come out as you hoped, don’t hesitate to leave it out when editing.
Once you have successfully held several events, you can create a page dedicated to educational video content as a virtual knowledge hub or library. Serving that high-quality, insightful content will help you claim thought leadership and improve SEO. Don’t forget that you can always charge for that educational content, which adds to your revenue model.
6- Use the right event management tools
Event management is such a multi-layered and attention intensive job, it’s best to automate some tasks and use technology to ease some of the processes. Event management tools can help you with almost every aspect of event management:
Planning and scheduling
Building a registration page
Sending out invitations and updates
Collecting guest information
Creating seating plans
Keeping in touch with guests
Managing relationships with vendors
Live-streaming and recording
Polls, games and quizzes
Source: Finances Online
Use the automation these tools provide based on your goals and where your team falls short manually.
Say you’re holding an event that involves financial transactions, such as a live-stream shopping event, and you’re operating under a tight budget, so you have to choose between different event management solutions. The most important concern here is data and payment security. The best course of action would be to invest in a secure payment system and other cybersecurity measures, and handle the rest manually.
Be sure to choose an intuitive solution for every need, and test everything several times before the actual event day. If you’re using a video conferencing platform or an online teaching platform, for instance, make sure it’s accessible to everyone in your audience, regardless of their location or device type.
There are myriad aspects to event management. Whereas once event managers and coordinators were tasked to take care of the logistics of only physical events, these days they’re burdened with online complexities as well.
So on top of regular physical event management steps such as vetting speakers, running awareness campaigns, reserving locations, and provisioning refreshments and recreation, you have to keep an eye on online engagement metrics as well. In other words, you need to consider hybrid events to see the highest levels of engagement in your events.
Other aspects of event management are affected in this process as well. The purpose of the event, and its date and speakers should be chosen to cater to an online as well as a physical audience; there should be a comprehensive online event promotion strategy in place; on-demand recordings of the event should be available to attendees and also promoted to other people; and most importantly managers should be able to use the right tools to hold the events and analyze their performance.