Monday, 7 December 2009

How to Plan and Promote Your Small Event

So you have got a good idea for an event. That’s great but how do you make it happen, and most importantly a success? Amazingly the same rules apply if you are organising an international conference for 2000 attendees, or a charity bake sale in the local church hall. The keywords you have to remember are Plan, Promote and Communicate. I will now take you through the best way to organise and promote your small event while trying to keep the budget down and attendance numbers high.


This may seem rather obvious but one of the key ingredients to a successful event is good planning. Leaving things to the last minute will always result in complications and puts all your hard work in potential jeopardy. Make sure you start organising your event in adequate time, after all you will want to let your attendees know about it as soon as possible so they can add it in to their diaries.

Once you know the logistics of the event i.e. venue, theme, capacities and guest list you need to start thinking about compiling all the information for your attendees. A great way to do this is to use an event registration website from EventElephant. This website will allow you to add all the vital information about the event such as the where’s and when’s, and crucially it will also allow people to RSVP/ buy tickets. To view an example of an event registration website click here.

You now have a launch base for the event, the next thing you need to do is promote, promote, promote.

Demanding attention will get your event noticed, and will make more people want to attend. The only way to do this is through efficient promotion. Event promotion doesn’t have to cost the world and can often be done for free by using tools that I will go through now.

Now that you have your event registration website, there are many inherent tools available within the system that will get your event off the ground. The basic first step is invitations. Choosing a method in which to invite your attendees will completely depend on the type of event you are organising. Use the email invitation functionality within the system to instantly share your event with your contacts list. This is the cheapest and easiest way to direct your attendees towards your registration website but if you decide that good old fashioned paper invitations is the way to go try using one of these MyGatsby, MyExpression or BallisticBlue.

Another great tool to use is social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Adding your event to these sites will give your event much greater visibility. It couldn’t be simpler to do and can instantly be performed from your event registration website by clicking the ‘Share This’ button. This will then send a link to all your social networking pages in one go, making the event visible to your whole networking group. This is a great tool to use if you don’t have the contact details for all of the people you would like to invite.

Event promotion doesn’t stop after the invitations have been sent out; in fact this is where it really starts. Invitations allow people to say whether they are going to be attending or not, so your job now is to get the people who accepted excited about the event. This should be an ongoing process and should last right up until the day of the event.

You can communicate with your attendees through many channels. Make sure you add any updates to your event registration website, this will let all attendees know any new information and will keep them fully up to date. You should also be talking about your event on social networking websites, this allows people to talk back to you and in turn will build more ‘buzz’ for the event. For more information on this read my blog ‘Using Twitter Hashtags to Promote Your Event’.

This two way communication can now stretch into a multi way communication as your event attendee’s talk between themselves about the event. In doing this the event starts promoting itself as more people will hear about it, and in turn may also encourage them to sign up themselves. Make sure you keep an eye on all of these communication activities though as you will want to respond to any queries people may have about the event. A good way to do this is to use tools such as TweetDeck or Google Alerts.

These are great first steps to get you on your way to planning and promoting your new event.

Please feel to comment if you have any further suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. Planning an event, whether it is for ten guests or ten thousand guests. It is always a stressful and challenging undertaking to the Event Planner. Excluding aspects such as the organisation of core elements such as food, drinks, venue, decor and entertainment; there are many smaller elements that require such attention to detail to make an event go from good to spectacular.