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So your business wants to provide your clients or employees with additional value by hosting an event. That’s great! But as you already know, it’s not as easy as marking your calendar, informing your network, hiring a caterer, and trusting that all will be perfect.
There are numerous factors that can impact just how valuable your conference, seminar, or annual meeting will be for your attendees. If you want to ensure that your business event becomes a “must-attend” occasion, we encourage you to check out these nine tips:
1. The Five "W"s.
Who –The team involved in pulling off your event is larger than you think. It is always recommended to assemble this team well before beginning the preparation.
What – What theme or content will provide the most value to your attendees?
When and Where – The location and timing of your event will determine who is most likely to attend, so it is of utmost importance to select these carefully.
Why – Why should your clients or employees attend? Is attendance mandatory for your company? Are you providing valuable content that attendees wouldn’t find elsewhere? The "why" boils down to the driving focus of your event – why you are hosting it, and why attending it is vital.
2. Create SMART goals for your event.
Your event objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Planning a business event requires analyzing many components, discovering your focus, and outlining goals to drive your success. By utilizing SMART goals in your planning, you can ensure no stone is left unturned as you build your event.
3. Clearly define the value of your event.
The value of your event is what will drive attendees to it.
Consider what might be keeping them up at night.
► Is a lack of information sabotaging their ability to make well-informed decisions?
► Is a lack of team unity keeping them from being productive?
► Is a lack of skill rendering the current business conditions exceptionally difficult?
► Do they desire a clear vision of the future so they may drive their business or department more effectively?
The event’s value will play into every component of it, from writing the initial plan outline to checking in with attendees while it is in progress. Defining the exact, measurable value of your event is crucial.
4. Hire an engaging speaker.
This tip may sound like a no-brainer – of course you don’t want to hire Boring Bob for your event! But ensuring that your speaker is not only qualified and knowledgeable but personable and engaging requires a careful vetting process.
Utilizing a series of tips when choosing your speaker will provide confidence that you’ve made the correct choice.
5. Connect with your speaker(s) to boost your advertising.
Advertising through your own channels will only reach so many. Consider reaching out to your speaker(s) and encouraging them to help with your advertising.
► Add the event to their own website
► Post and share it on their social media
► Provide an updated description of what they see as the value in attending their presentation
This will help you to reach not only your own audience, but the speaker’s as well, providing valuable exposure for your event as well as added content to drive the traffic.
6. Utilize social media in your marketing.
The person-to-person focus of social media is growing daily, and utilizing it in your marketing strategy can be incredibly helpful.
► Go beyond the routine email blasts and posts about your event – make an effort to engage your audience on a personal level.
► Ask attendees to tag you in tweets while the event is in progress.
► Create an event on Facebook to generate interest and field questions from potential attendees.
► Continuously ask for feedback from your audience about the content or features they would like to see at your next event.
7. Provide actionable takeaways for attendees.
Actionable takeaways are concrete “next steps” attendees can take after your event. Establishing them will be a joint effort between you and your speaker.
Through the planning and advertising, you will demonstrate what value your attendees will receive from the event. The speaker you select is critical to this success.
Look for speakers who are willing to go the extra mile – conducting pre-event calls, for example – and who will work with you on presentation content and guarantee time for questions and answers.
8. Create a positive atmosphere.
First impressions are everything, and the tone you set with every interaction you have with your attendees and event team will set the stage for the entirety of the event.
► Go out of your way to say hello to attendees throughout the day.
► What feedback do they have after each milestone of the event?
► Do they have all the resources and tools they need to maximize the experience, such as notebooks, pens, or copies of the presentation materials?
► Do they have lingering questions from a presentation, and can you help by providing the speaker’s contact information?
Build an atmosphere of trust and helpfulness, and they’ll be sure to come to your next event.
9. Allow time for feedback.
This can include allowing extra time for a thoughtful Q&A with your speaker, encouraging attendees to fill out an exit survey, or simply making the rounds again at the close of your event.
Remember, your attendees want to feel like they got something out of your event. Providing them with an outlet to voice concerns or questions will help them feel valued and can increase their likelihood of returning for your next one.
Looking to further increase the value of your next event? As a limited-time holiday gift, if you book an ITR Economics Speaker for your next engagement, you will receive six months of Alliance Powered by DataCast™ for FREE! You and your attendees will be able to take the knowledge and insights you absorb from our speaker back to the office to apply immediately. Additionally, market data covered during your presentation will be specifically included in the tool!