December 18, 2020

The Essential Corporate Event Planning Guide

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Want to wow your Guests with perfect event management? You need an event planning survival guide.

It all starts with small steps that create a solid foundation for event planning. With good management, corporate events have the same potential to be just as exciting as any B2C event. From creating a seamless pre-event plan to optimising attendee engagement, this essential guide to event planning is your secret weapon when it comes to organising events.

Before the event

1. Set overarching goals

This initial step is the most important in corporate event planning. Defining your goals at the beginning of every event planning process allows you to set a solid goal for your whole team to work towards. This is also an important step to encourage collaboration in event planning, offering your colleagues and teammates the opportunity to express their creativity and contribute their expertise and ideas.
Some of the key goals you should consider are below:  

  • Audience: If you don’t know your audience, how are you supposed to plan a targeted and successful event? Considering the demographics of your audience: their job, age, location and education level, for instance, will help you determine what your attendees are really looking for.
  • Measurable targets: Set measurable targets that will help you and your team decide how you will measure the success of your event. Setting KPIs will allow everyone in your team to remain focused and will help you constantly improve your own performance as an event manager. 

2. Organise your team

Once you’ve set your overarching goals it’s time to start assembling your team. As an event planner you need to make sure you’re getting the right people to achieve these goals and execute the event to a high standard. From your hospitality coordinator to a programme producer, once you’re team is good to go, as team leader it’s your responsibility to make sure each team member is accountable for all their tasks.

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4. Set budgets

Setting the right budget is perhaps one of the most important steps in event planning. A budget determines everything you can or cannot do. According to research by Event Manager Blog, we know that 82% of event planners are most concerned about their event budgets. Whether you view organising finances as exciting or extremely dull, the budgets are crucial to ensuring success for your event. With thorough planning, taking advantage of budgeting software and templates available to you, you’ll begin to realise budgeting isn’t all that bad.

5. Securing the right event sponsor

Event partnerships can be essential for corporate events. Sponsorship can help to generate media coverage for your event but can also help with financing it. Event sponsors sometimes contribute to the costs of your event in return for anything from brand exposure to reserved panel seats.
Event sponsorships help cover a lot of the outgoing costs that come with running an event and could also allow you to ticket your event at more affordable and attractive prices for your attendees. But, you shouldn’t partner with just anyone. Your event sponsor should be aligned with your company and with your event in some way to retain authenticity. Be flexible when negotiating your package or speaking to a potential sponsor, and make sure you clearly understand what the sponsor hopes to achieve from the offset.

6. Secure Event Entertainment

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Similar to event sponsorship, entertainment at your event can generate a lot of interest and publicity. Whether it’s motivational sports speakers, musicians or circus acts, securing the right event entertainment has multiple benefits. Often breaking up a long, full day, event entertainment gives attendees time to relax a little more whilst boosting the energy within your audience.
Whether you’re organising an internal or external event, entertainment is a great way to break up the day and keep your attendees engaged and relaxed.

7. Event Registration

Registering for your event should be as quick and painless as possible, and should come with the right price tag if applicable. Online registration is the easiest way to register your attendees. Platforms like Eventbrite allow you to tailor the data you capture from the people who sign up. This is a great way to collect information about your attendees before the day of the event.
Time-sensitive deals and discounts for event registration can really help to increase traction during your pre-event marketing. For example, you could try early bird, limited offer, or group discounts on ticket bookings. Discounted early bird tickets are an age-old marketing strategy, proven to increase traction and event attendance. As long as you implement a strict strategy for your event pricing which makes sure there is an attractive discount for the guests whilst also covering your costs, this is a sure-fire win to market your event.

Marketing your event

Executing the right marketing plan to promote your event is key to ensure you get enough of the right attendees. Be it blogs, videos, website content, emails or social media, content marketing can help spread the word about your event at no extra cost.

10. Social Media

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Social media is invaluable when promoting your event and is a quick, free, and easy way to reach a lot of people very quickly.
Use Twitter to create personalised hashtags and share them with your confirmed attendees. Or why not use Instagram to release teaser videos in the run-up to the event? If your event has a corporate focus, you might find LinkedIn to be the most appropriate and effective channel. Think about which social media channels work for your event and create a strategy that includes all those channels. 

11. Email marketing campaigns

Email marketing campaigns work best on a highly targeted and segmented contact database. Creating personalised emails makes a real difference when it comes to open rates, click through rates and, most importantly, registrations for your event. There are several ways you can personalise your emails for your event but some of our favourites are below:
If someone has been to one of your events before, they might be interested to attend another. When you contact them, mention the event they attended previously. This personal touch will make all the difference when it comes to registrations.
If there are parts of your events which might appeal to people with specific job functions, you might like to segment your data based on job title. Again, make it clear to the reader why you are specifically contacting them, and the value your event will bring them.
A focus on the benefits of your event to your targeted segments of your database will undoubtedly improve takeup.

After the event

12. Attendee Experience

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By this stage, you’ve done all your planning before the event to help it run as smoothly as possible. So now you just need to make sure your attendees’ experience is the best it can be.
Digital interactive engagement
Instead of giving your Guests heaps of leaflets when they arrive at your event why not get digital and give your Guests interactive ID cards instead? You can use QR codes – scannable barcodes readable using smartphones – in different locations around your event. Attendees can use these to register interest in various topics or sub-events, giving you all the data you need to send them the most relevant information and content later. Creating this personalised experience is a thoughtful touch and proves, as event organisers, you are really invested in your audience and their experience.
This is a great interactive conference technique which really makes attendees feel involved. Attendees can answer questions that speakers put out to the audience via the presentation screen, using their smartphones to vote or submit answers. This empowers both the speakers and the audience. Speakers understand more about who is in the audience, and can tailor their presentation accordingly. For the attendee, this technique give them a voice; a great way to improve engagement and attendee satisfaction.
Once the event is done and dusted, collating post-event feedback is perhaps one of the most essential steps in this corporate event planning guide. Give attendees the opportunity to provide feedback and express their thoughts on your event. This is a great exercise to help you improve on your future events. Your events are unlikely to be perfect the first time around, and collating feedback allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, and ultimately ensures you are creating events in line with what your attendees want.

Checking all these items off your list means you’ll cover every step in the event planning process. We understand that in this industry, it doesn’t matter how much you plan, sometimes things happen that you didn’t expect.

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