By Jennifer Gonzales, Marketing Coordinator
Coyote Creek hosts a number of events each year, from IT Leadership Dinners and Client Appreciation Events to Networking/Recruiting events and more. We’ve found that having a successful event is an excellent way to bring people together, and build or reinforce the personal connections that make such a difference in the business world.
In a previous blog I presented some marketing tips for a successful event. Today I’ll address some of the things you can do to make the event itself a success.
Choose a great theme
What is your target market interested in? Think about this when coming up with ideas for your event’s theme. While you may think this detail is small, it could be key to getting people to commit to attending! This theme could also help your presenter come up with a topic for their time in the spotlight.
Book the right venue
Before signing a contract with an event venue, it’s a good idea to tour multiple venues in your desired area and then narrow things down. Here are some of the important factors to consider:
- Availability – Is the venue available on your preferred date and time? If not, can you be flexible in this area?
- Size – Is the venue large enough to hold your guests? Is it so large that you’ll have enough empty space to make it seem like no one showed up to your event? Just like Goldilocks, you’re looking for the venue that’s “just right.”
- Location – Be sure that your venue is in a centralized location so that people from any direction can get there as conveniently as possible. For example, we are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our event attendees live in the North Bay, South Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula. However, the Peninsula is the heart of Silicon Valley, so any IT-related events we present are usually held somewhere along the Peninsula. This gives access to the many people living in the Peninsula, as well as people in other parts of the region.
- Price – Price is always an important factor when choosing a venue, because you want to ensure that you are receiving a positive ROI from your event. Avoid going overboard and choosing a venue that is over budget, if another acceptable venue is available that’s in budget.
Market the successful event
As discussed in the previous article, getting an early start on this can be crucial.
Get all your ducks in a row
Be sure to include the following:
- Coordinate with your speaker – Confirm their arrival time. Find out if they will need any special audio/visual equipment, such as a microphone, projector and screen.
- Arrange for A/V – Be sure that all needed audio/visual equipment will be available at the venue. Be sure there is someone on your team who is familiar with setting up and trouble-shooting this equipment. If the speaker will be doing a PowerPoint presentation, get the file in advance so that it can be set up when the speaker arrives.
- Coordinate with your point of contact at the venue – This includes finalizing the guest count, menu options, drink options, parking, etc.
- Prepare everything for the sign-in table – You’ll need signage, a sign-in sheet and nametags. You may need validation tickets for parking, a tablecloth for the table, and a bowl to collect business cards for a raffle.
- Be sure the event will be easy to find – Depending on your event venue, it might be confusing for your guests to find the room your event is in. Find out if the hotel, restaurant, event center, etc. will have someone at the front to greet your guests and show them where to go. If not, be sure to have clear signage that reassures your guests that they’re in the right place.
Plan for an engaging successful event
Your guests are attending your event because your pre-event marketing made them feel that this was an experience worth their time. Don’t let them down! Although keeping your attendees interested can sometimes be a challenge—especially if your event comes at the end of a long work day—here are some of the things that you can do:
- Encourage personal interactions – Interactions are very important, so be sure that your team/coworkers are interacting with clients and making face-to-face connections.In addition, try to create an experience that makes your clients interact with each other or with your team/coworkers. For example, if you have a speaker, create some sort of collaborative session during the presentation, or a Q&A after.
- Hold a raffle – Raffles can be a great way to keep people interested. If you have an awesome promotional item that people will want, make giving it away an experience instead of just handing it out. This excites people and keeps them interested, because everyone wants to see if they’re a winner!
- End on a positive note – When your event is wrapping up, thank your guests for coming, and make sure that they’ve received any promotional items you had for them. If you did not give out parking validation or anything else they might need at the beginning of your event, now is the time!
Do a post-mortem after the successful event
While the event is still very fresh on everyone’s minds, meet with your team to discuss it. What did each person think went well? Where did each person see room for improvement? As a team, make a list of what you think you can do better next time, things that you should repeat, things that you should change, or even things to stop doing completely. Remember, once you develop a reputation for putting on fabulous events, getting people to attend becomes quite a bit easier!