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10 Event Planning Tips

eventsWhen planning an event it is useful to have a checklist in place so that you can ensure that all things are covered and that all necessary preparation is done.

Events can be very expensive when you consider the cost of the event, the cost of the marketing, the time spend out of the office and the staff downtime that will happen over the event, you need to ensure that the results are as good as possible so as to maximise your ROI.

Top 10 tips for a successful event:

  • Properly prepare for the event (pre planning)
  • Properly market the event to your customers and potential customers
  • Ensure you have the best stand for the event
  • Ensure you have all your marketing material
  • Ensure you have goodies to give away
  • Ensure your staff are prepared and know what to do
  • Make sure your staff are presentable and available
  • Work the event
  • Have USP’s on the stand or reasons for people to hang around
  • Have marketing follow up after the event

Success at an event can be broken down to three very basic components:

  1. Successful pre planning
  2. Successful event
  3. Succesfsful follow up

So many companies tend to focus so much on the actual event (number 2) that they miss out steps 1 & 3 and miss 2/3 of the potential of the event.

Preparing for the event

This would involve ensuring that you organise with the event planners what space you want at the event and if that space is the best possible site. Choosing a stall that is close to the drinks area/chill out area is good – as there will be more footflow. Equally, choosing s stall near the entrance of the event will ensure that everyone walks past your stand at least twice. Organising for all facilities to be ready (lap tops, communications, food for staff/staff rotas etc.)

Properly Market the event

Letting people know you are going to be at the event is very important, rather than it being a surprise let your customers and target customers know that you are going to be there. Maximise your exposure by putting a link on your e-mails so that the word can spread. Put the event on your twitter/Facebook page. It costs nothing but could double or triple your customers. Invite people to your stand for a drink or a free gift. Hold a raffle and get people to come to present their tickets to win a trip/PlayStation/car etc.

Getting the best stand for the event

There are lots of exhibition stand designers so shopping around for the best stand at the best price is advisable. There are lots of different sorts of stands, so choosing the right one for the right event is good. If it is a key event and you want a lot of exposure, it may be best getting a larger stand to maximise your presence. If it is a small event and you just want a presence – then a small stand and small floor space is possibly best.

Get your marketing material ready

Many companies turn up to an event with insufficient marketing material to give prospects or no marketing material. We have seen some exhibitors giving out old out of date material that they need to scribble a new address on, or a new website or for services that are not available. Very embarrassing and does not give a good impression.


Having freebies is all part of an event and they are normally inexpensive but leave a lasting impression. Something related to your industry is clever (if you are builder, a stress ball in the shape of a wrecking ball or hard hat) but normally something that the punter will keep is better (like a pen, mug, clock or something similar). Bags are good but are thrown away so do not last.

Prepare your staff

Getting staff on the stand and working the event giving out flyers/brochures, goodie bags will get a buzz going. Hiring models to walk around giving out freebies or snacks will create more effect. Organising staff to attend the event for scheduled times will keep them focused (as opposed to 2 people for the whole event.

Staff working the event

Many times staff have been on a stand talking to each other, looking bored, talking on their mobile phones and ignoring customers. This is the best way to kill the event and wast money. Having staff smiling, talking to people, bringing punters onto the stand, looking smart will double or triple your enquiry numbers.

Working the event

This is important, as it is maximising the small amount of time the event is on. Having staff networking with other exhibitors will get you to know your industry, competitors and customers. As you are known, you are giving off an image – which is good PR (if it is done right). Have staff approaching visitors with freebies and gifts. Bring passers buy onto the stand and engage in conversation. Models work well at events as they give off a professional and friendly impression and tend to be approachable. Branding the models with your corporate image will give you great exposure.

Have USP’s on the stand

Have a unique selling point on the stand. Something that will bring people in. This can be anything (a sports car, a games console with a plasma screen, a bar, a swimming pool) as long as it draws attention and gets people involved and hooked. A few seconds is all you need for the message to sink in or for them to be picked up by your hunter sales staff.

Marketing Follow up

Once the event has been and gone, people will forget you. Therefore all the hard work and resource you put into the above is gone, wasted and forgotten. That is unless you do a follow up. Organise a mailing or an e-mail campaign 2 days after the event. Call up prospects after the mailing. Get the conversations going again. Send more freebies in the post to prospects (chocolates work well) and ensure that everyone that visited was scanned (events normally provide scanners so you can see anyone that you have scanned and grab their contact information).

The follow up as mentioned is the main thing, if you do not do this then the great event will become a memory that disappears very quickly.

If you would like help or advise in organising an event or finding an exhibition stand designer just let us know.

Events can be expensive so you do need to ensure that the event is as successful as possible and more often than not, they are as successful as you make them. Many events are getting quieter these days with the introduction of the internet, they are sometimes overlooked for a cheaper alternative – however they are still a powerful marketing tool and used correctly, can be very successful.


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