Essential Tips To Plan An Event Or Conference Series
Whether your event series is spaced out throughout the country or scheduled on back-to-back dates, running it can be a real balancing act. Schedules fade into one another as events come and go. Save yourself time — not to mention a headache — with these 10 tips for running an event series!
1. Make it social
To help promote your event, before and during the event, create a hashtag your team and attendees can use as they tweet and post on Instagram. Your hashtag should not only be short and relevant, but also unique. Make sure other events or businesses are not using the hashtag you have in mind. Before your event series begins, promote your hashtag on your event website, social media accounts, newsletters, emails, and so on. Great examples of memorable hastags are:
- #Inbound15 for Hubspot’s annual marketing conference
- #SMMW16 for Social Media Examiner’s gathering
- #TheGathering2016 for The Cult Gathering’s awesome upcoming marketing event.
Encourage event attendees to post photos of the event on social media accounts, while also encouraging your event speakers to engage with event attendees online. You can think about incorporating an event app and social media displays to further encourage online interaction. Making your event social helps to add continuity between one event and the next by making it possible for your event attendees to communicate with one another online. That way, it doesn’t matter if one attendee was at your East Coast event and another went to your West Coast gathering, they can still engage with one another online.
2. Create continuity between events
With an event series, it’s important to make each event connect with the next. Doing this allows attendees to see the bigger picture and see the series as a whole, rather than as separate parts. To add unity to your events, try creating a networking community using an event networking platform, LinkedIn or Facebook. Attendees can connect with one another, all while learning more about the events within your series.You can also host a recap on Google Hangouts, or create a newsletter that updates subscribers on what speakers, workshops and exhibits will be available at each event.
3. Know your attendees
By asking insightful questions using event registration software, organizers will be able to better understand the preferences of attendees. Certain information can prove helpful for running your event series. Demographic information– age, gender, and address– can give you an idea about a person’s preferences. Additional information can help you make decisions or changes to best suit the needs of your attendees.
The questions you ask could be simple (T-shirt size) or strategic (Twitter handles). Either way, having a database of rich contact information will make it easier for event planners to properly engage with event attendees in the future.
If organizers already know that someone who attended a previous event was mostly interested in learning about recruiting best practices, you can send that person a tailored email inviting them to an upcoming event solely on that topic.
4. Find well-informed speakers
A good part of your budget will go toward finding top-notch keynote speakers for each segment of your event series.
There are many reputable agencies out there that represent expert speakers in different areas of businesses. But for event organizers on a tight budget, they should consider inviting local business professors to speak at your event.
Often University professors are expected to speak at various events as a way of providing exposure for their university and to further boost their own presence.
University professors tend to be true experts, and will request smaller speaking fees to deliver the same if not more thoughtful information to attendees.
Since running an event series can be even more expensive than organizing a one-off event, consider selecting event venues near manor Universities to keep speaking costs down while making it easier to provide attendees with valuable insights.
5. Unify events with a theme
To stay organized and to connect your events, consider organizing each event by theme. For instance, if your event series centers on social media marketing, you can focus on different platforms for each event.
At the end of each event, a speaker could introduce the topic of your next event, highlighting what points will be covered, which speakers will be presenting, and so on.
Creating an event series that is organized by clear themes will make it easier to encourage existing attendees to go to upcoming events, while also making it easier for event organizers to plan.
6. Plan additional small gathering to keep your series alive
The time between one event and the next can mean that attendees have time to lose interest. Don’t let that happen.
Instead, keep attendees engaged between one event and the next by organizing smaller networking events or meetups between larger events.
For attendees, these events will feel like a value-added experience (especially if you don’t charge for them), for event organizers, these smaller events will be a perfect time to pitch upcoming larger events to those in attendance.
7. Invest in event-management software
In a recent article by the folks at Constant Contact, readers were encouraged to find event management software to help them manage their event series.
An event planning platform can be quite helpful because it makes it easy to manage all aspects of planning multiple events by keeping everything in one place. From important event data, to the tools needed to build an event website or to manage event ticketing, an all-in-one platform makes event planning considerably easier and more successful.
8. Highlight important points from prior events
To tie together your event series, try to spend a few minutes recapping key points from prior events. You don’t need to create an entire presentation; just show a few photos from other conferences from your series.
This will create a sense of unity between different events, while also demonstrating to current event attendees that the series has a history of providing valuable insight to attendees. That means that attendees will be more likely to sign up for additional events in the series in the future.
9. Offer a bulk discount
Be sure to reward event attendees for signing up for multiple events in the series with a discount. Doing this incentivizes a long-term relationship, which is the key to building valuable customer relationships.
To do this simply create a discounted ticket option in your event registration software, or email existing contacts with this offer.
10. Build efficient project workflows
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s critical that event organizers harness the power of simple workflows to get more done in less time.
Planning a conference is time consuming, but planning a conference series is even more of a challenge. To make sure everyone on your team is on the same page, consider incorporating a project management tool like Trello, Asana or Workflow into your day-to-day work. This will make it simpler to monitor the status of projects.
Conclusion: What to work on first
For many reasons, an event or conference series can provide attendees with much more value than if you simply organized a one-off event. That said, organizing a series is also more time consuming and more expensive.
To maximize revenue and to plan these events in less time, download our complete guide to event planning. Learn how to flawlessly promote your next event in less time with these free collaterals. Just click the button below to start reading it.