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Event of the Week

Top 3 Ways (Plus Lots of Advice) to Plan Ahead

By Lance Trebesch July 2, 2013

Jump-Start Your Event Planning Session

When working on our event articles, we always ask our participants what advice they would have when it comes to event planning. More often than not, the answer is to plan ahead.

Here are a couple of quotes from our past articles:

“Always plan your events at least three months in advance to allow time for marketing,” he said. “[R]esearch your talent before you book them[.]” –Eric Fox of My Time Entertainment, organizer of First Annual Laugh & Jam

“Plan at least three to four months ahead[.]”—Gavin McNeill, organizer of Electric Snow house/dance party

“Plan farther ahead, get a good graphic designer for your flyer, encourage bands to sell presale tickets so that they can plan on having a crowd (relying on door draw doesn’t always work). I’d also tell them to regularly follow up with bands and anyone else involved to be sure that they are promoting and spreading the word about the show. Some people are nervous about promoting, and you want to be sure that as many people as possible hear about the show so that you have a higher potential turnout.”—Mark Bradley of Mark Bradley Music, organizer of SingScreamFest 2013.

As you can see, planning ahead is extremely vital when it comes to having a successful event. But if you are having trouble with your pre-planning, here are some ideas that could help you get organized.

Stay on budget: One thing that will put a wrench in your planning is going over budget. Make sure you allot enough money for your needs. Then, keep exact records of your finances, which includes keeping track of receipts and invoices, quotes and more.

Write an event outline: If your event has a lot of components, such as break-out sessions and guest speakers, then you probably want to have a good idea as to how long each component will last. Create an outline of your event, including the time frames for each part of the event. The outline might have to be altered the closer you get to the event date, but by creating an outline, you’ll always have a handle on just how long our event should last.

Create a marketing strategy:  Part of pre-planning includes developing a way to get the word out about your event. Take some time to write out a marketing strategy for your event. Types of marketing strategies include buying newspaper and radio ads, taking to social media, or using your organization’s email subscription list. If you don’t know which marketing strategy to try, keep your consumers in mind. Think about who you want to attract and what marketing method might better suit them. For instance, if your event plans on attracting mostly 18 to 30-year-olds, then social media might be the way to reel those consumers in because of their familiarity with the internet.

With these tips, you are well on your way to a successful event planning session.