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9 Event Marketing Plan Tips Every Planner Should Know

Even with the best of planning, an amazing event can miss your key objectives if you can’t get your target audience in the door. You’ve done the work to create a great event. You’ve followed your event planning checklist to a tee, ensured everyone will have a safe experience, and came up with some new and creative ways to wow your attendees. But what about your event marketing plan? How will you get the word out?

Below, we’ll cover the steps you need to take to create an effective marketing plan for your event that shares the right messaging with your audience and meets all of your event goals.

Explore 9 effective event marketing plan tips:

1. Set your event goals.

You can’t craft an effective event marketing plan if you don’t know what success looks like for you. What is the goal of this event? For example, if it’s a corporate event, you may be hoping to motivate employees, create excitement for a new product or initiative, or change customer perceptions.

Whatever your event goals are, make sure your marketing goals align with and support those objectives. Your event goals will determine the appropriate audience for the event, the actions you would like attendees to take, and how much press or social media coverage you’ll aim for. All of these things will have an effect on the way that you market your event. 

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2. Determine your unique value proposition.

Now that you know what you would like to get out of the event, it’s time to think about your attendees. What will they get by attending your event? Think about why your prospects would want to attend your event and shape your messaging around that.

Don’t just use your objective here and apply it to attendees. It’s easy to say, “we want to sell more, so they want to buy.” Tap into the pain points or problems that your attendees are experiencing and think about how the event will help them. Are you providing value in the form of useful information? Are you helping them learn something new? Will they make great connections that help them in their careers?

Write down your value proposition in a clear and concise statement. Something like, “We’re holding this event so that attendees can connect with industry peers and learn about the latest technology.” This statement will guide you as you start to put out messaging.

3. Define your audience.

As with any marketing plan, you’ll want to have a clear idea of the ideal target audience you’d like to reach. Who will gain the most from your event programming? What industries, roles, or types of businesses will feel that your event content is valuable? Come up with a few segments of customers, prospects, or industry stakeholders that you would like to reach.

Think about your event’s value proposition in order to find your target audience. For example, if your event is focused on helping people take their real estate business to the next level, you’re looking for realtors at a certain level or with a certain business size. Use your event content to shape the perfect audience, and then be as specific as possible about why those people need your event.

Additionally, create a shortlist of demographic data like age, education level, gender, occupation, and income level based on your perfect audience, and go from there.

4. Create a marketing timeline.

Your event timeline will vary based on a variety of factors — the most prominent being size. But no matter what, it’s crucial that you have enough time to reach out to potential attendees multiple times without your messaging becoming overwhelming. Your marketing timeline should include how often you’ll market on each channel, as well as how often you’ll ask those who have already registered to share the event with friends and colleagues.

For larger events, like conferences and multi-day trade shows, your marketing timeline will need to be much longer than smaller, single-day events. Events requiring travel or hotel reservations can be marketed up to a year in advance, with at least three months lead time as an absolute minimum.

Larger events sometimes require smaller lead-up events to get participants interested and excited in the main event. These can include webinars on event topics, Q+A sessions with event speakers, in-person or virtual information sessions, and giveaways or sweepstakes. All of these smaller events should appear within your larger marketing plan and have their own simple outreach plans.

5. Decide on your communication strategy.

Think about which audience segments you want this event to serve and what the value proposition is for each segment so that you can target them properly. Then choose a few channels where you’re likely to reach target attendees.

Craft your messaging and content to fit the channels you’re communicating on, as well as the people you would like to reach. For instance, LinkedIn events are a great way to reach a specific professional audience with informative content. Instagram is perfect for sharing highly-engaging visuals related to your event. TikTok can be used to promote early ticket releases or other exclusive offers to a younger audience. Whatever channel you use, make sure you choose content that works well on that channel and targets the audiences that typically use that network.

6. Craft your landing page.

Your event website or landing page is the face of your event before attendees arrive. It’s where many prospective attendees make a choice about whether or not they’ll consider attending the event. For that reason, it’s a very important piece of your overall event marketing plan, and the design — and user experience — should reflect that.

Make sure to match the visual experience to the event and company brands so that attendees feel like they’re getting a cohesive experience. Your design should be simple, streamlined, and feature an easy-to-locate call-to-action. Use white space and engaging visuals to guide the eyes of your potential attendees and help them focus on the content that’s most important.

Don’t forget that many users will be visiting your site on a mobile device. Content that is easily scanned, like short paragraphs and bulleted lists, will help your reader to engage, even on a smaller screen.

7. Automate your outreach.

If you have the email addresses of potential attendees (you should!), create an automated email campaign to share useful event information, communicate the value of the event to potential attendees, and get them excited about signing up. Don’t use these emails to sell to your audience. Instead, think of them as a way to share interesting content that displays the value proposition for your target audience. Behind-the-scenes content, event visuals from previous years, short video clips, and interviews with event speakers are all great ideas to get your audience excited about everything they’ll experience at your event.

By automating the outreach process, you can ensure that you’re sending relevant messaging to each audience segment and that you’re responding appropriately to their interests.

8. Make use of creative marketing ideas.

You may want to include some out-of-the-box marketing ideas to really make your event shine for potential attendees. Influencer marketing, behind-the-scenes content related to the event, live-streaming of pre-event happenings, and podcast episodes with more background on the topics or speakers are all fun ways to build anticipation for the event.

Another popular trend is digital gift bags, where event attendees receive ebooks, music, product coupon codes, exclusive video content and more as a reward for signing up. These gift bags work well for in-person or virtual events, and are loved by attendees and sponsors alike (since sponsors can better track attendee engagement with these freebies). If you are including a digital gift bag, make sure to talk about all of the valuable rewards as part of your marketing outreach.

9. Don’t forget to follow up.

Holding a great event is one thing, but to make sure that your event stands out as memorable to your attendees, you’ll need a well-crafted follow-up plan. Think about ways you can help attendees remember exciting parts of the event, reflect on things they learned, and take follow-up actions. Event wrap-up blog posts, bonus materials from speakers, and videos and photos of the event are all great things to share in the days and weeks after your event finishes. Continue your automated outreach for about a week after the event, and make sure to outline any follow-up actions that you would like attendees to take, such as sharing pictures on social media or signing up for a future event.

With these event marketing plan tips, you’re one step closer to creating a winning event.

Once you’ve crafted your event marketing plan, make sure to share it with anyone involved in the planning or marketing of the event. You’ll want everyone to be on the same page, and other team members may have important information on event attendees, speakers, logistics, or announcements that they would like to include in the promotional materials. 

Need some inspiration to bring your event marketing to the next level? Check out these amazing event marketing examples.

Plan Events Seamlessly

The post 9 Event Marketing Plan Tips Every Planner Should Know appeared first on Social Tables.

How to Plan a Corporate Event: 8 Tips to Know

The time has come: you’ve been given the opportunity to plan a big event for your company that will leave employees feeling inspired and energized. That’s great! But if your normal responsibilities don’t include event planning, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Even after reading a thorough guide to corporate event planning, you may decide that working with a professional event planner will give you the flexibility to focus on the big picture, and let someone else handle the nitty-gritty details. Want to learn how to plan a corporate event with the help of an outside planner? Keep reading!

Professional corporate event planners are a great choice for a lot of corporate events. They bring years of experience and know a lot about the obstacles that may come up during the planning process. By working with a team of corporate event planning specialists, they will already have a list of vetted vendor partners and established teams needed to pull in to get the job done. They will have the ability to have more control of costs, timelines, and quality, with extensive knowledge and wisdom regarding the latest trends, newest venues, budget-saving secrets and details you may not be aware of. 

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However, an outside corporate event planner probably doesn’t know your company culture. They also likely don’t know the personalities involved, or the message you’d like your event to convey. That’s where you come in. Whether the corporate event is a small team training or a large multi-day extravaganza, you need to carefully manage the relationship you create with your event planning team to pull off an event to remember.

Learn how to plan a corporate event with these 8 tips:

1. Know your corporate event objectives.

In order to run a successful event, you’ll first need to know what success looks like. What is leadership expecting from this event? What characteristics will make everyone agree that the event was successful?

Corporate events usually focus on one main goal. They’re generally held to communicate a message or increase a behavior within the organization. They’re a great way to increase company morale, convey a new message, or share valuable information. 

Here are some common objectives for corporate events:

  • Changing customers’ perceptions
  • Creating a stronger team bond
  • Motivating sales personnel and other employees
  • Entertaining executives and managers
  • Planning for the upcoming year
  • Training new staff
  • Creating opportunities for press or social media coverage
  • Supporting marketing activities
  • Creating excitement for a new product or initiative
  • Making one person (the boss) happy

2. Create a corporate event plan.

Once you’ve decided on your main event objective, you can begin planning. Even if you’re hiring help, create a brief plan that outlines the most important information about the event. It should include:

  • Event goals and objectives
  • Message(s) you want to share
  • Your audience and number of attendees
  • Event format and theme
  • Event budget – use this cost estimator for help!
  • Expected ROI (and relevant metrics to measure)

Details like event location, technology, vendors, food and beverage, entertainment, and other event logistics can be left out of this initial plan. The planner you hire will be taking charge of a lot of those things. The goal for this early plan is to convey your vision for the event and what you would like to accomplish.

3. Communicate the big picture.

Your main goal as the company’s representative for the event is to convey information about the company to the planner. Event planners likely don’t know a lot about your company and its culture ahead of time. You’re the best source of information they have. Try to give the planner a good idea of the history of the event, the goals that leadership has communicated to you, and any thoughts about the overall vibe of the event. 

Do you picture a formal sit-down to relay the company’s strategic goals for the year? Or is this a retreat where employees can unwind and be rewarded for their efforts? It helps to do some prep work ahead of time to think about what a successful event will look like, and write down your thoughts. You can even include some pictures to inspire the planner. The clearer your vision is, the easier it will be for the planner to help you create a great event.

4. Decide roles and responsibilities.

While the planner will handle a lot of the details, they will likely turn to you for some things. In your first meeting, ask what they need from you and how you can best help create a great event. They’ll appreciate your forethought and willingness to help. Let the planner know what internal resources you can rely on, whether that’s specific people who are available to help or departments.

You will likely be in charge of communicating with attendees before the event, liaising with corporate leadership about planning progress, and guiding the overall strategy for the event. Beyond that, the tasks you take on are largely up to you. If there’s something you definitely want to do yourself, or something you know is beyond your abilities, this is a good time to let the planner know. Don’t be afraid to speak up. The planner’s ultimate goal is to make sure you and the company are happy with the event.

5. Leave certain things to the professionals.

The reality is that you’ve hired a planner for a reason. Although it may be hard, you need to trust the planning team to handle the details you haven’t taken on. This can be difficult when you know that the responsibility for the event ultimately falls on you. But if you micromanage or try to get too involved, the planners won’t be able to do their jobs.

So take a deep breath and focus on the big picture. Enjoy the extra time that you’ve gained by delegating the details to your trusted event planning team.

6. Have one source of truth.

With lots of people working on your corporate event, it’s important to have one place where everyone can go for answers. While the planner will likely be using their own project management system, coordinate with them to make sure there is somewhere that you can access the event details. This may mean that you’re granted access to the planner’s system, that you use your own internal system, or that you devise a shared system with access for anyone who needs it.

As you get closer to the event and need to confirm details, you don’t want to wait for a response from the planner. Having one place for all of the documents and assets related to the event will save you that headache.

7. Don’t give yourself a defined role the day of the event.

If you’re helping plan a corporate event, you’re likely a person who takes on additional tasks on top of your normal responsibilities. But when it comes to the day of the event, you need to curb that impulse. Don’t raise your hand for lots of last-minute tasks that will tie you up on the day of the event. No picking people up from the airport, checking attendees in at registration, or taking notes during break-out sessions!

As the person in charge of the event internally, you need to be available for any last-minute issues or obstacles. When the caterer is stuck in traffic or the A/V person needs to know where to set up, your team will turn to you. Make sure you’re available to everyone involved in the event internally, as well as the external team you’ve hired, so that you can pull off a seamless and inspiring experience for all of your attendees.

8. Don’t forget to follow up.

Once you get to the event day and things are running smoothly, it can feel like there’s nothing left that could go wrong. That’s usually when the keynote speaker says, “sure, we can send that around to everyone after the event” in response to an audience question, and no one makes a note of what you need to send.

Event follow-up is just as important as the event itself. Follow-up tasks in the form of actions or answers to questions often form the real “work” that the event was leading up to. So although it shouldn’t be a task you assign to yourself (see above), you do need to make sure that you’ve thought about event follow-up during the planning process. If you’re running breakout sessions or small working groups, make sure to assign note-takers who keep track of any actions for after the event. In any given room, those team members should be listening for promises of follow-up from speakers, questions that still need to be answered, and feedback for the next event from attendees. You can liaise with your event planning team to make sure that follow-up occurs seamlessly for attendees and follows through on the promises of the event.

Put these corporate event planning tips to good use!

Ready to hire a corporate event planner for your event? Check out our guide to finding a freelance event planner.

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7 Winning Trade Show Booth Design Ideas

It can be a challenge to come up with high ROI trade show booth design ideas that work. And 10×10 booths in particular present even more complexity because of their size. But they are a popular and cost-effective option you can use to make your property stand out

This is why we’ve compiled some creative ideas for you to use to win over planners and their group business with activities sure to build better relationships at any trade show. Discover examples of effective booths from award-winning brands, and see how to customize each booth design for your unique trade show goals.

Discover 7 trade show booth design ideas that work:

Explore creative concepts that are easy to incorporate in smaller booth displays. Learn practical tips for setting up each booth idea and find out why it’s a design worth trying. Plus, see how other leading brands executed it, and how you can personalize the idea for your hotel.  

1. Indoor jungle.

Trade show halls use a seemingly endless amount of booths, which can sometimes feel plain. That’s why bringing in natural elements will make your hotel’s trade show booth design stand out. 

This is a particularly great idea if one of the unique features of your hotel is a beautiful garden, or even if you’re starting to offer new environmentally-friendly features. One such example is the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

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To create an indoor jungle booth, just add a bunch of leafy green plants or fresh flowers to your back and side booth walls using hanging baskets, trellises, or regular planters. It will create the feeling of a mini oasis.

Benefits: 

  • It’s a cost-effective way to make your booth look different. Potted house plants typically start at $5 each, or you might be able to bring some in from the office, so it’s relatively affordable. 
  • It’s visually appealing. People instinctively find beauty in plants and greenery (which they then instinctively share with the world via social media). This trade show booth design idea has a good chance of being the most photographed and digitally shared display at the entire event. 

Real-world example: Orgatec created an award-winning trade show booth using this method. They combined lush tropical palm trees with brightly colored chairs. The resulting effect felt more like an upscale lounge than a trade show booth, which is exactly why attendees wanted to sit and spend time there. 

Customize it: Even though Orgatec used a lot more than a 10×10 space for their version, you can easily incorporate fun colors (think yellows, pinks, etc.) like they did. Also, be sure to display a large hashtag on or directly behind your booth since it will probably be the most Instagrammable part of the whole trade show.

2. Black and white.

Create your entire trade show booth design using only black and white as a color scheme. White walls with black shelves or a black counter will grab visual attention. Then, you have full control over where you direct planners’ eyes.

To create a black and white booth, use paint (if the booth rental company allows) or neatly pin-up swatches of ironed fabrics to create the same impact. Most trade show booth designs rely on black, so use more white to create more contrast with the world outside of your booth. Then, add your hotel’s full-color logo somewhere in the middle. You can even add black and white diagrams of your meeting space onto the wall using diagramming tools, showing planners all your unique space has to offer, down to the wall outlets. 

Benefits: 

  • Depending on your rental options, this one should be easy to pull off since all you need are black and white booth dividers, walls, and furniture. Even if you have a limited selection, you can still create a monochrome look based on what you’ve got to work with. 
  • This trade show booth design idea is great for hotels that want to introduce a single feature of their group business offering, such as a newly-renovated room, a new location, or a new wellness offering, to trade show audiences because of how simple (yet interesting) the rest of the booth will look. 

Real-world example: Oligo combined black and white booth elements with a handful of colorful murals and plenty of white lights throughout their display to create a minimalist look. The only text in their entire booth was the phrase, “feel the light”, which is appropriate given the fact their main product — lighting solutions — stood out against the black and white scenery.

Customize it: Small booths can make a big impact as long as you know how to direct focus. And if you’re on a limited budget, you can easily use color to maximize your investment with minimal extra effort. If your rental options don’t go with your design, consider buying cheap furniture and spray painting it all one uniform color. Or try the opposite and make the focal point of your display a solid white or black, but go crazy with the rest of its surroundings. 

3. Shadow puppet.

People love the mystery and symbolism behind shadows, which is why they heavily feature literally and metaphorically in great works of art. Hopefully, your 10×10 trade show booth design will become one of them. Your booth shadows can depict whimsical outlines that match your hotel’s floor tile, a group talking in your hotel lobby, heads of people watching a keynote speaker, or even your hotel’s logo in a repeating tiled pattern. 

Because bright overhead lighting is a given in trade show venues, hotels need to create their shadow effect without light. Paint a wood or paper shape in black and display it just inside of your hotel’s booth. Or use a projector to cast shadows against the back wall of your 10×10 trade show booth. 

Benefits: 

  • It provides a new opportunity for engagement beyond the usual hotel email newsletter sign-up or trade show giveaway.
  • It’s imaginative and thought-provoking, making it more memorable than surrounding booths that will likely just feature standard display techniques. 

Real-world example: Kohlhaas Messebau chose to design a magic garden party completely in the form of cut-out shadows. Their layered set pieces included a fence, a wheelbarrow, bushes, a watering can, and even a mischievous gnome or two. 

Customize it: The key is to consider what is magical about your hotel, service, or brand and use that to create symbolism in your own shadow set. For the brand in the above example, their goal was to capture the theme “where ideas grow”, hence the garden with all its fun creatures. If arts and crafts aren’t your forte, consider using a blank wall and a projector with digital shadow images instead. 

4. Building blocks.

Combine a beloved childhood game with teamwork and symbolism and you’ve got yourself a winning trade show booth design idea. For this concept, all you need is a Jenga set (regular-sized or Jumbo both work), a table for attendees to play on, and some words or phrases to write on the blocks themselves. The words you choose should be a metaphor or message. As you’ll see in the example below, the simple act of creating — or breaking — something with strangers can be heartwarming and poignant.

Choose a conceptual theme (such as teamwork, creating events, hosting meetings) and write words or phrases associated with that theme on your Jenga blocks. 

Benefits: 

  • It’s a nostalgic game that’s fun, easy to understand, and transcends language to connect individuals who might not normally interact.  
  • It can get attendees thinking about big-picture concepts, personal development, and your company’s role in all of it. 

Real-world example: D’art Design Gruppe made a building blocks display with a theme they called, “Undo.” Their aim was to communicate the beauty behind trial and error which is why their pieces are stamped with words like “change,” “rethink,” and “simplify.” These three powerful words symbolize their personal artistic processes and relationship with failure. 

Customize it: Get vulnerable about the challenges your attendees face that you also know about from firsthand experience. Then skip the corporate jargon and get to the root of that relationship to create your own building blocks theme. From there, invite open discussion around things such as how to make event communication seamless, how to personalize the attendee experience, and what loyalty can look like for group business. 

5. Curiosity.

Curiosity is a broad idea with simple execution. This will be a simple booth activity that has an air of mystery around it. With little to no explanation, invite attendees to participate in your game and see what happens. It can be anything from sticking their head in a hole to flipping an unmarked switch.

Benefits: 

  • Most brands are in-your-face at trade shows, so a little playful mystery will be sure to generate some buzz as people compare expectations and experiences. 
  • Because this activity will be the main design element in your booth, you can add simple decor around it and still pull off an amazing display. 

Real-world example: Kplus Konzept took this idea to the extreme with their mysterious booth ladders that led to boxes with holes cut out for attendees to put their heads in. Once inside, they were treated to a multi-sensory display created through projections and music. 

Customize it: Ladders and head boxes aren’t doable for every trade show booth design, especially in a 10×10 display. However, you can easily pique attendee curiosity through other mysterious booth elements. For example, take a page from Jimmy Kimmel Live’s book and have guests blindly reach their hand into a box then guess what object they feel inside. Bonus points if it’s related to what makes your property unique, such as soft bedding, the latest technology, or wellness offerings. If the planner guesses correctly, they can take home the item or win a prize! 

6. Home sweet home.

This trade show booth design idea is simple: Recreate a living room or lounge that makes attendees feel right at home. Add standing lamps, picture frames, and some folding chairs for planners to hang out in. Offer them a voice assistant tool, handheld steamer, or coffee maker like the ones they can expect to find inside your hotel room.

This idea is important because one of the top hotel guest expectations is to feel at home when they travel. In fact, 59% of guests anticipate using these familiar amenities over more traditional services such as late-night room service and in-suite massages. Which explains why properties now see an increase in demand for hotel room designs and tools, such as televisions with streaming video services and white noise machines, that directly reflect their personal living spaces. 

Benefits: 

  • Attendees do a lot of standing and walking at trade shows, so it can be a relief to find a place they can relax for a minute. 
  • It’s easier to build relationships when you have more time to talk to someone for longer than it takes them to grab a free pen. 

Real-world example: Arting A/S created an inviting booth atmosphere through fabric paneling, contemporary wallpaper, and Scandanavian style furnishings. They even went as far as to create the illusion of a second floor and windows that peeked outdoors. 

Customize it: Set up your design according to what your audience will love. If you’re targeting millennial or Generation Z planners, entice them with the fun of sitting on bean bag chairs. If established corporate planners are target persona, provide chairs with more height and support. And consider placing temporary wallpapers, picture frames, or even posters inside your booth. 

7. Mural.

Why design your entire booth when you can have attendees help do it for you? What we mean is: Leave one prominent wall of your 10×10 trade show booth open for a collaborative art project. Use brown craft paper, a whiteboard, or a wall of hanging sketch pads along with pencils, markers, or paint. Add a prompt (like goals for next quarter, positive affirmations, or even design ideas they’d like to see in your hotel’s meeting space) and let them have at it. 

Benefits: 

  • Communal activities built into your trade show booth design help attendees form a deeper connection with your brand and begin to associate positive experiences with it. 
  • It’s easy and affordable to do and can be quite fun in even the smallest of trade show booth displays. 

Real-world example: Plan-j decided to collaborate on their design projects with attendees by inviting them into their 10×10 trade show booth. Then they asked attendees to grab a pencil (hundreds were hung from red strings in an impressive display) and add to their conceptual drawing on the walls. 

Customize it: Consider what goals you have for the trade show and use that as a jumping-off point for your interactive mural wall. Want to give your audience a peek into your creative process like Plan-j did? Or maybe you just want to share your company’s value set by inviting people to write a short gratitude list. Whatever you want their takeaway to be, use it to determine the activity.

Learn even more about trade show booth design:

How do you come up with trade show booth design ideas?

First, identify your trade show goals when it comes to interacting with potential customers. Then, analyze what competitors have done at previous shows. Next, survey customers to ask about experiences and swag they’ve most enjoyed. Afterward, research the latest trends in trade shows and newly available technologies. Finally, pick three ideas to focus on and assign the next steps to your team to help bring them to life. 

How do you attract customers to your trade show booth?

To attract customers to your trade show booth, it must be either visually unusual and appealing or feature a completely unique interactive element. 

How do you set up a 10×10 trade show booth?

Start with your booth focal point, which varies based on your booth setting and the type of show you’re attending. Will it be a wall, a display, a table, or something else entirely? Set that up first then add in other furniture, electronics, and supplies in a way that serves your focal point. Also, keep in mind you want to make it easy for planners to have interactions with your hotel sales representatives, so ensure your furniture allows proper spacing. Finish your setup by adding decor touches such as light-up logo banners and table bunting. 

How do you decorate a trade show booth?

Booth decor should reflect both your hotel and your brand. That means using brand colors and logos in tasteful and interesting ways within your larger theme. At the very least, your booth should always have a table for merchandise, swag, or newsletter sign-ups and a couple of chairs for your hotel employees to rest in. After that, a large logo and brand slogan along with display shelves (which sometimes come with booth rentals) can round out the skeleton of the design. Then, add in any necessary signage, posters, or photos that make sense. 

Maximize ROI with these creative trade show booth design ideas!

Now that you have ideas for how to attract and engage planners at your next 10×10 trade show booth, learn how you can save time with trade show booth and chair spacing tools.

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Wedding Planner Marketing: 7 Tips to Boost Your Business

Approximately 2 million weddings take place in the U.S. each year and, according to Wedding Wire, nearly one in three couples hire a wedding planner for their big day. In other words, the wedding industry is massive, and wedding planners are faced with tons of competition. Wondering how to stand out and boost your wedding planning business? That’s where wedding planner marketing comes in.

In this post, we take a deep dive into ways wedding planners can market themselves to reach more couples. We also provide examples of planners and organizations throughout the industry who stand out in their marketing efforts, because what better way to learn than by example?

Explore 7 wedding planner marketing tips you need to know:

1. Know your audience.

Before making any changes to your marketing efforts, determine — or re-evaluate — who it is you’re marketing to. It’s crucial that you not only have a target audience, but that you direct the majority of your marketing to that audience, too. For example: Are you constantly planning weddings for young couples? Make sure your marketing materials are being shared across the channels that those young couples use, such as Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok. Do you specialize in destination weddings? Build relationships with vendors and venues located in popular destinations as opposed to small towns and rural areas. While this varies from planner to planner, and there’s no perfect formula, it can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your marketing strategy.

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2. Make your website user-friendly and create compelling content.

It all starts with your website. This is the central hub for any and all things related to your business. It’s where first impressions are made. Where business is earned. Where all your hard work lives. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these statistics noted by SWEOR.

  • It takes less than a second for users to form an opinion about your website.
  • Thirty-eight percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
  • Seventy-five percent of consumers admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on website design.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 consumers stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device.
  • Sixty-one percent of users are unlikely to return to a site on mobile if they had trouble accessing it, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.

Not only does your website have to be visually appealing and provide a good user experience, but it has to feature compelling content, too. Content is defined as “something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.” When it comes to wedding planners, it can be anything from promotional videos and infographics to social media surveys and email newsletters. But it goes much further than that. Creating content is one thing. Creating content that engages your audience and leads to new business is another thing entirely.

Take renowned wedding planner Mindy Weiss, for example. Her website is clean, well-designed, and easy-to-navigate. She has an “about” page, photo galleries, and a blog, which features content written by Weiss herself.

3. Prioritize SEO.

Having strong search engine optimization goes hand in hand with producing stellar content. You can certainly have one without the other, but those efforts will only get you so far. When combined, the strength of your marketing strategy skyrockets. Here are a few key ways to boost your SEO:

  • Use well-researched target keywords. Proper keyword use is one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO. For example, take a look at Chancey Charm’s Washington, DC planning team. Their website ranks on the first page of Google’s search results for the term “Washington DC wedding planner” because they use that term as their target keyword. The exact term appears in the page title and two on-page headlines, while variations of the term — like “DC wedding planners” — appear in the on-page text. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to determine which keyword or keyword phrase is right for each page on your site
  • Prioritize page-by-page optimization. Whether it’s your blog, homepage, contact form, or anything in between, each page on your site serves a difference purpose. To boost your chances of being found, each of those pages should be properly optimized. For example, ensure that each blog post not only has a target keyword, but that you’re using that keyword in the page title, on-page text, URL, meta description, and even image alt tag, if applicable.
  • Boost your site/page speed. Loading time is an incredibly important factor for both user experience and SEO. According to Google research, bounce rate increases 32% for pages that take 1-3 seconds to load, 90% for pages that take 1-5 seconds to load, and so on. Simply put: You’re not going to bring in new clients if they don’t even stick around for your website to load.

4. Establish a strong social media presence.

While social media doesn’t drive as much traffic as organic search, it’s still one of the most important things to focus on when building a brand. This couldn’t be more true for the wedding industry. Take a look at Pinterest, for example. The social media giant states that 40 million people per year utilize the platform during the wedding planning journey. How’s that for opportunity?

Here are a few tips for boosting your social media game:

  • Post often. But not too often! The key is consistency. Don’t post just to post, but also don’t go days without sharing anything. Find the right balance based on your following, and be sure that you’re only sharing quality content.
  • Focus on multiple platforms. You should, of course, hit the big ones: Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s also tons of value on YouTube and TikTok. But be sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Map out a plan for each platform and go from there. Don’t. have accounts that you don’t have time for. That leads to inactivity, which leads to a bad user experience and, potentially, the loss of a future customer.
  • Use hashtags. An Instagram post with at least one hashtag gets 12.6% more engagement than a post without one. Using them is very valuable, but don’t overdo it. Narrow down a handful of relevant options for each post.
  • Interact — and be interacted with. High engagement (the amount of likes, comments, etc. on a post) is important when it comes to increasing conversion rate. Additionally, person-to-person social media interactions (i.e. a wedding planner responding to a comment left on a photo) is also great way to increase awareness and forge relationships.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix things up. If every tweet you share is a regurgitation of a blog post’s headline, your feed can get boring very quickly. While it’s important to stay on theme and on brand, you have to find ways to stand out, too. For example, a Twitter study of 3.7 million users showed that tweets with a GIF gained 55% more engagement than those without. So throw some GIFs out there and have some fun, but also remember that nobody wants to follow someone who shares a GIF with every post. It’s all about balance.
  • Add links. You need to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to learn more about you and, hopefully, reach out. Add a link to your website in all of your social media bios, as well as relevant links in the majority of your posts on all platforms.

5. Leverage testimonials and reviews.

Reviews are one of the most important factors couples consider when deciding who to reach out to while planning their wedding. In fact, according to Wedding Wire, 80% of couples consider reviews to be “very important,” and couples are more likely to consider booking with a vendor that has both positive and negative reviews than no reviews at all.

Of course, asking a client to write a review can be awkward. But according to a Bright Local study, 85% of consumers are willing to leave reviews. What’s more, 60% of consumers have written reviews for positive experiences, while just 20% have written reviews for negative experiences.

Once you receive those positive reviews, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Without making it spammy, share reviews and testimonials on your social media platforms and feature them on your website, either on the homepage or on a separate testimonial page altogether.

6. Work with publications.

Explore ways to get featured in publications, from wedding blogs and magazines to local and national news publications. Find something that makes you or your business unique and pitch story ideas. Not only can getting featured on respected platforms lead to exposure and brand awareness, but it can also lead to a boost of your website’s domain authority, too, as long as links to your website are included in the article. These are backlinks, and they’re viewed by search engines as a vote of confidence.

If you’re featured in a publication, share it on all of your social media channels. Maybe even consider adding a “press” section to your website with links to any articles that mention your business or feature you in any way. California-based planning team Alison Bryan Destinations does a wonderful job of this. Their website features a “press” section, and within it are dozens of noteworthy publications and links, including CNN, Vogue, and the Chicago Tribune. But don’t worry — not every article has to be some in-depth feature about how you’re an amazing planner. Q&As, quotes, and even social media embeds work all the same. Make yourself available!

7. Build a network.

Go above and beyond when working with everybody. Vendors, venues, couples — it doesn’t matter. Word-of-mouth marketing is still vitally important. Similar to reviews and testimonials, if someone has a bad experience when working with you and then shares it with others, it has the potential to hurt your business. On the other hand, positive experiences can go an incredibly long way. For example, let’s say you work with a venue often, and you and everyone on the staff have a wonderful relationship. If a couple touring venues is still mulling over reaching out to a few planners, the venue representative they meet with may just be able to steer them in the right direction.

Put these wedding planner marketing tips to good use!

Remember, it’s all about boosting your visibility on multiple channels, providing relevant content, and getting your name — and your incredible work — out there for future clients to see. If you follow the wedding planner marketing tips listed above, you’re headed in the right direction.

Up next, check out our guide on how to become a wedding planner in just a few simple steps, and take a look at our list of the best wedding planning tools and software you should use.

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8 of 2020’s Most Impressive and Unique Virtual Event Examples

Virtual events are growing in popularity, and it doesn’t appear as if that’s going to change very soon. But as planners, venues, on-site teams, and everyone else involved in an event’s life cycle plan for a future full of virtual and hybrid events, there’s still a lot of unknown. That’s where these virtual event examples come in.

The following examples of virtual events span across multiple industries and vary in size, length, and technology. But they all have one thing in common: They took place in 2020, as the need for organizations to pivot to virtual events skyrocketed.

So whether you’re a planner in charge of putting together your first virtual event, a venue manager getting set to host one, or anyone in between, we hope these virtual event examples provide you with some inspiration and maybe even spark some new and innovative ideas.

Explore 8 of our favorite virtual event examples from 2020:

1. Salesforce World Tour Sydney Reimagined

Salesforce was one of the first organizations to pivot to virtual events due to COVID-19, doing so for its World Tour event in early March. In a statement on its website, Salesforce wrote: “The safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers, and community is our number one priority. By making World Tour an online experience, it eliminates the need for attendees to attend in person and travel to Sydney while enabling them to still benefit from the event content.”

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The event was a success. In addition to 80,000 livestream viewers, Salesforce said the one-day event brought in 1.2 million video views across social channels. Perhaps most impressive, though, was the turnaround time. The decision to make the World Tour virtual-only was made in mid-February. So, according to Salesforce vice president of marketing, Renata Bertram, the team “in just 10 business days reimagined the way (they) deliver (their) annual flagship event in Asia Pacific.”

But the event was much more than a livestream with on-demand videos made available after its conclusion. It was an interactive experience for the audience, too, which is one of the most important virtual event success factors. Take the AppExchange Demo Jam, for example. During the session, participants were given a three-minute window to showcase their apps via a real-time demo. Audience members watched the presentations and then were given the chance to vote for the winner. A simple concept, but a successful one nonetheless.

2. The NBA restart

This may not seem like a virtual event, but the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season is just that. The season, which picked up on July 30 after shutting down for more than four months, has been far from normal. But with no fans allowed to enter the league’s “bubble” in Orlando to attend the games in person, the NBA opted for something different. Through new technology, the NBA is giving fans the opportunity to watch games while being projected on in-arena video boards for players, coaches, and anyone tuning in around the world to see. This virtual fan experience is created using Microsoft Teams’ Together mode, which “uses AI segmentation technology to bring people together into a shared background like a conference room, coffee shop, or arena.”

“We wanted to create something that would bring our fans to the players,” Sara Zuckert, the NBA’s head of Next Gen Telecast, told The New York Times. “It’s also a way to give fans the opportunity to feel like they’re interacting while enhancing the broadcast for everyone else at home.”

Additionally, the NBA made tons of changes to help enhance the at-home fan experience. These changes included:

  • Dozens of cameras repositioned closer to the court to showcase never-before-seen camera angles.
  • Microphones placed around the court to capture enhanced sounds, such as sneaker squeaks and ball bounces.
  • DJs and announcers on site to replicate the sounds teams and viewers are used to.
  • A virtual cheering experience. This allows fans to digitally “cheer” for a team through the NBA App, NBA.com and Twitter using team hashtags. Those “cheers” are then portrayed on in-arena video boards via graphics and animations to “capture the level of fan engagement around the world.”

3. SBC Digital Summit

The virtual betting and gaming industry event, which took place from April 27 to May 1, was designed to give attendees an interactive experience. And it did just that.

The SBC Digital Summit utilized “an advanced digital platform (to provide) delegates of (the summit) access to a full-on virtual event spaces, featuring many of the benefits of a physical conference and exhibition.”

Virtual attendees “arrived” at the Lobby Area and were then granted access to various rooms throughout the virtual venue. These rooms included the Exhibition Hall, where attendees were able to visit booths, meet with exhibitors, and view products. There was also the Conference Auditorium, where attendees listened to speakers’ panels and presentations, and the Networking Lounge, where attendees were able to interact with each other, either privately or in group conversations.

4. Sports Backers’ Great American 5000

The Great American 5000 takes fitness to a whole new level, giving people the opportunity to participate in a three-month virtual run from San Francisco to New York. Here’s how it works:

  • Registrants assemble a team of up to 12 or 24 people and run (or walk or hike) a total of 24 hours a day to progress along their 3,107-mile (5,000 kilometer) trek.
  • A virtual map tracks each group’s cross-country progress, and a leaderboard shows the standings each day.
  • Runners are tracked via GPS apps such as Strava, Map My Run, etc.
  • Teams are given a maximum of three months (June 14th to September 14th) to complete the journey.
  • Additionally, teams are encouraged to make their run “mean something even more” by donating and raising funds for Feeding America, the race’s official charity.

“With the creation of this new event, we want to help people connect with each other on teams and to still compete in an athletic competition,” said executive director of Sports Backers, Jon Lugbill, via NBC 12. “The Great American 5000 provides the opportunity to make the dream of running across the country a little more real while raising money for Feeding America and supporting those in need during this crisis.”

5. Tomorrowland Around The World — The Digital Festival

The massive Belgian music festival joined the virtual events trend in July, giving attendees a never-before-seen musical experience. In addition to performances from artists like Katy Perry, Steve Aoki, David Guetta, and Martin Garrix, Tomorrowland offered “activities, webinars, workshops, games and other interactive entertainment” for attendees.

The festival featured artists performing on virtual stages in front of thousands of virtual fans on a virtual 3D island. There were special effects, fireworks, laser shows, sound effects, and more — just like an actual music festival.

Tomorrowland created its stunning virtual platform in collaboration with Dogstudio, whose CEO and creative director gave some insight into the process a few days before the festival kicked off.

“We work hand in hand with Tomorrowland’s in-house 3D, creative and development teams to build a compelling, immersive, user-friendly, but also highly premium experience,” he said. “We are building a web-based experience and we are all really pushing the boundaries of what can effectively be done in a web browser. Our biggest challenge – besides being an obvious enormous technical challenge – is making sure festival visitors will be able to feel they are being part of something larger than their computer and their internet connection.

“People won’t only be immersed in Tomorrowland’s new universe, but they will also be able to communicate with other festival visitors. I can proudly say that we are setting new standards for web-based online music experiences, pushing the boundaries of the latest technology that is available, but on the other hand making sure that the platform is even working on a device that is a couple of years old.”

6. Zoomtopia

Right around the time Zoom was cementing itself as a must-have technology tool, New Yorkers Larry and Toby Milstein had an idea: Throw a charity gala using the booming video platform. So they did just that. Enter, Zoomtopia.

“(It) had all the trimmings of a real-life ball,” wrote Vogue’s Lilah Ramzi, who attended the early-April event. “There was a well-designed invitation, a guest list, performances, signature cocktails, a host committee, and charity — 100 percent of ticket sales went directly to World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Response Fund and the International Medical Corps.”

Before the event began, Ramzi spoke with the Milsteins about the idea and what to expect. “This is kind of uncharted territory,” said Larry Milstein, “so we’re trying to innovate in the constraints that we have and figure out how to make Zoomtopia feel like an occasion people are a part of together … and to try and transpose the environment of an event into the virtual space.”

Ramzi noted that the morning after the gala, the Milsteins told her that the money raised had already exceeded $20,000, while the event itself cost nothing to put together.

7. The Virtual Estate Experience

One of the most unique virtual event examples on this list, Quintessa’s Virtual Estate Experience brings you to the Quintessa Estate vineyard in Napa Valley, California for a one-of-a-kind tour. The tour is hosted via Zoom and features a private tasting of wines that are sent to registrants prior to the experience.

“I had been wishing for an in-person getaway for a visit, but this worked nicely as a substitute,” one TripAdvisor user wrote. “The gathering was professionally organized with tasting kits available for the ‘at home’ experience. … This was not a perfect substitute for the in-person glass pavilion tasting experience (which is fabulous), but it was a great distraction from COVID-19 distancing. Thanks for the creativity!”

8. Cvent CONNECT Virtual

Cvent’s annual conference went virtual for the first time in late August, and it was a massive success. But what makes this one of the more unique virtual event examples we’ve seen is that the event itself was hosted on Cvent’s newly-released product, the Virtual Attendee Hub. The platform was designed to power all types of events and provide organizations with a single solution to run their entire events program, so the fact that potential customers were seeing it used in real time was a win-win.

The event drew more than 42,000 registrants — a massive increase from the 4,500 people who attended the 2019 event in person in Las Vegas. In fact, it was the largest gathering of event and hospitality professionals in history.

“Putting our all-new product to the test for the first time by hosting an industry event with more than 42,000 registrants worldwide showed the unwavering confidence we have in both our product and our team,” said Cvent co-founder and CTO, David Quattrone. “We’ve had more than 1,000 technology experts working across the platform to help prepare for not just the successful launch of the Virtual Attendee Hub, but the many other product enhancements we announced at the conference. We knew we wanted to put the Virtual Attendee Hub on display at Cvent CONNECT, and we couldn’t be prouder to have been able to deliver such an impactful virtual event experience to tens of thousands of people around the world.”

Take inspiration from these virtual event examples!

Up next, check out some must-know strategies for marketing virtual and remote events.

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6 Lead Management Tips You Need to Know

There are many avenues a prospect or lead will take along their journey. To effectively manage those leads, it’s crucial that organizations have a set of best practices. Use the lead management tips in this post to help your sales and marketing teams streamline their efforts and boost conversion rates.

What is lead management?

There are tons of different definitions out there, and they’ve changed over time. LeadSquared’s new-age description defines lead management as “the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities and behavior, qualifying them, giving them constant attention to make them sales-ready, and then passing them on to the sales team.”

Explore these 6 effective lead management tips:

1. Understand the source of your leads.

Leads come from a variety of sources and enter the sales pipeline at a variety of points. A lead source is defined as “the original point at which a customer first hears about you.” That’s simple enough, right? These sources vary based on organization and industry, but let’s use some examples from PR 20/20’s list for reference:

  • Premium content
  • Blogs
  • Website
  • Search
  • Events
  • Referrals
  • Media coverage
  • Email marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • Digital advertising
  • Social media

Treat each of these sources differently. For example, don’t follow up with a lead coming from your website the same way you follow up with a lead coming from a trade show. Remember: Different lead sources come with different context. In the aforementioned example, a trade show lead would include not only the request for an inquiry, but also any conversations that the onsite rep had with the prospect and any other items mentioned in that conversation. It may lead to the purchase of more products or services. Keeping your lead sources in mind is essential when determining the best way to follow up.

2. Implement lead scoring.

Lead scoring is defined by HubSpot as “the process of assigning values, often in the form of numerical ‘points,’ to each lead you generate for the business.” This score lets sales and marketing teams know which leads are more urgent to follow up with, which are more likely to yield a sale, which need more nurturing, etc. How leads are scored can vary from company to company, but there are some basic best practices organizations can use.

There are many factors to consider when scoring a lead, and the way those factors are scored will help you better understand how to move forward. HubSpot lists the six different lead-scoring models as:

  • Demographic information 
  • Company information
  • Online behavior
  • Email engagement
  • Social engagement
  • Spam detection

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3. Prioritize clean data.

It’s imperative that you work with clean and up-to-date data. It’s the only way you’ll be able to accurately score and follow-up with the leads that your efforts are generating.

Each interaction with a prospect or client must be recorded and made available to every pertinent party to ensure that anyone interacting with that lead is aware of previous engagements. This ensures that prospects are being properly moved through the funnel and not receiving too many, too few, or repeat communications. If a prospect receives too many communications, it can lead to them unsubscribing from email lists or stopping communications entirely. Alternatively, if a prospect doesn’t receive enough communications, they may lose interest in communicating with an organization. They may also begin communicating with a competitor.

4. Nurture your leads.

Lead nurturing is defined by Marketo as “the process of developing and reinforcing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel.” As mentioned above, leads come into your pipeline at various stages. The goal of your marketing and sales teams is to take the leads at their various stages and move them toward conversion. Every lead is different and needs to be handled based on the stage they’re in.

If a prospect is in the beginning of the cycle, communications, promotions, and information sent to them will be very different than communications, promotions, and information sent to a lead who knows what product they want and is on the verge of making a buying decision.

Lead nurturing includes multiple different channels, but email marketing is one of the most common — and effective. Here are a few options for lead nurturing through email:

  • The “checking in” email. If you haven’t heard back from a lead in a while, it’s a good idea to check in. The “checking in” email is a quick note to ask if there are any questions you can answer. It may also include answers to frequently asked questions so the lead may not have to respond.
  • The special offer email. This classic email offers extra value to the customer in the form of a discount, upgrade, reward, or perk. What you offer should be based on your customer segments and what’s valuable to that audience.
  • The loyalty email. By sending highly-personalized emails, you can keep customers up-to-date on special offers and any other updates. Think of these as updates during the “inactive” portion of the sales cycle.

5. Regularly review your lead management process.

As with every business process, your lead management system must be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis. As new CRM software, lead management techniques, and processes are put into place, teams must be informed and re-informed as necessary. You want to make sure your marketing efforts are paying off, and that your sales team is taking full advantage of every opportunity. As those tactics change and evolve based on the needs of your industry, old processes may not be appropriate or as useful as they once were. 

One example of this relates to scalability. As your organization grows and begins taking in more leads, your old processes may not be able to handle the influx of prospects. This is a good problem to have, but it can become a bad problem quickly . Fortunately, there are a lot of lead management software solutions that can help.

6. Prove your expertise to your prospects.

A sure-fire way to increase the number of leads coming into your lead management system — and keep them coming back — is to continuously prove that you’re a thought leader in your field. Building a reputation as a thought leader in your industry takes time and resources. But it pays back huge rewards in brand awareness, customer loyalty, and new customers.

By building your organization’s image as a thought leader, you gain the trust of your clients and build awareness in the industry. This must be done through various channels in your organization, from who your company partners with to how you handle your prospects. Demonstrating value to your clients and prospects and taking a consultative approach to leads will engender a strong sense of trust in your current clients and, just as importantly, in those prospects you haven’t done business with yet.

Start putting these lead management tips to use today!

Lead management is an important process that must be regularly evaluated and re-evaluated. As your company grows and adapts, lead management keeps your sales pipeline full and your marketing tactics relevant. Make sure you’re always carefully considering your approach and keeping your vision clear so your teams can do what they do best. 

Up next, check out how to create a safe office layout during COVID-19.

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How to Become a Wedding Planner in 8 Simple Steps

Wedding planning is one of the toughest jobs in the events industry. It’s also one of the most important, as well as one of the most rewarding. Planners oversee almost every aspect of the wedding timeline. They’re in charge of doing everything they can to ensure that a couple’s wedding is everything they expect it to be — and more.

“Being in the wedding and event industry has its challenges, but there is nothing better than seeing months and months of hard work come together to create the most perfect wedding day,” wrote Denise Ferdinand of the Fairy Godmother Wedding & Event Planning Company in a post on their website. “Watching all the hard work unfold is one of the most rewarding experiences that this business has to offer. In this business you continuously get closer to your clients and that is what makes their wedding so special and unique, watching your work bring your client’s dreams to life is such a magical feeling.”

Want to learn how to become a wedding planner? Keep reading! In this post, we go over the steps you can take to get started, as well as things you can do once you get your feet off the ground. We also answer a handful of frequently asked questions about wedding planning.

Discover how to become a wedding planner in 8 steps:

Step 1: Establish clear-cut wedding planning goals.

These goals will probably change over time, and that’s OK. But it’s important to head into any endeavor with a plan. Do you dream of planning celebrity weddings, a la Mindy Weiss? Maybe you want to work with venues in your hometown to give locals the day of their dreams. What if you want to travel the world and throw destination weddings on tropical islands and Italian lakes? The options are endless — it’s truly up to you!

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Step 2: Conduct industry research.

Once you have your goals, start researching how you’re going to reach them. To get started, form a list of questions you don’t know the answer to. How much money can I make? Are wedding planners in high demand? How can I get my first client? Just like goals, make it a priority to research the market before getting started. And this post is a great place to start! Additionally, check out industry studies such as WeddingWire’s Newlywed Report and Brides.com’s American Wedding Study.

Step 3: Consider formal wedding planner training.

You don’t need a special degree or certification to become a wedding planner. But if you want to head into the industry and you have little-to-no experience, learning the ropes and all of the ins and outs can be extremely beneficial. The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, for example, was “created by wedding professionals who saw the need for an organization dedicated to the education of those seeking to become wedding planners, and to elevate those already in the field through certification and continuing education.” The organization offers in-person and online training. Students have two months to complete the course and are then eligible to apply for a membership as a Trained Wedding Planner.

Another option is the Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute, which offers a course for people interested in becoming a Certified Wedding and Event Planner. The average time to complete the course is 8-12 weeks, and graduates receive a certificate, letter of recommendation, and the professional Certified Wedding and Event Planning designation. “I would highly recommend Lovegevity courses to those who are willing to take the plunge and go after your dreams,” wrote one graduate. “The Certified Wedding Planner course was the perfect curriculum I needed to reassure that I am going in the right directions.”

Step 4: Write a business plan.

Remember those Step 1 goals and the Step 2 research? A lot of that information can go towards writing your business plan. There are tons of resources and templates online to help, and we go into greater detail in a separate post, The Essential Steps to Starting an Event Management Business. Here are some highlights of what your business plan should include:

  • Executive summary. Write down your goals and your mission statement. Map out why you think your business will succeed — and how you’ll go about doing it.
  • Company summary. Is the wedding planning business going to be just you, or do you plan on having a team? Include your backstory, location, and just about anything else you’d share on your website’s “about” section.
  • Products and services to be offered. This is where you go into detail about what you are and aren’t going to offer. Plus, how much are you going to charge? Who do you consider your immediate competition? Don’t forget to establish ways that you can stand out.
  • Market analysis summary. Explore who your target audience is and map out ways to gain their business.
  • Strategy and implementation summary. Come up with a sales strategy, a sales forecast, and milestones you hope to hit.
  • Management summary. This will vary depending on the amount of planning teammates you plan on having, if any. This section includes an organizational structure and a personnel plan.
  • Financial plan. This section includes your anticipated fixed and variable expenses, marketing costs, taxes, etc. It also includes a break-even analysis, projected profit and loss, projected cash flow, projected balance sheet, and business ratios.

Step 5: Create a marketing plan.

Whether you want to be an independent planner, part of an agency, or anything in between, your business will have a hard time taking off without the right marketing plan. Just like wedding venue marketing, wedding planner marketing is all about understanding what couples want and then reaching those couples on the channels that they use. Here are a few tips:

  • Utilize social media. Pinterest alone brings in approximately 40 million people each year for wedding planning guidance. If you don’t already have a presence, make that a priority. And the same thing goes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Post often — but not just for the sake of posting — and utilize relevant hashtags to reach more people.
  • Start blogging. Whether this is a blog on your website or guest posts on various wedding blogs and magazines, this is a great way to gain recognition and use your voice to provide value.
  • Leverage reviews and testimonials. A 2019 WeddingWire study states that, aside from price, reviews and photos are the “most important features couples look at when deciding which vendors to initially contact.” Give couples you’ve worked with an easy way to review your services, and be sure to share those reviews on your website and social media platforms.
  • Work with publications. Getting featured in a local or national publication can provide a significant boost to your business. Reach out to outlets and pitch them on a unique angle. Also, make yourself available for Q&As. Bonus points if you get a link back to your website, blog, or social media profiles. Backlinks are SEO gold.

Step 6: Find the tools you need to be a successful wedding planner.

For this section, let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that two people order the same dresser from an online furniture company. It arrives at their houses in three boxes, and there are about a dozen bags of screws, nuts, and bolts. Person A has a toolbox with a hammer, screwdriver, drill, and much more. Person B has nothing but their hands and some super glue. Which person is going to be more efficient in putting together the dresser?

When it comes to growing a business, it isn’t much different. That’s where Social Tables comes in. Our software can help grow your business in a variety of ways, and it’s used by professional wedding planners and DIY brides alike all across the world. Get started by checking out our free 3D wedding design software.

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“We researched several companies that offer similar services, and ultimately found Social Tables to be the best fit for us,” wrote Kate Turner of Kate & Company. “At any given time we could be working on over 100 different layouts. Social Tables offerings and customer service are second to none and that’s why they are the best fit for Kate & Company and our family of businesses.”

Additional useful wedding planning tools and software include Wedding Spot, Joy, WeddingWire, Carats & Cake, and Zola.

Step 7: Start forging industry-wide relationships.

Whether it’s with venues, couples, vendors, or other planners, the importance of relationship building can’t be overstated. The opportunities that arise from networking are endless.

“Your business is going to thrive because of the relationships you build, now and throughout the next few years,” wrote Lauren Weidley of Chancey Charm Weddings in an Aisle Planner blog post. ” … Any good business (in my opinion) started with relationship; a business partner, a first bride, a vendor team that meshed really well. It all started somewhere.

“Give yourself grace and time to make those connections. Sometimes you make 10 at once at an industry event and sometimes it’s a shot in the dark and an Instagram message to that photographer (whose) work you’ve admired forever! Reach out, because you never know what friendship might come out of it!”

Step 8: Don’t stop learning.

Just about every successful person, no matter the industry, remains a student of their profession. Wedding planning is no different. There will be ups and downs, roadblocks, and never-before-seen scenarios. Look at those as opportunities to learn and grow.

“The best wedding planners have a ‘never stop learning’ mindset,” Heather Hoesch, owner of LVL Weddings & Events, told Brides.com. “They read, they watch webinars and social media lives, they collaborate and listen to podcasts. They take courses, attend workshops and conferences.”

Frequently asked questions about how to become a wedding planner:

Do you need a degree to be a wedding planner?

No, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Your level of education depends on the type of wedding planning business you’re trying to be a part of. If your goal is to be your own boss and run your own one-person business, no college degree is required. However, a degree in a hospitality or event-planning field can help better prepare you for the industry, and it may be preferred by some organizations.

How do wedding planners make their money?

Most wedding planners earn their money by charging a flat fee, an hourly rate, or a percentage of a couple’s wedding budget.

How long does it take to become a certified wedding planner?

It depends on the type of certification. A Wedding Planner Certificate from Online Courses Australia, for example, takes an estimated 12 study hours. On the other end of the spectrum, the Wedding Academy’s Certificate in Wedding Planning takes approximately three months.

Now that you know how to become a wedding planner, it’s time to get started!

You don’t have to have a degree in event planning to join the wedding industry. At the end of the day, it’s all about going above and beyond to make couple’s dreams come true. And now that you’ve read this guide, you’re already on your way!

Up next, check out the secrets to event planning and wedding taglines.

Plan Events Seamlessly

The post How to Become a Wedding Planner in 8 Simple Steps appeared first on Social Tables.

15 Helpful Catering Tips for Beginners

Demand for corporate and private catering has rapidly grown by 20% the past decade, collectively netting professionals in this industry $22 billion in 2019, which means this is set to be a promising field in years to come. Discover catering tips for beginners that will help you perfect your craft, avoid common mistakes, and wow event attendees below. 

What do you need to know about catering?

The things you need to know about catering include how to create delicious menus, properly prep for events, and impress clients and guests. Keep reading to learn tips that specifically address these key catering areas. 

Learn catering tips for beginners

The best catering tips for beginners offer insight into menu creation, event prep, and all those extra little details that leave a lasting impression on clients. Discover these actionable ideas you can use to excel at catering private and corporate events.  

Craft amazing menus

Come up with delicious menus that delight guests, work within your client’s budget, and help you establish yourself in the catering world. Use these basic steps to avoid common catering mistakes and ace your first event. 

1. Choose your service style. 

Select one of the main catering service styles: buffet, tray pass, and plated. 

Buffet catering service is made up of various self-serve stations. Choose this cost-effective option to save clients money on event staff and speed up food production by refilling large dishes all at once instead of making food to order.

Tray pass involves servers carrying food displays around the group. Select this budget-friendly meal alternative to add some variety to your catering menu and use fewer overall ingredients. 

Plated catering refers to any sit-down meal that you serve to individuals at events such as weddings or charity fundraisers. Opt for this formal dining option for upscale get-togethers of any size or to foster community at smaller, more intimate events. 

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2. Pick a theme. 

Select your theme based on the event type, your client’s goals, and the venue itself. Go with casual themes such as a BBQ or Luau for casual or private events during warmer months. Or, if you know the demographics of the event attendees, explore these interesting catering ideas for every generation. If you’re still not sure what theme to choose, start with one feature menu item and build the rest of your selection around that. 

3. Use your signature dish. 

Stand out from the crowd by using a signature dish or specialty cuisine in your catering menus whenever possible as this will become your calling card for future catering gigs. Since more than 50% of your future business will likely come through word of mouth, plan to receive calls for opportunities from past attendees who are dreaming of that one particular menu item you made. 

4. Consider markup. 

Keep in mind that your catering markup should be about three times the cost of the menu ingredients. Price this out ahead of time before you finalize the menu so there are no budget surprises for your client later on. 

5. Save money. 

Help service clients who are on a budget with some simple catering hacks. Opt for an entire menu of bite-sized foods over full meals to fill guests up without overspending. Consider meals such as soups or roasts that are easy to make in bulk to cut down on unnecessary ingredients. 

Choose veggie-forward recipes whenever possible and don’t be afraid to haggle for fresh produce at local farmer’s markets. Or, slice meat thinly so guests can refill as needed and eliminate as much food waste as possible. 

Order staples from bulk stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club and only price out the portion of the items you plan to use for this event, then keep the rest for your future gigs. 

Prep like a pro 

Practice proper food safety and save yourself some time with these practical catering prep suggestions every beginner should know. 

6. Avoid cross-contamination. 

Have separate cutting boards and utensils raw food, cooked food, and fresh produce. Thoroughly wash all cutting boards and utensils with hot, soapy water before and after you deal with any animal products. Also, change gloves when switching between these categories. 

7. Sharpen knives. 

Sharpen knives using this expert video tutorial to properly portion foods, speed up your prep process, and improve your food presentation. Purchase a Japanese whetstone (aka water stone or wet stone) from highly rated brands such as Kitayama or Sharp Pebble.

8. Monitor food temperature. 

Keep an eye on your two primary cooking devices: your oven and your refrigerator. Cook meats and seafood at temperatures higher than 325 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. Maintain 40 degrees or below inside your refrigerator at all times and measure it using both an interior and exterior thermometer. 

9. Prioritize hygiene. 

Always provide and use hand sanitizers and soaps plus industrial cleaning products for countertops. Wear kitchen prep gloves in the correct size and put on a hairnet if you have long hair or a beard. Use a freshly sanitized tasting spoon each time you test out an item. Wash hands before and after handling meat or seafood and take off any jewelry located on your fingers or wrists. 

10. Make some dishes ahead of time.

Plan to spend the two days before your event shopping and one day before your event cleaning, cooking, and packing. Cut vegetables such as potatoes and carrots and store them in an airtight container. Prep any cold meals that don’t involve meat, seafood, eggs, or dressing so you can easily unseal and put the finishing touches on them at the event space. Freeze fresh-cut dough for crusts, cookies, and bread to save time on shaping and molding. And stick some chopped herbs in there too while you’re at it! 

Tip Sheet: New Catering Ideas

Impress clients and guests

Create memorable dining experiences for attendees with these lovely presentation details that will make your clients think you’re a seasoned professional. 

11. Plate food beautifully. 

Add unexpected pops of color on to otherwise plain dishes, such as rosemary sprigs in a bowl of mashed potatoes. Consider your color palette when you create your menu too – the more variety the better! Have plenty of spices, fresh herb sprigs, flowers, chopped nuts, and sprinkles on hand to decorate plates with. Layer plate items rather than place them side by side and drizzle sauces with a cleaned out spout bottle for a more professional effect. 

12. Bring props and decor. 

Have mini chalk or whiteboard food marker signs on hand along with some cardholders or thick decorative toothpicks. Make branded allergy cards with your logo on them that warn guests of common allergens and food concerns in certain dishes. Bring some seasonal decor pieces such as wreaths, pumpkins, and dried flowers along to spruce up blank spaces between tabled dishes. Order extra decorative fruits such as pomelos with the stems and leaves attached for practical snacking options plus a fresh pop of color on otherwise bland tablescapes. 

13. Create strategic layouts. 

Enter the exact dimensions of your serving area along with custom serving platter and furniture measurements to nail down your client’s vision for the flow and presentation of your catering. Create a few different layouts using a free event diagramming software such as Social Tables. Or, if your client already chose an event setup, get a feel for how you and your team will work in the kitchen by diagramming stations for prep, cooking, presentation, and clean up to save time with load in on the day.

14. Pack leftovers. 

Treat your client and event hosts to some of their favorite leftovers. Ask them what the best items are throughout the night then surprise them with a couple of extra meals neatly packed (using the host’s own storage containers) and put away in their onsite fridge. Create a special dinner for two meal package if you cater a private event in someone’s home or batch prep a shelf-stable office snack for corporate clients to snack on the following week. Little perks like these add value to the experience of hiring you and make guests happy even after the event is all over. 

 15. Invest in beautiful serving tools. 

Gorgeous serving spoons, forks, tongs, bowls, plates, and platters can elevate the look and feel of even the simplest dishes. Choose a quality set of gold or silver serving tools to bring with you as backup just in case the host or venue needs extra. Pack an extra couple large white serving bowls too while you’re at it. Use them to store extra ice and bottles at the bar, flip them over and use them platter stands to add height to a tablescape, or simply fill them with extra portions of food that is overflowing on the table. 

Catering tips for beginners: FAQs

Explore the answers to these most frequently asked questions about catering tips for beginners to surpass the learning curve and become more successful faster. 

What are the qualities of a good caterer?

The qualities of a good caterer include flexibility, staying calm under pressure, and creativity. 

How do I prepare for a catering event?

Prepare for a catering event by prepping your grocery shopping, food, and catering van or car ahead of time. Create a basic packing list that includes clean pots, pans, utensils, dish clothes, gloves, and safety products such as a first aid kit and gloves. 

What do I wear to a catering job?

Wear a clean, pressed chef’s jacket and non-slip black shoes with any comfortable yet neat black pant or jean, depending on the formality of the event you are catering. 

What are the different types of caterers?

The three different types of caterers are front-facing caterers, catering chefs, and catering managers. Front-facing caterers often help with setup and guest relations, catering chefs stick to the kitchen, and catering managers oversee the entire catering team of servers and cooks. 

Nail down the business side of catering tips for beginners

Now you know some of the best catering tips for beginners that include actionable information for everything from food prep to presentation to cleanliness. You also have all the answers to the most frequently asked related questions. 

Continue to make your catering company an absolute success with our advice on starting a business. Then, learn more about how to find catering clients so you can start to apply these tips right away!  

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Top Corporate Event Management Tips

Corporate event management is about making the most of every event by bringing people together in memorable ways on behalf of a corporation. Corporate event planners take care of every little (and big!) detail from start to finish, to ensure the event delivers the best return on investment for their company.

As a result, a career in corporate event management demands that planners be skilled at developing relationships, conducting venue research, negotiating contracts, managing a budget, and event marketing, and typically pays $63,108 per year.

Today, we’ll explore how the best corporate planners bring their events to life, revealing some of the best corporate event management tips for successful events.

Explore the best corporate event management tips

Corporate event management can challenge the best of us, even on good days, because of the many stakeholders, the constant changes, and all the variables – from catering to event sponsorship. Here are a few tips the best corporate planners use to make every event a triumph that delivers ROI.

1. Reserve the venue for multiple years.

Try to lock in your venue early, and book a multi-year contract. Not only can it help make some of your theme decisions easy, and make it simple to bring back vendors that work out week, but it could also save you some money by guaranteeing the venue so much business up-front.

2. Keep your digital rolodex full by connecting on LinkedIn.

When you find great vendors, you can put together a group playbook that you can execute together on time and again. Try to make connections with folks who work in venues, create event swag, manager catering, help with AV, know great music artists, have exceptional event furniture, and so on. The best way to meet these people is through recommendations from your existing network. Check out people who have in connections in common with on LinkedIn, and if you need to, ask your original connection whether they’d advise working with the new person.

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3. Send event invites at least three weeks before your event for small events. For big events, especially B2B events, notify attendees about the date a year in advance.

When you give people three weeks notice it’s enough so that they might not be booked yet, and still close enough that they won’t totally forget about your event. The exception is if it’s a holiday or you know there is a high demand for your chosen date, send your event invitation a few months before.

When it comes to larger B2B events it’s important to identify your date even earlier, such as year in advance. This is because companies typically have long buying cycles, and it can take a few months for employees to get their travel and education budgets approved.

4. Include seamless RSVP.

People are busier than ever these days, so making it easy to RSVP is critical. Especially because you need an accurate guest count to inform your spending decisions. Include one-click button calls-to-action in your emails, and if you’ve mailed invites include a pre-addressed and stamped envelope. You could also consider letting people text you a YES or NO response, as mobile phone usage continues to increase.

5. Make impact analysis part of your sponsorship packages.

Treat your sponsors like the gold they are! In addition to getting their feedback after the show, proactively provide your sponsors a report with the impact they had at your show. Help them track and capture leads at the show, show their brand awareness growth by reporting any social media coverage they got, interview some show participants to get quotes about the sponsors and include those, and share post-event survey answers that are relevant to your sponsors in the analysis report you send to them.

6. Take a negotiation class.

In corporate event management there are many things you need to negotiate, from food and beverage to audio-visual services. Taking a class can equip you to know what to give and when to pull. Waiting a few days, committing more business at a lower rate, and securing quotes from competitors are just a few tactics you can use.

7. Have a back up plan for your “must-haves”.

More often than not you’re going to find yourself tapping into Plan B. Make a list of the five most critical features of your event. Then, develop a back up plan ahead of time for how you might adapt on the spot, should something go wrong concerning one of those variables. While the exact situation might not arise, it should ease your stress, and can help you practice problem solving quickly.

How to become the best corporate event planner 

Corporate event planning is one of the most lucrative areas of event planning. So where do you start and what is it that will help you become successful? Here are five tips for beginning your corporate event management career.

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.

While having a degree isn’t required, it’s strongly preferred and can make your application stand out. A Bachelor’s Degree in hospitality, public relations or business will give you additional context about the corporation you work for.

2. Get corporate event management experience.

One of the best ways to gain professional experience is through an internship or by volunteering for events. Start by shadowing event management professionals as they coordinate meetings and forums. You can offer to be a guest relations coordinator, or an administrative assistant – anything that gets you exposure to the day-to-day decisions and fire drills. This type of hands-on experience is the only way to develop the skills to spot problem clients or vendors from the start, and learn how to create backup plans that can help you pivot as needed.

3. Go to events!

Attend conferences and trade shows, and ask fellow attendees what they like and dislike. There’s nothing like experiencing an event to develop an understanding of what works well and what doesn’t. Also, these are great ways to network. By forcing yourself to try to build relationships at events you’ll develop the communication skills and interpersonal relationships you’ll need to succeed in corporate event management. And, at the same time you’ll develop your network of suppliers and vendors – for example caterers, photographers, florists, and entertainers, all of whom you can work with later.

4. Earn an event management certification.

Professional events certification can take your expertise to the new level. While certification is not necessary, earning advanced credentials can help you stand out and ensure you’re up to date on the latest industry best practices. There are a number of certifications you can earn depending on your career on your career goals. Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE), Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), Digital Event Strategist (DES) and Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) are some of the most popular event planning credentials that you can obtain.

5. Practice with your own event.

Host your own event. Whether it’s a race for charity or a friend’s birthday party, plan an event from start to finish. This will help you build your skills and processes. You’ll develop a keen eye for detail, and a system to manage those ever-changing details. You’ll build your communication skills, as you work to constantly communicate effectively with customers, vendors, and participants. Plus, you’ll learn how to negotiate, as you will be dealing with vendors, as well as the vendors’ budgets and your own. And you’ll pick up new ways to address problems as they come up.

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

Discover the different types of corporate events

A corporate event is any occasion created by a company that brings people together on behalf of a business goal. As a result, corporate events can involve a business’ employees, board members, partners, customers, or leads. Here are a few of the most common types of corporate events an event marketing manager is responsible for helping to plan.

1. Seminars and conferences

Conferences and seminars are used as a way to bring together people with a specific passion, to connect, learn, and inspire one another. Seminars are usually one day or shorter events, with a cast of expert speakers that share their information and insights. For example, a Jane Goodall lecture. By and large seminars keep all members together in a similar space. And conferences are basically multiple seminars, meaning they have various sessions and tend to span multiple days. They generally kick off with a keynote speaker and then split up into topical breakout sessions or panel discussions about niche topics. Cvent CONNECT is a great example of a conference.

2. Trade shows and expos

Trade shows and expos are huge events that bring together an audience around a certain interest as well as different vendors and exhibitors for a multi-day event. Exchange shows are a great way to companies to position themselves as an industry thought-leader and pioneer. Even if you don’t host the show, there’s an opportunity for your company to attend an expo as an exhibitor to attract new clients. Event management for a trade show involves arranging sponsorship rates for the stall space, sorting out VIPs and keynote speakers, publicizing the event, and ensuring setup and execution runs smoothly. SWSX is an example of a trade show.

3. Team building events

Team building events are a great way to engage and motivate employees. They’re typically challenges that ensure groups cooperate to deliver a solution, and can include organized exercises such as games and sports. While pacing and engagement are important, don’t confuse team building with team recreation. Some of the examples of the best team building include scavenger hunts, board game tournaments, office trivia, improv workshops, and escape rooms.

4. Product launches

Product launch events can range from small in-house meetings to equip the internal sales teams, to massive glitzy parties geared toward building public hype about an upcoming product. Product launch events are most commonly held by businesses selling products to consumers – with these prospective consumers and the media being key invitees to the launch event, because media coverage is one of the key aims of hosting a launch event. These events may include giveaways, a guest speaker or celebrity guests, dinner and champagne, and even live entertainment depending on the industry.

5. Board meetings

Board meetings are usually a presentation with a bit of discussion, and help align business administrators and employees around key business decisions. Similarly, stakeholder meetings give investors a chance to provide input into a company’s strategy and objectives. These meetings can be yearly or semiannual small in-house gatherings or bigger undertakings, relying upon the nature (and budget) of the organization, the quantity of board individuals or investors in the organization.

6. Executive retreats and incentive programs

Executive retreats bring top team members together to bond and map the roadmap for the company. They tend to be held in slightly more extravagant locations to help inspire the attendees. Similarly, incentive trips often reward a group of people with a trip an exotic location. The goal of these corporate events is to motivate sales teams and other to hit large goals.

7. Holiday parties

Holiday parties are a great way to thank employees for their work all year round. Typically held at restaurants or special event venues, holiday parties can involve seasonal catering and exciting musical guests. While significant others are often invited, it can be interesting to offer employees a chance to connect on their own with a few hours designated only to employees.

8. Company award shows

Company award shows are another way to thank and incentivize employees. These typically involve the whole company, and a handful of presenters. Physical awards such as trophies, plaques, and photographs are fairly common. The Dundees are an example of an award event.

9. Monthly all-hands company meetings

Many companies hold a once per month meeting to discuss how the company is doing and future plans, for all employees. Or, at least once per year they bring all their employees together from around the world in one place. These can be held in local hotel ballrooms if the company doesn’t have a large enough meeting space on its own campus. One critical component tends to be the A/V. Be sure the slide presentation displays and that all presenters are comfortable with their mics ahead of time.

10 Simple steps to plan a corporate event

The best way to approach each corporate event is with an understanding of the five most critical aspects of event management: research, design, planning, coordination, and evaluation. So here are some helpful tips for planning a corporate event your attendees won’t soon forget.

1. Know the context.

Create a standard input template that you can complete for every corporate event, that helps you gather all the necessary information for success. Ensure your stakeholders help you solidify who the event is for, what format the event should take, loosely when it should be, any vision they have for where, and most importantly why the event needs to happen. When it comes to stakeholders, use RASIC roles to help you lock in who should be involved in what decisions and to what extent. Once you have identified your SMART goals based on their expectations, you can decide what kind of event will work best.

2. Create a best case, base case, and worst case budget.

By creating multiple tiers of budgets, you can better predict what you might actually spend, and also prepare everyone for as few surprises as possible. For most events, there’s a surprise item or two, so it’s best to try to anticipate that ahead of time by adding in a “fudge factor” of about 10%. Once you’ve set your three budgets, work to break them down, allocating the biggest percentages to the features that will make the most impact on your event goal. For example, if you spend more money on fancy furnishings than you do on your speakers, it’s possible the audience won’t be able to hear to learn, even if they’re comfortable. To further cut down on costs consider creating unique event sponsorship packages as wells recruiting a group of volunteers from local schools.

3. Stick to your timeline at all costs, by using a checklist.

Set a time limit for each task to be completed before, during, and after the event, and then put them on a comprehensive checklist. If you organize an event team, consider going as far as creating a to-do list for each member of the team. To do this just whip up an online spreadsheet and use individual tabs for each event category, such as venue, speaker, schedule, agenda, and travel to list every part of the process, the owner, and all relevant deadlines.

4. Use online collaborative tools to save time.

Use collaborative online event software to address each task such as creating the event diagram, keeping track of potential event sponsors in a cloud-based sales and catering system, and powering your event registration with user-friendly tools. Because things change so frequently with events, using software that updates in real-time, no matter where your team members are located, can save you a bunch of mistakes.

5. Make the attendees feel exclusive, no matter the size.

It can be very stressful to decide how many guests to invite. Is it your company’s executives, managers, long-term customers, business partners, community members, or a combination of these or other groups? Once you can name your audience, you can meet their needs and interests. No matter how big or small the guest list is, people will remember the experience of the event. Which means everyone attending the event is a potential brand ambassador for your business. Include personalized touches every step of the way from including their names on the invitations through to ensuring they receive the right meal.

6. Choose an interactive format.

Now the time has come to select a unique theme and format. Check out what themes competitors have used, and the audience response to them. Research your consumers’ general interests in Google Analytics and see if there are any commonalities you can tap into to create a memorable theme. In terms of your format, bring in a guest speaker to position your company as a thought leader, set up client panels and roundtables to encourage discussion and idea sharing, or split groups up into breakout sessions based on topical interests. Work deliberately to create a balance between keeping participants actively learning, meeting others, and giving them some opportunity to breathe, as they may need time to process what they are learning and re-energize.

7. Pick a local venue.

Because location is critical to participation, try to stay local. You can explore hundreds of local event venues on Cvent, and find an event venue in a convenient area with a dynamic environment, so participants feel comfortable and are ready to make the commute. Do a virtual site visit, and ensure the catering, A/V, and security all meet your needs.

8. Provide real-time logistic updates.

Having everything planned perfectly will spare you from any hiccups. Know when your vendors are coming in to set up, have an agenda for the event, and ensure staff is advised on what happens when. Use a collaboration tool to keep your colleagues, vendors and the venue on the same page, even as changes happen. You can share diagrams, seating charts, and your registration list with food providers, AV specialists, printers, decorators, picture takers, and the security work force, just to name a few. To guarantee everything goes according to your plan ensure everybody in your group has specific assignments they’re responsible for. One easy way to do that is to say to yourself, “If this goes wrong, who gets fired?” and make sure it’s someone (not that you would actually fire them!).

9. Equip your sales team and marketing team to promote the event.

If people do not know about your event, no one will show up! First, create an event website and promotional sponsorship packages. Then, encourage your sales teams to email their contacts, and to promote the conference when they go on client visits. Work with your marketing team to place ads in industry newsletters, on social media, add your event to industry lists and directories, and pay your partners to distribute it. Help build brand presence by using the same event tagline and hashtags across platforms.

10. Spend as much time ending your event as you did starting it.

We tend to put a lot of effort into starting new things, and often fail to input comparable effort wrapping them up well and learning from them. When ending your event ensure you have a final call-to-action for attendees. It could be a special code for your product, exclusive access to photos from the event, one last swag giveaway, or anything else. Once the day of the event has concluded, wrap up any remaining details, for example, sending final payment installments to vendors, reconciling finances, and directing a post-occasion debrief with your group. Then host a post-conference Post-It Note party, where everyone puts up sticky notes in columns for what went well, what could have gone better, and what they learned. And, get input from attendees using your event planning application. Plus, share everything you learn with all the applicable partners.

Now you’re ready to rock these corporate event management tips!

According to event data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for meeting and event planners is expected to grow at a rate of 11% from 2016 to 2026. So compared to the total expected growth of 7%, event planners appear to have a bright future ahead of them on the job market. That means now is the perfect time to continue investing in your corporate event management skills.

Up next, check out some creative corporate event entertainment ideas that really work. Regardless of whether it is a conference, seminar, or a holiday party, and whether you have three weeks to design or a whole year, your event’s success is in the details.

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Create the Best Company Anniversary Event: The Complete Playbook

Each year your company gets a bit older, and there’s more to celebrate. Throwing an anniversary celebration is the best way to bring together employees and reflect on all of the accomplishments of the previous years. Anniversary events are powerful: they both inspire current employees, and promote your company as a great place to work and do business with to your customers and future employees. Happy employees are productive employees, so how can you plan the best anniversary event possible to leave a smile on your coworkers’ faces for the rest of the year?

How to plan your company’s anniversary event in 5 simple steps:

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to bringing an amazing company anniversary event to life.

1. Decide on when to have your event.

Do you want to host it on the exact date of the anniversary, or the nearest weekend? Is the anniversary in the middle of busy season? Make sure the date is a good fit before booking anything or inviting anyone.

2. Pick your venue.

The venue should reflect how you want your attendees to feel at your event. If you’re going for an upscale gala, a chandelier-clad ballroom will make your employees feel like royalty. If you want a comfortable, laid-back setting, see if you can rent out space at your local professional sports team’s arena. You can even use an easy sourcing tool to save time finding the venue.

3. Now that you’ve got your venue selected, you’ll need to figure out what to do with all the space.

Whether it be a small ballroom or a rooftop terrace, you can’t spend all day every day there measuring and laying down tape on floors. Bring the floor-planning to you with simple event diagramming software. You can collaborate with the rest of your team, and with your vendors, to make sure once you’re onsite, everything goes off without a hitch.

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4. Plan out the activities for your company anniversary event.

Will you be doing a seated dinner? Is there going to be a presentation? A time for dancing? Since you’ve laid out the floorplan of the space, you’ll be able to imagine and plan out what your attendees will be doing from the moment they arrive. Arrange for your food vendors and staff to facilitate the event’s activities. 

5. Promote your company anniversary event to everyone invited!

Get your invitees excited to come together and celebrate. Include in your promotional material some sneak peaks of what to expect from the menu or the presentations, or whatever you’ll be doing at this event. They’ll show up to your anniversary event ready to celebrate with all of the work you’ve put in. 

Now that you know the planning basics, let’s explore a few unique ideas that can make your big day extra impactful.

Explore ideas for the best business anniversary events

The best company anniversary events bring employees closer together and make them feel valued. Here are a few tricks for achieving just that!

1. Have a special guest performance.

Whether it be an actual professional musician, or an executive who has a hidden talent, this will give all the attendees something to talk about after the event is over!

2. Host on more than just milestone years.

While many anniversary events are held for major milestones of years (i.e. a decade), every year should be celebrated in its own way. You might consider throwing your company a “Sweet Sixteen” or a “Lucky Number 7” anniversary. Don’t limit yourself to when you can celebrate all of your company’s accomplishments.

3. Take song requests ahead of time and during the event.

Create a form for people to submit song requests. Whether you want to have a dance floor or not, your attendees will love hearing their selection come on. 

4. Pick the most unique venue.

Have a lot of animal lovers? See if you can rent out a part of the local zoo or aquarium! Have a great skyline in your city? Pick a rooftop venue for a panoramic sunset view. 

5. Have a theme for your celebration.

If you’re going for a fancy affair, make the “black tie optional” dress code a bit more interesting by having everyone wear your company colors. If your anniversary event is all about fun, make it a costume party. Get people out of their usual business-casual to spice up the event.

6. Launch a new product or project your company is working on.

Going through a rebrand? Have a new cutting-edge feature being rolled out? Work internally with the team working on that to see if the timelines would match up for a launch at the anniversary event.

7. Make a video.

Get videographers to document and edit a video of the event – and share it! In the age of social media, your attendees will want to share this. This means more attention being driven to your event, your company, and all the hard work you put in.

8. Share favorite memories

Have employees submit favorite memories of the company throughout the years. Whether it’s a video of them closing their first deal, or a story about how someone at your company made them smile, people will love seeing their coworkers faces and names throughout the space.

9. Get a group photo!

How often will you have so many of your coworkers in one place? Use this time to get everyone together to say “cheese.”

10. Give out awards or superlatives.

Allow invitees ahead of time to nominate or vote for their coworkers, and have them announced at the event. This will boost comradery and give them more things to look forward to.

If your company is celebrating a big milestone year, it’s time to pull out all of the stops. Check out these ideas specifically for 10 and 50 year anniversaries:

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

See top tips for throwing a company’s 10th anniversary party

  1. Have a “decades” theme to celebrate a decade of business! You can pick one era specifically, or leave it up to your attendees for a fun mix of costumes.
  2. Use tin throughout your décor. Traditionally, a 10 year anniversary is celebrated with tin. Whether it be in your centerpieces or a tin party favor for the attendees, tin is a great way celebrate.
  3. Pick out a fun keepsake for attendees to remember the occasion, such as these awesome anniversary party favors.

Get the best tips for holding a 50th company anniversary party

  1. Similar to the tips for 10 year anniversaries above, the traditional symbol for 50th anniversaries is gold. Gild your venue with gold decorations for a sparkling event.
  2. Design a logo to promote this milestone on your emails, website, and marketing materials. Get some ideas on how to create your anniversary logo here.
  3. Do an “All American” themed party with food and decorations from all 50 states. This idea works even better if your company has expanded throughout America.

Learn even more about planning a company anniversary event:

Why do we celebrate a company anniversary?

We celebrate a company anniversary to bring together employees and reflect on all of the accomplishments of the previous years.

How to do you celebrate your company’s anniversary?

To celebrate your company’s anniversary hold an event for employees and customers. Make the theme unique to your company’s differentiator, and provide guests with a limited edition swag item or memento such as fun photos from a photo booth.

Now you’re ready to hold the best company anniversary party!

Your company’s anniversary events can be the most rewarding events to plan. Everyone is coming together to celebrate the growth your company has gone through over the years. From boosting employee morale, to recognizing accomplishments, and creating opportunities for marketing in your company’s industry, your anniversary event will leave a lasting impact and mark a special moment in history for your company. Up next, discover creative corporate event entertainment ideas.

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