Top Event Planning Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
Organizing an event is a massive task and complicated than most people think. Most of the time, the problems arise due to poor planning and execution. Here are the most common event planning mistakes and how to avoid them. Make sure that you will not face with any of these the next time you organize an event!
1) Poor Marketing Segmentation:
Successful segmentation is the key element for your event planning strategy. Harvard Business School claims that; 95% of 30,000 new product launches failed because of poor market segmentation.
Segment the participants according to their demographic, geographical, psychological and behavioral characteristics. Here are 4 key points based on which you can segment your potential participants:
- Demographic: Th potential participants' basic personal information, such as; age, gender, education and income.
- Geographic: The segmentation of event participants based on geography means; looking for which locations the majority of your participants are coming. Geographic segmentation includes; country, city and language.
- Psychographic: Psychographic segmentation is one which uses lifestyle of people, their activities, interests as well as opinions to define a market segment; including social status and values.
- Behavioral: This type of market segmentation divides the population on the basis of their behavior, usage and decision-making pattern such as; benefits, intents and occasion.
When you know the type of participant you are looking for; you can start to focus on your event marketing efforts and speak directly to that group of people. The result should be a better take up for your messages that you are relaying
2) Last Minute Event Planning
Event planning is a very complex undertaking. Postponing the event planning to the last minute is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made. Decide when you should start the event planning based on the type of event you are going to organize. Early planning of the event gives you a lot of advantages. Event venues usually offer better pricing options for early bookings. You can also get reach out to more participants and develop a better event marketing strategy for
promoting your event.
You can check our event planning checklist for further information.
3) Choosing Wrong Event Date
The event date is one of the most important elements that will affect the number of participants. Picking a good date for your event requires more research than you think; event planners must choose a date that works for their speakers and participants, and not just for themselves. This can be done by making sure the said date doesn't coincide with:
Similar Events: To secure the highest number of participants possible, it's imperative that event planners are aware of what their competitors are doing and when they're doing it to avoid organizing an event simultaneously with others of a similar nature.
Holidays and peak travel/tourism seasons: As obvious as this may seem: it's not advisable to organize events during a public holiday! Besides public holidays, it's not recommended to organize events during peak travel and tourism season, i.e. June through to August. Not only your events will clash with some of your participants and speakers' pre-planned vacations, but peak tourism months make it impossible for the participants to get flights and accommodation at reasonable prices and in turn, making it hard for them to attend.
College and University exams: If the target audience is made up of university and college students, make sure you get information on exam dates as well as pre/post exam breaks and ensure that your event dates do not clash with them.
4) Unrealistic Estimation of Participant Numbers
Predicting the number of participants before the event is a critical factor. It may be a huge risk for your event if the number of participants is over or under your estimate. The capacity of the event venue, the amount of food & drinks you will cater and many other factors are directly related to your prediction. Come up with an estimated number of participants as closely as possible and plan your event according to this estimation.
If the number of the participants is under your estimation, take an action quickly. Use the promotional event marketing strategies such as; last-minute discounts to reach your estimation.
Let's think another case, your participant estimation is over that your estimate. Get in touch with the event venue and the catering, give information about the participant numbers and try to optimize the details for the new estimated participant number. Do not forget to increase the number of written and physical materials.
5) Hiring irrelevant speakers
Speakers are usually one of the main selling points to any event, so make sure you make the right investment. Your speakers must be to attract your participants and keep them engaged throughout your event.
Besides being knowledgeable and charismatic, your speakers should also be relevant.
While finding speakers with enough knowledge and charisma is a good place to start, the relevance of your speakers is also key especially if the bulk of your audience is made up of Gen X & Y. Selecting famous field experts and personalities with ties to your event's subject matter and enough popularity amongst your community guarantees more attendee turnover because people are interested in what they have to say.
Not only should your speakers have the expertise and a deep knowledge of the topic at hand, they should deliver such content in an engaging way so they don't bore your audience into a deep slumber. Entertaining speakers make your events memorable and enjoyable, guaranteeing a good majority of your audience to attend your next event.
Think of your event as a concert, and your speakers as the main performers; speakers can very well be the determining factor behind your participant's choice of attending or skipping, so make sure you make the right investment.
6) Poor Event Marketing and Promotion
All of your efforts and hard work come down to this! Poor marketing of an event can result in its failure. First, a solid marketing plan needs to be developed to keep you and your team on the right track. The event marketing plan should describe all channels of getting the message out about your event to your participants and key stakeholders effectively. It should also specify who amongst your team is responsible for each activity along with the proposed dates of task completion. It is important to keep your sponsors in the loop regarding all event marketing activities as it affects them too.
- Event Website
The internet is everyone's main source of information; so, make sure people can find information about your event on there too. Create an engaging and professional looking website for your event with all information pertaining to it including:
• Participants' registration form
• A detailed event program outlining all sessions, workshops etc.
• A speakers' page or section with bios and photos if possible
• A sponsors' page with company descriptions, websites and social media
• All travel, transportation and accommodation detail with a map to the venue as well as a list of all transportation options to get there.
• A contact page with a form where participants can leave questions or suggestions as well as a general line and email address.
• Social media links and all relevant hashtags.
- News Releases and Media Management
News releases are informative and credible pieces that are issued for the media to pick up and publish for free. They can also be published on your website and in any publication, you own. Your PR experienced personnel prepare an informative and concise news release to be sent to print, broadcast and online media outlets along with an invitation to attend the event. This should be done around 10 days prior to your event so journalists have ample notice to add your event on to their agendas. Make sure you follow up with them and get confirmation on their participant 2 or 3 days before the event.
- Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool to communicate creative and engaging content with your audience, and the best part is, it's all for free! It's highly recommended that event organizers make use of all popular social media channels by designating a content manager and a designer to propose ideas, create and post content then manage audience feedback and questions.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective digital marketing tool that's used by most event organizers. Prepare informative, engaging and creative email content that most importantly, has a call-to-action button or link for your potential participants to visit your website and register for your event.
7) Not following up with Participants
This is an important one, especially if you plan on organizing more events in the future.
Even if you will never plan another event, it's common courtesy to follow up with guests and vendors to say thanks. You'll leave a good impression as an event organizer.
If you'll be organizing other events in the future, failing to follow up is a costly mistake.
As for your participants, don't miss this chance to engage them further.
Show your appreciation to your participants by thanking them for attending the event. Sending personalized emails, in which you use the person's first name, is the most efficient way to do that.
Feedbacks can definitely increase the sense of community. You can either include a personalized request in the thank you email, or post a link to your online survey on the event social media channels.