It's hard to overstate just how valuable business events can be to your bottom-line, but with all the moving parts and details involved, it can get overwhelming quickly. A strategy will give you a guideline for staying on-task and on-goal as you go. Here's the low-down on building a comprehensive event strategy to make the most out of your efforts and ROI.
First and Foremost: What's an Event Strategy?
Simply put, an event strategy is your event's big picture: what, why, when, and how; broken down into a framework with processes in place for each. The questions asked and answered:
- What do you want from your event?
- Who do you want to attend?
- When is the best month/day/time for your event?
- How will you implement your overall plan?
- How will you measure event success?
Creating an event strategy helps you control all the moving parts and details by keeping the timing, budget, and resources on track and limiting obstacles you encounter on the road to a successful event.
What does a comprehensive event strategy include?
"Comprehensive" in this context means you include all factors in event planning, such as concept, design, and details, then create an implementation plan for each. Everything will be quantifiable and measurable, so your data collection, analytics and reporting plays a key role in your success at each stage of execution.
The Essential ElementsGoal/Vision - What you want your event to achieve, e.g., "lead generation," “user training,” or “raising awareness”
Tip: Decide on your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) at this stage. Make your goals quantifiable. For example, instead of “lead generation,” set the quantity of leads or percentage of attendees as your measurable KPI.
Timeline - Set a realistic timeline. Tight event timelines run the risk of creating the exact circumstances for your event to bomb. Our EventBuilder pros recommend a minimum of six weeks for a 1-hour event, and up to 3-6 months for a large virtual summit or conference.
Tip: Plan ahead by planning backwards. Start with the result you envision - a successful event that meets your stated goal - and work through each step of your timeline to the beginning.
Budget - Common budget items to include: event tech, design/branding, additional equipment required, staffing, Closed Captioning service and other accessibility considerations, anticipated attendance, and marketing/promotion.
Tip: Create an emergency fund by setting aside 15-20% of your budget for any unforeseen expenses or problems that may arise.
Audience - Match your audience to your goal, and create your content around your audience.
Tip: A well-designed, eye-catching registration page with information targeted to your audience's role and needs will draw registrations and attendance. Well-crafted registration questions provide an opportunity to gather information about your attendees' "why."
Content Development - Center your content around your audience's niche, pain points, and responses to registration questions, then create content that connects with your target attendees. Further refine audience interests with in-session polls and surveys and adjust content accordingly.
Analytics - The value in collecting event and registrant intelligence for analytics can't be understated. Key data to gather include registration source, number of registrants, demographics, poll answers, follow-up survey data, as well as number of attendees, connection duration, and recording views (if applicable). Reports offering high-level perspectives as well as event-specific results provide insights on trends and areas for improvement going forward.
Tip: You may have heard "content is king," but we would add, "engagement is queen." Build opportunities for your attendees to go beyond consuming content and give them chances to interact and engage using in-session polls and surveys.
Tip: Data visualization tools, such as Microsoft Power BI, help you present your metrics to stakeholders in a clear and engaging way.
- Reduce the detail workload by automating as many event-related tasks as possible, such as automated confirmation and reminder emails.
- Keep eyes on data security, privacy, and compliance. Your event tech stack should offer event security measures, such as 2-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption.
- Outsourcing event management to take on technical support, logistics, and day-of assistance can be invaluable, helping in-house event planners and organizers keep eyes on the bigger picture: driving results!
At EventBuilder, we offer both feature-rich software and professional event management services to give you all you need to produce Microsoft Teams-based virtual events and conferences. To learn more, schedule a consultation today!