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How to Plan an Event: 15 Tips to Minimize Stress and Increase Productivity
How to Plan an Event: 15 Tips to Minimize Stress and Increase Productivity
For most creators, getting to a point where event planning is easy is the dream. The planning process can still be challenging for even the most seasoned professionals, though.
Enter Eventbrite Boost, the all-in-one marketing platform designed for event creators. Whether you’re connecting people in-person or virtually, for poetry readings or mariachi lessons, cook-along or concerts, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Eventbrite Boost makes it easy to reach new people, engage your fans and followers, and grow your attendance — directly from your Eventbrite account.
Here are 15 expert event coordinating tips on how to plan an event and keep on top of your to-do list, so you can have a less stressful experience and create amazing events.
1. Organize your time and your workspace
Creating efficient work habits lays the foundation for productive event organization. Structure your days, systemize your workflow, declutter your desk, and make time for breaks. Even a 15-second break from your computer screen to decrease eye fatigue can make a big difference.
When outlining your day, try to leave a buffer for unexpected tasks that may come up. When polling organizers, we found that nearly half of them (44%) say their biggest barrier to productivity was last-minute requests.
2. Stick to a budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it is crucial to avoid slipping into the red when planning an event. Use the technology at your disposal to hone in on activities that give the highest return. Eventbrite Boost conducts A/B testing automatically so you know which of your ads lead to actual sales.
Becki Cross, Managing Director at Events Northern Ltd., also recommends working a contingency plan into your budget for the unexpected. Based on her experience, an additional 5-25% is a good safety fund.
3. Choose a reliable venue
The location of your event is a crucial part of the event experience. You might be looking for a nontraditional venue for something unique, but you also want one that’s safe, trustworthy, easy to deal with, and ADA compliant.
Venues that provide things like seating, catering, and lighting take some burden off your to-do list. But what about Wi-Fi? On-site IT? Any other technology perks that a prospective venue provides will only simplify your planning.
4. Deal in detailed contracts
The more information your initial contract contains, the lower the chances of misunderstanding and manipulation. This goes for the contracts you create as well as those you review from partners. It may seem tedious to read the fine print, but it could save you hours in the long run.
Karen Hartline, CEO of the production company Reinventing Events, urges you to ask for “full quotes.” Estimates for venues, for example, should include taxes and any other hidden charges, as well as scheduling contingencies.
5. Minimize last-minute changes
To orchestrate an event, you have to work with a lot of stakeholders, sponsors, consultants, and talent. Set expectations upfront with everyone so that there’s a clear deadline after which no changes can be made.
For instance, make sure you make it clear to vendors that they can’t back out after a certain date. Institute penalties for artists, speakers, and other talent if they cancel. You can’t avoid last-minute changes altogether, but you can certainly discourage them.
6. Make a folder or list of “five-minute tasks”
These are tasks that you can tackle whenever you have a free window of time. Having a place to store these quick tasks, like in an event planning checklist or even on a sticky note, will keep you from worrying about them while you’re focusing on bigger things.
7. Check ticketing off your list
Ticketing and registration should not be an extra burden. In fact, your ticketing partner should actively help you sell tickets with less effort.
Choose a partner that will help you distribute your events on discovery sites across the web and sell tickets right from those sites. Then, utilize your platform’s technology integrations — like your CRM or email marketing platform — to promote, plan, and profit from events with less effort.
8. Let participants spread the word for you
The great thing about social media is that it does your marketing for you if you let it. Or, more accurately, if you enable it to.
It’s not enough to simply have social media accounts. You need to create consistent brand messaging, post strategically, and use each social media platform as it’s intended. Whether you decide to invest more of your effort in Facebook Live, Instagram stories, or Twitter threads, you should use custom hashtags for your event on every platform.
9. Connect your marketing platforms
Once you have your social media up and running, automate it as much as you can with Eventbrite Boost. Eventbrite Boost puts your Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns on autopilot, automating launch and letting you schedule posts across platforms in advance.
Tap into Eventbrite Boost’s analytics capabilities to check how your campaigns are doing, and make adjustments based on your data. The key with social media is to strike a fine balance between hands-on and hands-free.
10. Automate anything else you can
Do you find yourself consistently doing the same task over and over again? You might want to try If This Then That (IFTTT) to automate it.
For example, if you find that you are often manually tweeting about your new blog posts, you can set up a recipe for that. Want to add photos of your event to Facebook? IFTTT will make it happen without you having to think about it again.
You can also sync your event and sales data by integrating your ticketing technology with Salesforce. Integrations like this help automate things that don’t need to be on your to-do list every day.
11. Make data your friend
Data can reduce uncertainty around your marketing, sales, and operations efforts while you plan an event. When you have the numbers to back up your decision-making, you spend a lot less time fretting about your choices.
Access to ROI from your marketing campaigns can help you justify what you’ve spent to run the campaigns. Knowing exactly which channels your ticket buyers are coming through means you can boost your technology efforts in the places that count.
Having and using robust data gives you negotiating power and lets you analyze the effect of all your decisions so you can keep fine-tuning. With Eventbrite Boost, that data is always up to date and always clear, straightforward, and accessible.
12. Be ready for anything to prevent attendee backlash
Whether it’s a little snafu or something bigger, like changing pandemic regulations, make sure you have a contingency plan to avoid attendee backlash. Unseasonable weather, a local traffic accident, broken technology — all of these things can derail an event. Be ready to pivot your event or move it online with these virtual event tips.
Have a tactical plan for anything that might go wrong, and definitely have insurance in place. Most event organizers carry at least $1 million in liability insurance or even more for a larger event. If you’re not sure how to handle a cancellation, reference our guide to gracefully canceling your event.
13. Ask for feedback
Don’t miss an opportunity to make your next event even better. As soon as your event is over, send out a survey to all the attendees. Their responses will help you hone in on the efforts that will bring you the highest return next year.
To make sure your attendees actually read and submit the survey, send it quickly and offer an incentive. Survey best practice is to send it within 24 hours of your event, so it helps to have it ready to go before the event even starts.
14. Debrief with your team
Similar to gathering feedback from attendees, be sure to discuss the event with your team. Ask for staff and volunteers to consider what went well and what could be changed within their area of responsibility. Intentionally gather feedback from everyone via a survey or email conversation. This is also a great opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the event.
Then, schedule a debriefing meeting with your core leadership team to discuss feedback from attendees, staff, and volunteers. Look for ways to celebrate what went well and ways to incorporate intentional changes for next time.
15. Have an end-of-day ritual
Trying to plan an event can feel like a 24/7 job. That’s why it’s important to include a hard stop to your workday and schedule time to decompress. Taking care of yourself means you’ll have enough energy and focus to take care of everything else. You’ll also be better equipped to accurately assess your progress and refine your prioritization process.
You’re a productivity wizard now
Once you have to have the right processes and technologies in place, you can start taking your event planning to the next level. Dig deeper into how you’re promoting your event with our ultimate marketing guide for events and start putting together your event marketing plan. Most importantly, use Eventbrite Boost to market to more people and manage your events all in one place.