Conferences are great for networking, making new connections, and sharing new ideas amongst other pros in your industry. They can be a fantastic way to strengthen your reach while at the same time providing opportunities to make new connections and find new potential customers. The following are just a few tips to help you in your quest to make your conference in 2020 run as smoothly as possible; from renting the right equipment to selecting keynote speakers, these tips should help guide you to success!
A clearly defined goal is essential for any conference to be successful. Why are people going to attend your conference? Try focusing on one specific topic to keep it all cohesive. Depending on the size of conference you’re looking to have, you can make this topic as specific as you want. Knowing your target audience prior to even moving forward with your event is essential to its success.
Setting a budget for your conference should be the first thing you do once you’ve decided on the purpose. You want to do this before you begin searching for a location, hiring an AV company, searching for keynote speakers, etc. Once you have your budget set, I would set aside an additional 10-15% for expenses that may arise during the course of planning and executing your show.
Who’s coming? Once the budget is set and the purpose is defined, you need to put together your guest list. This list should compromise of folks that truly would get some benefit from attending. Just firing out invites and marketing to everyone in your contact list isn’t necessarily the best way to build a successful conference. Think of it this way: if John shows up and doesn’t find the topics to really benefit him, not only will he leave unsatisfied, but he’ll also not recommend your conference to his colleagues next year. Word of mouth is essential to building a brand – don’t mess it up right out of the gate by inviting anyone with a pulse!
You need to connect and invite vendors that are relevant to the type of event you are hosting. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time after connecting with vendors to plan your event; you don’t want to be reaching out with weeks to go, trying to fill booth space. You could be missing out on potential booking opportunities!
Keynote speakers are the icing on the cake for your event. In fact, I would argue that keynote speakers may be the best marketing tool to entice potential attendees to pay to show up. You want to connect with your keynote speakers’ months in advance prior to your conference date, giving you (and them) plenty of time to prepare and to get the word out they will be speaking. Find keynote speakers that relate directly to the specific topics to be discussed; folks that really know their stuff and can be dynamic on the stage.
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Agendas should be built around your keynote speakers and breaks to keep your guests happy, awake and socializing. If your event is over several days, make sure to include several breaks, happy hours, breakout sessions, etc. to keep everyone happy.
You’ll want a robust marketing plan that is set to roll out over several campaigns during the months leading up to your conference date. Decide early on if you’ll be using social media, print ads in trade subscriptions, LinkedIn marketing, Facebook targeted ads, etc. To maximize your events online exposure and visibility, you’ll want to start with plenty of time before the first attendee shows up at the door.
I can’t stress enough how important good sound and good visuals are to the success of your conference. Hiring the right company and/or renting the right equipment is essential – the quality of what your attendees see and hear will be what they remember when they walk out of the door once the show is over. You can have A+ keynote speakers, a packed agenda, and all kinds of beneficial information for your attendees, but if they can’t hear it or see it very well, it’s all for nothing. I would highly suggest either hiring an AV company or renting the equipment and hiring a qualified tech to come in and set it up and run it for you. Of course, you can always contact SkinnyBoy Media – we travel all over the country running events and would love to help you out!
With the right preparation and planning, there’s no reason your show can’t be a success. Just remember to follow these steps as a guideline, give yourself plenty of time, and get at it!