Lisa Robbin Young

5 things to know before running your live event

Live events can be challenging to launch, but they offer a ton of benefits. I've been hosting in-person events for years now. There's nothing more powerful to bring your audience together. It can also help you reach new people. And it’s almost always a proud moment for you to showcase what you’ve been working on with the people who need it most.

Whether you're launching a pop-up store, selling your new line of fashion accessories, or a meet and greet with your fans, or simply running a booth at a local trade show to put yourself out there and network with your local commercial sector, events can be very lucrative... when they're done well.

Done poorly? They can COST you big time - in more than just financial ways!

Here are a few things to consider before hosting your first big event:

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Define Your Purpose

It may sound obvious, but defining the full purpose of your event is the first step to success. Now, we’re not assuming you’d just run an event without even knowing why, but it’s very easy for a first milestone event to be so exciting that you try to spin every single plate and end up with too much on each one.

For this reason, being clear about a few basic objectives will be helpful. Perhaps you’re inviting some fashion bloggers and can admit members of the public to a small fashion show including a designer launch of your new product. There, you can plan a good three-hour event with an hour-long show, a meet and greet, and perhaps a book signing or question and answer session.

This way, you’ve planned your event to be as neat and streamlined as possible, packed with content, and will impose on your audience’s time as little as possible. That really does make a difference.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

It’s important to budget and financially plan your event well. Look to the necessary expenses first, such as venue hire, security, bringing along a few staff in extra hours which may count as overtime, if you’ll have any catering or drinks on hand (and of course, the permits necessary to give this out, in some cases you’ll have to hire an event refreshments service), not to mention the logistics for bringing your products to the event space.

Certain niceties may be worthwhile to have but can be optional. For example, a professional photographer to cover the event can be great, as can a videographer who will help you learn more about your robust coverage options, even using drones for wider establishing shots you can use on your website. 

Be diligent and strict with your financial planning, negotiate agreements, and have an extraneous budget you can use in the case of emergencies. Finally, insure the event to make certain you can pay for damages in the event of an emergency or unexpected outcome. It will protect your firm diligently.

Event Planning Timeline

An event planning timeline allows you to put the pieces together in order, correctly, and with plenty of time to spare. So for example, it’s hard to make other plans when you don’t know the dimensions of the venue you hope to hire, so that should be first on the agenda.

When you find it, you know the space you have to work with, the seating capacity for tickets or walk-ins, and how much security you might need to hire. You can also then plan how individuals will walk around your event space, and how much time, on average, they’ll spend at each display or attraction.

Giving yourself a period of months to put your event together will ensure you can book all the services you need, and potential backups, much earlier than you may have anticipated.

Marketing and Promotion

Marketing the event should take place well in advance. With the right preparation and notice to work with, you’ll be able to hype up the event, get smaller influencers or businesses in your local area on board, or simply put together visual materials to showcase what to expect.

That might involve showing sneak previews on your social media feed of the product you’ll be launching. An event page on your website can consolidate all of this marketing into an easy information resource, so those who become interested will see the explicit information and may be able to book a place or arrange their accommodation and parking in advance if traveling to see it.

You can also include your attendees in future marketing, as taking photographs of the speakers and guests and then having release forms signed from those in the image can make a massive and positive difference going forward.

Speakers and Participants

Of course, it’s always pleasant to have speakers, presenters or those you believe could contribute to your event in a meaningful way. That might even involve hiring specific actors or demonstrators to show your product to the audience, or to split up your event into several rooms where attendees can walk through and see different exhibits.

You could even invite specialists in your industry to speak, or perhaps host a few talks based on your experience in the industry and the passion behind your brand. You may need to pay for guest speakers of course, but it’s a great method of connecting with experts in your field and local movers and shakers - also counting yourself among them. As such, it can be a great investment and also a fantastic justification for unveiling more content on your YouTube channel. As such, never have any shame in putting yourself out there like this, the worst your chosen speakers could say is no.

With this advice, you’re sure to implement effective methods of running your first business or influencer event. No matter what event you run, you’ll have perfected the foundations, and as you continue to do this, more wisdom and insight will grow.

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