It’s sad but true: even the best planned, best funded event can fail. Attendance might be low, and you might not recoup enough money to cover your expenses. Or maybe you have more people than the space (or digital bandwidth) can handle.
Usually event failures are due to common mistakes like these. The good news is: they’re easily avoided.
Before the Event
The biggest problems happen when you don’t allow enough time for planning before the event. The event seems to be here before you know it, and you and your team are rushing around trying to tie up loose ends. Here are common issues that happen before the event even occurs.
1. You Didn’t Create a Timeline
There are a million things that need to be dealt with before your event, including ticket sales, setting up technology, negotiating with event space if your event is in-person, and marketing it. Even if you create a long list of to-dos, it becomes difficult to parse what needs to happen when.
A better system is to create a one-year plan where you categorize tasks by month. Seeing at a glance what needs to be done this month can help you stay organized and give you plenty of time for things that may take longer, like having promotional material designed and printed.
2. You Didn’t Promote Early-Bird Sales
If, for your last event, you were sweating bullets until the last minute, wondering if anyone would even attend it, you’re making a costly mistake by not leveraging early-bird ticket sales.
Offering a discount for people who buy tickets early (even creating tiers of discounts based on how far out the event is) is an excellent marketing strategy for your event. Not doing so creates no sense of urgency to get people to buy…and then you’re left waiting until the weeks before the event (or even days) before you know what attendance will be. So create a strategy to sell more tickets, and you won’t stress about filling seats.
During the Event
Even if your pre-event planning and promotion went well, you’re not out of the woods yet!
3. You Didn’t Enable Your Attendees to Do Your Marketing For You
You might be relieved that after all the planning you did, this event is almost over. But think bigger, especially if you plan to have another event down the road. You’re missing out on the opportunity for easy marketing…with minimal effort.
Make sure you have a hashtag for your event, and encourage attendees to use it on social media on every piece of pre-marketing collateral as well as day-of presentations. Have someone monitor that hashtag and event mentions to share them even further and build camaraderie among attendees.
4. You Didn’t Promote Your Next Event
It was only after your last event that you realized you didn’t announce the next one. Duh! You missed a fantastic opportunity to capture ticket sales for your next event while people are still excited about the one they’re attending.
Throughout the event, make announcements about what’s coming up at the next one. Make an exclusive offer that’s too good to pass up to event attendees that day only so that they’ll buy their ticket on the spot.
After the Event
Your event went well. Numbers were good. So why are you stressing?
5. You Didn’t Assess Expenses
Attendance might have been through the roof, but you still ended up in the red for the event. If you don’t take time to assess the financial impact of your event, you may never be profitable from one in the future.
Take a quick look at your accounting software to assess both revenue and expenses for your event to see what you need to change for next year. If you had an in-person event, your biggest expenses were likely food and beverage and the space you rented. If it was a digital event, it might be the technology or the speakers.
Is there a way you can reduce costs for next time? If not, consider raising ticket prices.
6. You Didn’t Connect with Attendees Post-Event
Sure, you already got their money, but that’s no reason to abandon attendees once the event is over. In fact, this is a great opportunity to build a relationship with them so that they’re even more interested in future events.
Share photos on your event social media pages and tag attendees. This is a great strategy to get them to then share the photos! Send a followup email with links to presentations and photos, and ask for feedback (then actually act on it!). The more you interact with attendees, the more loyal they will be.
Putting just a little more attention to detail is a surefire way to ensure the success of your next event, as well as pave the way for sold-out future events!
This post was written for evvnt by guest blogger Maggie Aland – Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business and editor of the Marketing and Reviews sections. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. When not editing or writing, you can find Maggie looking for the best brunch spots in NYC.