Just about to plan your first event and don’t know where to start? Or are you just looking for ways to plan your next event better?
It’s no secret that event planning is not a cakewalk, and to successfully plan and organize an event would require a lot of effort, careful decision-making, and organizational skills. It’s quite often an event planner must juggle many different things at once: venue, speakers/talents, catering, entertainment, sponsors, and so on, and it can be very challenging if you don’t know where to start.
An effective event planning process must cover all these areas while at the same time ensuring that the preparation of the event stays within its intended timeline and budget. Here, we will share an event planning template with a step-by-step guide and checklist to help you create an outstanding event plan from start to finish.
Without further ado, let us begin right away with an event planning roadmap.
Event Planning Roadmap
(describe who your ideal audience is and other information related to your target audience)
Target Audience’s Needs
(describe your attendees’ problems, pain points, and needs)
(how your event can provide solutions for your target audience)
(What can you give that no other events can, what’s your event’s Unique Value Proposition)
(How you’ll reach your customers)
(List your major expenses and costs, and the details)
(How you’ll make money, and how much money your event can make)
(What key metrics you’ll need to measure to determine your event’s success)
Eight Pillars of Event Planning
Based on the event strategy sheet above, we can develop a comprehensive event plan, which will function as a roadmap for the event to achieve success.
Ideally, you should prepare the event plan before you begin any preparation for the event, so you’ll have a clear pointer on how to plan the event from start to finish.
Here are the eight most important pillars in creating a comprehensive event plan:
Pillar 1: Draft an Overview of Your Event
Plan the high-level details for your event, including:
Pretty self-explanatory, but as we know creating a unique and attractive event name can be easier said than done. Take some time to perform market research and choose the most ideal name for your event.
A shortlist of your venue choices (if you haven’t booked your venue), or if you’re planning to host your event in multiple locations, then you should list the intended cities/destinations for your event.
Perform adequate research to ensure there aren’t any competing events on the event date. Also consider national holidays, availability of venue, and other factors.
Pillar 2: Identify Target Audience and Unique Value Proposition
In this step, you should also create a buyer persona, which is a semi-fictional model of your ideal audience. You should gather as much information as you can about your target audience, including but not limited to demographics data, psychographic data, and behavior.
Identify your target audience’s needs and pain points, and figure out why they are going to pick your event over competing events and other activities they can do.
Describe your event’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP), which can be:
- The best keynote speakers in the niche at the moment
- The best headliners/talents (for festivals)
- The best networking opportunities
- The best foods and beverages
- Unique chance to learn about a new product/service before anyone else
And so on.
The better you understand your target attendees and how you can deliver unique value to them, the more successful your event will be.
Pillar 3: Create a Marketing Plan
It’s crucial to plan how you are going to market your event as early as possible, and also develop a clear timeline for your marketing efforts.
While every event is unique and you should have a unique strategy in marketing your event, a good approach in marketing your event is to break down your marketing efforts into several phases: pre-launch, ticketing launch, day-to-day, and last call. Then, choose marketing channels and tactics for each phase.
In today’s digital age, the typical marketing channels you can use to promote your events are social media, email, SEO+content marketing, press release, and influencer marketing. However, you can also be creative in your event marketing strategy and use other tactics.
Pillar 4: Budgeting
It’s crucial to establish your event budget since your budget will dictate many different elements of the event planning itself.
While your actual budget may vary depending on the type of your event and other factors, below is an example of what your event budget template may include:
- Venue rental cost
- Equipment rental
- Food and beverages cost
- Graphic design
- Promotional collaterals
- Advertising Cost\
- Event management solution
- Email marketing tool
- Equipment rental
Pillar 5: Event Team
Unless you’re going to plan the whole event by yourself, then a crucial aspect of your event planning is to establish an event team. Assign roles and responsibilities to your different team members, and you might also want to decide on an event software to help your whole team collaborate effectively.
Pillar 6: Establishing Progress Monitoring System
Based on the purpose and objectives of your event, you should decide on appropriate KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your event, and establish how you are going to measure the respective metrics tied to the KPIs.
Common metrics you’d want to measure include:
- Average ticket price
- Number of attendees
- Cost per acquisition
- Press mentions
- Social media mentions
- Funds raised (for charity events)
Pillar 7: Safety Plan
Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your attendees safe. Consider different factors including:
- Identifying hazards and establishing how to reduce risks
- Publishing relevant safety information for employees and/or attendees
- Hiring health and safety contractor
- Preparing first aid
- Parking availability
- F&B hygiene and safety
- Waste removal
Pillar 8: Financial Projection
If your event is for-profit, you need to establish how you’ll generate money and ideally make profits from the event.
Common revenue sources for an event are:
- Ticket sales
- F&B sales (concessions)
- Product sales
- Service sales
By using this event planning template we’ve shared above, you can start planning your event while considering the eight most important pillars of any successful event. An event plan template is especially important if you have different teams in running the event (i.e. marketing and sales, so you can ensure everyone stays on the same page.