A business conference is a great way to bring like-minded people together to discuss the industry. However, not all conferences are made equally, so knowing how to execute a successful one is key.
From the initial planning stages to the follow-up, having a plan in place and sticking to it will help your conference shine. But how do you know what to include in the plan?
Read on for top tips for running a successful conference…
Develop a Budget
First thing’s first – money. You may have grand plans for staging a successful conference, but it’s not going to do you any good to overspend. Develop a budget that takes all expenses including food and insurance into account, and your anticipated ticket sales or sponsorships.
Book Industry Experts
People need reasons to attend a conference other than the swag they get on the way out. There should be insight from respected people in the business, and having a strong keynote speaker can be a big draw.
This is part of the process that should start early. The more popular the speaker is, the more likely they’ll be booked in advance. It’s important to schedule them well in advance to ensure they’re available, and to start promoting their appearance at the conference.
You can also have a number of other speakers that are known in the industry or have significant accomplishments to their name. Just make sure they’re experts in your given field, and not just there because they’re well-known. You want people that know the business and can answer questions from the audience.
Find a Suitable Venue
Shopping around for a place to host your conference is an important step. You want a place that allows the capacity for the number of people you’re expecting, and is also designed for easy access.
You may come across several venues that are suitable. Then you can consider which places are the easiest to travel to for your guests (is it near an airport or a major highway?), and which one is the best value.
Create a Conference Identity
In order to create some recognition of your conference, you can create a catchy name, logo, and other branding methods to help it stand out.
This also allows you to create print and digital promotional material that’s consistent, and sets the stage to advertise the conference next year. Think about some examples of popular conferences like SXSW, Women Sound Off, World Business Forum, and MozCon and how you probably know what they’re all about just from the name.
When you gather large groups of people together, security is a top priority. You’ll want to hire a security team that not only keeps an eye on what’s happening during the conference but can also screen people on the way in.
That could include an X-ray machine to ensure no one is bringing in prohibited items, as well as scanners to verify passes. One thing’s for sure, if there’s a disturbance during your event, you’ll be glad to have the right security team in place. A good service will know how to handle emergencies with minimal impact.
Make Sure Equipment is Available
When you’re running a conference, you’ll need to make sure all of the audio and visual equipment is onsite and in working order. You don’t want to wait until the day of the event to find out the speaker’s microphone is missing or doesn’t work.
Ensure there are adequate speakers to reach the entire crowd, and double check that there are video projectors for presentations. Interpretation equipment is also essential depending on the spoken languages of your keynote.
You’ll need to source rentals well in advance for the conference if they’re not already there.
Hire a Photographer or Videographer
You may have a limited budget, but hiring someone to document the day can pay off for you down the road. Hire a photographer, videographer or writer (or all three) to capture the essence of what’s taking place at your conference.
The pictures can be used to promote the conference if it’s an annual event. You can also put tidbits of information from the speakers into a newsletter that you can send out to your mailing list.
There’s no use in putting in all of the work to build a great conference if no one knows about it. This is the part where you send a message to your mailing list, and jump on social media to blast people with announcements and updates.
However, it can’t just be “a conference is happening.” Try to look at your event in pieces, and promote each one. For example, you can do a post about each individual speaker before unveiling the keynote to build excitement. You can also promote any available workshops, as well as vendors or sponsors that will be in attendance.
Due to the sharable nature of social media, you may find that excited attendees or even the speakers will share your details about the event to their own followers.
Ask For Follow-Up Comments
Once the dust has cleared from your conference, you’ll want to measure it’s success. Reach out to attendees to find out if they enjoyed it, or what you could improve for future conferences.
You could install a comment box during the event, send an electronic survey to your guests afterward, or both. Use this valuable feedback to make adjustments for an even more successful event the next time around.
Hire Experts For Business Conference Planning
As you can see, putting together a business conference is serious business. There are countless details to keep in mind while balancing costs.
However, you can avoid a lot of the work involved by hiring an event management company that has experience putting together local events. A good company can help you plan the event, and then make sure all of the pieces are in place for it to run successfully.
To find out more about how we can make your business convention a successful one, contact us today.