Planning for 2018 Events Begins Now
Have you started laying out event plans for 2018? If you’re thinking it’s much too early to start planning, you’re wrong. Time seems to go by very fast these days – in the blink of an eye, we went from a New Year’s celebration to Halloween! And, although many of you probably have 2018 event dates and venue contracts in place by now, there is a lot more pre-planning to consider before year end. Planning for 2018 should be your top priority this quarter, because January will be here before you know it!
Here are a few considerations to start planning for 2018:
If your event will require additional staffing and/or volunteers, now is the time to get it on everyone’s calendars. A personalized email blast is one way to get the word out to past volunteers. Another idea would be to send them a “thank you” card in the mail with a “save the date” notice in the closing. Or better yet, here’s a novel idea: call them; as in, on the phone. Sometimes going old school with your request for volunteers goes a long way.
Do you produce several events and/or training programs each year? If so, you know what a challenge marketing schedules can be. Marketing can get unwieldy, especially at crunch time. And, the worst thing you can do is have events stepping on each other’s toes, especially if your audience is the same. So, don’t wait until it’s too late, get everything on a scheduling timeline now. When you’re planning for 2018 event marketing campaigns, always start with the end in mind: first, place all of your events on a calendar timeline. Then, take each event and work backwards to create marketing campaign deadlines. Don’t forget to consider the following when planning for 2018:
- Social media marketing: be sure to separate each outlet’s message, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Print and online advertising: it’s fine to run these ads concurrently
- Email marketing: consider grouping events in email campaigns in order to limit the number of emails sent to the same audience
- Direct mail pieces: success of direct mail pieces is on the rise due to overuse of emails
- Articles and blog posts: this pertains to your own company blog/publications; however, consider writing for other outlets in order to increase your event’s presence organically
Budgeting is your biggest action item when planning for 2018. Along with the obvious budgeting for registration and sponsorship revenue as well as venue and F&B expenses, there are several other contingencies event planners have to take into consideration when creating event budgets. For instance, will your event require paid temporary staffing? What about paid advertising? Here are a few other budgeting considerations when planning for 2018:
- Exhibitor revenue
- Event committee gifts
- Staff travel expenses
- Audio/Visual expenses
- Event app
- Signage and printing
The bottom line is: it’s never too early to start planning for 2018 events. But, if you haven’t started yet, third quarter 2017 is an ideal time.