From finding a venue to tracking attendance, planning an event can be a difficult task no matter the size. We recently caught up with local Sussex company IDentilam, who shared with us their top tips and tricks for planning a smooth, successful event.

Find a venue

When searching for your venue, remember that it’s one of the biggest parts of your event. Use it to cultivate a great atmosphere by carefully choosing somewhere that reflects the occasion. If you’re event planning in Sussex, there are a lot of beautiful venues around that you should take advantage of.

Boasting many hotels and manor houses, Sussex is a popular choice for wedding venues. However, the county is also known for hosting corporate events with plenty of stunning, functional venues to choose from. Look around for a big space with potential for an outside area, especially if you’re hosting in the warmer months. We always recommend that you find somewhere with additional room for seating and dedicated networking areas to really make the most of the venue.

Set a date

Once you’ve got a place in mind it’s time to set the date. Book in with your venue as early as possible and make sure the date suits your target audience. You won’t want to book a wedding fair during the week when people are at work; similarly, you wouldn’t want to book a conference on the weekend when people are relaxing. The date you set is integral to the rest of your planning and ensuring you get those much-wanted guests through the door.

Find your theme

Once everything is booked and the date is in your diary, it’s time to get creative and think about the overall theme of your event and what it is you want your guests to remember. If you find yourself writing down colours or words to describe your event like ‘simple’ and ‘informative’ then you’re going down the right track. Get inspiration from similar, competing events and do some online research for great design ideas.

If you find visuals help, sketch out a rough floor plan or scribble down some ideas of guest speakers you’d love to see take to the stage. Being able to visualise your event beforehand is really important and can help speed up the planning and execution process further down the line; meaning you could also save money on last-minute changes and additions.

Think about attendance

Undoubtedly, the most important factor of your event is your guests and ensuring their experience is a great one from start to finish. Consider how you want your guests to RSVP; by email, a signup form or Facebook group? Data collection at events is also important as it not only helps with your future marketing but enables you to get to know your attendees that bit better. Pre-event, find out from your guests any dietary requirements, any access preferences and even what they’re hoping to achieve by attending your event to truly build that invaluable relationship.

Tracking attendance is also key. You might think it’s not that important, especially if you’re hosting a small event, but tracking your attendees on the day can open a lot of doors particularly with future marketing efforts. Using event badges on the door is a simple solution and doesn’t have to be too costly either. By giving each of your guests a badge with their name and company offers a truly personalised touch whilst making networking for your guests that bit easier.

Event badges have more than one purpose, especially if you need to give access to certain people for different areas within your event. IDentilam recommend colour coding your badges or even using RFID or barcodes to make accessibility that bit easier. Using barcodes or RFID allows you to collect valuable data such as email addresses and social links, perfect if you’re thinking of sending post-event marketing mailers to thank your guests for coming.

Publicise your event

This might seem like an obvious point to remember but if you don’t actively publicise your event then no one will know that you’re there. From online advertising and promotion to offline word-of-mouth, there’s plenty of promotional options out there to get people talking about your event.

Use social media to talk to your audience online, particularly through Facebook’s events page options which are great if you have a lower budget. If you have a bit more money to spend, it’s a good idea to create a dedicated landing page to act as an online hub for your event. You can list key speakers, exhibitors and things to do whilst they’re at your event. It’s a great way to draw people in, build excitement and manage visitors’ expectations for the event.

Don’t forget; promotion of your event doesn’t end the night before it starts. Keeping your audience engaged whilst they’re at your event is also important, particularly through social media. Set up dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts so that you can share live updates from the show floor and encourage your guests to post their own thoughts and memories from the day. Staying engaged and proactive during the event is as important, if not more important, as pre and post-event so make sure there’s someone on your team that can be dedicated to this type of promotion.