Five Magical Ingredients for a Successful Conference
So you’re planning a conference, and you don’t just want it to be good. You want it to be amazing.
Successful conference planning doesn’t happen by accident. So, to help make sure your event is one to remember (for the right reasons!) here are five magical ingredients to consider.
1) The venue
Get your conference venue right, and you’re halfway there. And while it may feel like you’re spoiled for choice when looking for conference venues in London, you need to pick carefully.
Here are three things to think about:
- Location – can your visitors and speakers get there easily?
- Equipment – does it have all the facilities you need?
- Size – is it the right size (neither too big nor too small) for your needs?
2) Social media
How are you going to spread the word about your conference? A well-planned social media campaign won’t just tell people that your conference is happening – it will create an excited buzz around it.
Here are some ways to plan a powerful social media campaign:
- Identify the platform(s) your ideal delegates use, and focus on those channels.
- Create a hashtag for your event and use it in all social media posts.
- Use a distinct marketing image for your event in all posts too.
- Find out the social media accounts of speakers and exhibitors and get them involved in your campaign.
- Create a chat hour on the topic of your conference in the weeks leading up to it.
- Plan a series of posts to publish and schedule them to run automatically.
- Mix this with live interaction and engagement.
- Find the social media accounts of relevant media outlets and engage with them too.
- Talk about your planning; for example, every time you book a new speaker, mention it.
Need more tips to promote your event? Read our blog, six conference marketing ideas.
Why do people attend conferences? Yes, they want to learn new skills and ways of thinking from your speakers. Yes, they’re possibly looking for new suppliers or ideas from exhibitors. But they’re also hoping to meet useful new contacts and extend their professional network.
So make sure you create plenty of opportunities for networking at your conference. Here are a few ideas:
- Host an end of the first day drinks reception for exhibitors to get to know each other better.
- Hold speed networking events at the conference.
- Have a break out coffee area for attendees to relax and meet each other.
- Create a social media group or page for attendees and exhibitors to network online before and after the event.
4) Year-round communications
If your conference is an annual event, then you need to start building excitement for next year’s event before this one is over! Here’s how:
- If you’ve already booked your venue, give every attendee a ‘save the date’ card or email before this year’s conference is over.
- Encourage existing exhibitors to rebook (with a discount) before this year’s conference is over.
- Create a year-round communications campaign to keep in touch (and stay front of mind) with exhibitors and attendees.
- Plan an ongoing social media campaign that shares valuable content and encourages engagement.
- Plan and create your own content to share.
- Shoot and edit a highlight video of your event and share.
If you want to create some buzz around your conference, and give people something to remember you by, create desirable, imaginative souvenirs. Here are a few ideas for you:
- Have customisable T-shirt designs for attendees to choose from and have printed.
- Give away stylishly designed mugs or tote bags.
- Build a relationship with a popular or local designer or artist and give away pencils and postcards with a bespoke design.
Want to make sure your event goes really smoothly? Take a look at our checklist for planning a conference.