- Define mission and objectives:
In order to draw people to your conference, the goal should be clear, interesting and useful for the attendees. The mission is defined by why are you willing to gather this group of people together and what are you able to offer for them as value from this conference.
2. Establish a budget
Estimating a budget for your conference is not an easy task, as there are many factors that you should take into consideration, some of which will definitely escape your notice. Establishing the profit and costs before the congress is possible by following a criteria outlined by number of attendees, type of event (online, hybrid or in-person), preferred location, number of days, international attendance and extra activities outside the scientific program, and last but not least-sponsorship.
- Picking a venue, date and technical equipment
Choosing your venue and date for your event are two major considerations that will shape the rest of your project plan. The start of venue researching should begin immediately. The event marketplace is crowded, so finding a time when there will be venue availability is important. The scientific field is full of associations that organize annual conferences and it is important to conduct a research on their scheduled events as well. When deciding on a venue, you’ll also have to consider dates for your location based on seasonal factors like travel and costs.
As you research and begin talking to the representatives of various venues, look for budget, thematic fit, location (is it central, easy for transportation), facilities, sustainability policies on-site staff.
No matter the type of event there is always a need of technical support. From displays for presentations in the hall to cameras that stream live on an online platform. When choosing a technical company (if needed) you should always check their previous events and see whether they are capable of pulling of what you want from them. If the event is online, the technicians are the main character in making the congress accessible for the participants, so the choice of a firm should not be underrated.
4. Develop event branding
The name and theme of the event are directly related with the promotion of your event. The web-design and delegate merchandize set the tone of the congress. When picking a design, you need to make your strong personality shine and make the potential attendees to develop interest. The branding further develops the vision and helps to steer the direction of your event.
- Event name: The first crucial step, your event’s name is the first thing attendees will see, so you want it to reflect your vision for the event.
- Logo, colors, typography: There should be consistency across all marketing touchpoints.
- On-site decor, email, signage, and more: While every touchpoint doesn’t need to be hyper-branded, individual elements should come together to support the story you are telling.
- Plan your program
The educational value of any congress is of utmost importance for all the attendees. Speakers and special guests should be carefully selected, as they bring another intriguing aspect. The right lecturer is the one that could make all the difference in registration and turn out. There are two ways to recruit speakers:
CALL FOR SESSION SUBMISSIONS
If you have an engaged community, hosting an open call for session submissions is a great way to utilize your partners and customers as speakers. Typically, an open call will require individuals to submit a session abstract that outlines the session topic and value proposition. With this, your team will review submitted abstracts, select speakers, and communicate with those who have been selected and those who were not.
PERSONALLY INVITE SPEAKERS
Reversely, if you have individuals in mind, you can invite them to speak at your event. In reaching out to a prospective speaker, provide a compelling snapshot of the event and audience, and also convey your enthusiasm for them participating in the event. Keep in mind, invited speakers often expect compensation as well as travel and lodging provided.
The program should be rich in content but also with breathing leisure time. Recreational activities are always a good way to blow off the steam. This is where the role of the location comes in play, as the richer the choice of activities is, the happier the participants.
- Identify sponsors and exhibitors
Sponsors are the main source of cost coverage together with registration fees. Their budget of the event depends on their cooperation and number. Therefore, reaching out to companies specialized in the field is crucial. Usually, sponsors are divided into several categories, depending on their financial contribution to the event. The categories represent the benefits and privileges the company has during the event like: brand logo on the main design, presentation slot in the scientific program, stand at the exhibition, etc. Building a relationship with the companies during the process will reassure their loyalty and sponsorship for future events.
- Create a marketing and promotional plan
When creating a promotional plan, you should establish specific marketing objectives. The attendance rate which has been planned in the very first steps of planning the congress is the main reference point when creating the schedule. Living in a technological area, internet platforms are the main source of information, so you should focus on advertising in the web. Building a website for the event and posting on social media will increase the reach of potential attendees. You could set weekly goals of people reached and registered for the event, in order to follow the success of your advertising campaign. In addition to online marketing, brochures and posters are another way of commercializing. Picking an intriguing design and placing the posters in strategic locations are the main points you should focus on. The content of the promotional materials should involve speakers, sponsors and the peak points of the program. Marketing is of utmost importance for a successful event, so creating a consistent plan should be a main priority.