Your event is a mere 24 hours away. You’ve done your homework, developed an event marketing plan and followed it to the letter. Emails were sent regularly—but not too often—and all social media updates were accompanied by your event hashtag. All that remains is the day itself and some final event prep.
The final hours are crucial; they can be the difference between a ho-hum event and a widely successful one. The trick is knowing where to spend your time and target your efforts. Here are 10 things to do before your event to ensure it’s successful.
1. Send a reminder email.
This tip has a couple of components to it, so view it as a sort of hub. First, send an email reminder to registered guests that contains information they’ll need to know such as directions, parking instructions, venue map(s), etc. Make it as easy as possible for attendees to get to and navigate your event.
Second, send an email to people who have yet to register. This email will also need to communicate pertinent day-of details, but the focus should be on the “what’s in for them.” Share why people should attend and who’s going to be there. Include social proof and a list of keynote speakers can be the final push for people on the fence about your event to need to register.
Finally, send personalized invitations to key people. Whether they’re customers, influencers, donors or prospects, personalize a follow up to woo the extra special people on your list. Regardless, the goal is to get your “20 percent” to the event in person.
2. Finalize the media list.
You’ve likely sent out a press release and contacted reporters, journalists and bloggers. Now it’s time to follow up with them. Confirm they’re attending, and prep yourself and any staff members for questions. An event is an opportunity to tell your story, so make it the best one possible.
3. Do a walkthrough of the venue space.
Even if you’ve been to the venue in the past few months, it’s a good idea to do a final walkthrough. Try to put yourself in the mind of an attendee who’s never been to the site. Where would they get lost? What locations would be top of mind for them? This is also a great time to assess how the traffic will flow and to do initial sound, video, and lighting checks.
4. Create an “event box.”
An event box is your survival bag. It should stay with you at all times. Fill it with the handouts you plan to have at the event, as well as power cords, a first aid kit and even some snacks. If a volunteer is late, the print materials have gotten lost somewhere, or someone needs to charge a phone or tablet, you’ll be ready.
5. Check the weather.
You should always have a Plan B scenario, especially if your event has any outdoor elements. If the weather looks like it could take a turn for the worse, send a note to attendees with information about the backup plan.
6. Review logistics.
Logistics like parking, signage, and security will vary by location. Ensure you have the necessary materials and have visited with the venue managers prior to the day of the event.
7. Confirm details with vendors.
You should always confirm details with vendors such as caterers, professional photographers and/or videographers, and AV technicians (if you’ve hired some). Make sure caterers have the right headcount, and ensure the photographer knows when to arrive and how to get there.
8. Check in with your speakers.
Speaking may be “old hat” for your keynote speakers, but checking in with them is a best practice. It communicates care and if they have any concerns or aren’t feeling well, you’ll know that, too.
9. Visit with your staff.
Even if you’re working with a staff of all volunteers, you should either have a meeting with them in person and/or send an email with dress codes, arrival times, and instructions for how to handle unruly guests. It can also be wise to set a “head volunteer” who can manage the meeting and communication for you.
10. Take time to relax.
Tomorrow will be a big day, and you’ll likely be on your feet for the duration of it. Treat it like a marathon race and take some time to relax and get a good night’s sleep today. Your feet and attendees will thank you.
Your event’s tomorrow, but you’re ready. You’ve prepared, and your event planning—six months, four months, two weeks, and the day before—will pay off. You’ll see a higher number of attendees and maybe even get some love from the media.
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