Planning an expo requires high-level multitasking. From liaising with a range of clients, all with varying objectives, to keeping speakers happy, it can feel like a huge project. Here’s what I learnt while working on the recent East Sussex Marketing Business Expo with local company, NET XP.
What’s the Angle?
An expo needs a subject to focus the day, a unifying message reflected in your marketing and the topics covered by your keynote speakers. For example, NET XP Events specialise in networking, with sub-themes such as marketing and technology, and their conferences are popular with smaller businesses.
Get a Room
Choosing where to host your event is one of the first tasks and allow up to a year for planning as decent venues get booked up. Consider your catering requirements and make sure the hire fee is within budget. A large conference, aimed at major corporates, needs a slick venue to match, while smaller, less showy spaces opens the expo to a wider variety of companies – and budgets.
Master the Marketing
Your event is only successful if the target audience knows about it. Utilise the free platform of social media and include direct links for the purchase of tickets, and / or stand space. Boost your promotion budget by securing sponsors, just check that interested parties are aligned with the topic of the conference – e.g. don’t partner with a bottled water company for a sustainable business event!
Spot on Speakers
Who you book as a keynote speaker is crucial. Try to secure a well-known figure early on, whose business experience reflects the theme of the event. This will enhance your expo’s credibility and help with promotion, while attracting high-calibre delegates and other speakers who are happy to share the stage.
Have an Agenda
As the event approaches, think about what your attendees are expecting and create the agenda. You want a smooth-running programme to engage and inspire, and a mix of small workshops and big presentations is a great way to communicate lots of information. On the day, I have an excellent support team and we try to prepare for every possible issue and niggle.
Get in touch with attendees and exhibitors as soon as possible after the event and ask for feedback– positive and negative. These valuable insights will improve your future event experience and there are several free online survey templates to facilitate this. And don’t forget to thank your keynote speakers, support team and venue staff to help build your solid network of contacts going forward.
*The next NET XP conference is the West Sussex Tech Expo on June 13th, hosted at Butlins in Bognor Regis (https://www.netxp.co.uk/events.html).
Interested in hosting your own conference? Contact Love Luxury – The Event Maker and see how we can work together.