Published Oct 10th, 2023 by Nicolas Zenker
Are you organizing an event? With the right preparation, you can successfully attract an audience, impress attendees, and foster lasting relationships.
Effective event communication is a key part of meeting these goals. You need a way of conveying important information—for example, what’s the timeline of your event, and who are the speakers?
In other words, you need an event communication plan. This must be thorough, addressing every aspect of the big day.
Need help figuring out where to start? Then lucky you! In this article, we’ll outline the necessary steps for building the perfect plan.
Think of all the steps in the lifecycle of an event – don’t panic, we know there are a LOT. Before it starts, preparation must begin, and much of this involves communicating with your audience.
Even after the event has occurred, this is still important. You want to know what attendees thought of your event and whether they ran into any problems.
A comprehensive event communication plan takes into account the before, during, and after, providing a framework for communicating. It not only outlines the methods and channels to use but the kinds of information you’ll be sharing.
There’s no denying the importance of running successful events. As many as 88% of event marketers say that in-person events are critical to their company.
Often, when a customer comes across your business, they’ll quickly forget about you. Whether they buy a product or not, they’ll move on to other things that interest them more. An event can be a great way to engage existing and future customers and boost retention.
But to stay in the minds of your buyers and produce happy customers, you specifically need to run a successful event. Without planning, however, you’ll struggle to communicate the information you need to. You might even end up forgetting certain key steps.
If guests feel they haven’t received the right information to get the most out of the event, they’re unlikely to form the best impression.
As mentioned, a communication plan should cover the three stages of an event: before, during, and after. Let’s look at some of the elements you should include for each of these.
Strong communication before an event is essential. First things first, you want to ensure people are aware of it. If you don’t communicate your event to a large enough audience, you won’t have enough attendees to make it a success.
This means considering the communication methods you use to get in touch. These might include email, calling on a virtual phone number, posting on social media, or a combination of different methods.
Once you’ve notified customers, you can begin thinking about other key pre-event stages, such as:
Notifying guests about an event is only part of the work you’ll need to put in. To keep them interested, you should also communicate key information about the day. This should include:
Invitations aren’t always necessary—you can leave your audience to register interest themselves. But a formal invitation does go some way toward making them feel special. Instead of suggesting they come to your event, you’re asking them. Creating a sense of value and importance increases the chances they’ll show up.
A formal invitation can take many forms. If you want it to suggest a premium experience, for example, you could send a high-quality letter, crafted from materials such as vellum or parchment. Of course, this is a more expensive option, and if you want to keep costs low, an email can be just as effective.
Whatever method you choose, try to create a positive impression. This is an opportunity to sell your event by highlighting some of its most exciting aspects.
Make sure you create an attractive signup page for collecting RSVPs too.
As time marches on, people might forget about your upcoming event. This is especially true if there are a few months between your invitation and the big day. A series of gentle reminders can be an effective way to ensure they remember to attend.
Be careful how you approach these. Constant emails saying ‘Don’t forget our event’ can become annoying. You might even put people off from coming. A more subtle way of reminding guests is by sending updates about the day.
For example, instead of announcing all your speakers at once, you can steadily roll out information. This helps keep people engaged and ensures they don’t forget your event is coming up.
The big day has now arrived. Your guests are in attendance, and it’s your job to make sure things go smoothly. Effective communication is critical.
Remember, there are two key forms of communication on the day. These are internal communication, where you share information with your team, and external communication, which entails spreading the word to customers. Staying on top of both aspects is vital.
Be sure to include the following areas in the ‘during’ section of your plan.
As soon as your guests arrive, it’s important to give them the information they need to settle in. One way to do this is by offering programs. These should welcome guests to your event, as well as list the running order of speakers. It’s a good idea to include contact information so your guests can stay in touch with you after the event.
Again, if you’re looking to reduce costs, a welcome email can serve as an alternative method of communication.
Things can change a lot on the day of the event. An important speaker might suddenly drop out, or other unexpected scenarios could cause disruption. In these situations, strong communication between teams is essential.
Your staff need to know how to handle a sudden change in arrangements, so consider different ways teams member can stay in touch on the day. For instance, you might use group messaging software so everyone is kept in the loop.
It’s also a good idea to make a plan regarding how you’ll notify attendees about any changes. For example, emailing guests to let them know about alterations to your itinerary.
Strong communication requires having the right people on your team, so make sure you employ staff that complement the wider culture of your company and can adapt to change without losing their heads. A CRM for recruiters can help you find people that are a good fit.
The event is done—but that doesn’t mean communication should be over. If you want customers to remember you and stay in touch, dialogue needs to continue.
Let’s look at some post-event areas you might want to include in your event communication plan.
A simple ‘thank you’ might seem basic, but it can leave a lasting impression on your audience. Your thank you message doesn’t have to be long. Be concise, and remind attendees about some of the highlights of the day with an event recap.
Be sure to thank your guest speakers too—you want them to come to any future events you hold.
Finally, show recognition to your team for their hard work.
How well did your event really go? The only way to find out is by asking your guests. Surveys can be a fantastic way of gathering quick feedback.
When compiling your survey, try to cover different aspects of your event. Ask about your choice of venue, communication before, during, and after the event, choice of speakers, etc. The more in-depth the feedback you receive is, the more effectively you’ll be able to improve future events.
Alternatively, you can contact customers directly. If you choose this approach, it’s best to pick a method that guarantees clear communication. For example, you might use a VoIP phone service.
As technology improves, more and more organizers are opting for virtual events. In fact, as many as 81% of event managers say they now host these. Just like their in-person counterparts, virtual events require a communication plan.
Many of the steps will be the same. The only real difference is the technology you’ll rely on to hold your event.
For example, what software will guests need to download to attend (e.g. Zoom)? And what tech will you need to invest in to successfully share information with remote teams (for instance, an eFax app)?
In addition to these considerations, if you’re running a virtual event, it’s also worth exploring communication tools like Shopify Live Chat Apps to provide real-time support and engagement with attendees throughout the virtual event.
Shopify live apps are a great asset when it comes to organizing virtual events. They offer a fantastic way to improve the event management process, boost engagement, and create a better experience for both organizers and attendees. Plus, attendees can easily buy tickets or register right from the Shopify store, making everything run seamlessly.
On top of that, these apps work seamlessly with marketing tools, allowing event organizers to run email campaigns, social media promotions, and other ads to reach a broader audience and spread the word about the virtual event effectively.
Events can be a great way to connect with your audience. They allow you to cement future relationships and build brand loyalty. But if they go wrong, it can have the opposite effect, so to keep customers happy, communication is key.
If you follow the suggestions in this article, you can develop a comprehensive and effective event communication plan to help the big day go smoothly. This should not only cover before, during, and after the event but prepare you for the unexpected.
End any event-related concerns and build an event communication plan that sets you up for success.