“How far in advance do I need to start planning this?” is probably the most common question I get asked by clients, and the one they are least happy to hear the answer to.
People seem to believe that you just book a venue, tell people about it a week before, and you’ll get 100 people through the door, no problem.
In fact, the smallest amount of time you should ever allow for planning an event is two to three months – and that’s a very strict minimum!
The squeeze factor here is advertising. How long will attendees need to know about the event before they make the decision to come?
For a simple free evening event, this may only be a month or so. But for any sort of great investment in time or energy, the time you need to allow could be up to a year, or perhaps even longer for especially busy periods of the year, such as Christmas and the holidays.
And few people are likely to plan to attend the first time they hear about an event. The majority will need to hear about the event multiple times before they commit to attending and take the next actions: booking tickets, putting it in their diary, etc.
Remember, this is the just amount of time you need to be advertising for. Before this point, you need to have all of the essential details – when, where, ticket prices, and relevant motivations to attend such as key speakers, catering or entertainment – nailed down and ready to be broadcasted. You need to have your marketing material prepared, your event webpage sorted; in fact, as much of the event should be in place as possible before you start spreading the word.
So how long should you take to plan an event? It depends completely on the event type and the amount of commitment that will be required from your guests. If at all in doubt, add a few more weeks. Trust me – when the day comes around, you won’t be wishing for less time!
Note: this blog post originally featured on www.socialquirk.co.uk.