6 Social Media Tips to Sell More Event Tickets
by Dan McCarthy on

tickets

So you got an impending conference to plan; where do you start? Social media is a good place to begin to start selling some tickets. Your social network channels, in fact, are a more valuable resource than you realize. If used right, you just might be able to fill every seat. That means more awareness and consumer conversion for your brand.

1. Facebook Ads

Sure, Facebook ads cost money, but as the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Facebook Ads is one of the best places to start. For best results, really take advantage of the “interest” setting, which is a great way to confine your ads to your demographic.

Your ads can be further confined based on factors like work, language, gender, and so on. The narrower you can tighten your demographic the better. It also means you are more likely to get more clicks that result in a conversion. This is very important since you are being charged by the click or by the impression depending on the option you choose.

2. Create a Memorable Hashtag

Why use hashtags at all? First of all, they ensure your tweets and other social media posts become a trend. Those unfamiliar with the hashtag can also click on it to see all other posts containing the same hashtag, thus learn about your event.

Your hashtag needs to meet two requirements: it has to be clear and short. A bit of compromise might be required to strike a fine balance between clarity and brevity.

Take the hashtag #MalibuRealEstateConference2016. Is it clear? You bet. Just by looking at it, you know immediately that it’s a conference about real estate in Malibu. However, the hashtag is also awfully long. How might you shorten it?

How about #MREConf? It’s just the right length, but it’s not clear, is it? Most people won’t be able to determine what it is just by looking at it. So how about #MalibuRealEstateConf? It’s just right. Find the middle ground between length and being concise.

3. Start a Contest

Start some form of social media contest with plenty of giveaways. Contests are effective because they promote engagement through a fun activity. There are various social media contests you can hold, though it’s recommended that you keep it simple. Here are a few ideas:

  • Supply an existing pic related to your event and have participants come up with a funny and promotional caption.
  • Have participants submit their own selfies, which they will then edit using a number of company and event-related images.
  • Word jumbles using phrases pertaining to your event
  • A short response contest. If your company is a hotel, for example, then participants can, in 100 words or less, explain why they would choose your lodging over the competitors.

Be sure that everyone who participates gets a prize, such as a higher value swag item available for pickup at the event. Winners and top performers, though, should be awarded with a free ticket or two.

4. Get Your Sponsors Involved

No, it’s not out of the way to request your sponsors to get involved in the marketing. Sponsors, after all, benefit just as much as you do from a successful event. Sponsors also likely have a larger social media following than you do. Make it a joint effort.

Consider collaboration work, such as guest posting for each other’s blogs and extending the same offers to one another’s social network followers. Consider, for instance, extending the same early bird sales offers, buy-2-get-1-free deals, or whatever special offer you have for your own followers.

5. Implement Referral-Based Rewards

Why do all the ticket selling yourself when you have an army of followers that can help you along the way? It doesn’t have to be a one-man job. Your followers will be happy to help along if there’s something in it for them. This is why you should have an affiliate program with a reward system in place. Utilize a tier-based system to encourage participants to reach higher milestones.

An example of a tier-based rewards program may include:

  • 5 referrals – free 6-month magazine subscription
  • 10 referrals – free 1-year magazine subscription
  • 20 referrals – free VIP ticket for you and three members of your party

6. Use the Scarcity Tactic

Emphasize that tickets are limited and can be sold out any minute. Also point out that it’s a first-come-first-serve basis, so attendees should immediately purchase their tickets right away to guarantee their spot.

To really make your point, add a widget on your main social media event page that shows the number of remaining tickets, which changes in real time whenever a ticket is sold. You can also routinely send out tweets letting followers know the number of tickets sold and how many remains.

This will convey a sense of urgency especially for procrastinators. You should also encourage sponsors and affiliates to push the same scarcity narrative in their posts.

Social Media Is Your Biggest Ally

Social media provides a wealth of tools for selling your tickets. You just have to take advantage of these diverse resources rather than just treat social networks as a place for reading and exchanging short posts.

Author Bio
McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.

5 Tips for Organizing a Successful Interactive Conference
by Dan McCarthy on

The conference is basically the bread and butter of the whole event. The conference is what most of the attendees came for. If the presentation or lecture bombs, then you can expect negative feedback and potentially a decreased turnout the next time you have an event.

For a successful conference, you have to make it interactive rather than just having the speaker talk the whole time. Here’s 5 ways to ensure the audience becomes active participants rather than passive listeners.

1. Don’t Leave Out the Q&A

Lectures hardly end as scheduled. It’s common for speakers to go a few minutes over, resulting in the Q&A session being curtailed or canceled altogether. It’s very important that the speaker takes questions from the audience. This gives attendees the sense that the presenter is accessible and not just some speaker that’s just doing what he’s paid to do.

Set aside at least 15 minutes to take questions from the audience. If the conference is being streamed, and it should be, then you should also answer questions from a remote audience submitting enquiries via social media.

Also keep in mind that Q&As don’t necessarily have to be held off until the end. In fact, it’s recommended that you divide the Q&A into two sessions. If the lecture is particularly long, like an hour or more, then have a 10-minute Q&A at the 30-minute mark and another at the end.

2. Make It an Edutainment Session

hans rosling

Photo: McMaster

Who says learning moments can’t also be fun? Even if you have a charismatic speaker, if the conference drags on for hours, then even the most attentive listeners are going to zone out. A good way to keep the audience engaged is through a comedic speaker that can provide educational material while also eliciting laughter.

It can be tricky to find a speaker that is knowledgeable in your field that also has a propensity for making people laugh, but it’s worth the effort to find such a person. When an audience is engaged, they’ll be more inclined to ask questions, volunteer for demonstrations, etc.

Here’s a video of business speaker and edutainer Mark Sanborn during one of his leadership conferences.

3. Hire a Professional Moderator

There should be a moderator to keep the speaker on track. The moderator’s role is more important than most people realize. The person assigned this role has big responsibilities that include but not limited to:

  • Introducing the speaker
  • Making sure the speaker stays on schedule
  • Informs the speaker to move onto the next topic
  • Facilitates the Q&A
  • Collects questions asked via social media
  • Announces intermissions

A good moderator also interjects when audience members are speaking over one another, or calls for a brief break if the audience appears listless. The person needs to be cognizant of attendee reaction and act accordingly.

The role of moderator is tougher than it looks, which is why you should consider hiring a professional rather than designating the job to a staffer.

4. Incorporate Technology

Technology is always a good way to encourage participation in more ways than one. One way is to incorporate an event app where the audience can take a poll, in which the results will show up on a slide as it’s presented in real time.

Another method is to add a social media wall. Encourage the audience to tweet their questions, which will appear on the wall. There will likely be some questions that come up more than once. These are the questions that can be taken and answered in detail.

If the conference is being streamed, then you can ask those watching remotely to submit their questions in the form of a video. This adds a bit more depth to the Q&A as you can associate a face with the question.

5. Campfire Sessions

Campfire sessions are ideal for smaller groups and is recommended if there’s less than 20 people. These are more informal with the speaker taking more of a facilitating role rather than that of a lecturer. These can also be set in a more laid-back environment like a lounge or outside the venue. With these type of sessions, the speaker kick starts the topic to get the ball rolling. Others will then freely jump in to add their own input. Even if you have a large audience, you can opt to hold multiple campfire sessions divided into smaller groups.

Alternatively, if multiple presenters are available, and there’s enough venue space, then you can eschew the conference altogether and instead hold the campfire sessions in a workshop setting. If the session is being live-streamed, then you can even have several members join the discussion through a tool like Google Hangouts. Just be sure that the total number of attendees – both live and remote – doesn’t become too large.

Make It a Two-Way Interaction

There will be a sense of separation between speaker and audience if all the former does is speak nonstop. There has to be an outlet for the attendees to become active participants in some shape or form.

Author Bio
McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.

7 Last Minute Conference Event Promotion Strategies
by Dan McCarthy on

last minute

Obviously, you want to get a head start on the marketing for your upcoming conference. Even so, you can change things up last minute if ticket sales are faring poorly.

Even with only a week or two left before the event, you can still put together a sound strategy that elevates your brand.

1. Create a Special Offer

If tickets are still aplenty as the conference date nears, you can try putting into place a special offer of some kind. There are your typical buy-2-get-1-free or buy-1-get-one-half-off type of offers. Of course, you’ll lose some revenue since some tickets are being sold at a fraction of the price or given for free.

However, it should increase overall sales. It also ensures more seats are filled at the event, which also equals more attendees to cater your latest offerings to.

These deals should also be extended to those who already purchased their ticket. If you’re offering a buy-2-get-one-free special, for instance, then those who already bought two tickets weeks prior will receive a free ticket. Those who already purchased their ticket shouldn’t feel like they are being penalized for being an early bird buyer.

2. Create a Contest

Host some type of contest with a ticket as the winning prize. Common social network contests include a picture that you submit that participants then have to edit in some way, such as by adding a caption or photo shopping it to make it funny.

Another idea is to hold a “fastest answer” contest via Twitter. This is especially a good idea if you’re hosting some form of live webinar, which by the way, is another great last minute promotion idea in itself. After the webinar, begin asking questions to test whether listeners have been listening. Have participants tweet the answer; the person to answer the most questions first and correctly is the winner.

If you want to keep it simple yet effective, then just make the contest a sweepstakes. Have participants do something for you, such as like your conference event page or use the event hashtag a certain number of times to be entered into a random drawing for a free ticket.

3. Give the Ticket More Value

Make the ticket really worth its weight. Instead of just being good for entry to your conference, you can also give it value in some other shape or form. You can, for instance, include a serial number on the stub, which is good for an online discount purchase after the event.

Similarly, the ticket can also be good for a teleseminar held before or after the event, which ticket buyers can access by entering their ticket’s registration number. Add some type of complementary material or benefit both before and after the event to give attendees the most bang for their buck.

4. Hype the Event on Social Media

This one is so obvious that it shouldn’t even have to be mentioned. However, social media is so underutilized. Too many people only use social media for sending posts, and they only stick to the primary ones like Facebook and Twitter.

You have to be more diverse than that. Expand your social network presence by also including lesser utilized sites like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Google Plus. There are also a number of niche-specific social networks as well, not to mention numerous blogs where you might be able to submit a post as a guest contributor.

You should also get your own followers to help you along the way. Encourage them to use the event hashtag as much as possible and to get the word out.

5. Employ the Scarcity Tactic

When hosting an event on Facebook, invitees can click an icon to mark their status, namely whether they’re attending, not attending, or “maybe.” The people in the “maybe” category is a segment you really want to target when selling last minute tickets. These people are still on the fences. The scarcity tactic may help them make up their mind.

Include in your event page that tickets are scarce and that only a few remain. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. You can even embed a counter showing the number of ticket remaining, with that number ticking down whenever a ticket is sold.

When people realize that there is a possibility of missing out by procrastinating, then they would be more likely to immediately purchase a ticket even if still debating to themselves about attending.

6. Get Sponsors Involved

Some event planners are hesitant about asking sponsors for promotional help. They have this idea that doing so would somehow rub the sponsors the wrong way.

Remember, though, that sponsors want the event to be successful just as much as you do because it means more exposure for them.

Sponsors also likely have a larger client base than you do, so they can reach out to a larger audience than you can. Whatever specials you have for your followers, be sure to extend it to your sponsor’s followers. This includes invites for social media contests, webinars, and so on.

7. Get Active on Discussion Forums

Are forums considered social media? That’s up for debate, and it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that they are an excellent hub for reaching out to an untapped audience. While it’s true that discussion forums are kind of dying out, there are still plenty of people who participate in them on a daily basis. Just do a Google search to find forums within your niche.

Becoming a member, though, doesn’t give you a license to start promoting your conference right off the bat. If the forum is being moderated, there is a good chance you will be immediately barred. Contribute first by starting your own threads or replying to existing ones where you have an answer or can lend valuable input. Once you become a familiar member, then you may mention your upcoming conference in passing.

It’s Never Too Late

There’s always time to promote your conference even if you only have weeks or days as opposed to months. You might have to modify your methods a bit, but doing so will mean selling a few extra tickets that otherwise would have gone unused.

Author Bio
McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.

BusyConf Partners with InGo to Integrate Advocate Marketing Into Its Platform
by BusyConf on

gears

Louisville, CO/Arlington, VA/London, UK - (September 9, 2015) - Ryan McGeary, Founder of BusyConf and Michael Barnett, CEO of InGo announced today that they have signed an agreement making BusyConf an official InGo Growth Partner. BusyConf, the simple conference management software platform, will now offer InGo’s social media advocate marketing software suite as a fully integrated option on their conference management system.

INGO’S SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING SOLUTION TO BE OFFERED ON THE BUSYCONF CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

This partnership will mean that BusyConf customers will be able to seamlessly install the InGo widgets for their events with a simple cut and paste ID entry; no code installation required.

“Integrating InGo into our platform will allow our clients to tap into the power of social media to grow their events through the most effective kind of marketing: word-of-mouth buzz created by Advocates,” said McGeary. “We are so pleased to add this ground-breaking tool to the BusyConf tool box for event planners.”

“BusyConf is our first advanced integration Growth Partner,” said Barnett. “InGo is so pleased to be entering a partnership that is driving innovation forward in the events industry.”

You can now experience the power of InGo on BusyConf with a demo integration event. Check it out here.

About BusyConf - BusyConf is the only application with its unique set of conference workflows that makes conference planning easy. We aim to empower both organizers and attendees to make the most out of the limited time they have. We do this by making it easy for organizers to collect the information they need from speakers and easier for attendees to access this information. From finding speakers by issuing a call for proposals to selling tickets and creating a schedule that works for all attendees, BusyConf helps organizers make their conferences better; better for themselves and better for attendees.

About InGo – InGo is a social media advocate marketing company that empowers event organizers and attendees. InGo serves the largest event companies in the world such as Reed Exhibitions, Emerald Expositions, Messe Frankfurt, Fiera Milano and UBM. InGo provides event marketing solutions for varied industries such as tech, fashion, construction, media, film and more across the globe. It has been in business since 2013 and has served over 200 events of all sizes in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Columbia, Nigeria, Turkey, Japan, China and Russia. Discover how InGo can grow your event at http://regdemo.ingo.me.

Contact
Ryan McGeary
sales@busyconf.com
571-293-6719
http://busyconf.com

Source
BusyConf
###

Conference Planning: 4 Things You Need to Know about Ticket Pricing
by Osman Sheikh on

tickets

Knowing how to price event tickets is one of the hardest, and most important, parts of planning an event. Aim too high and you can end up with an empty venue. Too low, and your event might not be able to cover costs. Pricing strategy is very complicated, but at its most basic, good pricing is affordable, sustainable, and justifiable.

Here are 4 things you need to know about ticket pricing.

1. Sponsorships for profit

Most large events use proceeds from ticket sales to cover costs, and then use sponsorship money to make a profit.

Corporate sponsors are willing to pay a lot of money to get in front of the right audience. If your event sells a sponsorship for 5 thousand dollars, not an unusual price for a sponsorship, and your average ticket costs 50 dollars, you would have to sell 100 tickets to make as much as you would from one sponsorship.

It is considerably easier to sell your event to a handful of sponsors than to hundreds of attendees. Price your event based on costs and the number of tickets available, then rely on sponsorships to make your event profitable.

Learn how to create a sponsorship prospectus that works.

2. Who is paying for the tickets?

Many large conferences and events sell tickets for hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. While it may seem like people are willing to pay that much to attend events, this is usually not the case.

Event organizers for events such as TechMentor, an annual technology conference, know that their attendees are not the ones paying for their tickets, their employers are. Large companies are willing to pay high prices to send their employees to events because they have a sizable budget allocated to employee education.

If you know that most attendees at your event have their expenses paid by their employers, then you can charge higher prices for tickets. If not, try and keep your ticket prices affordable.

3. Price anchoring

Price anchoring is the psychological tactic of placing higher priced items next to similar, but lower priced, items in order to increase sales of the lower priced item.

For events, price anchoring can come in the form of tiered ticketing, discounting, and time sensitive pricing.

Having tiered ticketing can increase revenue from events by allowing you to sell high priced tickets to those who want them, while still keeping ticket prices affordable for everyone else. Besides a regular ticket, you can have a premium ticket that includes things like a recording of the event, access to workshops, and other benefits.

Discounts for students, academics, members of the military, and other special groups can help your event cover costs while still remaining affordable. Give discount codes to attendees that add value to your event, but might not be able to pay full price for tickets.

A time sensitive pricing strategy can be used to sell more tickets from the start Conference management software like BusyConf allows event organizers to price tickets based on purchase date. Create early bird tickets for people who register before a certain day to encourage early registrations and create late registration tickets for price anchoring to make buying regular tickets more appealing.

4. Social proof

Social proof is a psychological term for when people look at the actions and opinions of others, especially those who hold influence, in order to decide their own actions.

Social proof can be used to justify your event’s ticket prices and show potential attendees that your event is credible. Gather testimonials from past attendees by emailing them or through social media and add it to your website. If your event’s speakers are influential, use their names as social proof by name dropping them on your registration page. Using sponsor logos can also help your event gain credibility.

5 Ways to Apply Lean Startup Principles to Conference Planning
by Osman Sheikh on

Conference Speaker

Startups, small businesses designed to grow extraordinarily fast, are known for making a lot happen with very little resources. Facebook, now a public company worth over 100 billion dollars, began in a college dorm room, while SnapChat, also started by college students, is now worth almost 10 billion dollars.

Many startups follow the Lean Startup philosophy, a business methodology focused on experimentation. By applying lean startup principles to conference planning, organizers can save money, move fast, and make a big impact.

Here are 5 ways to apply lean startup principles to conference planning.

1. Start small

Startups often start as nothing more than websites with some text. These websites are known as pre-launch landing pages and are used to measure interest in the startup and gain early customers before they have a product.

Event planners can do the same by creating pre-launch landing pages for their events even before finding speakers, a venue, or sponsors. Services like LaunchRock allow you to set up a basic pre-launch landing page in very little time with no technical skills.

Once startups have a basic product ready, they often start testing it with a small group of early customers. This is known as beta testing. The beta version of a startup is oftentimes low quality. Betas are used to test new ideas and get feedback from real people.

For conference planners, a beta can be a smaller event like a Meetup or even a small virtual event. The goal of a conference is to bring people together for the purposes of learning and networking. Blog posts, videos, and social networks can be used to accomplish the same goal, so conference planners can use these tools to create a beta version of their conference.

2. Stick to the essentials

Startups are known for being scrappy and efficient. If a company like Facebook can start in a dorm room, then your event probably does not need all the bells and whistles that conferences are known for.

People attend events to learn and network. If you have high quality speakers and an environment that facilitates attendee interaction and learning, everything else is unessential. Things like conference swag, goodie bags for attendees, and cool technology can certainly enhance your attendees’ experience at your event, but unless you have a big budget or are expecting a lot of revenue, stick to the essentials.

3. Talk to your attendees

Customer development is a Lean Startup strategy that helps startups build something that people actually want. By constantly talking to their customers and asking them for feedback, startups can ensure that they are on the right path.

By talking to either your attendees from a previous event or anyone who expressed interest in your event, you too can unlock valuable insights. Talk to attendees about their expectations for your event, what they liked and did not like about previous events they have attended, and more. Try to involve attendees in the conference planning process as much as you can.

4. Be innovative

It is very clear that startups are not afraid to be innovative and do things differently.

Constant innovation is what helped Facebook stand out from other social networks like MySpace and FriendFeed. Facebook’s initial strategy of opening up their social network to students at specific colleges, one at a time, was considered crazy. What kind of social network would intentionally limit the number of users they can acquire?

This strategy proved to be one of Facebook’s smartest moves during their early years. By launching only in specific colleges, their small team was able to focus more and the exclusivity of the social network led to a lot of word-of-mouth.

If you want to organize a conference or plan an event that is better than average, then you too will have to embrace innovation. Most conferences follow a similar format and never deviate from the norm. Trying new things can help your event stand out. Embrace new technologies such as live streaming. Use Twitter to live tweet your conference. Record your entire event and put it online for free, or sell it as an extra source of revenue. There are endless possibilities for conference organizers trying to innovate.

5. Measure everything

Facebook tracks every single interaction you have with their social network. Facebook knows how much time you spent on their website, what days and times you are most active, who you talk to the most, and they can even predict major life events like buying a home.

Facebook uses the data to make better decisions with their product. By understanding how people use Facebook, they can find ways to make the experience better.

As a conference organizer, you too can start collecting data and put it to use to make your event better. Use survey tools like TypeForm to get qualitative feedback on things like your event’s format, its speakers, the venue, and more. Then use this data to improve next year’s event. You can also use your event registration tool to ask attendees for information like job title and location. This information can be used to find relevant speakers and a good venue location.

Do You Make These Conference Mistakes?
by Jeremy on

Mistakes

For someone who has never planned a conference, it might seem like a pretty easy task – book a venue, invite the guests, make sure there’s entertainment, food and you’re all good, right?

Well, as soon as you start to actually taking steps to organizing the event, you will probably see just how many hurdles need to be overcome in order for the event to go smoothly – for someone without the necessary experience it might even turn out to be a task too difficult to accomplish.

But even those who plan events for a living often find themselves making mistakes that can even ruin the entire conference. Some of these mistakes might not even seem that bad, but when they do occur they can even ruin the event. So here are some of the often overlooked mistakes that should be avoided:

1. Not Enough Space

It’s no secret just how competitive the event planning industry is, and so event planners try to squeeze as much out of every dollar in their budget as possible, which sometimes means they’ll try to cram the event into a venue that is not sufficient in space.

This, of course, leads to a lot of problems – when big crowds of people gather to one place, every detail must be planned for the event to remain orderly and organized. And when there’s not sufficient space for fitting the audience comfortably, feeding, registering and seating them, then you can be certain that you’re setting yourself up for disastrous outcomes.

Make sure there’s plenty of space for everyone – the venue is usually the cornerstone of the entire event, so it’s wise to plan a little extra space, just in case.

2. Poor Communication with Client

It’s a constant striving for the optimum balance when consulting with your client about the event – on one hand, it’s his event so you need to make sure you plan it to his preferences, but on the other hand you are the professional and you hold the responsibility for the events’ success, so you must sometimes take a stand where you think that the clients’ vision is not in the best interests of the event.

A good idea is to maintain constant contact and discuss the options before making any final decisions – this way compromises can be found and the event will both represent the clients’ wants and be successful.

3. No Wi-Fi

Now this might seem like not that big a deal, but in todays’ world that is so reliant on the web, not having internet available for all the guests can have a very negative impact. And especially for a business event, it’s crucial to have Wi-Fi – whether it’s for video presentations, communications or one of many other reasons.

Also, most people nowadays have phones on which they also like to surf the web, Tweet about the event or share pictures through social media. All of these activities can play a significant role in the perceived success of the event, so for the sake of your reputation as an event planner, take the little time needed to ensure that the venue has a proper internet connection.

4. Not Giving Credit to Others

Just as in any profession, you will most likely not be doing everything yourself – there’s just so much that comes into event planning, all the way from finding new clients to the finishing touches on the event itself, that there’s probably always plenty of people that deserve a proper thank you for their help. Do not forget the people that play a role in your success – even a simple call or card thanking them for the assistance can go a long way to establishing a lasting relationship which can reap you benefits for years.

All the suppliers, event staff, advertisers and anyone else who contributed deserve appreciation – remember, they are all also professionals in their field, so if you have a chance, help them out as well. A strong net of mutually beneficial relationships can help you stand out from your competition in the event planning market,which can ultimately be the deciding factor for the growth and success of your event planning business.

Author Bio
Jeremy is a content strategist at A List Guide, a part of Intermedia Group, one of the most comprehensive & targeted B2B publishing network in Australia. A List Guide is a stylish and comprehensive online and print directory listing the best venues, event suppliers and team-building activities in each state and territory of Australia.

Returning to BusyConf for another Summer
by Daniel Ackerman on

new mindset, new result

The day after I stopped working for BusyConf last summer, I was on the road to college. Since then, something has been missing. Even if I didn’t make any entrepreneurial decisions at BusyConf, I missed the ambitious, competitive, high-tech atmosphere. At school, I had to create my own passion for success, and keep up my programming skills with daily practice. In contrast, that was a given by just arriving at work before. At BusyConf, I was given the opportunity to challenge myself and improve myself with useful technology skills, but at school, I was graded on my ability to regurgitate words from my textbooks.

Although I allowed for some of the programming skills I learned at BusyConf to slide, many of them made my life at school easier. The skills I gained with the Mac, and software suggestions from Ryan (such as Evernote), allowed me to power through my classes easily. Advantageously, I have archived notes from all of my classes. My programming classes were somewhat boring at times, but towards the end of my second semester, I saw a chance to effectively use GitHub on a final project. My roommate (Richard) and I built a visual binary search tree program in Java. Ryan indirectly taught me about formatting a GitHub page, and working in a team last summer. If Ryan had not shown me how to use GitHub last summer, I would not have been able to build a project nearly as complex. The project was such a success that our professor, Dr. Siochi, asked if he could use it next year to teach students about binary search trees.

College hasn’t been all that bad, but I think it was the absence of BusyConf from my week that made it seem mundane. This summer I am looking forward to working on more inherently interesting projects for BusyConf. I think I will accomplish more in the next 3 months than the last 9. My goal for this summer is to understand web development enough that I can start building websites. My new found confidence with the command line, general knowledge of Ruby, a little bit more web know-how, and of course working at BusyConf, will all help me to achieve my goal.

How to Plan a Conference - The Big List of Conference Planning Resources
by Osman Sheikh on

Conference Planning Tools

Planning a conference is hard. There’s no doubt about it.

Being a part of BusyConf and helping conference organizers take their event from idea to launch has shown me that this is true. One of the difficult parts of planning a conference is finding resources to help you organize your event that are affordable, or even free. To save you time when searching for resources, we have compiled a list of conference planning resources that can help you find a venue, book speakers, promote your event, and more.

Finding a Venue

Finding and booking a venue can be a stressful experience, especially for first-time conference organizers. Renting a venue is often the biggest cost involved when planning a conference. These tools make finding and booking venues in your area simpler and cheaper.

  • Meetings.com - A venue search engine where most venues are hotels, convention centers, and other large venues for professional meetings.
  • EventUp - Unlike Meetings.com, EventUp consists of venues ranging from hotels to private residences and small businesses.
  • VenueSpot - VenueSpot is a venue directory that lets event organizers submit requests based on the number of attendees they expect, venue type, and other attributes. Local venues can then send you offers based on your event details.
  • #tagvenue - The UK’s fastest growing venue search engine.
  • Local college venues

Booking Speakers

Speakers can make or break your event. Finding speakers starts with your own network, but these tools help you find speakers on any topic and in any location. Read our other blog post on finding speakers for a more in-depth guide.

  • National Speakers Association Directory - Find professional speakers who are members of the National Speakers Association or it’s local chapters.
  • SpeakerMatch - A search engine for event speakers. Find speakers based on area of expertise, budget, and location. You can also post speaker jobs.
  • Leading Authorities Speaker List - A directory of keynote speakers for specific topics.
  • Lanyrd Speaker Directory - A directory of speakers, both professionals and hobbyists, who have spoken at conferences in the past. You can even view information about talks they delivered at other conferences.
  • WikiCFP - An open directory of open conference call for papers. Submit your conference’s CFP to people interested in speaking.
  • eSpeakers - A marketplace for professional speakers. Submit jobs or browse speakers to find the right one.

Promoting your Event

Promoting your event can be difficult, especially on a budget. These directories and search engines are used by potential attendees to find events worth attending. Submit your event for exposure and free promotion.

  • Lanyrd - A social conference directory. Submit your conference for people to find.
  • AllConferences - A comprehensive directory of conferences spanning many topics and locations.
  • BusyConf Booster - A service we offer that helps conferences increase attendance through targeted marketing. Marketing can be a major challenge for conference organizers. The BusyConf Booster package can help eliminate your fears of empty seats and save you time and money when trying to promote your event.
  • Confevent - Another conference directory that offers advertising spots to conferences.
  • 10Times Conference Directory - A conference search engine for finding conferences based on industry and location.
  • Conference Hound - A tool for finding the best conferences and conference speakers.
  • Nature Events Directory - A directory of science and nature events.
  • Conference Alerts - An open database of conferences.
  • Bvents - A large database of business events, venues, and organizers.

Event Sponsorship, Fundraising, and Budgeting

Events are expensive, and without enough sponsorship money and a thorough budget, your plans might just fail due to a lack of funds. Finding sponsors is something that a lot of first time organizers struggle with. These resources will help you raise money for your event, find sponsors, and create a budget.

Social Media for Events

Social media should be a big part of your event marketing and event engagement strategy. These tools help you use social media to engage attendees, find influencers, and make your event more memorable.

  • TintUp - A tool for creating Twitter walls and social feeds.
  • Tweet-tag - Monitor your conference’s hashtag in real-time and find influencers.
  • Tweetbe.at ListManager - An easy way to create and manage Twitter lists. Create lists of attendees, speakers, and organizers.
  • Canva - A super simple tool for creating good looking graphics without being a professional designer.
  • Storify - Create social media stories from posts on Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks.
  • Eventifier - Archive event media from social media posts.

Beginners and seasoned event planners alike can always benefit from more information, especially as it pertains to social media for event promotion. Learn the tricks-of-the-trade so that you are ahead of the fray as you plan that next event or conference for your company or client. Let this Complete Guide to Social Media Promotion for Events be your bible as you seek to generate interest and hype using the latest tools available on the most popular social network channels.

Event Equipment

Equipment rentals are almost as stressful as finding a venue. Renting equipment is often expensive and time consuming. If your event needs complex audio and visual equipment, renting and setting it up can be difficult. these services help event organizers find and set up equipment.

  • Restin Chairs - Rent lounge equipment for your event, including branded experiences like mobile charging stations and social media centers.
  • LBI A/V - Experienced in building audio/visual solutions for events and conferences.
  • Alliant Events - Rent audio, visual, and lighting equipment for your event.

Next page

Page 1 of 7

Subscribe to the Hallway Track

All Tags

ticket registration (4) event marketing (21) social media (14) event planning (39) partners (2) press (10) attendees (7) finances (6) interns (6) updates (1) speakers (8) business (5) sponsors (3) event scheduling (1) activities (1)

Recent Articles

History