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Tips on hosting a successful event

Maximise exposure to raise awareness of your event

On this page

  • See what event topics are most popular
  • Event planning and strategy techniques
  • Tips on marketing, promoting and budget to suit your event

Selecting a topic

Provide a topic relevant to starting or growing your business.

It is important to consider events that provide relevant and practical information for startups or existing small businesses.  Popular topics include:

  • Online Marketing and Sales
  • Social Media
  • Grants and Assistance
  • Networking
  • Business Planning
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Employing and Managing Staff
  • Green Business
  • Starting a Business
  • Financial Management and Insurance
  • Importing and Exporting


Inadequate planning and promotion is a core reason an event can fail.  It is easy to underestimate the amount of time and staffing resources required to undertake and complete tasks.  Be sure that you:

  • have a detailed budget and keep it updated
  • develop a contingency plan (e.g. have a replacement speaker confirmed in case of a last minute cancellation)
  • identify marketing channels and engage stakeholders to assist in promoting your event
  • detail activities and make a checklist (including bump-in and bump-out and list who is responsible for this activity)

Event plan

Focus on your business’ core event objectives, develop a comprehensive event and operations plan and:

  • identify the purpose of your event, ensure your messaging is clear and concise, and evaluate the time and cost to stage, market and publicise your event
  • carefully identify the type of event selected meets your purpose for staging your event i.e. do you want to  reach out and develop new clients or thank your supporters
  • target groups who have a special stake and interest in the event
  • commence planning your event three to six months before the event date
  • develop ways to evaluate your event’s success e.g. attendance numbers, revenue raised from ticket sales and sponsorship or an increase in your business profile
  • attend similar style events within your own networks

Marketing and promotion

The key to any successful event is marketing and promotion.  As an event host, it is your responsibility to promote, market and attract people to attend your event.  The Festival website and Festival Program can only support your overall marketing and promotion plan. You can generate interest and bookings for your event by:

  • promoting your event on your website and social media channels
  • distributing or posting social media event invitations and information to your clients and contacts and encouraging them to share this information with their networks
  • preparing and sending a media release to your local media to generate publicity about your event

A Festival marketing toolkit will be available from the Festival's Dropbox account from mid June 2015.  Included in the toolkit are festival logos, templates, media releases, media backgrounder, sample social media posts and online copy and the Festival style guide.

Offer low cost or free events.  Free events usually generate many bookings, however attendance on the day can fall by as much as 50 per cent.  Ticketed events generally have higher attendance.  Set a price to allow you to recover your costs or consider sponsorship options to make up the difference.

Planning checklist


Event agenda

In order for your event to run smoothly, you should:
  • identify your event objectives
  • consider program content to be covered
  • develop an event timeline
  • set event date and time, avoiding holiday periods and clashes with other similar events
  • select a MC and speakers and confirm their attendance.

Research and book venue

So you get the venue that’s right for you, you should:

  • organise a dedicated event coordinator
  • inspect venues based on their capacity, location and your budget
  • ensure the venue is accessible to public transport, taxis etc.
  • set the maximum number of attendees
  • liaise  with venue regarding existing audio visual equipment
  • submit deposits for venue, speakers etc.


To keep on top of your finances, you should:

  • prepare an event budget and monitor your spending (consider ticket sales versus expenses e.g. Venue and AV Hire, catering, staff, marketing budget etc.
  • prepare final costs and budget report.


If you intend to seek sponsorship, try and:

  • identify potential sponsors
  • develop a sponsorship proposal for financial or in-kind support
  • list sponsor benefits and benefits to your business to ensure this is clearly understood by both parties and a mechanism is in place to clarify obligations of each party
  • invoice the sponsor prior to the event (if cash involved)
  • acknowledge your sponsors
  • at the conclusion of the event, forward a sponsor evaluation report i.e. what was delivered against the sponsorship offering.

Marketing and promotion

To achieve maximum attendance to your event, you should:

  • develop a marketing and communication plan
  • design promotional material, content and event logos
  • update your webpage and social media channels and optimise it for search engines
  • distribute invitations, flyers, Festival posters, e-newsletter and brochure to community
  • promote your event in your local newspaper, libraries and local cafes etc.
  • forward a media release to media outlets in your area
  • design collateral and signage for your event.

Participant registration and invitations

To set up your registrations line, you can:

  • build an online event registration form
  • host online registration on on your website
  • determine cost of registration
  • email invitation to your database with link to book online / email etc.


To ensure that everything runs smoothly, you should:

  • confirm venue catering numbers, AV equipment and room set-up
  • confirm and brief suppliers, contractors, venue and service providers
  • prepare a running sheet for your event
  • establish a mailing list and registration database of attendees
    record all statistics (attendance, income, etc.)


Brief staff

To ensure that event staff have been properly briefed, you should:

  • set-up room,  seating, registration, name tags, signage, event collateral and AV equipment
  • distribute running sheet, contact list with business name and mobile numbers of relevant parties
  • explain emergency procedures and general house-keeping.

Post event

There are a number of tasks you should undertake after the event such as:

  • submit your Event Evaluation Forms to: Small Business Festival Victoria via email or mail to L35, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne  3000
  • close off final budget
  • send thank you letters to staff, speakers and sponsors
  • evaluation and debrief with stakeholders and sponsors
  • post photos of your event online via social media channels.