Avoid event marketing mayhem: a blueprint for streamlined event planning
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Avoid event marketing mayhem: a blueprint for streamlined event planning

Take your event marketing workflow up a notch with Airtable Blocks.

Whether you're planning on organizing a customer meetup, putting together a tradeshow booth, or arranging for a dinner event with VIPs, a successful event is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. The best events provide long-term value for your brand—but the journey from planning to reality when responsible for a diverse slate of events means a logistical juggling act, and a fine line between success and disappointment. One missed detail or forgotten update can mean unhappy partners or a vendor without a booth.

It's not just about planning the event beforehand; during the event, you need to put out last-minute fires while simultaneously managing social media and making your VIPs feel welcome. And after the event, you need to be able to take what you've learned and apply it to future events.

The key to event marketing success is to keep everything organized—which becomes a lot easier when you can consolidate all your event planning into a single source of truth.

With Airtable Blocks, you can get all the information you need to do your job in one place and automate away tedious tasks—allowing you to spend more time focusing on throwing the best event ever.

Here's your strategy for making it happen:

Scout and manage locations
Create budgeting charts for event planning
Staff your event
Send promo codes to your event attendees
Create quick social assets for your event
Follow up with your event attendees
Analyze your event outcomes





Scout and manage locations

Unless you're planning a digital event, one of the biggest decisions you'll make when planning an event is picking the location. If you already have a list of potential venues that you're working from, plotting them on a map is dead simple when you use the Airtable map block.

Step 1: Set up a location field (with addresses or coordinates) and a cache field.

If you don't already have one, make sure that your table of locations includes a single line text field or a long text field with the relevant addresses. (You can also use a field using latitude-longitude coordinates instead of addresses.)

You'll also need to create a new, empty single line text field to serve as your map block's geocode cache field. The block will use this field to save some additional information for each address in order to display markers on the map.

Step 2: Get a Google Maps API key.

The Airtable map block requires you to have a Google Maps API key. You can easily grab a Google Maps API key by visiting this Getting Started guide and clicking the button that says “Get a key.” (If you don't already have a Google account, you'll need to create one to use for Google Developers.) Once you get the API key, hang on to it—you'll need it for Step 3.

Step 3: Add a map block to your base.

When you're ready, open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new map block to your base. Go through the setup process, picking the appropriate table and view, selecting the location field and geocache field from step 1. You can specify the color and shape of the map markers, and you have the option of scaling the sizes of the markers to the values in a numeric field. (Try linking marker size to booking fees, square footage, or your own personal rating field.) Lastly, you'll need to paste in your Google Maps API key from step 2.

And that's all you'll need to do! Once you've set up your map, you can view it in one of three styles (Light, Map, or Satellite) and even look at your locations using Street View.




Create budgeting charts for event planning

With the chart block, you can visualize your event's budget and gain deeper insight into where all the money's going. Just follow these simple steps!

Step 1: Make a budget table.

If you don't already have one, make sure that your base for event planning has a table that details your projected expenses. Remember to include a currency field! You can also include a single select field to categorize each type of expense, like “Staff,” “Rentals,” or “Venue.”

Step 2: Add a chart block to your base.

Open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new chart block to your base. With the chart block, you can make a bar chart, a line graph, or a scatter plot.

Step 3: Adjust the chart block to fit your needs.

Once you've added the chart block, you can tweak the settings to match your needs. Of these three types of graphs, a bar chart is best suited to comparing between different groups, so we suggest a bar chart for comparing expenses by category. But of course, you can pick whichever type you want. If you're doing a bar chart, we recommend that the X-axis be a single select field showing how your different expenses are categorized (e.g. “Venue,” “Catering,” “Rentals”), while the Y-axis should be the currency field.




Staff your event

For all but the tiniest events, you'll need to bring in extra help in the form of staff to make sure that things go smoothly. To more efficiently wrangle your caterers, security, greeters, and more, try adding blocks to your Airtable base.

Step 1: Add a chart block to visualize your staff distribution.

How far along are you in hiring all the necessary staff? Tip: put together a table for positions that need to be filled, and link it to your table of applicants. Next, create a field for the number of staffers needed for each position, and a count field to count the number of links. Then, create a formula field that'll show the percentage of slots filled by putting the number of people hired over the number of people needed.

Add a chart block, and set it up a bar chart with the position types on the X-axis, and the percent hired on the Y-axis. That way, you can easily see your progress toward hiring for all the necessary positions.

Step 2: Add a a map block to visualize where all your staff will be on the big day.

If you've got an especially large venue or if your event is spread out over multiple locations, a map block can help you keep track of where everyone's going to be assigned. You'll need to have a table of locations connected to your table of hired staff, and this table should include a single line text field with relevant addresses or latitude-longitude coordinates.

You'll also need to create a new, empty single line text field to serve as your map block's cache field. The block will use this field to save some additional information for each address in order to display markers on the map.

Note that the Airtable map block requires you to have a Google Maps API key. You can easily grab a Google Maps API key by going to this Getting Started guide and clicking the button that says “Get a key.” (If you don't already have a Google account, you'll need to create one to use for Google Developers.)

When you're ready, open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new map block to your base. Go through the setup process, picking the appropriate table and view, selecting the location field and geocache field, and copying and pasting in the Google Maps API key.

Step 3: Add a send SMS block to communicate with your staff.

Make sure that your table for your hired staff includes a field for their phone numbers. (Note that you'll also need a Twilio API key in order to use this.) Once you have those two things set up, implementing a send SMS block is simple. Just open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new send SMS block to your base. Go through the setup process, picking the appropriate table and view and entering your Twilio API key. If you want to send different messages to different subgroups of staffers (e.g. only security; only people working in Building A), then be sure to create appropriate filtered views.

Then compose a message that you want to send. Remember that you can use curly brackets to take information from fields and put it into your message. Whenever you want to send out your mass message, just press the send button!




Send promo codes to your event attendees

A simple way to keep your attendees engaged during the event is to text them promo codes, which they can then redeem at vendors for food and/or swag.

Step 1: Create a filtered view.

You probably won't want to send out codes to everyone in your table of VIPs. Make sure to create a new grid view, then apply as many filters as you need to get a view that only shows the people you want to message.

Try a filter that will only show the people who have RSVPed to the specific event, or a filter that will only show people in a specific geographic region. Hopefully you've managed to get the phone contact information for all your attendees—you'll need it for the next step.

Step 2: Add a send SMS block to your base.

Note that you'll also need a Twilio API key in order to use this block. To add a send SMS block, just open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new send SMS block to your base. Go through the setup process, picking the appropriate table and view and entering your Twilio API key. Then compose a message that you want to send, including the relevant promo code. Remember that you can use curly brackets to take information from fields and put it into your message.

Step 3: Send out the message.

Whenever you want to send out your mass message, just press the send button!




Create quick social assets for your event

When you're running an event, you're likely putting out all kinds of fires—the last thing you'll have time for is crafting social media image assets to go with your tweets. Fortunately, with the page designer block, you can make the process of image asset creation much easier.

Step 1: Make a table of posts.

If you don't already have one, prepare a table in your Airtable base with an attachment field with images and with a field for the text that will go on the image. You can add in other fields if you'd like.

Step 2: Add a page designer block.

Open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new page designer block to your base. Make sure to pick the correct table and view. You should select the custom page size and input the dimensions that you'll need for your assets.

Step 3: Design your page.

Now, you're ready to unleash your creative vision. Go ahead and drag and drop elements onto the page, tweak fonts and colors, and otherwise adjust according to your aesthetics to make a great template page.

Step 4: Post your images when the time is right.

Once your template is ready, you'll be all set for your impending social media blitz. You can do it manually if you'd prefer, or you can set up a Zapier integration that will automatically post your image with corresponding text from another field if a certain event triggers.




Follow up with your event attendees

When the event's over, that doesn't mean your work is over. Try following up with your event attendees by sending them a thank-you text.

Step 1: Create a view that only includes people who attended the event.

If you have a table of invitees, create a new grid view, then apply a filter that will only show the people who're marked as having attended the event. Hopefully you've managed to get the phone contact information for all your attendees—you'll need it for the next step.

Step 2: Add a send SMS block to your base.

Note that you'll also need a Twilio API key in order to use this block. To add a send SMS block, just open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new send SMS block to your base. Go through the setup process, picking the appropriate table and view and entering your Twilio API key. Then compose a message that you want to send. Remember that you can use curly brackets to take information from fields and put it into your message.

Step 3: Send out the message.

Whenever you want to send out your mass message, just press the send button!




Analyze your event outcomes

After the event's over, it's imperative that you take your learnings from that event and apply them to the next one, to make your future events even better. With blocks, you can more easily pull out high-level findings from your data.

Step 1: Add a pivot table block.

Open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a pivot table block to your base. The table and view that you pick for this step will depend on what aspects of your event you'd like to analyze. If you're interested in attendance stats, you should select the table of attendees; if you're interested in pulling out stats about your guests, you should select the table for guests.

Step 2: Add a chart block.

Open up the blocks menu, click the add a block option, and add a new chart block to your base. With the chart block, you can make a bar chart, a line graph, or a scatter plot, and adjust the settings to match your needs. Something you might consider doing is creating a bar chart showing the number of people you invited to an event versus the number of people who actually came to the event, and comparing those numbers across events. You could also compare event budgets with a bar chart, or event attendance over time with a line graph.




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