Maximize Planning Efficiency with a Virtual Assistant

February 13, 2019

Reno Macri

Reno Macri is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in event branding, event production, exhibition stand design, exhibition services in London and much more. For more insights, follow him on Twitter

Events are one of the best ways for businesses to showcase products, promote services and increase brand awareness, and one of the key advantages of event marketing is the ability to provide attendees with something memorable to link back to you. However, as we all know, organizing events can be extremely complicated and time consuming — and that is especially true for startups and small businesses.

For example, an event marketer might need to research potential venues, hire expert speakers, organize catering, transport equipment, process payments and build an event team. This can be a lot to take on, especially if you are simultaneously managing day-to-day marketing activities as well.

One potential solution is to hire a virtual assistant (VA) to take over some of these responsibilities and offer their own expertise. In this article, we explore the ways a VA can improve efficiency and make life easier. 

Research

In the early stages of the event planning process, it is important to make several key decisions, such as selecting your venue and identifying the event production services you need. Virtual assistants can be of great help in this area by carrying out much of the preliminary research, helping to identify the most suitable options. 

Research is especially important when selecting your venue. After all, 36 percent of event planners spend most of their budget on the venue, and the majority of marketers are increasing their budgets year-on-year. VAs can take more time to research venues, increasing the chances of making the right decision. 

A professional VA is also likely to have more experience in arranging things like catering services and entertainment options. As a result, not only can enlisting the help of a VA save you time personally, it can also save time generally. 

Communication

Another area where VAs can be extremely useful is in helping to manage communications. By providing them with login credentials for your social media accounts and email accounts, you can delegate much of the more basic communications work and ask them to only involve you in the more important or complicated discussions. 

In addition to responding to communications from others, VAs can also be asked to post new content on social media, or to send out marketing emails to potential event attendees, guest speakers or business partners. 

Organization

Successful event planning also requires careful organization. After all, there is no point paying for innovative exhibition stands or exciting technology to use at the event if you have not organized for those things to be transported and set up. This is an area of event planning that can be very successfully delegated to a VA. 

Indeed, by delegating primarily the organizational elements of the planning process, you can ensure that you and your team are still in control of the big decisions. This then leaves your virtual assistant in charge of handling the logistical elements that are connected to those decisions, freeing up valuable time for your team. 

Examples of some of the other tasks that fit into this category include processing bookings and payments, arranging travel for staff, arranging event production services and obtaining assistance with building exhibition stands. 

Sales Support

Finally, a virtual assistant can help to take on many of the tasks associated with an event company actually making sales. This could mean, for instance, providing them with a list of leads or prospects to follow up with after the event, and allowing them to actually handle the bulk of the post-event sales efforts. 

"Sales support tasks – like generating new leads, following up and qualifying prospects or processing orders – can take up a lot of your time," explains Oneresource, a company that provides VAs. "A sales virtual assistant can give you back that time by taking over many time-consuming sales and customer support tasks." 

According to Marketing Donut, 80 percent of prospects say 'no' four times, before they say 'yes'. This means you need to follow up with them at least five times, meaning a VA taking over this job can save you a lot of work. 

Conclusion

Planning a business event is a multi-faceted process. As a result, it can be difficult to balance these various tasks effectively, especially if you are also continuing your usual day-to-day responsibilities. 

One of the best solutions to this problem is to enlist the help of a virtual assistant, who can handle much of this work for you. A professional VA will often have specific expertise, and they can help with various aspects, from research and organization, through to communication and sales, maximizing your efficiency in the process.

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