When we asked Christopher Ball, one of the trainers and event organizers at CrossFit Ventura and West Coast Strength & Conditioning, what his secret to running four different competitions each year is. He told us it’s all about giving yourself enough time to plan and using the right tools to automate the work for you.
Give Yourself Time to Plan
Chris recommends starting to plan three to six months ahead of the event, depending on the its size. It’s easy to underestimate the number of tasks and time they take, so give yourself more time than you think.
After choosing a name and date for the event, make a list of resources you already have, and additional resources you will need - equipment, volunteers, portable toilets, caution tape, T-shirts, prizes, etc. This will help you determine the schedule for the day, as well as guarantee that no detail is forgotten.
During the beginning phases of planning, you should also start thinking about whether or not you want to have sponsors and vendors. As you answer these questions, make sure you are adding any new resources to your list as they come up. Run through the day in your head jotting down notes, from early morning set-up, the opening ceremony, each event, the closing ceremony, and final tear down.
Use the Right Tools
One of the biggest challenges with planning an event is getting the word out to members outside your business and staying organized as registrations and payments roll in. To streamline registration, promote the event and keep it all organized.
West Coast used a combination of Constant Contact, MINDBODY, and Facebook.
In less than a day, West Coast was able to put their event schedule online, set pricing- including an early bird special that automatically expired on a predetermined date, and accept registration and payments, all through MINDBODY software.
Print advertising and radio spots can be expensive, and don’t always guarantee you’re targeting the right audience. A cheaper, and most of the times more effective way to promote your event is to follow West Coast’s strategy - a mix of social media, email marketing and word of mouth. West Coast created a unique Facebook page and started posting week’s before registration is even ready.
On top of social media, they employed MINDBODY and Constant Contact’s seamless integration to identify people who had attended past events and emailed them about the new competition, adding a “register now” button linking to their online registration page.For West Coast, the results were phenomenal:152 spots were filled in less than 3 weeks. And best of all, there were no messy spreadsheets, no stacks of post it notes on top of post-it notes, and no phone tag.