Event Planning

Tips on How to Host a Successful Pop-Up Event

Reading time: 11 min

Learning how to host a pop-up event can be a very powerful skill to have in your arsenal as an event organiser. Pop-up events are an amazing way to get people excited about your brand and drive loads of engagement! Read on to find the best tips on pop-up event planning, plus a few examples of successful ones!

How do pop-up events work?

Pop-up events are temporary, surprise events that are hosted in unique places! As the name suggests, these types of events “pop up” in unexpected places like empty lots, art galleries, hotels, or even university campuses. Not only can these types of events build lots of hype around your brand but, depending on the length of your temporary pop-up event, they are also known for maximising your ROI! You can reap all the benefits of hosting an event, while cutting typical costs in half like venue and event staffing, since your event is only for a limited time. This type of event can work wonders in any industry and for any organisation, small or large! 

How long should a pop-up event be?

Your pop-up event can be however long you’d like! There’s no right or wrong answer because it all depends on the unique needs of your event. It can be daily or a few hours for a week, or it could even last a month or more. The way you structure the dates and times of your pop-up event should be chosen based on the goals of your event and your target audience. Take Penguin Life, for example, a publishing group that decided to host a pop-up bookshop event on International Women’s Day. Since their goal was to showcase titles by female writers, Penguin Life strategically chose to host it on International Women’s Day to take advantage of the trend of seasonal pop-ups. They also donated their ticket sale proceeds to a women’s nonprofit!

Pop-up event planning checklist

Tips on how to plan a pop-up event

Eager to put on this type of event yourself? It’s time to take notes! Here are a few tips on how to plan a successful pop-up event!

1. Determine a clear goal

A pop-up event should have a very specific goal. Think beyond ticket sales: do you want to increase brand awareness? Are you wanting to bring your community together around a shared interest? How about promoting a new campaign? These are just a few examples of the types of closely targeted goals you can aim to achieve. Determining your goals will also help you design the entire event, from how it’s laid out to how you measure your success.

For instance, Paka, a company that makes sustainable clothing from alpaca wool, wanted to go offline and connect with people in real life for its brand. Since the vision was to connect with others, the founder went on tour with two alpacas and was able to build a devout following by offering free alpaca hugs. He also gave out gift cards to attendees to buy Paka’s clothes in exchange for sharing their email addresses. This is a great example of how the founder’s specific vision helped design the layout of their pop-up event. 

2. Select an event venue that aligns with your target audience 

Your pop-up venue should be super easy for attendees to get to! Think about where your target audience spends the most time and plan to host it in a space that’ll draw in a lot of traffic from them. For instance, if you’re raising awareness for the importance of healthy sleeping habits and are targeting college students, why not host your event on a college campus? This way, you’ll receive a lot of foot traffic from students going to and from class. Your venue should also adapt to the needs of your event. If you need outlets or audio equipment ahead of time, choose a venue that’s able to accommodate that. Your location sets the stage for the atmosphere you’re trying to create, so they both must align. For example, we wouldn’t want a selfie museum in a location that has poor lighting! The neat thing about these temporary events is that you can have multiple locations. If you have a few ideal pop-up venues in mind, consider going to the next one after your first one wraps up, so you can reach a wider audience!

An event organizer speaking with an employee at their event venue

3. Consider event logistics ahead of time

Even if your event doesn’t run for very long, there are still accessibility regulations and permits that are necessary to host your incredible pop-up! To save you an extra step, it may be best to select a location that already complies with these guidelines like a hotel, restaurant, or art gallery. Consider all factors that’ll go into your event, like where people will park, how you’ll check people in, or what kind of food and beverage service you’ll provide. Regarding this last piece, there may be certain rules regarding how close a food truck can be to a brick-and-mortar restaurant as well as licences to obtain to serve alcohol. These are just a few of the event logistics that should be squared away ahead of time to prepare for a smooth event, so it’s best to meet with the coordinator of your selected venue to work out all the details. 

4. Collaborate with potential sponsors

Since your pop-up is meant to bring people together over a shared interest, why not partner with a loved local business that’s tied to what your pop-up event is all about? Select a sponsor whose audience is similar to yours so you can tap into their audience too! For example, if you’re hosting a pop-up shop selling essential oils, perhaps partnering with a local yoga studio can reach the right crowd. The right partnership will help enhance your attendees’ experience, foster a positive brand image online for your organisation, and build trust with your audience. You’ll reap benefits from having your sponsor help market your event too, driving more traffic to your pop-up!

5. Use event ticketing software to create a unique event page

If you’re hosting an event, you’ll need to get your tickets on sale! Whether your event tickets are free or for a price, using event management software makes this process so much easier! Create a unique event page fully dedicated to your event branding so your attendees can easily purchase tickets online. TicketLeap allows you to quickly design a vibrant event landing page that’s as exciting as your pop-up! Our intuitive ticketing system also makes it really easy to send email campaigns to your next event or send post-event surveys to gain feedback.

Screenshot of a fictitious TicketLeap event listing

6. Write a compelling pop-up event description

To pair with your event page, create a compelling event description that gets your attendees hype for your event! Your pop-up event description should be exciting and generate buzz by clearly detailing the value of attending your event. We know you know why the event is awesome, so be sure to capture that in a way that tells your attendees why your in-person event is worth coming to. It should also incorporate relevant keywords about your event (e.g. the topic of your pop-up, and the location) so your attendees can easily find your event in search results!

Screenshot of a fictitious TicketLeap event listing with a written pop-up event description

7. Amp up your pop-up event marketing

A crucial (and super fun) piece of your event’s success is your pop-up event marketing! The key to marketing your pop-up is to make quality video content consistently, that showcases the uniqueness of your pop-up event. Tapping into the power of TikTok, you could create teaser and behind-the-scenes videos to build excitement prior to the event. On top of TikTok, post stories every day on your other social media platforms too (like Instagram!) to keep the momentum going and excite more people to attend! Some effective ways to engage your audience prior to the event are by doing live streams, giveaways, or polls.

Along with your social media efforts, write a press release to the local news outlets and secure some TV spots for maximum coverage of your pop-up. The idea of pop-up events was built on out-of-the-box thinking, so apply this to your event marketing! For instance, think about what you can include in your event to promote User Generated Content (UGC)! UGC from attendees at your pop-up is super valuable for the exposure of your event to wider audiences. Perhaps you include an aesthetic photo-booth and encourage attendees to snap a selfie and share on their social media using a dedicated hashtag for your event. Spice things up by hosting a social media give away for a lucky attendee who posts and uses your hashtag! This way your event-goers are incentivised to share.

a person filming content for social media on a mobile device

8. Keep the conversation going with event swag 

The excitement doesn’t have to end once your pop-up is gone. Go the extra mile by handing out event swag during and at the end of your event. This way, you build brand recognition while also staying top of mind to your attendees long after you’ve left! And don’t forget to send a post-event thank you email to show your appreciation to those who supported your pop-up! You can even send exclusive details about your future pop-up to those who attended this one to get the hype started early.  

How do you measure the success of a pop-up event?

To measure the success of a pop-up event, you need to take a look at your event’s goals. Were you able to achieve the amount of ticket sales you’d hoped? Did you meet your hyper-targeted goal? For instance, if your goal is to sell a product, then you may want to look at foot traffic to conversions. This means taking a look at how many people who physically visited your pop-up purchased a product. Similarly, if your goal was to build your email list for an upcoming campaign, then your event success can be measured by how many emails you were able to collect. 

Final words

Well would you look at that, you just learned how to plan a pop-up event! In order to host a successful pop-up event, you’ll need to set targeted goals and plan out every detail to achieve them. Square away event logistics, marketing, and partnerships ahead of time to help you put out the most successful pop-up event you can. And consider working with ticketing software like TicketLeap to set up your awesome event page and get assistance from their friendly support team every step of the way!

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