Staging an Event, Make it Personal
I was just asked “how do you get people to your events”? Another recently asked question, “How many times do you touch a prospect, before they come to your event?” Those questions made me think about our entire event management process. Many of you get touched in some way regarding our events, some of you would say we touch you too many times, others of you come to our events, because you have been coming for many years. Below is a diagram of our events. I have tried to create a process diagram that shows how we get many of you to our events. When you are planning your own events think about these ten things before you think about the process:
- Events are personal, make your messaging personal.
- It’s not just your message, but it is how you engage the prospect that is also personal.
- Give people more than they expect. Publish information that helps people attend the event, prior to the event.
- Make the event fun. Include some surprise that delights people.
- Change things up. Don’t keep sending the same message out over and again.
- Make sure the food is good enough to either not be noticed, or it’s so fantastic it gets rave reviews, the same thing about the venue.
- Have great content. All of the content doesn’t have to be great, but most of it does.
- Hire great speakers. If your staff is speaking, make sure they are success, practice does make perfect.
- Events are hard work. Make sure you are staffed appropriately with well trained staff.
- Create a process that works for you and inform everyone about the process and manage the process.
Event Process – Early Steps
Target market drives all decisions. The venue should be decided on, the theme and the overall design. Some examples:
Executive Customer Event – (target market = C-suite)
Product Launch – (target market = customers, prospects & press)
Now that you have decided on the type of event, the target market, you have secured a venue, created a theme and a design, it’s time to communicate. Your messaging strategy is not only what you are going to say, but how you are going to say it and it’s tied to your target market.
If you are doing an executive event, you might want to create a special way of communicating your invitation. It might be a special gift that is sent to the executive with a personal invitation. It might be a personal phone call. It could be an engraved invitation or a hand written note. It isn’t likely to be a generic email sent to all prospective attendees. Make sure the invitation matches the type of event you are planning.
I have already stated that the vehicle to communicate needs to match the event type. Now it’s time to think about what you are going to say. It’s very important to make the message, what I call PACED:
- Personal – it has to resonate with your target market
- Actionable – ask the prospect to do something
- Compelling – it has to give a reason or reasons to get your prospect out of the office
- Engaging – you want to get a reaction, you want someone to take action
- Dynamic – your message needs reach and appeal. It needs to set the stage for the event
Your messages can evolve over time. Tell a story to your prospects. Sure, it’s great to get the single step close, but it is more it will take about 9 times to get an action. Your messaging strategy needs to include all of the pertinent information about the event and don’t forget a call to action and how to get more information if required.
We have learned that it’s not just the message, but the delivery as well. Some people like email, some social, some paper and some a phone call. Make sure, when you examine your target market you figure out how the message gets delivered, how often it gets delivered and what your follow up will be.
People Have Signed Up, Now What Do I Do?
Here is where social media can really be your friend. Create a Twitter feed specifically for your event, create a LinkedIn page or a Facebook page for the event. Invite your delegates to engage with you by creating a community around the event. Invite delegates to suggest restaurants that they like in the area, or things to do in the city you will be in. Create “meet ups” prior to the event so prospective delegates can get to know one another prior to the event. Meet ups can be in person or virtual. Most importantly, keep the conversation going. You want your delegates to be excited about the event and thrilled that they are going.
Good luck with your next event. We hope to see you soon, at our next event!