When it comes to being a business owner, hosting events isn’t just for fun and high vibes. Sure, maybe you love to host, and it LIGHTS YOU UP! But how do you ensure that if you’re going to host an event, that people are going to show up and even better, that they’re going to work towards increasing your revenue?
As a marketing agency that strategizes events for our clients, we thought we’d share some of the top ways you can host and fill an in-person event that goes a long way when it comes to attracting clients, retaining them, and keeping the momentum going. We’ll take you through it from the planning to the follow-up!
Planning the Event
Keep it simple – All you need is really a venue and food. Don’t get too caught up on additional bells and whistles. If adding some extra features of the event really lights you up, go for it, but if all the details are starting to make you and your team’s heads spin and feel resentful, get rid of ‘em. People just want to come to your event to support you, learn from you, be comfortable, and of course, eat, drink, and be merry! Our client was getting overwhelmed by event details, so we gave her some tips on how to have an awesome event without all the hassle, she felt so much more relief after talking with us about it and had a successful event!
Collaborations are awesome – Partner up with some other brands with similar demographics as clients to cross-promote the event together. Just ensure that for the purpose of converting leads for the event, you are the only one running the event that does specifically what you do, and pick partners that do something totally different, but serve the same types of clients. We don’t believe in competition, but in this case, it makes sense to keep guests focused on you and your brand since you’re the one hosting the event for the purpose of acquiring more clientele or retaining it. Our client hosted an event with multiple ideal referral partners who cross-promoted the event, and had a packed house full of eager and attentive ears for the message she had to share!
Promoting the Event
Get them to RSVP – We have found that no matter what, hands down, the most effective way for people to come to your event, is for you to personally invite them. Yep, good old-fashioned style. Have a stack of designed invites with a QR code to registration handy for you and your team to personally hand to your clients to invite them to join you for your event, and ask them to bring a friend! If you’re not into paper, have the file handy on your phone that they can scan with their phone of a QR code that will lead them to registration. Again, you personally inviting them and telling them how much it would mean to you that they come and that they bring a friend, is #1. When our clients do this, they have a much higher attendee rate.
Of course, having an organic social media and e-mail marketing campaign for the event that work – We have maxed out event RSVPs with just social media and e-mail marketing alone. We post and e-mail about the event for at least two weeks, and sometimes, if the event has a ticket price, we’ll run a promo on social like Facebook and Instagram where audience members can enter to win the ticket by tagging a friend in the comments and sharing the event post. The more they tag friends and share the post, the more entries they get to win a free ticket!
But still, even with this, this strengthens your efforts to personally invite your guests, and your guests are more likely to actually show up after they’ve registered if you’re personally reminding them to join you.
Utilize some ad campaigns to promote the event – If your event is a free or low-ticket event, we say go for it when it comes to promoting it with some Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Google ads to cold audiences. Just be sure that your audience is properly targeted and curated to ideal guests. But if your event is more of an investment level that would require a certain amount of trust to delve in that deep, then we don’t suggest utilizing ads to promote it to cold audiences. In that case, we would suggest promoting the event to audiences that are already warm to your brands, as they already have a certain amount of trust in you. But how much should you spend on your ads for this? That’s a much deeper question we work with with our clients!
Texting your contacts – Texting can be tricky because you don’t want to overdo it. But texting your list once when you first announce the event, and then the day before to remind them of the event, will give some momentum to your RSVPs!
Set that appointment – If you have a business that sets appointments for your clients, book the event registrants in as if they’ve made an appointment for you individually at the time of the event, and then let your system set those auto-reminders for you. This will psychologically enhance the chances of them showing up for the event they RSVPd for, rather than deciding not to make it at the last minute.
At the Event
At the event, ensure to optimize the chances of them working with you thereafter, if that is your goal – Create a limited-time offer that’s super irresistible to them if they move forward working with you during the event, and be sure to properly articulate it at the beginning of the event, sprinkle it in the middle, and then again at the end of the event, of course. We help our clients do this, and when our clients do this, they have at least a 50% closing rate, which is phenomenal.
Ensure your presentation is formulated to achieve your goal – It is so awesome when business leaders want to host an event to raise awareness and pamper their leads and clients. Ultimately, if your goal is to raise revenue, then you want to ensure that you have that in mind when preparing your presentation, while also staying away from it being a total sales pitch and instead actually bringing value to your guests that they can walk away from feeling like they gained something. A client of ours was putting tons of effort behind hosting an international event, and by including a few tweaks to ensure we were making the ask, she went from this simply being an awareness event, to hitting a revenue goal and collecting enough funds that equaled 3-months’ revenue for her business in one night.
Prizes – Collect all attendee e-mails to grow your e-mail list and create a clear list for you and your team to follow up with. An awesome way to do this is to have an awesome prize that they can win by giving you that information! You’ll get most registrant e-mails when they get their tickets, but sometimes people register for other people, so this is a great way to get those missed e-mails. And promote this live in-person prize feature in the marketing so those who get their tickets are more likely to show up and not flake out at the last minute! We love being there for our clients to do this fun step at their events while they get to fully connect with their guests! Ensure you have someone on the team assigned to do this who isn’t focused on presentations!
Photos and Videos – Of course, professional photography and videography are key to providing as a gift to your attendees as part of reciprocal psychology and thanking them for attending, but also for you to have to promote future events! We love doing this for clients at their events, and love seeing their replies to the photos that say things like “Omg! These are amazing!!!”
After the Event
Utilizing those messages for marketing – Of course, you want to set those text and e-mail reminders to remind them to come to the event, but you also want to utilize their contact info to then follow up with them after the event, thanking them for coming, and reminding them to reach out to you to work with you with a limited time call to action to work with you!
Block off time to actually decompress and follow up – Think ahead to after the event and know that you will need some time to decompress the 48 hours following the event, while also utilizing that time to have you and your team follow up with all those leads you collected during your event! The sale is in the follow-up, and many business leaders skip this step and hop on over to the next busy aspect of their lives without doing the follow-ups necessary to make the sales. And then, take some time to assess what worked and didn’t work at the event, to make it even better or simplify it even more next time!
If that all felt like a lot for you, don’t worry. All of our marketing clients at MEDIA get event planning and strategizing as a feature of our marketing services for them. That’s right – for business leaders like you, we handle all the social media, ad spends, email marketing, SEO, content creation, imagery creation, you name it, AND event strategizing and support because we wholeheartedly believe in the power of events for promoting your business! Just contact us today for more info on how we can work together!
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In the meantime, take a look at photos our team took at one of the events we hosted for our clients and guests recently at one of the lovely Infinity Custom Homes.
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