How To Run A Great Business Event
Using Events To build an online community
Firstly why run an event?
A question we’ve often get asked comes from online businesses who want to know what they can do to build a community. Run an event? But that’s in the Real World?
Even as an online business there are many benefits from running a great event, the two biggest being PR and sales. These benefits come during the event and the buzz around it may continue for months or even years later. Face to face, human interactions are a great way to propel your business forward – I’ve spoken about this in more detail in this post here.
Have a purpose
This is a multifaceted element of great events. You need to have a theme or purpose for everyone speaking or in attendance but also you need to know your purpose for running the event, what you hope to get out of it. Some events are obvious – a launch event’s purpose is to show the world who you are and what you do, to generate positive PR and hopefully to build up your client base.
However if you’ve launched, what other events can you run? It’s always great to host an event dedicated to your space or your customer space – see your customers connect with each other, connect with potential partners and to position yourself as an influential lynchpin in the space. You can run events which promote a new product, position you as a leader or based on your businesses location.
Whatever your event, make sure you have a clear and interesting purpose. This makes marketing the event easier and more effective as well as calculating your ROI (Return on Investment) much easier.
Market The Event
This is crucial, there is nothing worse than a poorly attended event. Use existing platforms like Eventbrite, social medias and Recommendable’s email bulletins to sell and manage your tickets. You want your event and event space to be full, and it’s worth dedicating a decent amount of time to marketing the event. If this is your first event or you’re just starting to build a community then make sure to invite people you can count on turning up.
The best way to ensure numbers is to make the event enjoyable. Along with having a purpose for the event, make sure you give potential attendees a reason for turning up, what will they get out of the event. This can be as simple as food or may include an interesting or inspiring speaker or event the promise of networking with other great people.
Make sure people know the event is on, make sure they have a reason to be there and then make sure they remember it.
You see an interesting event, the marketing looks great, and you’re hoping to meet some new quality people. You turn up, and very few people are there, the speaker hasn’t turned up, and so the host is scrambling something together, and the ambience is overall depressing. This might be a memorable event, but for all of the wrong reasons. Ensure you deliver on your promises.
Speakers drop out, last minute and all the time. This is just a fact of hosting events. There is a simple solution, book multiple speakers. Simple as that. Then as another backup make sure you have something interesting and entertaining to speak about too to fill time and keep the event flowing.
Ensuring that guests turn up is important too, don’t leave it to chance. One of the many benefits of Eventbrite is that they make sure reminder emails go out and often will add the event to the calendar of attendees.
It’s also important to give as much as you can – give far more than you take. People are giving up hours to be at your event, make sure it’s worth it. At the very least provide food/drinks before trying to add something special.
One thing that I hate about some events I’ve been too is when the speaker doesn’t stay to talk with the audience. It can make the speaker seem very aloof and bring a taint to an entire event. People want to speak to these interesting and inspiring people, let them have the opportunity to talk to and connect with them. This attention to the attendees actually creates a memorable and valuable event.
Let’s be honest – almost every event is set up to sell something; a product, membership or an idea. The key is to sell subtly, no one wants a hard sell, and this goes for speakers too. Often (unless they’re paid) speakers will be trying to get something out of the audience too. When I ran events at University, employers always gave the hard sell trying to recruit the audience, the audience responded by staring at their phones. It’s boring.
A great impression is absolutely the best say to sell your company and achieve your event goals. To see an example, look at TED, the global leader at speaking events with zero selling. Yet companies and entrepreneurs hugely benefit from speaking at the TED and TEDx conferences, they key is great talks. Some people have built their entire career from a single TEDx talk (look at Simon Sinek).
Talks and events are incredible for promoting your business.
To build up your community or position yourself as a leading influencer in your market you’ve got to repeat what you’re doing. This is also the best way to improve your events and to continually build up your network.