This is the final post in our three-part series about how to craft great events that empower your audience and market your organization. We’ve covered why your company should host an event. We’ve covered how to create personas to target the right attendee for your event.
And now, we get to the meat of it all: What is our process for consistently creating great events?
Below is a quick guide on how the ThreeSixtyEight team concepts, plans, and executes events.
Creating Events that Empower Your Audience
1: Find the audience you’d like to serve
If you read our last blog about creating personas to represent your audience, you can mark this step as done! If not, give it a quick read. It explains how to personify your audience to benefit your marketing.
Once you decide on a audience you want to reach, it’s time to define the MVP of your event.
2: Define your event’s MVP
In the startup scene, MVP means “minimum viable product”. In this case, it’s the most basic version of your event that will still impress and entertain attendees.
It’s important to define your event’s MVP early since it’s very easy to get carried away in the details and features that can easily drain budgets, time, and other resources.
Always remember that it’s the benefits (think networking opportunities or people attending), not the features (think lighting or how nice the venue is) that make an event memorable.
Questions to answer when creating your event’s MVP:
- In its simplest form, what is the purpose of your event? How will it benefit your audience?
- What specific touch points will make this event valuable to your audience? Is this event content currently not being served in your audience’s’ lives?
- What add-ons would make this event better in the future?
- If this is in conjunction with a special event (such as an extension of a conference), how do you plan to provide value that’s synonymous with the event you’re partnering with?
- Do you have the budget to execute this event? What budget do you have available?
- Do you have the staff accountable to execute this event?
- What goal(s) do you need to reach for your event to be considered successful? Make sure these coincide with measurable results.
These are just a few of the big-picture questions needed for an event. Another important aspect to keep in mind is how many engagements you want to make out of your event. For example, is this a monthly series? Quarterly? One time event? It’s vital to know this when introducing your event because, like any successful business, your events will build fans through consistency.
Proactively defining your event’s success metrics prior to your event and identifying a plan to continue your event if metrics are hit will save you a lot of time planning your next event reactively. These goals give you a framework to make tough decisions when resources are limited.
- Book and Brew is a free bi-monthly event series measured upon attendance (geared toward creative class individual personas).
- Assembly Required is a paid quarterly dinner and speaker series measured upon attendance and sustaining ticket sales (geared toward marketing executive individuals).
- Events like Invision’s Design Disruptors screening or our Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week Panel are simply one-offs with the measure being attendance (audience is geared toward both personas).
It’s important to remember that each event has a distinct amount of effort involved, with effort being defined as costs, number of team members involved, and time planning.
For us, a Book and Brew is the easiest to plan as it requires only a host and marketing person to plan and promote. Meanwhile, Assemblies are the most difficult as they requires the full TSE team participating in the design, promotion, and execution of the event.
Once you determine your event’s concept, effort involved, and success metrics, it’s time to promote your event!
3: Promote your event
There are tons of ways to market your event. Platforms we frequently use include:
- Email marketing toward our current blog subscriber list.
- The Thunderclap platform, with local influencers, to launch a new event series. This platform is a secret word-of-mouth weapon of ours and helped us during our book release of The Big Fish Experience to hit #1 new presentation book on Amazon.
- And of course, social media. We sometimes hit up journalists to write about our events to drum up some conversation. Having a good relationship with the press and bloggers never hurts.
As a rule of thumb, whenever we create an event, we also create an accompanying Facebook event page. We find from experience that having both helps, because Facebook users engage more with updates and make last-minute attendance decisions public.
At the end of the day, you know your audience best, and we recommend to engage with them on the platforms they commonly use.
4: Execute your event
This is obvious, but after all of your planning, you need to execute the event. Here are some tips to make sure your event goes as planned:
- Staff/Volunteer Accountability: Do you have clear document with establishing accountability of who is responsible for what during the event? Does everyone working the event understand this accountability?
- Show Flow: Do you have a timeline of the event’s progression? Is this timeline clearly communicated with all staff? This Assembly Required show flow breaks down everything happening in the main event space. We keep another volunteer schedule for the behind-the-scenes moves happening during the show too.
- Staff Identification: Does your audience know how to clearly identify your staff/volunteers during the event, for questions and other assistance?
- Volunteer Preparation: Do you have enough volunteers to execute your event? Are the volunteers briefed on their roles for the event?
- Equipment/Communication: Do you have the equipment and plan in place to easily communicate with all the staff throughout the event, from across the venue? Walkie talkies with ear pieces are a must for our team.
- Back-up Plan: Do you have a clear backup plan in case anything goes wrong with the execution of your event (for example, what if it rains on your outside party)?
- Post-Event Checklist: Prior to the event launch, it’s important to create a post-event checklist to maximize your event’s reach. After each Assembly Required, we go through a routine checklist to ensure we’ll get people excited for the next one.
Bonus tip: If you decide to host an event series outside of your main event, make sure to preview the new event during your current one. Audiences love having things to look forward to, especially if your event is a success.
5: Provide post-event coverage
The fun isn’t over just because your event is finished. It’s important to cover your event, whether through a blog post, news publication, or e-blast, to keep your audience actively engaged. The key in this post-event coverage is that you can drive your audience somewhere else to continue engaging with your brand. This can include another event, a special offer, or some other opportunity to further engage with your brand. Either way, it’s a great rule of thumb to remember that people are busy, so remaining in your audience’s mind requires frequent check-ins and delivery of value.
Now, we never said creating an event experience is easy. What we will endorse is that events are a great way to build a brand’s recognition among new audiences, give great value to your current audience, and most importantly, build deeper relationships with whomever you reach. We’ve done many events at ThreeSixtyEight and can certainly say that our audiences will continue to get ways to interact with us personally as we anticipate our events strategy continuing for quite a while.
We hope that this blog series helps you in developing and executing an awesome event. If it does, make sure to let us know so we can attend!
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