The feeling of putting on a great event is unmatched!
At the end of our events, there is this exhilarating “Top-of-the-world” feeling that I haven’t been able to replicate!
One of the reasons I think this happens is because putting on an event provide the opportunity for much broader impact than if I work one-on-one.
With the amount of people launching into the Event Business, you’d think the arena would be getting crowded but the reality is, putting on a great event isn’t easy.
There is a whole new arena of challenges that pop up and not everyone seems to be able to figure it out!
I lost way too much money and learned a lot of lessons the hard way because I didn’t have someone I could turn to to break down how to put together a profitable event the way I wanted to!
If you’re looking to put on events, save yourself some struggle (and money!) and check this checklist out!
1) Determine the Event’s Goal
Before you even start looking at venues, you need extreme clarity about the goal of your event.
Too often I hear would-be event producers talking about how much money they can make off the event and that seems to be the primary driver. Let’s be real: No one is going to show up strictly because you want to make money.
It’s just not a great event-goal! It’s a side-effect of having a great event!
Consider the perspective of the attendee. Why would they attend this event rather than others?
Common event goals tend to be:
Educating the attendees
Eliciting action from the attendees*
*Side Note: If you’re trying to get people to take action AFTER they leave your event, like we do, to produce success stories that have lasting results, it’s incredibly challenging! Not impossible, but expecting your attendees to change their lives because of a 1 or 2 or 3 day event is a bit of a stretch! You have to plan how to help them with implementation ahead of time.
And if you want to educate or distribute information, what EXACT information will you share? And remember, if they can look it up online, they aren’t going to commit to spending 2 days at your event for that same info!
Know that goal.
Live that goal.
Breathe that goal.
This is the promise you will make in your marketing to get people to attend!
Only then are you ready to move on to the next part of planning your event, padawan.
(Ok, but seriously! This is the most crucial part of building an event and a step I wish I’d spent a lot more time working on for The Grow Retreat prior to our first event!)
2) Fulfill on the Goal!
Next you have to figure out how you’re going to fulfill on what you are going to promise to your attendees.
If you’re putting on a networking event, how will you make it the greatest networking event? How will you help others connect in a new & interested way to facilitate discovery? Will you provide ice-breakers? How will you get the people in the room that everyone WANTS to network with?
If you want to educate and distribute content, how will you curate that delivery so it creates the intended takeaways? Just throwing data at people can be done online! You have to have something unique about your delivery to make it worth an event! Create a content delivery system that allows your attendees to internalize the content at the end of the day.
If you are about getting people to take action, either at the event or afterwards, how will you facilitate that in a way that works with human psychology? (And shoving “Do this now!” down their throats doesn’t tend to work well!).
The list of event types goes on… But my point is, in all of this, you really have to think from the perspective of the attendees. It’s not so much about how you’re going to deliver things, but whether or not the delivery is going to create the intended effect and hit the goal of the event for the attendees.
Remember that events develop brands. The bigger your brand, the more well-attended your events will be. If you’re just getting started, allow yourself room to start small and focus on delivering on the promises you make in your marketing! The Grow Retreat was tiny when we started but it has increased by 50% every year and created a slew of raving fans who can’t stop recruiting other attendees!
3) Coordinate Details
Now it’s time to figure out the details!
Booking your Speakers
What content are you delivering?
How is it being delivered? (Just a talk, talk with powerpoint, workbooks, whiteboard?)
How many attendees do you want?
Are you selling or giving tickets away?
How will tickets be priced?
What’s your budget?
Where are you spending your budget?
How will you spread awareness about your event to drive traffic?
Venue questions! (What size venue do you need? Will you be providing food and beverages? What kind?)
How are you going to handle registration day-of?
Let’s be real, each of these items could be an article all by itself (if you think we should do that - drop me a line at Stephanie@TheStephanieScheller.com and we’ll see if we can get that going for you!).
Instead of building the world’s longest article, what I want you to do is start to think about the details of coordinating your event! I neglected too many or left them for last minute and paid the price (in sanity & money!) each time. Plan in advance!
4) The Event’s Marketing
Ok, you’ve got the goal of the event, the fulfilment of that goal, and all the logistics planned. Now it’s time for marketing!
People often put so much time in the first three steps that they don’t leave themselves any time to market their event. For us, it takes anywhere from three to six months to plan the details of an event and then another three to six months to market the event really well. So if you want to put on a great event, give yourself six to twelve months to do it! (You can do quicker events, but they won’t be as high quality as a rule of thumb).
Marketing Message: Figure out what your marketing message is, and how it stands out from the crowd. There’s tons of events out there, so figure out what makes yours unique and what makes people want to come to it and how you’ll communicate that!
Marketing Target: OK, this is really just another way of saying Target Market. Once you’ve got your message, figure out your Target Market before you go distributing it to every kind of person who might not even want to attend an event like yours.
Marketing Distribution: The final step is figuring out where and how to market your event. You know your message, you know who you’re aiming for. Now you just go put it out there in places that they will see it, whether that’s online, on social media, or through more conventional ways (like flyers in a shop).
There are a ton of articles out there on methods of distribution, and I’d strongly encourage you to look at them and check them out because they really will help you. I still take a full day once a year to sit down and review all the new softwares and options that have flooded the market (as many as I can find!) and see what we want to add to our rotation for distributing that message.
Geeze...that’s a lot….
Yup! Putting on great events isn’t easy (Didn’t I already say that?) and it isn’t quick!
But as Seth Godin talks about in The Dip, the higher the potential reward (monetarily and impact-wise), the deeper the dip to get there!
Want help putting on your own events? I’m happy to talk!
Email me at Stephanie@TheStephanieScheller.com
The Grow Retreat is an event designed to help you take action in your business throughout the rest of the year. We’ll have the minds behind Savannah Bananas, the marketing for The Voice, a 7-figure business built without a single sales call, and Profit First (Yes! Mike Michalowicz is coming back!!) attending to distribute content and run workshops that give you the information and strategies you need to create explosive growth in your business. Check it out here!
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!