I’m a big fan of events. I’ve hosted several of them, like when I had David Stelzl come out to Richmond to speak about how businesses can survive in the digital world, and I’ve been the speaker at other people’s events. Business events are one of the greatest conversion tools entrepreneurs have in their arsenal, and if you have yet to host your own event, you are missing out.
Here are my tried-and-true tips for hosting a killer event.
SAVE THE DATE
Pick a date. Set the time. I recommend a weekday around lunchtime. No one wants to give up weekend plans for your business event.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
You may have noticed many of my recent events have been held at the University of Richmond. This isn’t because I’m affiliated with the college or because the university was sponsoring the event in any way. I picked the University of Richmond because the location adds prestige to my events. Here’s a secret: Anyone can rent out an event room at the college. If you can foot the bill, most venues will be happy to have you. And choosing the right location for your event can help draw in more guests. I pick the university because I want to promote the idea of educating people, but if you’re a real estate guy looking for people to invest money, you’ll probably want to hold your event at a swanky country club. Sure, you could hold your event in your front office, but seeing your company listed as the venue makes an event sound like a sales pitch.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
You need to provide lunch to your guests. Offering free food is what is going to convince most people to walk through the door. You don’t have to go over the top, but don’t be handing out individually wrapped turkey sandwiches at the door. Let guests choose from a preset meal; for example, one with a chicken and a vegetarian option. Bonus: Don’t forget dessert. Wheeling out chocolate cake after your speaker finishes is how you keep guests around to convert them once the presentation is over.
GET THE WORD OUT
One Facebook post about your event isn’t enough. You need to send out announcement letters, formal invitations, and CDs with clips from past events with words like “Fragile Content” and “Time Sensitive Materials” on the envelope. You should promote your event in your newsletter in the months leading up to the event. Most importantly, you need to be prepared to call everyone yourself and personally invite them to the event. I’ve tried outsourcing these calls, and I’ve found conversion rates are a lot better when my son and I do it ourselves. Bonus: Three days before the event, reach out to all the “yeses” to secure their food order. This gives you an non-intrusive way to remind people about your event.
I hate it when I attend an event that just lists off a bunch of problems I have then doesn’t teach me how to move forward. Or maybe it’s an event designed to get you hyped up about something, but it doesn’t give you the resources you need to move forward. When David Stelzl speaks at my events, he highlights problems business owners in 2018 have to deal with. Then, when he’s done — and while everyone is eating dessert — I come up and let the audience know that if they want to determine whether or not their business is suffering from those same problems, we’re offering a complimentary visit to check out their systems.
Within 24–48 hours of the event, call everyone who attended. Don’t outsource this! It has to be you thanking them for attending and asking if you can answer any more questions they have. Depending on the lead, you could send them the speaker’s book or other helpful content you may have. For example, we have a security success kit loaded with helpful content to guide you in building your security program. Events only start the conversation. It’s up to you to close the deal.
Is it possible for an event to convert the audience at nearly 100 percent? I would say no if I hadn’t experienced it myself. Are events an investment? Of course they are. A good event demands time and money. But if you see good conversion rates, then it’s worth the investment
Thanks for reading,
PS. If you aren't confident your employees can detect a fraudulent email, I suggest you quickly check out my training before you get in trouble...