How to market your first event
With so many of us working online, the idea of meeting people face to face can seem really scary.
But, there’s nothing better than a face to face opportunity, especially if you create your own event. Bringing people together – the right kind of people – is a great way to market your product or service and get to know your audience in a more intimate way.
We’re not talking about filling Wembley Stadium – just a coffee at your local coffee shop is a good place to start – here’s how to go about it…
Why should we have our own events?
There are multiple reasons why it’s a good idea. Getting other people together to give them a chance to network is part of relationship-building. It might be just getting a small group together for a coffee to say thank you. It gives you an opportunity to meet your audience face to face and shows people you care. It’s also a brilliant way to build relationships and reconnect with people you may have once worked with.
You may have a product to launch or you may be celebrating something – an anniversary, a new launch, or even a relaunch. It’s also a great opportunity to do some fund-raising too.
How do I go about it?
There are four key areas to think about and plan -
The best advice is to start small – don’t overface yourself! Just getting 10 people together in a coffee shop is a great start. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a physical office or building – you can still get together with people and create your own events.
As with most marketing activities, you do have to start with the end in mind – know what you want to achieve. The best way is to map out what this event is going to look like – why are you doing it, what do you want to achieve, what goals do you want to set? Map out what you want to be known for as this determines who you might invite and who is going to be interested in your service or product. Above all this is your chance to create a bespoke networking event so that you can reach out to exactly the right people for your brand – you only need to invite the people who can be influenced.
Put a solid date in the diary – to actually make something happen you have to take action! Choose your date carefully – don’t clash with school holidays and consider the best day or time for your invitees – does the weekend or evening work best for your audience? For instance I always find that midweek is best for me and my audience but it may be different for you.
Consider the venue – where is the best place to hold this event? Look at things like car parking and size of room. For a larger event choose a room that can be scaled down or up so it looks like you’re at maximum capacity.
Facing your fears
It’s natural to feel fear about planning an event. There’s fear around the unknown and whether it will work. There’s fear around knowing where to start, and there’s major fear around whether people will come. If you plan it properly, it’s not going to be a problem. Start small and with an audience you know. If five or six people turn up to a coffee shop event, then that’s brilliant – you’ve achieved something, you can learn from it and you can grow it next time. To get some helpful tips on networking, have a listen to Podcast 34 for some great networking tips.
What are the first steps?
The first thing to do is create a timeline for your marketing. Once you have a date in place work back from there. For instance draw a line with the event date in the middle then plan your marketing activities before, during and after the event.
Decide at what point you are going to market this event. I generally think a month before is a good timeframe, but you may have mentioned it to people before then. Put every social media post, every piece of press you want to put out, every email, phone call and radio slot on your timeline. This helps you focus and prevents you going off on tangents and making rash decisions.
Make a list
Make a list of people you want to invite – who will help you to achieve the objectives you want to achieve from the event? Then circle the lowest hanging fruit – ie. the people you know really well. Pick up the phone and ask them if they’d be interested in coming. Ask them for their opinion on where you should hold it and what they would like to see and hear from your event.
Bring a friend – remember you can also get in front of other people’s audiences too. If you invite guests who have some kind of influence with people you want to attract, ask them to bring a guest or two.
Why should they come
Give people a reason to come. Ask yourself why people are going to give up time to come to this event. Do they want to network, learn something or are they coming to enjoy the food and to socialise? Then think about how you can offer these objectives.
Create FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out. This is a great marketing tool which you can hear more about in Podcast 25. Your goal is to make people feel that they will be missing out by NOT coming to your event!
The importance of communication
This is your opportunity to put out some great communication. Don’t worry about bombarding people – you want them to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Communication is key – here’s how to get it right…
The first communication begins with the invitation itself. What will this look like – an email, telephone call, a printed invite?
How will you follow up your first communication? Will you email to follow up your printed invite? Will you send a quirky video of yourself saying ‘hi, have you remembered my event?’ Tell people what is going to happen at the event, what they might gain from being there, why they need to be there!
You may need to do some marketing while you’re at the event. If you’re doing a talk, you’ll need a photographer to take pictures of you doing your presentation. Do you need someone doing your social media to put out stories while the event is happening?
If it’s going to be a regular event, you may want to create a hashtag around it. Then people can tag things into it and create their own momentum which you can share more easily.
How will you communicate after the event? Will you send out something to say thank you for being there? If there’s a story behind the event, contact the local press and send them a press release. It may have a charity angle, you might have given your opinion on something or you might have done some training – this will make good free press for local newspapers so make sure you get some good images too.
Hopefully you’ll agree that creating an event is not as scary as it sounds! If you start small and build up, use an audience you already have to build up relationships, that’s the best place to start.
So, if you’ve been procrastinating, now is the time to put that date in the diary and give it a go!
I hope these tips have been useful and I’d love to hear how your first event went – send me an email to Alison@simply-marketing.net or contact me on my website at alisonteare.com where you can find more information about my 6-week marketing challenge or marketing membership. Or find me in my Facebook Group where we can talk about events in more detail.
If you would like to listen to the full Podcast go to: http://www.simply-marketing.net/2020/01/31/how-to-market-your-first-event/