Thinking of Hosting Your First Event? These 5 Key Success Strategies Will Help - Christine Kane

Plotting your first live event?

Been kicking around the idea and now you’re ready to put pedal to the medal and make it happen?

Here are 5 strategies to get started on the right foot, BEFORE your “Save the Date” post on Facebook:

1 – The WHO

Not the band… 🙂

But rather: who is the specific, target audience of your event?

Before you roll your eyes and say, “My clients, DUH!” think again… Not all events are for prospective clients…

Or, you may have more than one ideal client “avatar”… Is the event for a subset of your prospective clients?

You may be targeting strategic partners who have access to your ideal client… or potential corporate sponsors.

So before you put pen to paper on any detail, determine as SPECIFICALLY as possible who you intend to serve with the event.

The more narrowly defined, the better the pull that attracts your audience to the event.

2 – The WHY

Have a clear purpose as to why you’re holding the event – your goal.

Every decision you make in planning and marketing the event should support that goal.

Ask yourself: Are you looking to…

  • Generate leads?
  • Raise awareness of your company or a new offering?
  • Nurture customer loyalty?
  • Generate revenue?

All good reasons… But pick ONE.

It’s important that you determine the SINGULAR purpose for which you’re holding the event – and stick to it… so you don’t end up with “scope creep.”

Another way to think of it is: what is the SOLE call to action that you’ll issue to your event participants at the end, or climax, of the event? And reverse engineer from that.

3 – The WHAT

This is about your content…

What specific problem are you solving, or question are you answering for your expected guests – that will support the overall goal of your event?

Less is more. You will not be able to cover everything you want to – and you shouldn’t try to. Their brains will go into overload.

A good guideline: Sketch out all the content you’d like to present… Then cut it in half.

Better to make a few points extremely well than to turn on the firehose. (I always have extra stuff waiting in the sidelines just in case I need it. I never do!)

Bonus tip: offer notes or slide copies after your presentation, so folks can relax and focus on absorbing.

Or: present these before – so your audience can take notes as you go; or email contacts afterward, initiating post-event follow-up.

4 – The HOW

Make a list of the details about your event.

Now, on one level, every detail matters, and will be considered a reflection of your business and brand.

(So consider carefully the impression you want to make.)

On another level – it’s better to start simple and not spend so much on an event while you get your feet wet. (My first events were uber budget conscious!)

The more you anticipate every detail of your attendees’ experience, the better your results will be.

Here’s a short list of event details to consider, to get you started:

  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Projector / Screen
  • Parking
  • Transportation
  • Signage
  • Program contents
  • Handouts
  • Name badges
  • Refreshments
  • “Swag” bags

Think on events attended past… What details stand out – positive or negative? How can you accentuate the former and prevent the latter?

And be kind to yourself: realistically plan for budget and time – yours and your team’s – that you want invested in the event. If you seek a larger turnout, you’ll need to start marketing months (or a year!) ahead – where 1-3 weeks is all you need for a more intimate affair.

5 – The WHERE

You’ll need a venue that can meet all of your event requirements – or can be adapted to them. (For example, your own or rented sound system can be brought in to a venue that doesn’t have on-site sound).

As important if not more: location, location, location.

Especially if it’s your first event, and you really want to set it up for success – take the event TO your people, instead of demanding that THEY come to YOU.

Consider: Where does your target audience ALREADY hang out?

What type of venue do you want?

What is most convenient, best representative of your brand and business, and within budget?

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Now that you’re armed with five strategies for your first event: what is the very next step that you’ll take?