Hosting involves a lot of decisions. In the nick of time, when decision-making has to be swift, we tend to go with the first thought that goes through our minds. That type of coin toss might play out well, but, it also might not.
We’ve put together a list of key terms relating to events. These aren’t just any definitions. Together, these key terms should guide your event. The more you spend time thinking these out in the beginning, the fewer last-minute decisions you’ll have to make. Of course, there are always going to be surprises and things you haven’t thought about. In that case, these terms will provide a framework to lead your decisions.
Event strategy is a pretty big term that branches over everything before, during, and after the event.
The first thing you want to do is look at last year’s numbers. Any data you have on registration, attendance, and behavior will help you prepare and set goals for the one coming up.
These days, the stats and metrics you can keep track of make up a pretty long list. Make sure your trackers are all in place and that you understand what they all mean. This way, you’ll know how to properly evaluate and measure your success, and you’ll have lots of data to base your next event off of.
Now, let’s talk content. Your content should interest your audience. You already knew that, of course. But do you know how to find out your audience’s interests? Start with understanding who they are. Getting to ‘the what’ should be a pretty straight path from there.
As for ‘the how’ – simple! Mix up different types of sessions and media, such as speaker talks, Q&A sessions, group chats, and polls. Your user is on a journey – make it interesting.
You want your brand to be front and center at the event. Any interaction and connection you make with attendees should evoke that emotion and add to the experience associated with your brand identity. While that holds true for any marketing effort, it’s especially true for events. It’s not very often that you get so much attention from customers and partners.
But just having everything on brand and on tone isn’t enough. Brand-building is about connecting with your audience. In other words, you have to engage your audience and bond with them. Make them feel like the big part of the event that they are. Polls and quizzes are a great start in that direction.
To really boost things up, make it as personal as you can. And even if your options are fairly limited in that regard, don’t worry. It’ll get better. Just remember to observe your audience during the event so you’ll know even more about them for next time.
We all want a bigger reach. No surprise there. But it’s important not to go at it head-on with no plan.
Maximizing your reach is fine as a general statement but you really want to set an actionable and attainable (albeit ambitious) number on that. Next, take a closer look at your audience demographics. Google Analytics could come in handy for that.
Don’t forget there’s more than one way to reach your audience – not just live. You also don’t have to reach them all at the same time. Scheduling your content’s broadcast based on time zones will help get more people to view it. Throw in an email blast and you’re bound to see your numbers go up.
You know those “I’ll be speaking at…” posts on LinkedIn and social media? Sure, you do. The reason why these are a great way to advertise your event is that they highlight specific content which could lure in someone just for that.
After the event, share your content. That counts as more reach. Plus, the ones you reach with it might just appreciate it enough to attend live next time.
Interest and credibility
We’ve already mentioned the importance of interesting content. We’d like to revisit that notion but this time, focus more on its credibility.
See, it’s not enough to only have one or the other. Your content needs to be both. At the same time, don’t be hesitant to think that what you’d like to say as a business checks out on both.
Instead, bring in experts to talk about specific topics. Experts from your company and outside it can highlight what these are. And to make it all the more interesting and credible, make the audience a part of it. In other words, put your foot down on the engagement pedal.
This is another reason to mix up different session styles and mediums. That’ll really show your enthusiasm. Just be sure not to overexert it. The trick is to guide attendees along everything you have to offer. If you become too pushy, you’ll lose credibility points.
Last but not least, track any data to help you find out more about your audience’s interests. Yes, we’ve mentioned this earlier, too. It’s that important. So important that we’re going to talk about it some more in the next section.
Your success isn’t a yes/no question. It relies on different variables before, during, and after your event. Just because one didn’t play out so well doesn’t strike off your success on another.
Start measuring your success at the launch of your agenda. What type of traction did it get? Clicks? Reactions? Registrations? Keep putting it out there and optimizing it to get those numbers up.
Ok, it’s event time. Measure views and engagement in each session, not just all together. Based on what you’re seeing (or rather, what your audience is viewing), there might still be time to replace the less popular ones. Before you do, make sure you looked at all the important metrics.
Another great way to measure how you’re doing is by simply asking your audience to rate their satisfaction at the end of each session and, naturally, at the end of the event, too.
All this data you’re gathering will come in really handy for your next event as well as future marketing campaigns.
Your event isn’t just for attendees. Your sponsors are also expecting to get a lot out of it. By that we mean, lots of eyeballs and potential leads.
Treating them like instruments for monetization won’t get you very far. You might manage to cover some of the costs, but it’ll harm your event experience and sponsors’. Which is why you want your sponsors to complement your event and be a part of it.
The best way about it is to choose the right sponsors from the get-go. If you’re going to share an event with them (yes, you are), you should both share a similar DNA. That’ll help position your event right where you want it and also make sure that only the right audience gets in, and more of it.
That doesn’t mean you can just go ahead and share personal attendee information with all your sponsors. To do that, you’ll need to explain how it’s going to be used, ask for permission to use it, and only if they say yes, use it.
Think of ways to steer your audience in the sponsor booths’ direction. Don’t be pushy, of course. But don’t be too subtle either. Remember, you’re letting them know of a product or service that could benefit them.
Their logo should be in clear sight on the homepage. Social and email banners for your sponsors are also a must. You could go the extra mile by mentioning them in one (or more) of your email blasts. And for a really nice way to spotlight your sponsors, include their sessions in the recommendations.