With tomorrow being the 4th of July, a lot of competing events are happening here in Chicago…
One of the events is the annual Naperville Ribfest which brings sixteen of the nation’s best rib vendors together in a head-to-head competition to win the favor of judges and festival goers.
The vendors have rib samplers (among other things) that you can purchase to try their sauce. In addition to ribs, regular festival-type food such as kettle corn and funnel cakes are available. Plus they have activities like music, a family area with a petting zoo and activity tent, a Chicago White Sox training camp and of course, fireworks.
Here’s the interesting thing—unlike many events that take place over the 4th of July weekend, you have to buy a ticket for $10 to get into this one. Which means they are competing against tons of FREE events…
Yet not only is it packed every year, it’s been voted “Best in the Midwest” for the past 15 years by Festival Magazine.
At GKIC we obviously believe in the power of events and we teach you to hold your own events for your customers and clients.
Events are great for building loyal customers. They show clients and customers that you are “real.” They not only build relationships between you and your client, but between clients themselves, which sometimes can be even more powerful.
Because your audience is captive, you can give them a lot of valuable information in a relatively short amount of time—often taking them through material that would take them months to complete on their own.
This means they can experience success at a much faster rate.
Events are also perfect for selling more product, coaching/consulting and mastermind groups.
Just like the many events happening over the 4th of July—an issue you have to deal with when planning your own event is competing events.
The most common reaction is to offer your event free or at a deep discount. The problem is that offering an event free means you either need to sell a lot at the event to make up the costs of the event or you take on debt to hold the event.
This is not what you want to do.
And you won’t have to if you follow these five tips when planning your next event:
1) Begin promotion early. For the best results you want to give your potential attendees plenty of notice—before they commit to something else. Depending on the number of people you want there, how long your event will be and how far people have to travel to get there, ideally a year out. Less time, say six months, can work too, however the more lead time you give, the more time you have to promote and the more likely you are to fill your event.
At the end of each event, you should already start promoting next year’s event. Strike while the iron’s hot as they say. People are excited about what they just learned and they don’t want to miss out next year. Offer a one-time only price that won’t be matched the rest of the year, and you’ll have a good head start for next year’s event.
2) Create a multi-step campaign. Unless you’re Justin Bieber or the latest hot celebrity, chances are you are not going to be able to send one email to your list and sell out your event. In fact, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you really need to create a multi-step, multi-media approach. Ideally you have mailing addresses for your prospects and customers so you can use direct mail, like mailing a sales letter and postcards in addition to your online promotion, such as emails. (If you don’t have addresses, consider creating a step in your campaign to acquire those.)
When we promote SuperConferenceSM we mail out a sales letter (multiple times with different lift notes, grabbers, etc.) and postcards. We send emails and promote at other events…and you should too.
3) Add some fireworks. People like to be entertained, so when you add an entertaining element to your event, believe it or not, it helps push people over the edge. The Naperville Ribfest already had a lot to offer, however they added fireworks on one day to boost attendance. At SuperConferenceSM, there is tons of great info, celebrities, chances to network—many reasons to attend.
However, we always add a fun event. For example, at SuperConferenceSM 2012 we had an after-hours event with cocktails, book signings, photograph opportunities, a mock casino with card games and spin the wheel, and more. While that is on the elaborate side, simple entertainment like showing a movie and serving popcorn and candy can work well too.
4) Invite a celebrity. People are fascinated with celebrities and having one at your event can help fill it. The celebrity doesn’t have to be a well-known main-stream or even necessarily known to your audience, although if your audience already knows them, that can be very helpful.
When we held our event for transforming a professional practice into an entrepreneurial business, we asked Ben Glass, CEO of Great Legal Marketing LLC to present. Chances are you aren’t going to see Ben on the TV show Access Hollywood or on the red carpet at the Academy Awards and many of our members may not know who Ben Glass is, however he is a celebrity in his field having helped thousands of attorneys and professional practice owners and law firms nationwide transform their practice by providing advertising, marketing and business training tools and done-for-them services and coaching.
Think about who you can get that would hold a “celebrity curiosity” and draw people to your event. For example, let’s say you wanted to sell a coaching program to veterinarians. Maybe a “dog whisperer” would be a good choice.
Another way to add celebrity is to tie the celebrity to your event theme. At Info-SummitSM this year, our theme is super heroes so we’ve invited Adam West, the actor best known for his lead role in the 1960’s Batman TV series.
Sometimes the “celebrity” isn’t even a person, but a thing. At Info-SummitSM we will have the Batmobile, an inanimate celebrity of sorts. For you, it might be a new piece of equipment or tool that your industry is curious about.
5) Create a new twist. Present something that your potential attendees won’t be able to get from you any other way. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create new material. In late November 2012, we are offering a “Done-With-You” event where attendees will take what we teach about lead generation and help them create their own campaign with the guidance of our GKIC copywriters.
We didn’t have to create how to do this, we just gave it a spin in that not only will attendees learn first-hand how to create their own campaign, they will get professional assistance and leave with a complete campaign ready to send out to their list.
You don’t need fireworks to get people to your next event, however incorporating these five things into your plan will help give you the same “big bang” – adding excitement and increased attendance. Plus you’ll find it easier and less stressful to fill and more profitable too.
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