Setting up an Event – some tips to help make it a success

By Patricia Egen • July 16th, 2013

Ever wanted to put together a dog and pony show to demonstrate your services and products? Of course.  Did you think it would take lots of time and money?  You would think that setting this up would probably be a major undertaking that would be a huge time-drain.  I thought so as well.  The first time I had an opportunity to put on a roadshow, I only had a 3 week  advance notice.  At the time, I was very busy and needed to come up with ways to make this happen quickly.  Here’s what I did.

I realized the first thing I would have to do is find and cement a location for the event.  I chose Nashville as the location since it was pretty much in the middle of the state.  But that’s not where I live so I’m not on top of locations nor contacts at those locations.  However, I have a ton of clients in Nashville, so I picked up the phone and made a quick call to one of my favorites.  He said he didn’t know any contacts, but did remember that he had attended a meeting at a really nice conference center near the airport that had a great amphitheater setup.  He didn’t remember the name but he had the location.

Ok.  That led me to the next step – utilizing my most favorite business tool – Google. I went searching for conference facilities and added in the streets.  I  had already done a search before, but got too many hits.  This search turned up the Willis Conference Center.  Bingo.  I called the facility and was genuinely surprised to find out how affordable the facility was as well as how nice the setup appeared to be.  Got the contract, signed the document and that part was done.  All this was in one day.  I called a person in the same city to get a word of mouth suggestion, then used Google to find the site.

The next step was creating email templates and finally taking the time to learn the drip marketing embedded in Swiftpage (ACT e-marketing).  Again, I called on an outside resource – I called someone who had already done a road show and they very graciously shared with me some examples of templates they had sent out.  I used those as models to build my own templates (saving me hours of work) and put them into my Drip Marketing campaign.

Now I needed a way for people to register for the event. One of the nice features of ACT e-marketing is the ability to create a survey.  I set up a survey with questions that were actually data for a registration form.  It was easy to set up fields for name, company, number of attendees, and a field to ask how they heard about the event.  I get sent emails on a daily basis showing me who has registered.  This gets updated into the history in ACT allowing me to go back later, search for that update, and generate “thank you for registering” letters and afterwards, “thank you for attending” letters. Cool.

I used the same model for the email templates for my Event page on my website.  Since I use Dreamweaver for working on my website as well as my HTML templates it was easy to cut, paste, edit, and save the page quickly.  Webpage done.

I set up a group in ACT that only contained my Tennessee clients.  This would be used by the campaign for sending emails.  The first email blast went out two weeks ago and was stage one in my Drip Marketing campaign.  I was very pleased that 30 people signed up almost immediately. How neat is that.  It was cool as well when the second stage of the drip campaign launched automatically one week later and only was sent to people who had not clicked on the link to register or had not opened the email.  That’s a very efficient process that allowed me to spend a few minutes setting up the campaign but then saved me tons of time later.  There are two other stages in the campaign that will send out one last reminder emails and then will send a thank you letter after the event is done asking if they need any additional information.

At this point, I was in wait mode for the event.  The work is being done for me by tools that were extremely easy to set up.  While I’m sleeping (hopefully and not working late) emails are going out.  Reminders are popping up reminding me to make sure the slicks have been sent out.  All this is happening while I’m working on something else.  Now that’s efficient.

As I have said before, I simply don’t know how a small business can survive without utilizing tools.  We help clients utilize these tools so it just makes sense we use them as well.  Since then, I’ve been a staunch advocate for using drip campaigns to automate all kinds of processes and notifications.  Sometimes it takes a crisis to push us in the right direction.

 

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