Rooted In Revenue

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Is Your Exhibit Booth Boring - answer - YES IT IS.

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Let's talk about what used to work, sort of: 6 foot table, skirt - branded or not, logo behind, business cards, two chairs, fishbowl for cards, bad candy to give away. (YAWN!) A total waste of resources. You must be memorable. You must be a destination booth at the event. If you don't have a booth, you need to do SOMETHING to stand out.

Listen to this episode for ideas for ideal give aways, engaging activities, treats, swag and more. 

After the break we'll also tell you what to avoid doing, hint: Buzzers, bells, anchor drops, puppies. The ideas range in budget - something for everyone.

Event Marketing Budgets & Digital Marketing

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Every year businesses determine what their marketing, sales, sponsorship, advertising, social,etc, etc line items will be in the budget.

If you are an entrepreneur and not doing this I would highly recommend you find a money manager and start doing this.

What many businesses forget to think about (or it's an afterthought) is events.

Events are magic.

Alright, maybe that's not the best selling point for me to give to justify adding events into your annual budget. Let's look at every major consumer brand in the US. Every single one of them does events. They spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars to get eyeballs on their brand and samples of products in consumer hands.

The #1 reason to do events is visibility and brand awareness.

These brands look for an ROI, but do you know that it's not always a cash/revenue ROI that they want to see?

They want to see impressions. How many people saw our product and within that there are calculations to figure out the reach of what one individual consumer is actually worth in impressions. It's a complicated math game.

So, if these brands think it's important why don't you?

You don't have to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Let's start small.

You are an entrepreneur and have a service that you offer (coaching, tech, social media, etc). You can invite 5-20 people to an event and charge then $0-300.

This event can be held in your living room, an art gallery, a golf club or resort, a gorgeous meeting space in a local hotel. Heck, even the library. These spaces will cost you anywhere from $0-$1500.

Your invite your guests to come to a local half day or one day event to learn from you on a specific area of your service.

You show up and deliver an abundance of value and they walk away feeling like they just won the lottery. What really happened here?

You just made an impression. Hundreds of them.

If you delivered tons of value...

  1. They are going to see you in a different light. They will see you as the expert.
  2. They will tell their friends and business associates about you.
  3. They will share your info on social media.
  4. They may hire you for your expertise.

An event like this doesn't require

  1. A lot of planning
  2. An event planner
  3. A large budget

Let's simplify this even more.

Invite 5 of your closest business associates to a 2 hour session for free or for a very low price to give you feedback on a presentation that you have been working on. Ask for feedback and referrals. Let them know up front that you'll be asking for feedback and referrals, so that they come prepared.

Do this. Experiment. Get out of your comfort zone.

The do it again with a larger crowd. Invite your 5 friends back and ask them to bring one person with them the next time.

Each time you do this you begin to get more comfortable and confident in your content and the service that you offer. Talking about what you do will feel less and less salesy.

Create monthly or bi-monthly events. All low cost. All local. Create a routine and become familiar to your local community. Once the word gets out that your are offering high value information in your events you will attract your target audience and before you know it, you will need to create a bigger event at a larger venue.

If you start out small like this you can create a line item for events of $10,000 or less and create something impactful in your first year.

If you want to create larger events, I recommend that you start planning and budgeting 12-18 months out. If you know your event is going to cost $30,000 then every month you start tucking away and saving money that is specifically earmarked for your event.

This process makes it easier to pay deposits when they are due. Rather than stressing about how to come up with the money, you know you already have it in your event budget and can comfortably right that check or put down that credit card for the deposits.

What I see happen all the time is business owners decide they want to create an event, then they realize the cost and they either scramble to find the money causing way more stress than needed or they toss their dreams aside and forget it OR they try to create a Ritz Carlton event on a Motel 6 budge….. ON THEIR OWN….and fail miserably, swearing off events for the unforeseeable future BECAUSE events don't work!

Events work, but just like everything else in your business you need to have a budget and a strategy.

If you run a marketing agency, especially a digital marketing agency and don’t have an event arm in your business strategy you are doing your clients a disservice.

Hold up, don’t be mad. I’m trying to help you out here. There is so much focus on the digital side and you are working SO diligently for your clients. It’s an uphill climb to get visibility, to get their product or service out, to get engaging customers. I know your struggle. We live in a very loud world where everyone is trying to get everyone else’s attention.

How do you stand out in the chaos?

This well known but underutilized tool called events.

If you showed up with an event strategy for your clients that pulled their customers into a face to face, hands on experience you’ve just changed the game. You’ve now opened up another marketing channel that probably was not in use… WOMM. Word of Mouth Marketing. WOMM is a powerful marketing tool. It is not dead. It is alive and well. Look at every movie you’ve watched and who have you told about it? What about that bad customer service or the great sales on shoes? You’ve called your friends, told your co-workers, cousins, bosses, nanny, neighbor, everyone and shared an experience that you had with a brand, company, movie, etc.

This is why events are so dynamic and this is why it’s your responsibility to show your clients that value of creating live events.

If we go back to my post about having an event budget, you will see that I talk about what the major consumer brands are doing. They are actively every year putting their products in the hands of their consumers.

I hear you saying, well I don’t have a product that I can give away. I disagree. You can pull anyone in to play and test your product in your offices. Create a fun tech day and invite potential customers to come in, eat some food, learn about your services and get their hands on your product live and in person. SIMPLE.

You don’t have to pass out millions of samples, you can invite 5 to 10 local businesses in for a day or a couple of hours.

CREATE SOMETHING.

Be innovative. Your clients will appreciate that. They want that. They need that. They are hiring you to help them stand out from the noise. If you are just doing to some old offerings and programs you give to EVERY.OTHER.CLIENT. then you, my friend, are missing an amazing opportunity.

Expand your services, hire an event consultant (ahem...I’m available) and create some interesting and innovative ideas for your clients. Now YOU are standing out from the noise and are helping them do the same.

Let me say, that I see the lack of event ideas in the small, entrepreneurial marketing agency space. The big digital agencies have this down to a science. I recommend taking a page from their book and increase the offerings and calibur of your business. Watch it change your world.

Event Communication - Put your ego aside

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Communication can sometimes be the hardest part of an event. The details are manageable, but sometimes the people involved are not. You will deal with a wealth of personalities, opinions and experiences that you may not enjoy engaging with. Put your ego aside and listen first. Digest what is being said to you and then make sure that you clearly and concisely craft a response that does not incite drama.

Communication can be a challenge no matter what you are doing in life or business, but let's focus on the event application of it.

Why is communication important for an event creator, planner, founder or host?

  1. It leaves no room for questions
  2. It eliminate worry and concerns
  3. It creates an open dialogue
  4. It creates clarity

Communication these days comes in many forms; email, calls, text messages, Facebook messages, Google Hangouts, Skype, Twitter Direct Messages and even public posts on social. It's a wonder we can even keep our communication clear these days. As an event planner, I work hard to keep my communication with my clients down to just a couple of vices when it comes to communicating about an event. Typically, email is the first form of communication, then calls, text messages and somehow Facebook messages get thrown into the mix (even though I still hate Facebook). The more complex an event, the simpler your form of communication should be. There are so many elements to manage and execute on during an event, you want to make sure that your communication is clear for all parties involved.

Clear communication really helps to eliminate the stress, burden and annoyance of someone saying "I didn't know". Trust me on that one. Usually I am running more than one event at a time, so I am dealing with different personalities, opinions, expectations, etc, etc and I have to be able to navigate them without getting myself into trouble. We're all human, but sometimes we forget and take our frustration out on the person delivering the message not thinking about the ramifications of our form of communication, tone or words.

Let's talk about events that I have run in the past. When confirming event details with speakers, I prefer a very clear and detailed form of email that lays out all their needs, deadlines, expectations, reservations, etc. Sometimes these emails can be long, but I make sure that they are extremely clear. I even have it proof read by someone not on my team (who would know all of the details) to make sure that it makes sense to them (as someone not in the know). I make adjustments on clarity where necessary and then shoot the email out to the speakers.

Would it shock you to know that more often than not 20-30% of the responses ask questions regarding items that I clearly laid out in my email?

Probably not. It doesn't surprise me either.

We move through our days too quickly. We skim emails. We scan for what we recognize and then we shoot from the hip. We're all guilty of it. I've done it myself. Now, what if we as event planners, event creators, speakers, vendors and all other active participants slowed down for a hot minute and read through the email before jumping all over the messenger? That would be quite a novel idea.

Let's flip the script a bit. I was invited to speak at an online conference. I spoke with the host about the details and said I was definitely interested. That was the last I heard about it until about 15 days before the conference when I reached back out again to the host. I was getting ready to finalize my content and I wanted to make sure that my presentation and delivery was what they were looking for. After about 45 minutes on the phone and 20 questions from me to the host, I felt I had a good understanding of what they wanted. A week later I received a message from the host asking me when I could record. I was confused because nowhere in our previous conversations had they mentioned me recording my presentation with them. At this point I was already pre-recording my content and informed them so. They agreed to let me move forward with the pre-recorded presentation. My team finished compiling the presentation and I delivered it via email to the host. Wouldn't you know, I received an email in response that informed me that I did not use the event branded template.

Hhhmmmm.......

Again, nowhere in our conversations did a branded template ever come up. Might I remind you as well, that up until that point I had still not received any details about the event, expectations, deliverables, timing, etc. NOTHING. I even had to ask for an affiliate link after the host complained that no speakers had been promoting the event. I informed the host that I would be happy to promote it, but I never received an affiliate link as verbally promised.

I promoted the heck out the event, but I never saw the host promote the event until 4-5 days prior to it going live. Now, the day before the event I received an email geared toward participants informing them about all the good stuff happening during the live conference. It said that the speakers would be showing up live during their sessions. Guess who never received an email from the host letting her know when her session was going to be live so that she could show up and serve the audience properly. You guessed it... This girl.

Needless to say, the communication on that event is a prime example of what not to do as a host/event creator. Please take care of your speakers and communicate with them actively and often. They want to show up and do their best for you and your tribe.

I was recently chatting with another event planner and we were swapping stories as we all do about specific scenarios that we run into with clients. She shared with me that she resigned from a client because one of the major issues was communication. The client doesn’t like to repeat herself and gets upset when she has too. Understandable. Here’s the glitch. The client doesn’t give clear instructions in the first place. She’s all over the board and so when her team returns to her to get said clarification she loses it.

Events are hard enough as it is, so the client who doesn’t communicate wants, needs and desires clearly throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing.

Here’s the thing, to create something amazing and to keep the entire team, vendors and venue on task and on the same page this communication thing has to be worked out.

If someone from your team comes to you and doesn’t understand your instructions or the vendor is not clear or g-d forbid the venue is not clear; DO NOT BITE THEIR HEAD OFF. Pause. Breathe. Take responsibility. Ask them what they did not understand. Repeat what they said to you, so they know that you heard them (and didn’t lose your shit). State your instructions as clearly as you can and then ask if they understand or have any questions that you can clarify.

This is common sense, but we are not taking the time to communicate.

Event Marketing Budgets & Digital Marketing

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Create an expense line in your annual budget for events.

Every year businesses determine what their marketing, sales, sponsorship, advertising, social,etc, etc line items will be in the budget.

If you are an entrepreneur and not doing this I would highly recommend you find a money manager and start doing this.

What many businesses forget to think about (or it's an afterthought) is events.

Events are magic.

Alright, maybe that's not the best selling point for me to give to justify adding events into your annual budget. Let's look at every major consumer brand in the US. Every single one of them does events. They spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars to get eyeballs on their brand and samples of products in consumer hands.

The #1 reason to do events is visibility and brand awareness.

These brands look for an ROI, but do you know that it's not always a cash/revenue ROI that they want to see?

They want to see impressions. How many people saw our product and within that there are calculations to figure out the reach of what one individual consumer is actually worth in impressions. It's a complicated math game.

So, if these brands think it's important why don't you?

You don't have to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Let's start small.

You are an entrepreneur and have a service that you offer (coaching, tech, social media, etc). You can invite 5-20 people to an event and charge then $0-300.

This event can be held in your living room, an art gallery, a golf club or resort, a gorgeous meeting space in a local hotel. Heck, even the library. These spaces will cost you anywhere from $0-$1500.

Your invite your guests to come to a local half day or one day event to learn from you on a specific area of your service.

You show up and deliver an abundance of value and they walk away feeling like they just won the lottery. What really happened here?

You just made an impression. Hundreds of them.

If you delivered tons of value:

  1. They are going to see you in a different light. They will see you as the expert.
  2. They will tell their friends and business associates about you.
  3. They will share your info on social media.
  4. They may hire you for your expertise.

An event like this doesn't require:

  1. A lot of planning
  2. An event planner
  3. A large budget

Let's simplify this even more.

Invite 5 of your closest business associates to a 2 hour session for free or for a very low price to give you feedback on a presentation that you have been working on. Ask for feedback and referrals. Let them know up front that you'll be asking for feedback and referrals, so that they come prepared.

Do this. Experiment. Get out of your comfort zone.

The do it again with a larger crowd. Invite your 5 friends back and ask them to bring one person with them the next time.

Each time you do this you begin to get more comfortable and confident in your content and the service that you offer. Talking about what you do will feel less and less salesy.

Create monthly or bi-monthly events. All low cost. All local. Create a routine and become familiar to your local community. Once the word gets out that your are offering high value information in your events you will attract your target audience and before you know it, you will need to create a bigger event at a larger venue.

If you start out small like this you can create a line item for events of $10,000 or less and create something impactful in your first year.

If you want to create larger events, I recommend that you start planning and budgeting 12-18 months out. If you know your event is going to cost $30,000 then every month you start tucking away and saving money that is specifically earmarked for your event.

This process makes it easier to pay deposits when they are due. Rather than stressing about how to come up with the money, you know you already have it in your event budget and can comfortably right that check or put down that credit card for the deposits.

What I see happen all the time is business owners decide they want to create an event, then they realize the cost and they either scramble to find the money causing way more stress than needed or they toss their dreams aside and forget it OR they try to create a Ritz Carlton event on a Motel 6 budge….. ON THEIR OWN….and fail miserably, swearing off events for the unforeseeable future BECAUSE events don't work!

Events work, but just like everything else in your business you need to have a budget and a strategy.

If you run a marketing agency, especially a digital marketing agency and don’t have an event arm in your business strategy you are doing your clients a disservice.

Hold up, don’t be mad. I’m trying to help you out here. There is so much focus on the digital side and you are working SO diligently for your clients. It’s an uphill climb to get visibility, to get their product or service out, to get engaging customers. I know your struggle. We live in a very loud world where everyone is trying to get everyone else’s attention.

How do you stand out in the chaos?

This well known but underutilized tool called events.

If you showed up with an event strategy for your clients that pulled their customers into a face to face, hands on experience you’ve just changed the game. You’ve now opened up another marketing channel that probably was not in use… WOMM. Word of Mouth Marketing. WOMM is a powerful marketing tool. It is not dead. It is alive and well. Look at every movie you’ve watched and who have you told about it? What about that bad customer service or the great sales on shoes? You’ve called your friends, told your co-workers, cousins, bosses, nanny, neighbor, everyone and shared an experience that you had with a brand, company, movie, etc.

This is why events are so dynamic and this is why it’s your responsibility to show your clients that value of creating live events.

If we go back to my post about having an event budget, you will see that I talk about what the major consumer brands are doing. They are actively every year putting their products in the hands of their consumers.

I hear you saying, well I don’t have a product that I can give away. I disagree. You can pull anyone in to play and test your product in your offices. Create a fun tech day and invite potential customers to come in, eat some food, learn about your services and get their hands on your product live and in person. SIMPLE.

You don’t have to pass out millions of samples, you can invite 5 to 10 local businesses in for a day or a couple of hours.

CREATE SOMETHING.

Be innovative. Your clients will appreciate that. They want that. They need that. They are hiring you to help them stand out from the noise. If you are just doing to some old offerings and programs you give to EVERY.OTHER.CLIENT. then you, my friend, are missing an amazing opportunity.

Expand your services, hire an event consultant (ahem...I’m available) and create some interesting and innovative ideas for your clients. Now YOU are standing out from the noise and are helping them do the same.

Let me say, that I see the lack of event ideas in the small, entreprenurial marketing agency space. The big digital agencies have this down to a science. I recommend taking a page from their book and increase the offerings and calibur of your business. Watch it change your world.

 

Additional Ways to Generate Event Revenue

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There are more than 5 ways to make money on your event. We’ve already covered the Top 5. Below we’ve listed the additional sources

  1. Ticket Sales and Add-ons
  2. Virtual Events
  3. Paid Speakers
  4. Coaching Programs
  5. Bonus Events
  6. Live Streaming
  7. Post Event Options

Make sure you download the full Event Revenue cheat sheet to learn more about each revenue stream and begin creating a strategy to maximize your event revenue.  https://eventsbylany.com/rootedtips

Top 5 Ways to Monetize Your Event

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When you decide to add events as a revenue stream into your business the normal thought process is to focus on ticket sales to make money.

Ticket sales are extremely important as that is your indicator for 1) How many people are attending your event and 2) Where you need to adjust your marketing efforts to increase “butts in seats”

Here are the Top 5 ways to bring in event revenue that go beyond ticket sales.

  1. Sponsors - Creating partnerships and collaborations with sponsors is one of the most profitable revenue streams for events. Find companies and brands that are in alignment with your message and who have a similar target audience.
  1. VIP/Upgrade Options - Create high end options that will provide more benefits and value to your audience.
  1. Product Sales - Upsell your attendees to your next event, your coaching products, books, masterminds and more.
  1. JV/Affiliates - The best way to sell tickets is to have a solid business partnerships with influencers who will promote your event to their audience and increase the visibility of your event.
  1. Speaker Sales Splits - Allow your speakers to sell from stage and agree to a split of their sales because you are giving them an opportunity to be in front of your audience...a new audience.

Download ALL of your Event Revenue Sources at eventsbylany.com/rootedtips

Your event timeline - when does it start?

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When planning an event, meeting, retreat, workshop or conference you will want to build out a timeline for your event. Certain elements of your event need to be reserved, contracted, ordered and paid for by a specific time frames prior to the event. If you have a member of your team managing this part of your event, you will want to ensure that they have the proper information and authority to complete tasks and sign contracts on your behalf.

Most large events are planned 12-18 months in advance, but here is a good guideline to follow depending on how often you are running your event.

 

  • Annual Events - Start 12-18 months out
  • Semi Annual Events - Start 9-12 months out
  • Quarterly Events - Start 6 months out
  • Monthly Events - 3 months out

 

If the event is an annual event, you will start planning your next event almost as soon as your current event is completed.

The shorter the lead time on an event, the tighter the deadlines and potentially the higher stress.

Lofty dreams and goals for events don’t work to create a successful event.

I had a client come to me wanting to create a 300 person event in 60 days from scratch.

The event idea was amazing, but they had no idea how they were going to put it all together, pay for it and get butts in seats in that time frame.

Doing a smaller event in a short time frame is definitely doable, but you need to be super realistic when it comes to deadlines, money and attendance goals.

The greater the lead time to plan an event, the higher the success rate.

 

Download your Quick Start Timeline at eventslany.com/rootedtips

Defining Your Event Budget

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Are you making money or losing money? You MUST have a budget. You must forecast your expenses and plan out your profits to give you an idea of what your numbers may or may not look like. You can’t wish on a star and hope it will all be ok.

  • How much money do you have to spend for this event?
  • Are you receiving donations from vendors?
  • Will you be looking for sponsors?
  • Do you plan on having exhibitors?

Sponsorship is a GREAT way to cover the cost of your event and I know that topic is covered in this summit, so I hope you paid attention.

Do you plan on generating a profit from your event?

If so, make sure you calculate that into your numbers, so that you’re not fighting to save your profit at the end.

Do you have a contingency in place?

With everything you do in your event you will need to have a contingency or backup in place, just in case something (inevitably) goes wrong or costs more money than you had originally planned.

Always budget at least 15-20% contingency

Did I mention that things inevitably go wrong? If you don’t have room in your budget, then you could be costing yourself more than just money. Think stress, overwhelm, fear, anxiety...yes...you will create a huge burden of stress. So, let’s just eliminate that right from the beginning. Plan to have a contingency (or buffer) in your budget for the unexpected.

Let’s look at what you need to budget for….

  • Venue
  • Decor
  • Design
  • Event Tech
  • Group Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Furniture Rentals
  • Licensing
  • Insurance
  • Wifi
  • Electrical
  • A/V Equipment & Setup
  • Staging/Lighting Rental/Vendor
  • Food/Catering Services
  • Hotel Accommodations for:
    • Team
    • Guests
    • Speakers
    • Attendees
  • Stipend for:
    • Volunteers
    • Staff
    • Speakers
  • Ground Transportation for:
    • Team
    • Guests
    • Speakers
    • Attendees
  • Speaker Honorarium
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Print Services
  • Staffing
  • Shipping
  • Storage
  • Taxes
  • Fees
  • Clean up
  • Union Fees
  • Deposits
  • Cancellation Fees

Get your Quick Start Budget Template or your Full Event Budget at eventsbylany.com/rootedtips

Creating an amazing event experience.

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We no longer just create events. We create experiences. Follow along with the questions below and develop your event using your past experiences and your personal preferences. Visualization is really powerful when creating your event experience.

Think about all of the events you have ever attended.

  • What memories or experiences stand out to you in this moment?
  • Are they good?
  • Are they bad?
  • Why did you like it?
  • Why did you dislike it?
  • Did that experience turn you off from attending that particular event in the future?
  • Would you go back to that event?

Let’s take it one step further. Think about the event that you want to create.

  • If you were attending your own event, what kind of experience do you want to have?
  • What does the event sales page add or take away from the experience?
  • How does your pre-event communication enhance the experience?
  • What are you feeling when you arrive in the host city or country?
  • What kind of feelings and emotions are you feeling as you arrive at your hotel for check in?
  • Was your hotel check in smooth and seamless?
  • Do you feel welcome?

Next, let’s walk through the event registration.

  • How do you feel?
  • Calm, cool, collected, nervous, excited, frustrated, angry, tired, ready to go home?

Now I want you to move yourself through the event.

  • What excites you?
  • What type of personality or energy are you and what do you need?
  • Do you need space to decompress or are you ready to party all day, every day?
  • Is the food amazing? Are you never leaving the buffet line? Or are you out looking for the nearest sushi restaurant?
  • Are you wow’d by the decor?
  • Does it impress you or are you completely blind to it?
  • How is the speaker line up?
  • Are you on the edge of your seat or are you trying to hide that yawn to not be rude?
  • Is the music too loud or not loud enough?
  • Are you enjoying the connections you are making?
  • Are there even opportunities to make connections?
  • What is keeping you at the event? Or are you ready to bail after the first day?
  • What’s the best thing you are feeling?
  • What makes you grumpy thinking about your event?

Ok, now that you’ve experienced your own event make note of the good that you experienced and the bad that you want to avoid.

Get Lany’s 7 Tips to Create an Amazing Experience at eventsbylany.com/rootedtips

 

Defining Your Event Purpose & Target Audience

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In this episode Lany shares the first 2 foundational pillars to creating successful events. There are 5 foundational pillars and Lany will cover them all over the next few episodes.

In events there are 5 different areas that will help you build a solid foundation for your event.

  1. Defining Your Purpose & Goals
  2. Identifying Your Target Audience
  3. Creating an Amazing Experience
  4. Budget Planning & Management
  5. Setting an Event Timeline

As you go through this episode and begin creating your event, ask yourself these questions that we cover.

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Why are you holding this event?
  • What is the end result you want to achieve?
  • Are you doing an event to make money?
  • What is your ROI?
  • What is the perceived value? For you? For your attendees?
  • To grow your audience?
  • To increase brand awareness?
  • For a product launch?
  • To make money (yes, I repeated this on purpose)?
  • To create a unique experience for your followers?
  • To help your audience learn something new?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Do you want to gain media coverage?
  • Do you want to increase visibility?
  • Do you want to contribute to your community?
  • Do you want to celebrate a milestone or success?
  • Do you want to build more connections/grow your tribe?
  • Do you have attendance goals? How many butts in seats do you want?

Once you have your purpose and goals defined, it’s time to develop and define your target audience. Check out Hubspot’s Buyer Persona Template or our SLMA friend, Matt Heinz’ Buyer Persona Template.

Download your free Purpose and Goals cheat sheet & access your Buyer Persona Templates at eventsbylany.com/rootedtips