Even though I’ve spoken many times at other people’s live events, until last weekend I had never put on one of my own.
As with doing anything for the first time there is a big learning curve to transcend.
So in this post I’d like to share with you a few tips and pointers to consider if you are looking to put an event on yourself.
Some are simple and some are more subtle but I hope all together they give you some good food for thought…
1. Define The Primary Goal Of Your Event
In order to get the most from any product you create it’s essential to be very clear from the outset as to what your main goal actually is.
In creating a digital product your goal might be lead generation and list building in which case you would probably choose to sell your product very inexpensively ($5-$30) and give away the majority of the revenue in affiliate commission in order to maximize the traffic.
Conversely, if your goal is making money by promoting to existing leads then you would probably create a bigger, more extensive product and set a higher price.
Now, when it comes to live events there are several models to consider:
a) Multi-Speaker Pitching Event
This is where you sell tickets very cheaply (or even give them away for free) and invite multiple speakers to provide the content at your event.
This content is followed by an offer which not only pays for the cost of putting on the event but also (hopefully!) pushes you into profit. Typically, the revenues from the promotions are split 50/50 between you as the event organizer and the individual guest speakers.
There’s nothing wrong with this model and having other speakers means that they can help promote the event itself which can be invaluable.
However, when it’s taken to the limit and hype is used in the sales tactics you end up with the infamous “pitch fest”. If you’ve ever attended one of these you’ll know content is usually very sparse, non-specific and is really only there as an excuse to lead to the pitch itself.
b) Seminar Upsell Model
Another popular model is to put several seminars into a sales funnel.
For example, there are experts who pay to speak at large conferences or events and then sell the audience into their 1 day seminar (e.g., priced at $500).
Then at the end of the 1 day seminar they will make a further offer of a 3 day seminar (e.g., priced at $1,500).
And so on…
c) Content Driven No Pitching Event
This is the model I chose.
Specifically, I wanted to:
- Deliver a complete blueprint over 2 days in a step by step way with tons of examples and case studies
- Not pitch or sell anything during the weekend
- Have the seminar filmed so I could repurpose the footage for a higher ticket product later on
Now of course, putting on a 2 day live event with hotel rooms, meals and having it professionally filmed does not come cheap.
So how do you pay for it?
Well in January when I was putting the plans together I spoke with a few different people I know and asked for their advice. The vast majority of them advised me to sell a high ticket offer at the seminar itself so I could pay for the costs and turn a profit too.
But as mentioned above I just didn’t want to do this.
I felt that with the information I would deliver over the 2 days attendees really wouldn’t have any immediate need for any high priced products in order to move forward.
So instead I:
a) Priced the tickets at a level which would give great value for all live attendees.
b) Made available a separate significantly discounted offer for the DVD Package which included the complete footage of the 2 days.
If you are considering putting on a live event now or in the future I can’t recommend these two points enough.
The mid range priced tickets allow you to deliver much more value to attendees (e.g., I included all meals, hotel rooms and a USB Drive with extra resources on it) plus you get a better quality of people too who are more far likely to take the information, implement it and get results.
And you don’t have to worry about selling them something during the event either which as I’ve said was very important to me in this case.
Equally, offering the footage on DVDs for non-attendees proved to be immensely popular and well beyond my initial expectations.
Again, this helps to provide more value (professional production, USB Drive resources etc) but also no matter how great your event it’s just the case that not everyone will be able to make the specific date and location.
So providing the footage in some form like this enables everyone to get involved and benefit whether they can attend or not.
2. Plan and Confirm in Writing
Needless to say with any live event there are many components that you need to have in place to ensure success.
Some of these things are obvious (hotels, content, food etc) and some may not necessarily spring to mind immediately (name badges, DVD artwork, filming release forms).
After making a list of all the various factors, get quotes from different companies to find out the costs and expected delivery dates.
An obvious point I suppose but I can’t stress how important it is to speak to these suppliers on the phone and then ask for written email confirmation on what has been agreed.
It’s amazing how deadlines and costings can slide if you don’t nail down the agreement right from the outset!
3. Costing Breakdowns
After getting quotes for all the things you need put them into a spreadsheet and play around with the numbers.
This will give you an idea of what the optimal pricing should be and also how many sales you need to make to break even (crucial to know!).
This is extremely useful and it also helps to ensure that you have definitely included all costs in your model. Surprising how many “little extras” can creep in later that you didn’t originally think of!
4. Set Expectations and Overdeliver
A great thing to do in all products (live events, physical or digital) is to provide much more value than people expect at the point of delivery.
To me, this always starts with the content itself but for this project I also included a small but valuable unannounced bonus at the event itself.
If you are delivering content by direct mail (as I’m doing with the DVDs) again err on the side of caution when it comes to delivery times. So much better to set slightly pessimistic expectations and then over deliver than the other way around!
5. Promote Networking
If you’ve been a subscriber of mine for a while you’ll know that I’m a big fan of live events in general and a huge reason for this is because they enable you to meet like minded people.
This is usually fantastic from a learning perspective but also it can sow the seeds for very useful partnerships and joint ventures in the future.
So networking is a major benefit for people coming to your live event as well and therefore it makes sense to promote it.
One way I did this was to include a dinner on the Saturday evening where everyone could talk more informally and get to know one another.
You can also consider providing everyone with an email attendee list, setting up a post event mastermind group or adding the attendees to a Facebook group so they can stay in touch.
If someone at your event wishes to do this for you then that’s even better (which is exactly what happened at Gain High Ground Live weekend)!
6. Start Small
Remember you don’t need to start with a huge multi-day, multi-speaker event that is filmed and professionally produced.
Far from it, you can start small, gain experience and then grow from there.
An example is actually one of the attendees at Gain Higher Ground Live who has already been running a small event in their local area using meetup.com.
May very successful meetups started off in this way and it’s a great way to gain experience so you can grow.
This said, whether you would like to put an event on yourself or not, do try to attend as many as you can.
Regardless of whether you join a $5,000 mastermind group or go to a small free meetup in a bar or pub, you can gain an enormous amount from spending time with like minded individuals.
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