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My last “post” or “email” to you was about How to Do Twitter Chats to Reach Small Business Owners.

Since I received so much positive response, about how helpful it was for you, I thought to write another bit of helpful information about how to organize events to reach small business owners.

I’ve organized national tours (SmallBizTechTour.com) and hosted annual conferences (11th Annual Smart Hustle Small Business Conference – October 20th – New York Cit) and of course hosted and keynoted many, many big and small events.

Here’s a few tips that might help your next event be even better!

As marketers, we’re tasked with marketing to small business owners. I know many of you are increasingly using your budgets to explore options such as Twitter chats, sponsored posts, sponsored reviews, videos, and more. As always if I can help you  – just reach out to me.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned, over the years, in how to organize a successful event.

  1. Don’t focus on just the live event. Can you video tape the event to show it later on? Can you live stream the event?
  2. Social engagement – ensure you encourage live social engagement during the event and encourage the audience and speakers to use Twitter (and a common hashtag) to share about the event. Include the hashtag on signage and encourage engagement during the presentations.
  3. Marketing – Be sure to leave plenty of time ( at least 4 – 6 weeks) to market the event. Remember, for a free event – you’ll get about 50% or less of total registrants to attend. In addition to marketing to your own lists, social media and etc. ensure speakers you’ve engaged market the event, event partners/sponsors and work with local organizations who might want to share the event with their audience.
  4. Have at least one main keynote – a 3rd party who can represent your brand, deliver a powerful presentation and be a “draw” for the attendees is important. This person can be a “celebrity” like Marc Cuban and you’ll pay him $50,000 or more. Or if you use a “small business influencer” (like myself) you can play up their status (best selling author, 4x entrepreneur) and/or build the event with them as a key component of the overall event experience.
  5. Hire a great logistics team – ensuring all attendees have a great experience is essential. Part of the experience is to ensure the venue, audio, lighting, food and handouts are executed well. One of your staff should be over the entire event but then have 2 or 3 other staff members (or hired consultants) to manage other elements of the event.
  6. Agenda – a solid agenda is one of the most important elements to a great event. A mix of a keynote presentation, other solo presentations, panel discussions and audience interactivity is essential. Be sure to have an excellent moderator or host – who can move things along, add life to the event and ensure everything goes smoothly. If you’re able to, go visit an event where your host, keynote and other solo presenters are speaking at. You want to be sure that your speakers are informative, engaging and of course know their stuff.
  7. What’s the goal of the event? Be very clear on what the goal of the event is. Is it to generate new leads? Is it to more deeply engage with current customers? Is it to make a SALE at the event (not a great idea)? Really understand the purpose for doing the event and then work backwards.
  8. Media attention. It is very challenging to get local (or national) media to “cover” an educational event – but try. Work with your PR team to get media interested in at least attending the event and finding a variety of angles that they might want to cover. Maybe a small business owner at the event? Maybe something about the event is newsworthy or special?
  9. Coordinate with your sales and marketing teams. Sales and marketing should be producing the event together. While the marketing team can produce the overall event, you want to be sure the sales team can take advantage of the leads generated.
  10. Evolve and Fine tune – If you’re doing more than on event, like on a tour, you’ll have the chance to do a postmortem and ensure each subsequent event is better than the first. Always look for ways to improve.

I hope to see you at the 11th Annual Smart Hustle Small Business Conference – you can be a sponsor or just attend!

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