They filled within a couple of hours.
I’d open registration on line around seven p.m., and by nine, the trip was full.
And I did that month after month after month.
I was running a business called “Secret Adventures for Courageous Women”, a series of events designed for small groups of 8-10. Some adventures were physically challenging (hang gliding, canoeing) and some more emotionally so (lessons at an indoor shooting range).
And sometimes, it was just plain fun, like dinner and a play.
But there was a catch.
The “Secret” meant they had no idea what they were getting into. Once the group was formed, I’d tell them what to wear, what to bring, but that’s it. They would only learn what we were doing when we arrived on site.
In other words, I created monthly events that filled with clients who didn’t even know what they were buying.
Or did they?
In a way, they did. With effective marketing, they knew they were getting the results they most wanted, even without knowing exactly what that meant.
They got a real break from daily stress. A sense of community. The fun of the surprise. An increase in confidence. Exposure to things they’d never tried before.
And the sheer joy of not having to be in charge.
“It’s such a treat to just show up and know that someone else has figured everything out for once!”
I heard that a lot. And that told me that I knew my audience: hard working, stressed out, women leaders and professionals who wanted something more from life.
Knowing my audience meant I knew how to talk to them, too.
If you want to fill seats at your event, you, too have to know how to talk to your peeps.
And effective marketing starts with these five questions.
1. Who would be the ideal participant at this event? Who really needs this?
2. What problems do they have that you can help solve?
3. What results will they achieve by attending?
4, What do you bring to the table that makes it worth their time, money and energy to attend?
5. What do you really want them to “get” at this thing? What’s the point you want to make, the take-home message you want them to understand?
Answering those five questions clearly and completely is your first step towards a marketing plan.
Once you have that figured out, move on to these.
6. What is your attendance goal?
7. What kind of budget do you have to work with?
8. What kind of profit do you want to make?
I once met a woman who spent $20,000 putting on an elaborate one day event. It sold out, and the reviews were great – but she didn’t make a cent.
Yeah. So watch that. :)
9. What other outcomes do you want from this?
For example, will this be a lead generator? a list builder? Will it give you a chance to test a new program or product? How about making an offer? Inviting prospects to work with you at a higher level?
Now, taking all of the above into account, you’re ready to create a marketing plan.
10. What online strategies would work best for your audience?
Facebook ads or social media posts? An email series? A free webinar or tele-class?
11. What offline strategies might work even better?
Networking or speaking? Direct mail? Print advertising? A door magnet for your car?
Keeping your budget and specific goals in mind, hone in on just a few specific strategies that will best enable you to reach your ideal peeps.
12. And finally, what needs to be done by when?
There are a ton of moving parts to planning, promoting and filling an event. ANY event.
So once you’ve outlined all the key aspects of yours, put a calendar together with specific dates and planning milestones.
When do you want to have the content created? By when do you want to have the handouts ready? When do you want your ads to run? And to do that, by what date do they need to be created?
Beginning at the end and working backward, create a super clear planning calendar. This will be a sanity saver later on. Trust me on this!
I once made it a point to capture every single step I took to create, market, fill and implement those monthly adventures. There were way more than even I’d realized, but having them laid out so clearly made the repeat marketing each month much easier.
If you take the time to answer these questions, and follow these steps, you’ll be in great shape for your event – a ready to serve a packed house!