Host Demand Gen Events with Huge ROI

On July 11 A Better Jones CEO Kasey Jones joined Content Strategy Manager Nicci Boots for a webinar that shared tips on hosting a successful event.

The virtual conversation touched on several areas crucial to the event planning process, including:

  • Identifying your target audience

  • Choosing a proper format for the event

  • How to keep costs down for the event’s venue, catering, and more

  • Creating a registration page with lead generating questions

  • Effective promotion and follow-up

Also discussed was the importance of a Live Event Planning Template, and you can now download that template here!

Watch the recap:

Transcript:

Kasey Jones - Hey, everybody, I'm Kasey Jones.

Nicci Boots - I'm Nicci Boots, hello.

Kasey - And, we're gonna give it a couple of minutes. We're having a bunch of people log on right now. So, if you're already on, let us know in the chat where you are kinda dialing in from, if you've got any really, like pressing questions. We looked at everything that you all submitted in your registration, and we got some really good insight into what is kind of top of mind. There's some major themes there, which don't worry, we will hit on. And, awesome, Fox, I'm glad you're joining us after dinner. Or while you eat dinner.

Nicci - In the UK.

Kasey - In the UK, I know, yeah. Very international.

Nicci - We're happy to see all our international fans today.

Kasey - Yes, Nicci wanted to make really clear that we didn't plan the stripes.

Nicci - We didn't.

Kasey - But both of us have a tendency to wear a lot of stripes, so it was probably like about a 60% chance on any given day that we both are wearing some form of stripes. And yeah, so we have a big fancy podcast mic, because we're in a conference room at WeWork that the HVAC is kinda loud, so if you can hear that in the background, hopefully you can still hear us with our big fancy mic.

Nicci - Yeah, definitely let us know if you're having any troubles hearing us okay.

Kasey - Yeah, yeah, please let us know. So we'll give it like one or two more minutes, as people are kind of coming in. Oh, good, thank you, thank you, thank you. And we'll kind of kick things off in just a bit.

Nicci - Great.

Kasey - Yeah. And I will just kind of give you a heads up. We have spent the morning planning some webinars, obviously, this webinar, but also webinars for a couple of clients. If we wind up accidentally going into how to do similar planning for webinars, bear with us, we'll get back to live events. But, that's the cool thing about when you sort of nail your live event planning, because it's really similar for webinars. You know, we'll get into formats and stuff in a little bit, but I think the old school way of doing webinars, where you do like really big slide decks and lots of presentation and stuff like that, we're seeing a lot less of that, it's more like casual conversations, like we're gonna do today. Maybe a little bit of designed material. But so it's a little bit of a lighter lift. So, a lot of the stuff that we're gonna talk about with live events, will totally apply to doing webinars as well. So keep that in mind.

Nicci - Absolutely.

Kasey - Yeah, so we will definitely share the recording after this, we'll share notes, so if there's any kinda links that we wanna share, we'll make sure to include those in the notes after, so you guys can kinda go back and look through this or share it with other people. We were also realizing when we were looking through registration, questions. A lot of you had a lot of questions about just how do you get started? And we've actually built a whole template of how we do planning for events.

Nicci - It's so helpful.

Kasey - It's super, super helpful. And it makes it easier to share it with everybody that you're kinda doing the event with. So it's a good collaborative thing. So we will probably put that into a format that we can share with all of you as well. So, you can use that too.

Nicci - Excellent.

Kasey - Sharing some good wins we've had recently. Let's see, we've had a bunch of really good wins, actually. Business is doing really well on our end. And so, we are based in Portland, Oregon for those of you who don't know. So, we were actually, we had our marketing off-site yesterday, and we were really fortunate we got to borrow some space from PIE, the Portland Incubator Experiment here in town. And we had an amazing session yesterday, lots and lots of exciting plans in the works. So, live events that we're gonna host, you know, you all probably know it's like, I think the analogy someone used the other day is like the cobbler's children have the worse shoes or have no shoes. You know, when you're a marketing agency, your own marketing is usually the worst. Because you're too focused on doing it for clients. But so, we're finally kinda getting, getting what we do for us, kinda up and running. So, certainly if there's help that you guys need, content that you would find valuable, let us know, 'cause we are furiously in planning mode for how we can deliver all of that stuff to all of you. So, please hit us up for that, 'cause we will, we're in that productive mode, putting all of that stuff together.

Nicci - For sure.

Kasey - So, okay, looks like we've got a decent amount of people that have kinda logged on. Hello to everybody. We are gonna get started. So, this whole webinar is all about how you can host events that have an absolute massive ROI. And where I wanted to get started is a little bit of background and context into kind of where I developed, what is now, or started to develop what is now our process with events. And my first actual job in marketing, and I've done, I've done events in a number of other capacities when I was younger, but then I really kicked off the good part of my career in sales. And my first job in marketing, I worked for a company where they had maybe 20, 22 sales reps, and the sales reps that lived in New York, Boston, and Bay Area got inbound leads, and none of the other ones did, or they'd get like one a month. So, my first job was to figure out how we could get inbound leads for those other sales reps. And events is really what did it. And no joke, the very first event we did, we did it in Denver, including travel, I think my budget was like $3,500, and we closed a $125,000 deal within a quarter. So, I remember doing the math back then, it was something like 1,600% ROI within the first quarter.

Nicci - No big deal.

Kasey - No big deal. No big deal. And that just kicked off kind of what we did at this company. And it wound up being super successful, and the events that we did, within three quarters I owned, out of the top five marketing campaigns of the highest ROI, I owned three out of five, and that included the Contact Us form on the website. And so, that's really what kind of started this, and we've tinkered, and we've kind of honed this method over the last few years, and so we've got a really solid way of doing this, and doing it super cost-effective. Right?

Nicci - Yeah, really scrappy.

Kasey - Really scrappy, that's how we do things here.

Nicci - That's right.

Kasey - It's one of those things, that I think a lot of people feel like events are intimidating, or that they're gonna be really expensive. And so, our focus today is gonna be talking through how do you, first and foremost, keep it as inexpensive as possible, and then too, how do you make sure that you're doing the right format, doing the right promotion and doing the right follow-up.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So that it's not just this like one-off thing that doesn't go anywhere, but that it actually fills pipeline for your sales team.

Nicci - And on top of that, we wanna show you how easy this can become.

Kasey - Yes.

Nicci - First time or two might be a little difficult, because it's something new, but once you get this you know, process dialed down, it's something that, it's just rinse and repeat.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - Easy to keep going.

Kasey - Absolutely. Yeah, so, I think the structure that we're gonna use today is we're gonna, basically, talk you through the typical timeline of how you plan an event. So we'll talk about how do you first pick the format that you're gonna do, find the venue, do some of those like early logistics. How do you, you know, get everything set up, how do you do the promotion. So, getting butts in seats, that was probably the most--

Nicci - Yeah, it was.

Kasey - Common sort of challenge or question that we got. What do you do onsite to ensure that the event goes smoothly. Surprisingly enough, I think that's the easiest part. And then, how do you do the follow-up. So that it's not just like okay, great, we just spent money and time doing an event, and then it, pfft, dissolves. But like, how do you actually get value out of it? So while we go through all of this, please let this be interactive. Send questions our way and let us know if there's anything that we've said that isn't clear, that you want some kind of added feedback on.

Nicci - Yeah, absolutely.

Kasey - So, like we mentioned in the beginning, I think one of the best things that you can do is put together kind of a planning template. We will put it together in a format that we can share with all of you. We'll send it out after this, but what you want is to have like one document, that just kind of maps out everything. So, what's the point of the event, what is the brief description of the topic? Who are you targeting?

Nicci - Bios for the speakers, bios and certain talking points that they're gonna be addressing.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - These templates are so great to turn to for so many reasons, especially in your promotion, and your email invites and such. Because you're gonna be doing lots of promotion, and you're gonna want lots of different ideas to keep the event interesting.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - It's good to have that template to turn to.

Kasey - Totally, and there's lots of moving parts, and there's usually a lot of people involved. And so, that means that it makes it easier to share all of the pertinent information with anybody that's involved. And especially if you've got partners helping you, or speakers that are joining you, you wanna give them the information and everything they need, so that they can also promote the hell out of your event. Right? So, this is a great way to do that. So, again, we'll try to share our template after this. We'll put it in a shareable format. But definitely build one of these yourself. So, really to start out with, okay, how do you pick the style of event. I think the best thing is, first, you really gotta think about who are you targeting? And what kind of person do you wanna attend your event, and what kind of event is gonna be most valuable for them? Something that I think a lot of people miss. And I wanna make this very clear. Do not do an event where you are pitching your product. Because, guess what? No one wants to come. This is an event where it should be about thought leadership. It should be about connection, it should be about--

Nicci - New and innovative ideas.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - That aren't being talked about enough.

Kasey - Yeah, or building a community. If you work in an industry, or if you target a certain type of person, where there isn't really an active community, really stress the community building aspect of it. And so, that means the format of your event could just be like a happy hour, a networking happy hour. We have a client that does these, and they've been tremendously successful.

Nicci - Get so much success out of these. And it's such a nice way to connect with the people at the event.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - You know, intimate setting.

Kasey - Absolutely. Well, what we have found to be most successful, and what we really love doing, is we do panel discussions. So, what we'll do, is we'll find maybe three people and a moderator, who can all speak about a particular topic. And what's really nice about this, rather than having somebody give a talk. Giving a talk is a big ask. Someone's gotta come up with usually slides, they've gotta come up with the speech. It's a lot of work. But a panel discussion, someone's just gonna come up and speak to their own expertise. So, other than sending them some questions in advance, so that they can think about them, most people really don't need to do a lot of planning. And so, it's a lot easier to get some great people involved.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - The other thing that's really nice about doing it that way, is if they are people that have a great reputation in your industry. That's a big draw. So, people are gonna wanna kinda connect with those. And so, what we love doing is, a panel discussion that also combines the networking components. So there will be networking before and after, so that the people that you're gonna invite are people that they want, they get to learn from the experts on the stage. But too, they also get to connect with other people in their industry, and so it's this type of event that feeds everybody involved. And there's a lot of value.

Nicci - And that also provides such a great Q&A opportunity as well. Where it can put the people in the audience in the spotlight, and they get a chance to have some of their pain points addressed, get some of their questions answered. It's always a benefit for them.

Kasey - So, Fox has asked a really, really good question about how do you create those sort of personas, those buyer personas and validate your audience. That is kind of a deeper conversation, and that's something that should be part of your marketing strategy overall, but I would also say that events can be a great way. If you are an early-stage company, events are a great way for you to do that work of validating. So, we'll talk about this a little bit more in a bit, but one of the ways you can use events to validate those personas, is okay, just like we did on this registration form. You notice, we asked a couple of extra questions. We asked you about what's blocking you, or what's your biggest challenge in putting on events, what's a demand gen problem you'd love help solving, right? So, we got all of this amazing insight into what matters most to all of you. And so, if you are an early-stage company, and you're trying to better understand your audience, you can use these events and use those custom questions on your registration form to better understand what your audience cares about, and if you're targeting the right person, right? So, one thing to just keep in mind, don't make those questions mandatory, because people will be less likely to fill out the whole thing.

Nicci - Turns people away.

Kasey - But include them and you'd be amazed at how many people fill them out. So, for this webinar, I think we got about 80% of you filled out at least one of those questions, and most filled out all of them.

Nicci - So we thank you for that.

Kasey - So thank you, yeah. And that also really helps us, because now we know what to talk about, and what is most valuable to all of you. Yes, Erik, we will definitely be recording this, and we'll send out the recording probably this afternoon, if not, tomorrow morning.

Nicci - Yeah, that should be right.

Kasey - Okay, so Michael's asking a question about kind of venue. For happy hour events do you just pick a big enough location to meet, or do you reach out to the bar and set up an official event? This totally depends on the bar, the location and the kind of style that you're doing. So, if you wanna have a lot of people show up, and you're gonna make this a big thing, it's better to have a private space, right? 'Cause here's the other thing, you probably want to pick up the tab, at least part of the tab for your audience. And if you don't have that arranged with the bar in advance, it's gonna be really hard for your attendees to figure out how do they get you to pay for a drink. Or you might wind up paying for other people's drinks. So, and the other thing too to keep in mind, is with all of these events, you wanna do a registration form, 'cause that's the only way this is gonna be lead generating. Like, a casual happy hour, where you just publish on social, "Hey, come join me for a drink", that's all well and good. But if you want this to really fill your sales pipeline, you gotta get the emails, and you gotta get extra info.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So, when you're looking for a venue, you can be pretty creative about venues. With a bunch of clients, we found companies that are willing to just host us in their space, so it's free, always nice. If you're a WeWork member, depending on the city you live in, it could be free, or it could be a pretty nominal cost. So get creative, find a bunch of potential spaces in your city. The other thing that we've done, and we haven't done this in a bit, but it's been really successful years ago. I actually, we were doing an event where we wanted to do, it was almost a mini hackathon, it wasn't really quite a hackathon, but it was an event targeting developers, where we would all be kind of like working with a particular technology. And what I actually did, is we were doing it in L.A., and I found a really, really fat house right next to the beach in Venice. And we included pictures of the house in all of the invitations.

Nicci - That was an Airbnb, right?

Kasey - Oh, sorry, yes, it was an Airbnb.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - That's the point. And so, what was great about it, it was $600, and we got it for three nights, 'cause we were having a bunch of other meetings. We didn't have to pay for hotels. We all stayed at the Airbnb, so it was super fun, and no joke, after this event, where we had like 70 people show up and over 100 register, the director of finance of this company called me, because he was very concerned when he saw my expense report, because it was so low. And he'd heard about this amazing event, and he just did not believe that we'd only spent $1,800 for all of our, it was like six people's hotel, and for the venue, and because we could bring catering in ourselves, we got, it was a breakfast event. We got breakfast burritos, and it like, the whole thing was so inexpensive. And our director of finance was like, like didn't believe me, that we had done this event for such a low budget, and it wound up being--

Nicci - It's a great problem.

Kasey - Yeah, it was a great problem. It was really, really exciting for me to be like, "No, Vishal, you're not gonna get another expense report for this event." And he was like, "Oh my god, Kasey, we need to do more of these." Yes, yes. So, you can get really creative with event space. Look for unconventional spaces, coworking spaces, other companies in your industry. If you do a bar, try to find one with its own room, but also, if you're not sure how many people are gonna show up, be careful. You don't wanna do a huge space, because if people walk in, and it looks empty, it looks like your event sucks, and they're gonna leave. You'd actually rather have it be a little too crowded than not crowded enough.

Nicci - I agree.

Kasey - So, if you've got any other questions, oh, and catering, same kind of thing. Like, do some Google searches to find a caterer. But the other thing that's awesome, go to Whole Foods and order catering yourself, and then just pick it up. Way cheaper than hiring a caterer to deliver. And literally, we will, if we're traveling, and we're not local, we'll rent a car, or we'll just get like a Lyft or an Uber, and go over to Safeway, buy a bunch of beer and wine and just bring it back. So, we've done events for, we did it on event here in Portland, we got a venue for free, we had 216 people register. We had over 100 show up, and we did full catering and beer and wine for everyone for under $500. Not freaking bad. And so, it was like $2 a lead.

Nicci - And the attendees are always perfectly fine with what we bring, you know?

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - They're not looking for anything fancy. They just want a snack, you know, something to drink.

Kasey - Totally.

Nicci - It totally works out.

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - Okay, so, I think the biggest thing here is promotion.

Nicci - Sure.

Kasey - This is the toughest part that everybody has. I think promotion follow-ups are the toughest, so let's dig into promotion. So, let's start with some of the more standard ways of how you promote an event. Nicci, why don't you talk us through your strategy when it comes to emails.

Nicci - Sure. Emails are so important, and you know, if you can set up sequenced emails, those are gonna have such a great impact, because they're gonna keep it, keep the event top of mind for people, and really keep their interest piqued. With emails, I like to turn to the email, or not the email, but the event planning template and use any of that information for those. You want each email to be different, yet still delivering the same message, that's really gonna drive registered numbers. You wanna identify who the speakers are, you want to definitely make it clear where the event is, what people need to do to sign up for the event. I like to start sending those emails out two to three weeks before the event, and then I like to do three total emails. The first invite, and then the second reminder invite, and then a short notice invite, which is huge. The short notice invite we send out one or two days before the event. And we really like to use provocative subject lines. Nothing that's gonna scare people off, but something that makes people go, "Well, now, why does my subject line just say 'tomorrow'?" Like, y'all's invite got today.

Kasey - Yeah. And literally, we call it a short notice email, because one of the best subject lines we've used is short notice. And people would be like, "Oh, what is this?"

Nicci - Exactly.

Kasey - And that's the other thing. Don't send an email that's like, event invitation, call in, and with the title of it. Like, no one wants to open that.

Nicci - Exactly.

Kasey - Make it feel personal.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - Here's the thing about events. These are the best opportunity for you to form a personal connection with your buyers.

Nicci - Yes.

Kasey - Make every aspect of it feel personal. Take a step back from the standard, kind of boring marketing, corporate marketing thing, and make it personal. Talk to them like you're talking to a friend. Invite someone the way you would invite a friend to an event. It's with excitement, it's with more casual language. When it's really formal, people just glaze over it, and they do not pay attention.

Nicci - And they think it's not for them. They're not interested in such an event.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - And I wanna say too on that note. Segmenting your audience. It's not necessary with your company, especially if you're a startup. It's depending on the location, really, but at the same time, if you're going to be recording the event, which you should, and then sharing it after, and we'll talk more about follow up in a bit, but if it's gonna be recorded online, send out a blast. Email everybody, get their attention.

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - I mean, we have people joining us today from all over the world.

Kasey - Yes.

Nicci - So impressive.

Kasey - Yeah. And that's the other thing, right, like you can, if you're recording it, you can livestream that recording, so you can also send an invite to people that aren't local, so that they can watch it live, right? There's all kinds of other things to do in it, and it gets people excited. And we've definitely had, when we do that blast, we've had people from other cities be like, "Hey, when are you coming to our city?" And then it helps us plan for where we're gonna do it next. Right?

Nicci - And then, as you get bigger, maybe then you can segment your list per the location, but I'm just saying, it's totally fine to send an email to everybody.

Kasey - Totally, totally. So, some of the other ways we do promotion, obviously we do a lot on social. We have found video on LinkedIn to be very successful. I think a bunch of registrants for this has come from some videos that we've done promoting this webinar. We do the same thing for live events. And we did a half-day conference for a client here in Portland, and I did a video promotion, and we had someone fly from Columbia, South Carolina all the way to Portland for that event. And we've had that a few different times, from doing video promotion. People are always looking for something new, so expand that reach, don't think that you have to keep this like really tight narrow focus. People are always looking for these other opportunities to connect.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - And obviously, like we do a lot of more standard promotion on social, but the other thing that has been tremendously successful for us, is one-to-one messages about events and about webinars. So, we did this on LinkedIn, where we will build a list of all of the people that we would love to attend, right? So, for example, this event that we did in Portland, that I was talking about earlier, we wanted product people and engineering people who worked in blockchain in Portland, very specific.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So, I pulled a list using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, that was anybody with product or engineering in their title, and anybody that had the term blockchain on their profile. And we sent about 500 connection requests and follow-up messages to people. And I think it was about 170 of that 216 came through that promotion.

Nicci - So impressive.

Kasey - So, it's like super targeted. We knew it is exactly who we want at our event, and there's something about you getting a personalized invitation to an event, that makes you feel special, it makes you feel valued, and it makes you show up.

Nicci - And it allows you to strike up a conversation with us.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - It's so nice to be able, when you're in an industry that might be more siloed, it can be tough to reach out and talk to people about certain things, but when you get an invite from us about that exact topic, it gives you an opportunity to reach out to us, and that's always a good way to strike up a conversation.

Kasey - Absolutely. And here's, the other thing too is, if you've got sales development reps on your team, and for those of you that don't know, sales development reps or SDRs, they do prospecting, like outbound kind of lead gen. And you wanna use that methodology to invite people to these events. And what we found, we've got a client who, they love doing these events, because even, so, the very first event we did with them in Houston, it gave their SDRs an amazing reason to reach out to these target prospects, and they had four different prospects that they had been trying to get to pay attention to them, who were not responding to any messages, and when they reached out to invite them to an event, they didn't register for the event, and they didn't come, but they did take sales meetings with their team. And so, before the event even happened, they filled pipeline with qualified sales opportunities. I'm like, that's what this whole point is for. So, that's the other thing I wanna make very clear, even if people don't attend, okay, let's say you get 100 people to register, and 20 show up. That is not a failed event. Because you have 100 people that registered, that expressed an interest in the topic, and that now you have their information, so you can reach out and follow up and turn them into longer-term conversations.

Nicci - Definitely.

Kasey - So, the other thing that works really well with promotion, and Nicci is such a pro at this, is finding meet-ups, finding message boards, finding other communities that kind of serve this audience and posting invites and posting information there.

Nicci - Yeah. It's really helpful, because, especially if you're reaching out to local universities and colleges, you're getting kids that are so into the moment with this topic, and they're really interested to hear from the founders and the leaders of this area, and so by reaching out to the college kids and getting them to come in, you can really boost your numbers and get some really interested people.

Kasey - And a thing to keep in mind there, is I know everybody's immediate response is, "Yeah, but I don't sell to college kids, "so why do I care?" However, all the other people that are attending, they might be thinking about hiring, right? So, that way you're getting a lot of engaged people, and it just makes your event that much more successful, and you can kind of feed into it, of like those are people that might get that next internship at a potential company, or are engaged in some other way, and it really helps to kind of add some excitement and enthusiasm to the audience.

Nicci - And if you can keep that top of mind for the kids that are there, you know, they're gonna be getting into their own jobs soon enough, and they're gonna carry on that conversation into their own jobs, spreading your name and spreading the leader's name. So, it's a nice way to keep things going full circle.

Kasey - Yeah, interesting, you're spot on. So, you just said, "So you see them just like trade shows? "Follow up with people after too, as they may still wanna chat, even if they didn't come." Absolutely, look, our schedules are busy as hell, okay? Like, you know, there are lots of events that I really wanna go to, and I'm really interested in, and then I have a long day or a hard day, or something comes up, and I don't go. It doesn't mean that I'm not interested, it just means I couldn't make it. So, please, like, I think our instinct is to view that as a knock to our ego, right? It's not that. Shit comes up, okay? So, but you can follow up. And here's the other thing. This is why we ask these additional questions in the registration form. What you can do, is you can look through that registration, and you can be like, "Oh my god, this person said their number one challenge associated with whatever the topic of the event is, is X. My company solves that problem." So you can reach out to that person, and be like, "Hey, you mentioned that you are really struggling with this. That is exactly what we can help you solve. Would that be worth a 30-minute phone call?" And let me tell you, your ability to turn these registrations into qualified sales opportunities, goes through the roof.

Nicci - Absolutely.

Kasey - And because the whole scope of how you put this thing together feels very personal, it sets this very different tone from the jump, it doesn't feel marketing-y, it feels more like a personal, intimate, kind of connection. And so, your ability to turn those registrations into conversations, into meetings is dramatically improved.

Nicci - Absolutely.

Kasey - Okay? So, are there any other questions on the promotion side? 'Cause if not, we can kind of dig deeper into follow-ups.

Nicci - Yeah, just let us know.

Kasey - Just let us know. So, yeah, I think first and foremost, you wanna get that registration list in the hands of your sales team, or whoever is kind of tasked with following things up. And you need to make sure that they do the, again, it's gotta be a more personal follow-up. Don't do the really form letter. Hi, I see you registered for our event. Would you like, you know, can we set up time for a demo? No, no, no, make it more personal. Do a little bit of extra work, so it feels more like you've taken the time to look at the registration, you saw what questions they asked, that kind of thing. 'Cause it'll go a really, really long way. And hopefully, if you've done those extra registration questions, you'll have a lot more sort of insight into what these people care about.

Nicci - Yeah. And also, something, a great thing to do with follow-ups, I'm big on words, I'm the content strategist, but the blog recap.

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - It might sound like something that isn't that important, but it absolutely is. We like to take the transcript from the events, and then place that directly in the blog recap. That's such an SEO rich, heavy document--

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - That can really improve views of your website, improve views of your blog. And if people are asking you specific questions, that really resonate within the event, then you can include those in that blog recap, and so that it just shows that the conversation's still going on that. And to be able to keep things going.

Kasey - And what we found time and time again, is that we when we do that where, we address, just like today, the top two themes were, I don't know how to get started, and how do you get butts in seats. So, when we do our blog follow-up, we will cover those a little bit more in the blog recap. So that, that way when we send to our entire marketing list, info about the blog recap, we will highlight those two points, because we know our audience cares about them. And so, what we've found time and time again is that those often wind up being some of our most viewed blog posts. 'Cause we're addressing questions that we know our audience has. Okay, so it's again, it's bringing it back to this more personal thing. The other thing too, okay, so transcript from the event. So, we always record the event during. And, by the way, the best thing that we've done, we literally, we went out, and we bought an iPhone 10S. It doesn't have a SIM card, so it only connects to WiFi, and so we just set up a little iPhone, and we record our events that way. We'll usually livestream it to YouTube and/or Facebook as well. And so, you can take the video from it and feed it into a tool like Rev.com or to Zubtitle.

Nicci - Zubtitle's great.

Kasey - Yeah, subtitles are awesome, it's all of the videos that we do on social, when you see the subtitles, that's where those come from.

Nicci - And it's cheap, it's nothing too expensive, that's for sure.

Kasey - Yeah. And it's subtitle but with the Z. And so, and that'll give you the full transcript. And so, it's super, super helpful to have. And the other thing too, is like, then, we can find you know, great quotable quotes, or those kinds of things, and that's really awesome.

Nicci - And then, we can use those quotable quotes in social promos, following the event. And nothing grabs people's attention more than seeing a nicely designed quote from one of our speakers.

Kasey - Absolutely. And, the other thing that's nice about that, is you're making your speakers look really smart, and so, they love to promote that as well.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So, if you can, you put on social some great quote that they gave, and I'll just tell you, people ramble, okay?

Nicci - Yes.

Kasey - So, oftentimes they didn't really say a quotable quote, they just said, there's a quotable quote in there, but there's a lot of other stuff in there. It's okay if you edit it down. Just go to the speaker, be like, "Hey, you said this. We're wondering if we could promote it as this, is that okay?" And they're always like, "Yes, you made what I said "just sound a little, just a touch smarter."

Nicci - We also like to even ask our speakers before the event. You know, think about this. Think about maybe just one or two quotable quotes that you could use, so that we can definitely reuse that following the event.

Kasey - Yeah. Yeah, we essentially reverse engineer quotable quotes. So, yeah, and so, then you can do all kinds of promotion, like drive people back to the recording and to the blog recap. And the whole point is that it just makes you look, it makes you and your company look that much more engaging, it shows off the fact that you're connected to your audience, you're connected to your community, and people really love to see that. It just makes you feel a little bit more personal, and like, look, I've been saying this a lot lately, people buy from people. They don't but from companies. So the more you can give your audience and your target market a more personal feel as to who you are as a company, and who the people are that work there, and that lead things, the more these kind of new people are gonna feel a sense of trust to you, and they're gonna wanna take that next step.

Nicci - And it's absolutely gonna start to establish you as such a thought leader in your industry, especially in the startup industry. You wanna be the company that stands out, and this is an excellent way to do that.

Kasey - Absolutely.

Nicci - And once you're more people associated, once you have deeper, more personal relationships with your customers, that's gonna help you stand out far above the rest.

Kasey - Yeah, absolutely. So, a couple of other things when it comes to follow-up. You definitely wanna thank your speakers, and make sure to share any of your follow-up assets with them. Because, you know, they also wanna be known as thought leaders. And so, if you can give them videos, you can give them a blog post, you can show off their quotes, they're gonna wanna help you promote that. Because it makes them look good, and it makes them feel good. So, and I will say, we're not as good at this as we should be, so do what we say, not what we do. But, you know, have a packet of thank you notes, and send some thank you notes to the people that helped out and that were involved. It really does go a long way, and it makes them that much more likely to want to be engaged next time around.

Nicci - You can continue to reach out to those speakers for future events, for future content, all sorts of good things for yourselves.

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So, some of the other things that I think I wanna touch on, is the thing that we love about events, and the thing we love about webinars, is I view this, as what we refer to as, Demand Gen Bundling. It's basically this way of how you do one thing, and you get like 10 different outcomes out of it. And so, events and webinars are the same way, where by finding your speakers, that's a great way to start to form strategic partnerships with those extra questions on the registration form. That's how you collect buyer research, right? By recording the video, you've got a ton of content, by doing this outbound invitations, either with your SDRs, or via LinkedIn or things like that. That's how you generate really qualified, really niche targeted leads. With the follow-up content, with the follow-up social content, all of these things just make it so much easier for you to get a lot of marketing mileage out of one event.

Nicci Yeah.

Kasey - And so that's the big thing I want you to think of, is an event is not just about the event. It's about everything that leads up to it, and everything that comes out of it. And so, if you can think through all of the different ways that you can slice up this event to get more value, and to get more deliverables out of this, what's gonna wind up happening, is you're just gonna improve that ROI. You gotta make these events so much more valuable. And so, you're going to make the case to the powers that be, whether you are they or not, that these are really valuable and worthwhile uses of your time and resources, because you get so many things out of it.

Nicci - And again, regardless of the size of your business, anybody can do this.

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - And you can do it in a cheap and effective way.

Kasey - Oh, absolutely. And so, this is one of those things too, you can have this be a regular thing. So, right now we're planning an event series here in Portland. We're starting to put together the plans for it. We're gonna do a monthly thing. We haven't decided whether it's gonna be breakfast, lunch or cocktails in the afternoon. We'd love your opinions.

Nicci - Yes, let us know.

Kasey - But we basically recognize that most of the events targeting startups in Portland, the people that are speaking are people that are like, I don't know, they're thousands of steps ahead of these early stage founders. And so, we wanna host a monthly event, where it's probably gonna be me doing kinda like a fireside chat style conversation with an early-stage founder, talking about a win and talking about their next challenge. And so, we're gonna do the same outbound invitations, we're gonna get in a rhythm of this, we'll probably do it at a free venue like a WeWork, and it's going to be this rinse and repeat thing. And it's something that once you do one or two of them, you get into a rhythm, and you realize it's not that hard. And people start to find out about it and get excited about it, and so it can really build some momentum over time.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So, that's something too, to just think about, is like, it doesn't have to be big, it can be something small. I mean, seriously, we've got a client that they do these little happy hours, and they have gotten so many qualified sales opportunities out of them at very low budgets.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - So, a little can go a really, really long way.

Nicci - Absolutely.

Kasey - So, I feel like we're kind of wrapping up here. If you guys have any questions, or if there's anything that we didn't touch on, please let us know. What we're gonna do, is we will go back and put together this template that we use, so that we could share this with all of you, so that you can use the same. And we'd love to hear how it goes. So, we're always up to hop on a quick call and help answer a couple of questions, if you need some help, or if you, I don't know, need a little encouragement.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - Hit us up on social, come find us, send us a quick email, and we would love to help you, and we'd love to hear how all of this goes for you.

Nicci - Yes. We wanna go to your event.

Kasey - Yeah.

Nicci - Let us know about what we should be going to.

Kasey - Absolutely, yeah. Yeah, if you've got an event that is coming up, please let us know. And if we are in your city, or we really want an excuse to go to your city, then we will definitely do that. But truly, in our view there's no greater opportunity to build an audience, to generate quality leads, to collect buyer research and to fill sales pipeline, than hosting an event.

Nicci - That's true.

Kasey - So, we'd love for each of you to give it a shot, and then let us know how it goes.

Nicci - Yeah.

Kasey - Okay. So thank you all for joining.

Nicci - Thanks so much, guys.

Kasey - We'll send out the recording. Let us know if there's ever anything we can do to help you.

Nicci - Absolutely.

Kasey - Thanks, everyone.

Nicci - Bye-bye.