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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

Tip: You can get big insights from little data.

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Susan's guest, Laura Patterson, President, VisionEdge Marketing dove right in with her core belief: It's always about customers, or members, or your community.
Without those relationships you don't bring in the money.

When asked the most valuable services she and VisionEdge Marketing brings to their clients, Laura responded, "Data analytics, data insights, measurements and an action plan." When she started in 1999, those terms were foreign to most. 

Data analytics, measurement and process are their basic elements for their customer success. Data that you cannot derive insights from, is just data. You need to convert it into actionable insights to make strategic plans after analysis. BUT people are now using data as an excuse for inacction - we too much data,we do not have enough data, we areanalyzing the data - none of this is action.

You can make big insights from little data. You don't have to have volumes of data to get valuable insights. It gets back to action.
Two groups: More medium or smaller size and very large enterprise companies.

BEST REVENUE TIP: It's always about customers.
She asks of her team every day, "What are you going to do today that is going to help our customers be or become more sucessful?"

Think about the tasks on your list: C next to the ones that have direct impact for the customers, and then everything else. The priorities need to be on those with the C.

BONUS TIP: For small to medium size entities: Have a really solid network that you can pull in as needed, like a spigot on and off. This resource network can help you serve your customers better. It's one of the benefits of a boutique marketing company or supplier. One company can't specialize in every need, but they can be a source of valuable resources that can work together toward your goal.

Get the rest of the tips by listening to this episode. Subscribe to all episodes here and on iTunes and visit: https://susanfinch.com/rootedtips for more from these shows.

About Laura Patterson

Laura takes a practical, no-nonsense approach to proving and improving the value of Marketing. Laura began her 25+ year career in sales and had the great fortune of working across functions spanning customer relationship management and Marketing with a capital “M”.  Today she is at the helm of VisionEdge Marketing, founded in 1999, and is recognized as one of the pioneers and authorities in the Marketing Performance Management (MPM) discipline. The company specializes in helping companies apply data, metrics and proven best-in-class practices to improve Marketing effectiveness, deliver business impact, and enable better business decision-making.  Laura and VisionEdge Marketing are all about making Marketing an engine of growth for organizations. Martechexec selected Laura as one of the top 50 women in marketing technology. Laura serves on the University of Texas McCombs School of Business Masters of Marketing Science Advisory Board.

About VisionEdge Marketing

Since 1999 VisionEdge Marketing (visionedgemarketing.com), a data-driven metrics- based strategic and product marketing company has specialized in improving marketing performance and helping organizations make better fact-based decisions when it comes to markets, products, customers and competitors. Our passion is to help companies of all sizes solve four critical business problems:  How to acquire and keep profitable customers, how to successfully define and launch market-leading products and services, how to create performance-driven marketing organizations, and how to accurately measure and improve marketing’s contribution to the business.

If they can’t contact you, they won’t pay you.

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If you are not a legitimate company, don’t value your credibility and reputation, please stop listening and go back to your tutorials on shady telemarketing techniques.

If you are in the other camp and deeply care about reputation, customer service, being of value, building revenue for the long game, this is for you.

Have you been to your company’s contact page lately?

What did you learn? As a new visitor, potential customer, investor, what did you learn?

More and more companies seem to be opting for the basic:

Address

Contact form approach.

There is nowhere on their site of who runs the company, who the PEOPLE are behind the company, how to reach them, ways to contact them. WHY would you do that? What are you hiding?

Are you embarrassed by your team? Then get a new team.

Are you afraid others will steal your team? Then you suck as an employer. Be better.

I understand if you have a PRODUCT site. You want to keep people focused on buying or signing up for trials, etc. but SOMEWHERE in the footer there needs to be a link to the corporate site with the contact information.

Consider a page for investors, support team, sales team, who covers which region?

A map of how to get there if you want us to visit, phone, email AND contact form.

Why would you limit how people reach you?

I had a client once say she didn’t want her email or phone on her site because she was getting 4 emails a day that weren’t client related. She blamed that and the junk calls on the site. Her site that she treats like a static brochure and never posts anything sharable. I wish that’s all the junk I got each day!

I have clients in the past actually say they didn’t want anything other than an email and voicemail listed because they had so many complaint calls. Sigh. I decided that I couldn’t work with that particular client any more due to a misguided focus in their level of customer service.

With rare exceptions, all of our businesses and products are OPTIONAL! Rarely are we the only, necessary solution, so stop acting like it. Have some respect for the time people take clicking to get to your site and then to your contact page. Oh, and name it something simple like CONTACT or CONTACT US. This indexes very well in Google, as opposed to the clever titles such as “REACH OUT”, “TALK AT US” - stop it. Just make it simple and complete. Quit hiding your staff. At least have your leadership listed on the site with photos and way to reach them and connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, direct line, or contact form that goes directly to that person.

Here’s your check list for a thorough contact page:

  • Full company name that checks are made out to.
  • Mailing address
  • Main phone
  • Main fax if you use one.
  • Main email
  • PHYSICAL address if people visit for ANY reason and map to make it easy.
  • Directions from major freeways, and public transportation mention if that’s a thing for your visitors, vendors, volunteers, clients.
  • HOURS you will answer phones, help lines, be in the office.
  • Great place for support chat link, or you can go to a support page, if you need one.
  • Then, a new section for LEADERSHIP - you can link to a leadership page, or list it here with HEADSHOTS, Name, title, LinkedIn link, direct line/extension

Calling it LEADERSHIP allows you to show only key people who are your spokespeople. Some companies put their full cast in there. At least have key leadership. If your leadership is impressive, don’t send them to LinkedIn so fast. Have a bio page for them and THEN link to their linkedIn page. Ask them to link to a company overview/call to action page in their LinkedIn and other bios/profiles. Just linking to a home page doesn’t ask for further contact. ASK for their name, email and phone. Why not? They clicked. Create a landing page specifically for this purpose - linking from social profile. They can be prompted to do this so you can follow up. If you are tracking your pages, you’ll see how they are finding this special call to action page. You can update it regularly, perhaps with tips, get an ebook, etc. Just get their info!

Another handy item on a contact page is a department table:

Department | Extension | Email | if there is a different address | if hours are different than main hours.

You can choose to hide, be cryptic or “cool” but it doesn’t get you speaking to people, seeing what they’re interested in or converting them faster. Challenge yourself to convert someone trying to sell to you. I dare you! Post links to your contact pages in the comments if you want feedback or to show off.

Get more free tips on susanfinch.com/rootedtips, sign up to receive marketing tips and to be notified of new episodes. You can also contact me on my site so we can talk about your best online face of your company!

 

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

Revenue Tip from Deb Calvert

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Join us for a valuable revenue tip from Deb Calvert. We are also talking about her new book, Stop Selling and Start Leading. Her tip revolves around the fact she's been in sales her entire professional career. She has inbound and outbound strategies for generating revenue. Tune in to take notes! Be ready, she's a firm believer in good old-fashioned cold calling. Outsourcing is not HER solution. Keep your skills honed.

Revenue Expert: Deb Calvert

Deb Calvert has been named by Treeline as one of “The 65 Most Influential Women in Business” and consistently appears on lists of Top Sales Influencers and Thought Leaders. She is UC-Berkeley Instructor, field researcher, trainer, instructional designer, speaker, and author, and has worked as a leadership program architect, sales productivity specialist and researcher since 2000.

Deb’s newest book is Stop Selling & Start Leading, co-authored with leadership gurus Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. Her bestseller, DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, has been named one of “The 20 Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time” by HubSpot. Deb is the founder of The Sales Experts Channel and of the movement to Stop Selling & Start Leading®.

Moving your business or domain can cost you revenue.

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It’s so exciting when we outgrow our office space or buildings and need to move to bigger digs! You have a prep list for the move that probably includes utilities, ISP, updating the post office. But did you think about your online address that has been there for a while? That needs to be updated EVERYWHERE and consistently.

I’m talking about NAP - Name, Address, Phone number. For search credibility, your business listing needs to be consistent in every directory and with every search engine that indexes your content and site. By precisely I mean that if you have a suite number, and you list it sometimes at Ste. and sometimes as Suite or # or Unit those are not the same. Your phone number. It’s great to have an toll free number on your site, but for this purpose you need a LOCAL phone number that a human answers. The SAME number everywhere. You can add additional numbers in listings in directories, but the MAIN number needs to be local and formatted precisely: 503-555-1212 vs. (503) 555.1212.

A great place to start is Google My Business. I’m assuming you already have a profile set up for your company on Google My Business. This is what shows up in the right column boxed info when people search for your company. It has hours, location, reviews, photos. You need to take control of that first. Then, you can search out the rest of the listings to see how you are listed.

A quick hit list includes:

  • Google
  • Yahoo - yes it still ties to and feeds other directory listing sites.
  • Bing

There are about 80 more in the list - many are fed by these three, but you still need to make sure they are all matching precisely.

Once these are cleaned up, and you start to post to some of your profiles 1-4xs per month with images, recommendations, strategic partner news you’ll start to see an organic rise in your search rankings.

Just as moving an address can affect things, so can changing your domain. Long-term domains hold some credibility. If you’ve used the same domain for years and years and suddenly you want to change directions, had issues with hacking or other reasons, you will lose a ton of traction from your old search results. You want to make sure you account for the change through redirects from the most popular pages in old domain to changing the content on the old site to thin it out and then a custom 404 page to redirect to the new site or content. Without careful planning, making this one change in your business can have you fall off the face of search results and it’s a long road back. Be aware of and regularly review your search console on Google to see where errors are happening. Where are people trying to get to in the OLD domain. Do NOT remove the old domain from analytics or your search console - not yet. It doesn’t hurt to keep it all running to track traffic and come up with redirect solutions. If you can, retain the old domain to use it to your advantage in the redirecting. You can change your hosting plan to something tucked within another account if money is the issue, but do not delete the domain or the site - at least not all the way.  Be careful with a domain change that the mail is set up with the change, as well. Auto responders are handy for a transition such as this. You want people to use the new email account? You’ll have to have your entire staff find EVERYWHERE they are listed with the old domain email and have them update it. They’ll need autoresponders. You’ll want to set up forwarding for a while. You don’t want to pay for 2 mail plans indefinitely, but at least let the dust settle.

You now have a good list to start with.

If you would like me to dig around for you to find your entire list and see where things need to be corrected, let me know. It’s one of the discovery packages I offer through Exit Power Strategies.

http://sfs.tips/epslist

 

Revenue Tip from Lori Richardson - You are sitting on gold.

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In this interview, Susan asked Lori Richardson these questions:

  • How does generating revenue look for your business?
  • What are the key services/products you offer that generate the most revenue?
  • What is a tip you'd like to share to generate revenue?

Listen to this short episode with a HUGE aha moment in it.

About Lori Richardson:

Lori Richardson
CEO, Speaker & Founder

Lori founded Score More Sales in 2002 to help companies grow revenues through strategic sales efforts, using lessons learned from 20 years in B2B sales and leadership roles.

Extrovert/Super Connector   Lifelong Learner/Teacher

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

 

Your online profiles are costing you money.

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Saying our FREE online profiles in all of the social venues is costing us money may be confusing. Let’s think about that statement. If you create a profile and forget about it for a long while, it becomes dated, perhaps even incorrect. Not just headshots and the company you work for, but your basic statement about yourself. When you created your profiles chances are you were just checking off a box to get marketing off your back.

  • Facebook - check
  • LinkedIn - check
  • Twitter - check
  • Google+ - check
  • About.me - check

And what about all of the other profiles you forget about - such as trade organizations, professional and alumni associations, online directories. There’s a HUGE chance you have no clue how many profiles you’ve created. If you only think about the ones you remember, that gives you a place to start.

Starting with the more obvious: LinkedIn, Facebook - page AND profile, Twitter, About.me and Google+ the first thing you want to think about is WHOM you are trying to reach and what you want them to do. How do you want them to connect with you? What do you want them to THINK about you? It is not one profile fits all here. You have to tailor it. What I say on Facebook is not the same as LinkedIn. If you are in the camp that favors the, “It’s all me - I’m the same everywhere - they can accept me or not!” chances are you wish you earned more money, but that arrogance is getting in your way. Business is business, even if clients become friends or friends become clients, it’s a different hat. You are asking them to pay you for your knowledge and skills. Respect that and them. This segways into headshots. Keep it clean and professional on LinkedIn. Have more fun on Facebook, but it’s still a good idea to have an actual photo rather than cartoon, a picture of your dog - unless that’s your business,. You want anyone seeking you to know it is the RIGHT you. On all of social media, I’m grateful that the OTHER Susan Finch in New York is a blonde. It helps at first glance. Also, the fact I’m in Oregon and she’s in New York. We are both clear who we are in all venues.

Moving on to your links you can include.

Have you tested them lately? As a producer for several online radio shows, I run across guests all the time that haven’t updated their LinkedIn profiles for months or even YEARS. They link to old companies and broken pages. It makes me wonder if they realize that company doesn’t consider them an employee any more. This leads into work history and projects and the topic of lost revenue through social media.

When your profile is broken, outdated with only crickets chirping in your timeline, people will think you are not current. You’ve done nothing new, can’t be bothered keeping your details updated. How can they count on you to help them if they can’t take care of themselves?

Spend some time reading EACH social media profile.

  • Would you hire you?
  • If you were interested in becoming YOUR client, how would you connect?
  • What is the next step?

An example of a pretty decent About.me profile is at susanfinch.me Short, with a clear call to action and OFFER in the same breath.

You will note that my social profiles are not as consistent as I’d like. Remember I mentioned that OTHER Susan Finch - vanity URLs are tough when your name isn’t super unusual.

And now we move on to the call to action in each profile.

Ask someone else to read your profiles through. Ask them if they understand what you do, your capabilities and what they need to do next in order to work with you. Ideally, the person helping you by reviewing it would understand your buyer personas pretty well to help you see any holes, potential confusion, or nannering on you are doing in your profiles. If they help you with this, at least send them a gift card or take them out for drinks to thank them. Return the favor for them, too.

At the end of your profiles, entice people to make an appointment, get to know your company better, invite you to speak - whatever the goal that makes you money, ASK FOR IT with an EASY link. It may be a different landing page for each venue. That’s a great way to track it if it’s working. Perhaps you simply link to your appointment scheduler page. The goal isn’t to close the deal, but to get them to call. Give them the time, don’t tell them how to make the watch.

With LinkedIn - this will be an entire episode on it’s own, realize you can add PROJECTS without changing jobs. Something like a case study where you can show off something with great results.

Facebook: Once you are done updating Facebook with a new image - it will notify all of your “friends” and followers. LinkedIn used to do this, but caught on that people played this in order to get to the top of the newsfeed with a visual update. Now you have to do something more than upload an image - change your position, add a company - when you do that, you will end up in notifications and news feeds on LinkedIn.  Before you do that, consider writing an ARTICLE to publish in your profile to make a bigger splash. If you don’t have much to say, with your newly updated profile, commit to a BARE MINIMUM of 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn for two weeks only sharing items from others, stories from the news, nothing self-serving. MENTION companies and PEOPLE.  Let people know you are still around and are now current and of value rather than just tooting your own horn.

Ready to clean up your profiles and stop losing money with them?

If you need help finding all the ones you’ve forgotten, check out: https://exitpowerstrategies.com/determining/ to figure out which scenario fits you so we can start collecting all of the forgotten profiles and clean them up!

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast via email on RootedInRevenue.com so you never miss an episode, or subscribe to us on iTunes - look for Rooted in Revenue

 

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