12 Key Steps to run Successful Offline Events And Drive Support for Your Projects
Offline events are a great way to drive support for your Actyvate projects. Not only can you leverage on them as physical touch points, but it will also score you high PR value if you do it right.
In today’s post, let’s have a look at a few strategies, tips and tools to ensure your ground events run successfully, and maximize your exposure before, during and after the sessions. Although the steps are in sequence, you do not necessarily need to go through them in the same order, or feel free to skip a step or two.
#1. Know your goals
This one may sound basic, but let us save you tons of regrets after the events by grounding you first: You need to know what you aim to achieve from the offline events. Otherwise, it will just be a fun time for everyone (hopefully), with you walking away tired, broke and without any proper ROI.
Some of the common goals of other Actyvate projects are:
- Gaining traction
- Building awareness
- Solicit support
- Driving donations
- Raising funds
#2. Know your target audience
Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to make sure the right kind of people is invited to the event. Break them down based on their demographics (who are they) and psychographics (what they do). This step is as crucial as the previous one because it will help you eliminate a lot of problems, especially during the promotion stage.
#3. Date & Location
When you know who are your target audience, it will be easier to find a date and location that matches their lifestyle. For example, if your target market are busy executives, you may want to have an evening event in the city area, a place they can get to easily, or a laid-back location over the weekend.
There are no hard and fast rules to picking the right date, but from our previous experiences with events, it is ideal to select a date that allows you 6 to 8 weeks of good marketing time. The lesser ready-contacts that you have, the more time do you have to buffer for.
#4. Event Format
Will your event just be networking over drinks, or do you plan to have sharing by panel speakers? If it’s the latter, will it be a TED-like talk, or a forum where you will be moderating? Play around with mastermind groups, Q&A (or Ask Me Anything sessions), experiential games and more, and create a memorable experience for your audience and fans.
#5. Event Platforms
Previously we have mentioned a few free resources to promote your events, and the best out there in terms of functionally and organic traffic are Eventbrite, Peatix, Eventful, Meetups and Facebook Events. Remember: there is nothing wrong featuring your events over the different platforms because you will need all the exposure you can get!
#6. Occam’s Razor
This is where you play smart and hunt the target groups. For instance, if your event is primarily geared toward the female crowd, look around for associations, societies or clubs that are exclusive only for women.
You may also want to pick event partners with existing databases that match your audience profile. Following the example above, you can identify cosmetic brands, beauty services, fashion labels or event eateries!
#7. Your events won’t sell itself
Hosting your events on those platforms mentioned in #5 may get you some exposure, but that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and wait. Put on your hustling cap, roll up your sleeves, and use one, two or if not all the channels below, depending on your target audience:
- Direct mailers
- Whatsapp Blasts
- Social media postings
- Paid Ads
#8. Sending Personal Invites
You may want to have key people in your audience, and this will require you to send out personal invites. Generate a list which matches the capacity of your event space, and invite them over the phone, email or text messages. And don’t forget, having the right person saying Yes to your event may mean he or she bringing along their friends. Birds of the feather do flock together, so chances if one of them are supporting your cause, you will easily win the rest too.
#9. Invite the Press & Influencers
Prepare a simple media kit and invite members of the media. They may not always say yes, but if you align it in a way that promises them content or stories for their platforms, you’re in luck.
Same goes for influencers who are aligned with your cause. Keep the number to 10% of your target audience, because depending on their status, they may have special requests or have issues appearing alongside a rival influencer. Remember to tap into their network to reach out to more people.
#10. Building the hype before the event
Based on the content you will be covering during the event, or the line-up of speakers, create little snippets that you can share across your social media platforms. Schedule them with tools like Buffer and Hootsuite as you’re gearing up to the event date. Use videos of your past events, or of your invited speakers, or any content you can find online that can be used to build awareness towards your events.
#11. Feedback & Surveys
Immediately after the event, you can send your participants surveys to seek their feedback. Some questions you can ask them are:
* What do you like most about the event?
* What is one thing that we can do to improve the event?
* What’s one thing we can do to get you to promote these events to your friends?
#12. Post Event Followups
Of course, a courteous thank-you note is useful, to thank the participants for their time and effort to support your event. In your thank you email, you can include links to your Actyvate projects, additional resources or exclusive bonuses from the speakers.
You can also add them to your mailing list where you can update them on the status of your project, and perhaps invite them to future events.
Yes, this may look like a long post, because it is! Running events can be hard, especially for first timers, and we hope these steps have helped you cover the bases and guarantee a successful event!