Everywhere you turn, there’s a “special event,” and you’ve begun to wonder how special any of them really are. You’ve been disappointed too many times.
And now, as a business owner and brand builder, you’ve begun to wonder if this type of perception has something to do with your own events’ drops in attendance.
And as you delve deeper into your own reasons and experience—and you begin to be fully honest with yourself—you realise that you’re guilty of propagating this “special event” smokescreen.
Your events (webinars, conferences, meet-and-greets, workshops, etc.) aren’t really that special after all. You’ve scheduled many of them because it’s “time to get one in the diary.” What you may have been missing is this:
Leaving the Special out of your Special Events could be hurting your brand.
So what does each event need to make it special?
- a unique audience
- exclusive subject matter
- a secretive element (guest speaker, surprise gift, big news)
- an exotic location
- the combination of two or more unexpected elements
- the introduction of a new product, service or concept
- or any combination of any number of the above
…and that’s just to name a few.
And one more thing: The element(s) you choose to make your event special need to be authentic. No inflated marketing. No disappointments onsite. In fact, your attendees should be pleasantly surprised—even astonished—every time.
Now let’s move on to how you can make that happen.
Special Events: Special, Every Time
- A Unique Audience: If you market to the same people for every event, you’re going to get the same people at every event (and the same people passing on every event). That puts a lot of pressure on you to come up with completely unique content every time. It also means a greater need for adding new people to your list. For this reason, it’s important to add a bit of exclusivity to the marketing for each event. Maybe create an event just for people who are new to your brand; or hold events in different geographical areas; or schedule special VIP events. This will not only make micro-niche audiences feel special, it will provide more opportunities for you to schedule future events.
- Exclusive Subject Matter: Want better attendance at your events? Then do something the competition is NOT doing. Because you know what happens when two companies offer identical things? A price war ensues. And that’s a war that no one can win. Read reviews of your competitions’ events and look for areas of dissatisfaction and gaps in content or experience. Solve those problems. Fill those gaps. And do it in a unique, branded manner.
- An Element of Surprise: Everyone loves a surprise—especially when they know that it’s going to be something spectacular. The first time your brand teams up with a celebrity guest speaker or unveils something uber-exciting is crucial: it will not only determine how many people attend future events, it will colour the word-of-mouth advertising that results from that first special event. Be honest with yourself when scheduling these surprise elements: Is the surprise something that will truly electrify your target audience members? If not, keep working.
- An Unusual Location: Most events are held in auditoriums or in conference centers, right? Well, what if you took your event somewhere no one would expect? Like a grand theatre, a city park…or even a Caribbean cruise like we’ll be doing this January? A unique (and desirable) location will not only attract both new and loyal customers, it will give you lots of exciting material to use when marketing.
- The Combination of Two or More Unexpected Elements: When asked about his top novel-writing tips, Stephen King included this concept, and there’s good reason for that (and good reason that he’s an accomplished author, marketer and brand-builder). When something is paired with a seemingly unrelated concept (like telekinesis with teenager problems in Carrie), it arouses curiosity and causes people to want to turn pages…in novels, as well as in business and in life. Present a combination they would have never thought of (like dentistry with donuts or fashion with philanthropy) and your brand will not be forgotten.
- The Introduction of a New Service, Product or Concept: The unveiling of something new can be uber-exciting…only if it’s something your ideal customers will view as long-awaited and oh-so-inspiring. Use anticipation in your marketing campaign and be sure to over-deliver at the event.
It’s easy to get caught up in the need to host an event…and forget that what happens at that event is what really matters. Keep the people who will mean the most to your brand engaged, with events that will prove special to them.