Important Announcement
PubHTML5 Scheduled Server Maintenance on (GMT) Sunday, June 26th, 2:00 am - 8:00 am.
PubHTML5 site will be inoperative during the times indicated!

Home Explore In-Person Meet Up: Instructional Booklet

In-Person Meet Up: Instructional Booklet

Published by theauerworks, 2017-07-12 19:42:45

Description: Instructional Booklet


Read the Text Version

What’s Inside In-Person Meet Up: Is It a Good Fit for You? • Target audience • Gauging Interest • Sizing Up Competition Event Organization • Venue - needs, size, cost, location • Date - considerations, timing • Insurance Needs • Agenda - speakers, creating the timeline • Ticket sales - cost, tiered pricing, affiliates, online sales Marketing • Website set up, domain names, image use • Attendees and influencers • Communication with attendees • Press/Media Monetization • Corporate sponsorships • Vendor sponsorships Leading Up to the Meet Up • Facility set up, walk through, delivery of items, signage • Name tags/lanyards - handling cancellations/refund policy • Attendee POV Meet Up Day • Social media monitoring • Volunteers • Keeping sponsors and attendees happy Follow Up • Attendee feedback - social media postings, blog posts, survey • Recap for sponsors (estimated exposure, etc.) • Volunteers and venue personnel 
“In-Person Meet Up” is the first Money Maker Model in Bess Auer’s Money Maker Mastermind Course. Allinformation, text, and images contained herein is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or redistributedin any manner without express written permission from Bess Auer. © 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 erson Meet UpIs it a good fit for you?Planning an in-person meet up, whether a small Test Your Audience:meet up of a dozen people or a large conferencefor hundreds of attendees, must be considered • Create a Facebook event and try acarefully. Meeting planning and execution is not for free event of a smaller natureeveryone and not necessarily a good fit for allblogging niches. • Form a group on and do a few test meetingsSo how can you decide whether organizing a meetup is right for you? Here are a few questions to • Poll your audience on Twitter or otherconsider to help you decide. social media1. Who would be attending? • Take a crowd-sourced approach and ask for suggestions about meeting upDo you already have an audience that has ashared interest? Do you blog about Disney and • Utilize Survey Monkey to gain specifictherefore people who love Disney would maybe insight about possible meet-upslike to meet up together in person? And what abouttheir location? Are there potential attendees whowho live nearby or would they have to travel toattend a conference?2. What would the meet-up accomplish?In order to get people to meet up, there has to be areason to attend. Will they learn something? havethe chance to network? Can they gain a new skillor listen to a well-known professional? If you planto charge attendees to come, you need to makesure you are offering real value.3. What’s your competition?Just because you have an audience and a specificneed to meet, doesn’t mean a meet up will work foryou. Are there other meet ups that alreadyaccomplish what you would like to do? And if not,why aren’t there? Is it because nobody has tried ityet OR is it because it wasn’t a successful fit foryour niche?These are all valid questions you need to explorebefore moving to the next step of actually planningthe event. Test your audience for the answers.

 nt OrganizationPlanning All the Details: The VenueOnce you explored your audience and have determined they would like an in-person meet up,the next step is to find the location and best date for it.Venue SizeMeet ups can be held in a restaurant, hotel ballroom, theme park, specialty attraction, or justabout anywhere you can find space. You need to determine your ideal size as well as yourrealistic number of attendees. It always pays to be conservative with your estimate, especiallythe first time you are trying a meet up.Don’t go for the big hotel ballroom if you can’t fill it; you always want to look like you have a fullhouse. Also consider what activities you will have going on during the conference. Do you needseating? Does every attendee need a seat at a table? Do they need power for their devices?Venue CostFinding an affordable venue can be challenging. A hotel ballroom can cost $5,000 for a dayunless you can guarantee you will be bringing in lots of out-of-town attendees who will booktheir hotel room there. Hotel catering can also bring down the rental, but still cost you a lot ofmoney.Many places rent their space, so be creative. I’ve been to meet ups in a newly built building thatdoesn’t have any renters yet, as well as attended events at a mall that wants to bring people into the center to possibly shop before or after the event.Extra ConsiderationsDon’t forget about audio visual, catering needs, and other potential costs. Do you need aprojector and a screen? Microphones? The venue probably has an audio visual company theycan recommend, but this does add to your production costs.Feeding your attendees needs to be addressed. Coffee and water throughout the event isusually standard, but will you serve snacks or lunch or dinner? Do you have to utilize thevenue’s catering or can you bring in outside vendors? Ask these questions before deciding onwhere to hold your meet up.Parking and security are final considerations when selecting a venue. Is there plenty of parkingfor your attendees? What about flow-over parking? If your event is during normal businesshours, will there still be enough for your attendees? And keep in mind, depending on the size ofyour meet up, some venues may require you to hire extra security.One final thought, especially if your attendees will be coming from out of town, is there easyaccess or public transportation from the airport? Maybe even consider setting up a deal withUber or Lyft for a free ride for your attendees.Again, ask these questions before you decide on the venue. The location is perhaps the mostimportant consideration to an enjoyable experience for your attendee.

 ent OrganizationPlanning All the Details: The Date & TimeIn addition to the location, you need to carefully pick the right date(s).Industry EventsFirst make sure you aren’t competing with any events within your niche. Avoid other bigevents so yours stands out. You don’t want competition from another similar event. Poll yourattendees to see what events they may be going to and are looking forward to.Holidays and National EventsI hold a smaller event each February and so I always have to avoid the Super Bowl. Nationalconversation turns to football for a week or so out, which can dampen the buzz about yourevent. So, check a traditional calendar to see dates that are open.Attendee NeedsFinally think about your attendees’ needs. Do they have day jobs can’t take off from easily, orwould a multi-day event be possible? Would they prefer weekend or work day events?

 ent OrganizationPlanning All the Details: The Insurance After you have selected the venue and date and have signed your contract and made your deposit, you need to get your own insurance. Required Insurance Some venues will require you carry a minimum amount of liability. For example, for my biggest event, I have to carry one million for the conference and then 2 million for the parking, since attendees will be driving on a campus. This can cost me around $500 for the insurance policy, so shop around. Typically, the policy says that you take all responsibility and frees up the venue from any liability.Optional InsuranceOnce you get your insurance application, be sure to read it carefully to avoid being ‘sold’ anycoverage you don’t really need. A terrorism clause has been added in on my contracts recently,and I have to waive the coverage in order to avoid being charged for it.If reading contracts is not your strength, ask a friend or a third party to go over the coverage withyou to be sure you get exactly what you need to protect yourself in a worst-case scenario.Event OrganizationPlanning All the Details: The AgendaOnline ToolsThere are plenty of agenda-building tools online you can use. You can simply create theagenda and post it on your event website, or you can go a more-involved tool that costsmoney. Eventbrite, EventJoy, and are all easy to use online tools tailor-made forevent planners.These online outlets will walk you through the set up, including creating confirmation emailsand organizing your attendees for you.

Depending on your meet up, youmay just have one session, whereyou have a speaker or specialobjective, or you might decide tohave multiple sessions withseveral speakers or objectives.AgendaTo the right is a real example ofhow we start creating the agendafor FLBlogCon. We create it in atable of a word-processingdocument that allows us tochange around the times andsessions as needed. I color codethe tracks to make it easier for meto keep straight.If you are going to have multiplesessions, be sure to space outlike-interest presentations. Try toavoid pitting two really popularsessions against each other.Also, remember to build in plentyof downtime in between differentsessions for networking,bathroom breaks, and snack time.SpeakersIf you are going to have guestspeaker, you will need to decide ifyou will compensate them or not.Some speakers will present justfor the exposure and experience,while others will expect to bepaid. Keep this in mind as youline them up. It is also a goodidea to ask speakers to send youtheir bio and photos, that way youhave permission to use theirimages.

 nt OrganizationPlanning All the Details: Tickets The final step before you start marketing your event is to decide on tickets. Free Tickets If you want to guarantee attendees and then sell corporate sponsorships or vendor booths, then free tickets may be a good idea. However, be careful as sometime “free” can be equated to “low value” and end up with several people deciding not to come at the last minute despite lots of tickets being taken. Paid Tickets If you decide to go with people paying to attend, hitting the correct price line is key. First ask yourself what YOU would pay to attend the event you have imagined, then perhaps drop it down a few bucks to make sure you sell tickets the first time around. Staggering the price of your tickets through \"early bird,\" \"regular admission,\" and then \"last chance\" give you the opportunity to offer a great deal to jump start ticket sales. Ticket Outlets As listed in The Agenda section above, Eventbrite and EventJoy as well as other online ticket sale websites make it easy for you. Often all you need is a Paypal or Stripe account set up to get started accepting ticket sales and even set up affiliate ticket sales. Be sure to check the fees charged by each outlet to find the one that fits your needs best. You sometimes have the choice whether to include the ticket fee within the price of the ticket itself or whether to pass it along to the attendee.

 rketing Your Meet UpThe WebsiteYou have your conference organized and so now it’s time to start getting word out!Do You Need a Stand-Alone Website?Maybe or maybe not. Depending on how much traffic you get on your own site, you mightjust set up a special page with all the meet up information. However, if you plan on tryingto sell corporate sponsorships, then a stand-alone site might look more professional.Some of the ticket outlets, like Eventbrite, have a WordPress theme that has been made tointegrate with their ticket sales.Register Your DomainRegardless of whether you go with a page on your blog or a stand alone site, be sure toregister your conference name as a domain that points to the information. It could bedisastrous if somebody else registers and then sits on your desired domain, so don’t delayin doing this. Then go a step beyond and reserve that name via Twitter and Instagram andother social media, even if you don’t start using them right away.Anticipate GrowthAs you are reserving your domain name, be sure to allow for growth, especially if you setup a Facebook Fan Page, which can only change names once. For example, I started withthe Central Florida Bloggers Conference (aka CFLBlogCon) but later it grew big enoughfor us to change it to the Florida Blogger & Social Media Conference (aka FLBlogCon). Sokeep this in mind when setting up your domain and social media.Consider Other Online ToolsIn addition to ticket outlets and online agenda tools, you can also utilize tools to showcase an conference guide. Also remember to utilize rich media likevideo to create buzz. These are easily shared and can direct viewers right to yourconference information.Image Usage and CopyrightRemember, just as you do for your blog, to make sure you have permission and the rightto all images you use. In addition to asking speakers to send you their photo, you mightcome up with a very simple waiver to send them giving you permission to use their imageon your website and to promote the conference. It is also a good idea to get writtenpermission to use any company logos that sponsors may send you.AdvertisingJust as you would advertise and promote any blog post or event, remember to considertools like boosting a Facebook post/ad, utilizing Google Ads, etc. The ability to target youraudience with both these tools can help focus on potential attendees who might beinterested in attending.

Marketing Your Meet UpUtilize Your AttendeesOnce a person has decided to come toyour event, turn them into a megaphoneto tell others.Confirmation EmailAs stated in a previous section, mostonline ticket outlets allow you to set up aconfirmation email attendees receiveafter getting their ticket. Utilize thisopportunity to have them follow you onsocial media and spread word. You caneven set up an affiliate program wherethey can get a few dollars for referring anew attendee.Official HashtagAsk your attendees to utilize a hashtag specific to the meet up. You can even do some give-aways, free tickets and other swag, utilizing the official hashtag. Remember to set up a way tomonitor the reach of your hashtag, which can be valuable for future years especially if you plan tosell corporate sponsorships.Find InfluencersNo man is an island, so actively look for people who might either volunteer to help make the meetup a success or spread word on your behalf. You could offer a free ticket if they were to post ortweet about the event. If your meet up is a good idea with a great agenda, people will be excitedto attend and make it rock.Press & MediaYour meet up may be news-worthy, so you should think about both traditional and new media.Write a press release and target those reporters who cover that topic. Send them the release andoffer them a press pass to attend. Typically traditional reporters (newspaper, radio, television) arelooking to see how your event is relevant to their readers or viewers, so be sure to stress why yourevent will benefit their community.Don't forget to target associations that may be interested in your meet up. Find their membershipor marketing person and ask if they can post about your event, especially if it would be highinterest for their members.Finally, many bloggers are considered media, so you will have to determine what you considermedia to give press passes to. You definitely want the buzz, but you also want paying attendees,so find the balance that works best for you.

 netizationSelling SponsorshipsOnce you decide to sell sponsorships for your meet up, you have an obligation to both theattendee and the sponsor. The sponsor must be a good fit that will bring related value to theattendee, and you as the organizer have an obligation to the sponsor to provide plenty ofexposure to your attendees. My advice? Under promise and over deliver.Corporate SponsorshipYou can style a corporate sponsorship in several different ways: presenting sponsor (which isyour highest paying sponsor), title sponsor (next highest, etc.) gold level sponsor, silversponsors, etc. You can actually call these levels anything you’d like as long as you identifywhat type of exposure each type of sponsor will receive.Generally, the more a company pays to sponsor your meet up, the more you will do for them.Put their name and logo on your conference site and all emails, write blog posts about them,feature them in the conference guide, tweet about them, give them featured booth space andsignage at the event, etc. You need to decide what you are willing to do for a company andthen create a website page stating such.If this is your first year hosting this meet up, be sure price your sponsorships reasonably. Ifyou are only going to have 50 attendees, a company probably won’t pay $15,000 to be yourpresenting sponsor. So how do you price it? Scout out other like meet ups and see what theycharge for their sponsorships, then go lower.You can also be prepared to negotiate and give a company a special “discount” in order toget them to commit. Depending on the size of the sponsorship, all payment should be madebefore the conference starts.It’s a good idea to get each sponsorship commitment in writing. I do mine in a Worddocument, stating what we will do for the sponsor and what the sponsor will do for us as wellas payment due date, etc. If you are not comfortable with this, though, you can search onlinefor standard Event Sponsorship Contracts and then tailor one of those to your specific event. Vendor Sponsorship As an alternative to straight sponsorships, you might sell booth space. you might provide a table in a high traffic area in exchange for either flat fee or a percentage of their sales that day (if they are selling something). You need to decide which would be more profitable for you. If you are providing tables, be sure the venue has them or add the rental cost into your production fees.

eading Up to Meet UpFacility Set UpDelivery of Items/StorageDepending on the size of your meet up, chances are you will have things that need to bedelivered to the venue before the big day. Water bottles, swag bags, tables for vendors, etc.You will need to make arrangements with the venue for some place to store these. Manytimes sponsors and vendors will want to get in the day before in order to set up their boothand display areas, so you will need to arrange this.SignageMake sure you think through where you will need signs. You need to direct attendees toregistration and check in, rooms, provide signage for your sponsors, etc. Make sure you havethese printed in plenty of time. Quick Signs, Elite Signs, or your local printer can help you.Seating and Audio VisualDepending on the objective of your meet up, be sure to oversee the seating arrangementsaccordingly. It can take time to set up the tables and chairs just the way you want, so be sureto build this into your time table for set up.Remember to check all audio visual ahead of time to avoid any burnt out bulbs or technicalglitches on the day of.

Name Badges 
Printing name tags is usually one of the last things I do. The online ticket outlet you choose will probably have a program that walks you through printing them. Printing the badges, stuffing them into holders and attaching lanyards (if you use them) all take time so be sure to build it into your prep. Cancellation Policy/Refunds This is perhaps one of the biggest headaches for an event organizer, especially if you sell your tickets to attend. Be sure to decide on your cancellation policy (and whether you will provide refunds or not) and then state it right from the beginning at the online ticket outlet. You will have numerous requests to refund tickets (due to changing plans) and you will hear everythingfrom death in the family, sickness, out of town, change of jobs, etc. Each one will tug on yourheartstrings, but if you are doing this for a business, you will need to decide where to draw theline and where to make exceptions.Attendee POVOne of the final things I do before the big day arrives is to do a mental (or better yet a physical)walk through of the event from the attendee point of view. I pretend I am an attendee and imaginewhat I see driving up to the venue—does GPS take me to the right place? Do I know where topark? Do I see where the entrance is and where to check in for my name tag? Once inside thevenue as an attendee, what do I see and hear? Is there a slide show playing on a loop before weget started? Is there music playing softly to avoid an awkward silence?As I walk through the event, I keep a notepad near to make any final reminders to change or addin for the event itself.

et Up DayAll Your Ducks in a RowIt’s finally here! Everything you have been working toward to happening—try to enjoy theexperience in addition to stressing about everything going perfectly. (Actually it won’t! No matterhow well you plan, unexpected things will happen so be flexible.) Volunteers Make sure you have people who can help you. From monitoring the audio visual and helping let speakers know to wrap it up to passing out name tags, you will need a least a few people to help you. Chances are you need to be shaking hands and greeting attendees and sponsors alike, so get those volunteers ready and then treat them as the valuable friends they are! Monitor Social Media If you won’t have time, have a trusted volunteer set up to monitor social media centered around the hashtag you have promoted for the event. Remember, sponsors are looking for exposure and by being active on social media that day, you are encouraging a further reach. Plus you can easily see if attendees or sponsors are unhappy based on their tweets, so it’s a great way to put out fires if needed. Watch the Schedule Your job as the organizer is to keep things running on schedule, so watch the time and start on time. Know when to politely step in and cut off the Q&A, be the decision makerwhen things need to be decided quickly, and remember the buck starts and stops with you.Meet & GreetIt is especially important for you to see your paying sponsors, especially if you want to havethem as a repeat sponsor the next time. Stop and talk with them, ask if they need anything, seewhat is making them happy or unhappy. (Remember, if you have under promised and overdeliver, they will be happy.)Finally, thank your attendees for coming. Individually, as a group, and several times throughoutthe event. It’s important!

After the ConferenceRemember to Follow Up!Assuming your meet up is a success, your work is not quite done. The follow up you do afterthe conference can be just as important as the work you do before.AttendeesNow your first obligation is to your attendees, the people who showed enough interest andcommitment to attend your event. Of course sending them a thank you email is nice, but besure to ask for their feedback. A Survey Monkey poll or something similar asking for theirhonest opinion can be very helpful to craft future meet ups. And, if press attended, follow up!SponsorsNext you need to follow up and communicate with the companies who sponsored your event.Not only would an email and survey help you better meet their needs at a future meet up, butyou will also need to have some stats ready for them. Let the sponsors know how far yourofficial hash tag reached,copy any tweets orInstagrams they werementioned in byattendees, and let themknow which press waspresent. Remember, theyare looking for thatexposure, so let themknow how much theyreceived. Ideally, youhave under promisedand over delivered!VolunteersBe sure to send a specialthank you (and even asmall gift if possible) toeach of your volunteers.Make it personal so theyknow how much yourvalued their help. They probably volunteered because they believe in you or the objective ofthe meet up, so you don’t need to go overboard, but being sincere with your thanks can go along way.Venue PersonnelFinally, don’t forget to thank the people at the venue who helped make your meet up happen.Send a heartfelt email thanking them for their efforts. Let them know what you most likedabout their venue and you might even offer a testimony they can use in their own marketingof their space.

Like this book? You can publish your book online for free in a few minutes!
Create your own flipbook