Seven-day workweeks, unpredictable work hours, business development constantly on the mind, and little to no personal time are just a few things every entrepreneur becomes very accustom to while enduring the hustle of starting and growing a business.
The WHAT, WHY, & WHERE surrounding your company’s event marketing strategy
“SHOULD WE HAVE THAT EVENT AGAIN THIS YEAR?”
As an Event Planner, I see various companies struggle year in and year out over this question. The question as to whether or not their company should include events as part of their yearly marketing plan.
Having been on the corporate side of things as an in house marketing/event professional and now being on the business owner side running an event management company, if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that events should ALWAYS be a part of your company’s marketing strategy.
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR PEEPS
Bringing it back to Marketing 101, we all know a company’s marketing strategy always includes product, price, place, and promotion. But what these strategy plans often lack is a major “P” – PEOPLE.
Marketing is all about the people, whether it’s your employees, your executives, or your customers. These people are the ones who drive the other 4 P’s of a marketing strategy. Therefore, it should never be a question as to whether or not events should take place, let alone be a critical part of your marketing strategy.
EVENT STRATEGY & ROI
Meetings and events create value to stakeholders. This is accomplished by influencing the behavior of your event participants. If the event doesn’t make participants do something they would otherwise not have done, there is no value.
Hosting events is the best way for your business to engage your clients, motivate your employees, connect with prospects, get your brand in front of the right people, and ultimately create strategic relationships that lead to increased growth.
Even if you don’t have a strategic events strategy built into your current marketing plan, it’s never too late to start small, host events the right way by hiring a professional, and work with that professional to measure the ROI surrounding your events.
READY TO PLAN AN EVENT?
Outlined below are key questions to consider before implementing an events strategy, no matter what the purpose, size or budget. I’ve also included a simplified breakdown of event types, the goals/purpose of each event type, and some of my company’s, Intrinsic Events, top locations to host these events.
Before you develop your strategic event plan, you must ask yourself these critical questions:
1. What goals does our company want to achieve this year?
2. What events will assist our company in achieving these goals?
3. What is the purpose of each event?
4. What are the determining success factors for each event and how will they be measured?
5. What professional resources does our company have in place to execute these events and measure their ROI?
READY TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL EVENT STRATEGY?
TOP 10 EVENTS YOUR COMPANY SHOULD BE HOSTING
“We need to talk.”
Let’s be honest. We’ve all broken up with someone - Friends. Clients. Significant Others. Peers. Mentors. Vendors. Suppliers. Service Providers. Partners. Employees.
OR we’ve all broken up with something – PC’s. Banks. Office Space. Software. Happy Hour. Coffee.
No easy conversation ever started with, “We need to talk”. However, we’ve all heard it or said it at one time or another in our lives. And the truth is, breaking up is hard to do. It inspires weakness, vulnerability and procrastination in all of us.
Even if you’ve done your due diligence prior to a breakup in terms of talking to mentors, weighing the pros and cons, crying to your friends, or facing the cold hard truth, the exit strategy out of any relationship can be brutal. Even without contracts and money at stake.
There are times when it may be blindingly obvious to everyone around you that it’s time to walk away from a relationship or partnership, yet in true entrepreneur fashion, you are still so stubborn that you need to come to the conclusion on your own terms.
So how do you know? First, simply ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have you lost respect for this partner?
2. Are your needs not being met in this relationship?
3. Are you only staying in this relationship because of a contract?
4. Is this relationship causing difficulty or danger to your brand or business?
5. Do you dread meetings with this partner?
6. Are you constantly keeping score in this partnership? Are you less forgiving if this partner doesn’t hold up to their end of the agreement?
7. Has this partnership stopped being fun & collaborative?
8. Is this partnership bringing out the worst in me?
9. Do your long term goals or business plans no longer match up?
If you’ve answered yes to ANY of these questions, it may be time to call it quits.
Just do it. Stop procrastinating. Stop having self- doubt. Stop second-guessing your gut.
Loyalty, cooperation, and commitment to work through difficult times are all admirable qualities in any entrepreneur but it’s important to be cognizant that these traits can also work against us to prolong the right decision and hinder growth in our business.
So just do it, put your big girl panties on and remember the following tips for breaking up.
1. Keep Calm and Never Attack the other person’s character. You are making this choice so there is no reason to be hostile or angry. It’s also important to remember that the other person may react with hostility and anger so it’s important to never attack them with your reasons as to why you are ending the relationship.
2. You are breaking up for YOU and what’s best for YOU – not the other person. Yes, it may hurt to see someone confused or upset, but that’s life.
3. KISS. (Keep It Short & Simple) No one needs a long drawn out goodbye. Simply state your reasons, avoid vague comments, don’t finger point, be polite, and move on. After all, haven’t you spent enough time investing in a relationship that isn’t helping you achieve your goals?
4. Time Does Not Heal. Growth Heals. – If nothing else, remember this. There are times when we have doubts about our decision to end a relationship and think of turning back. People often say time heals, but it doesn’t. It’s the growth that happens after a significant turning point in our lives that heals us. Trust me, I’ve seen it first hand in life, love and business.
Reflection & Action
In everything we do an entrepreneurs, it’s important to reflect on our decisions and the impact they had on our business. If you have recently gone through a breakup, in any capacity, I challenge you to this simple exercise.
Answer this question, type it out, and save as a draft.
“If I could get an email from myself 10 years from now, what advice might it have?”
FOLLOW My Business @EventsIntrinsic
FOLLOW Me @jesgignac
IF THE WORLD WAS PERFECT, IT WOULDN’T BE
In a perfect world, there would be no such thing as a bad day. We would never feel defeated as professionals. We would produce nothing but our best work at all times. Everyone would always be completely satisfied with the results we produced. In a perfect world, there would be no pissed off clients…ever.
Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect. Not everyday is going to be great. We do at times feel defeated. We don’t always produce the best work and live up to our full potential. And every now and then we come across clients who are unhappy, dissatisfied or downright angry with us.
MAKE IT RIGHT OR MAKE IT BETTER
I would be lying if I said I never made mistakes or never had a client upset or angry with me. The truth is, it happens. But what I have learned over the past few years working in the events industry and especially as an entrepreneur is that if you do mess up and a client is upset you have to either make it right or make it better.
Dealing with a pissed off client is never easy, but as entrepreneurs we have no choice but to take handle these situations quickly and with some finesse. Here are five steps that will help turn your unhappy client’s frown upside down…
1. REMAIN CALM…I REPEAT…REMAIN CALM
When you are dealing with an angry client, the last thing you want to do is freak out on them. It’s normal to feel a little defensive. We all work hard and have our client’s best interest at heart, but sometimes things get missed or miscommunication occurs. When a client is upset with something you do, the worst thing to do is react. When we react we lose control and give the other person the upper hand.
2. ASK QUESTIONS, AND LISTEN CAREFULLY
When people are upset no matter what the situation is, they usually just want someone to listen to them. This holds true when dealing with your clients. Clearly if your client is upset, they are going to have some things to say. So listen to them. Show them that you care about the issue at hand.
3. TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY
I have found success in dealing with unsatisfied clients by first taking a look at myself and taking accountability for the issue. Before you do anything else, you have to stop and take accountability of what you did wrong or could have done better. As entrepreneurs, we must consistently take a look in the mirror and make a change in order to learn and grow as professionals.
4. SUGGEST A SOLUTION AND RUN WITH IT
Conflict resolution is what event planners do best and it should be a common practice amongst all entrepreneurs. When there is an issue we need to evaluate all of the variables and act quickly to come up with a solution. Don’t sit around and think, “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” Just FIX IT.
5. ABOVE ALL ELSE, DON’T POINT FINGERS
When shit hits the fan, the worst thing you can do is sit around with your thumb up you’re butt and point fingers. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was, what matters is that there is an issue and it’s your job to find a solution.
You’ve Got Mail. Who? You!
I’m talking about you. You’re reading the best marketing blogs you can find to ensure your business has the most up-to-date information. Time and time again the recommendation you keep hearing is about having your own “List.” It seems obvious where you should start but somehow it’s all so elusive.
Why is it challenges like email marketing always seem to get put off for another day when we’ll have more time? I’m guilty of it no doubt. Lucky for you I’ve put together some solid first steps to getting your email marketing hustle on blast.
What’s a Mail Chimp? DaFuq?
MailChimp, Contact Monkey, Constant Contact, Aweber, huh!? I know, I know. Where to start? Who to start with? The above four companies represent some of the most popular email management platforms. I’ve used three of the four listed and while they each have their own special features they ultimately all work in a very similar fashion.
If you're new to email marketing and haven’t chosen a platform yet, I’d recommend using MailChimp. It is incredibly easy to understand for a novice who is just approaching email management software and offers a handful of stylish FREE templates. For all you pros out there, it scales easily as well.
Why Can’t I Wait Until Next Year? FAIL!
Why, why, why do I have to learn another platform for my business? I’m on Facebook and Twitter, isn’t that enough? The short answer: no fucking way. While it’s a great marketing hustle to have a robust presence on the key social media platforms, it’s even more important to not take for granted that your access to those fans doesn’t disappear.
The reason marketers extol the virtuousness of having your own “List” is because, quite frankly, that shit is critical. You see anytime Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn see fit they can change the parameters and limit access to your fan base. Totally wrong...right!? I agree, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
This is the reason it is so important to optimize your social platforms with strong focused CTA’s (Calls-To-Action) and convert those Facebook fans and Twitter followers to your list. That way, when Zuck decides to start jacking your peeps again you can tell that fool to chill. Dig?
My People (Really Your People)
Ok, now you’ve picked your email management service and you’ve got you’re “Emotional On-Boarding” in place to really commit to this thing; which brings us to the “now what?” phase of our lesson. There’s a correlation to a big list and more sales but there’s an even bigger correlation between a QUALITY LIST and more sales.
While you may be tempted to buy lists for sale or use cheap tactics to artificially inflate your subscriber base, the calm and cool Email Jedi will take the time to grow their list with credibility. The first place to go is all of your past clients. These people have given your business the thumbs up in the past, now it’s time to clinch that relationship; make it a long-term thing, put a ring on it!
Most accounting software will allow you to export a .csv file of all of your previous contacts. I’d recommend starting there. This first “segment” of your list will be critical so make sure that you keep these contacts identified as “previous clients” so you can send them appropriate emails. Nobody likes not being recognized, so take the time to segment past clients from new leads. It may also be useful to create a list that is exclusively for newsletter subscribers so you can offer opportunities for potential future clients to start learning about your company.
List Building for the Social Set
The second place to start optimizing Email List Conversions is on your social media platforms. Do you Tweet? Now you have one less Tweet to come up with every single day! It reads like this: "Sign-Up here for the @StartupSoiree Newsletter! We’re gonna hook You Up!" These same list-build efforts can be put into place on your Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn profiles as well. A good rule of thumb is to have an email signup in place on every platform your business is active on.
One for the road. Pro Turn-Up Tip
Really wanna get slick with that list-build? Create an offer your ideal lead can’t refuse and then trade it to them, free of charge, for one little email address. This is a technique called “Content Gating” and it works really well. For all of you out there running your website on Wordpress this should be a cinch using one of their plug-ins. We’re using Squarespace at Pixilated and Startup Soiree so our functionality is a little trickier since these features aren't built into the Squarespace platform so we’re using Hubspot.
That’s All Folks!
Now you have the fundamentals in place to start getting your email marketing program in place. Apply these techniques and ideas now and start reaping the benefits of owning your very first “List.” I’ll be back soon with the next part of this series which will go further into what types of content you can fill your email marketing campaigns with.
Until then…….work hard, play harder and take action!
For other great Tips, Tricks & Ideas Follow Me @PatrickRife
“You can cry, ain’t no shame in it.” –
Will Smith, Actor
As entrepreneurs, business leaders & innovators, we are often looked up to as fearless, intelligent, & inspirational to the community around us. If you’re anything like me, you probably often look in the mirror & think “What am I doing?” We are our own worst critics & it’s in our nature to find the fault before the good in everything we do.
It’s OK. We are allowed to think this way & we are allowed to shed a tear every now & then… “ain’t no shame in it”.
Because that’s where we are different than the rest of the world. As entrepreneurs, we allow ourselves to feel this way for a split second, then we look back in that same mirror & tell ourselves, “Oh well, lesson learned, keep hustling, get out there, & keep learning”.
We all have these fierce conversations with ourselves. Entrepreneurship is a never-ending mud run. We’re going to face great risks, make mistakes, succeed tremendously, fall down, get up & have fierce conversations with ourselves. However, if you’re going to be successful as a business owner, you need to know when to have no shame. Each of us are different in our strengths, weaknesses, successes & failures, but there are certain times that all of us need to know when to never have shame in our actions:
1. Asking for EXACTLY what you want.
Be clear, be concise, be demanding, be honest, & keep it simple. There were many times in my professional life where I hesitated in asking for what I wanted because of fear of embarrassment, rejection, or shame.
Let It Go! As an entrepreneur, you cannot be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. Whether it be your fees, your website design, or your strategic partnerships- you will never get where you want to be in your business if you aren’t letting people know what you want. And believe me, most of the time, you will get what you’re asking for – or really close to it.
2.Talking about your business at all times.
You never know who is listening, who needs what you are offering, or who is looking for an opportunity like you were once upon a time. There is no better person to talk about your company or product than YOU. Your team will never learn to sell your service or product with passion & excitement if YOU don’t do it first. So start talking & have no shame in doing so. Some people will roll their eyes, some will walk away immediately, some will interrupt you, but who cares. You are on a mission towards greatness.
3. Taking time for yourself, your family, and your friends.
Entrepreneurs must work hard, it’s inevitable. Often times, we feel if we aren’t working, we are being lazy or unproductive & ultimately, feel shame. Here’s a thought- You are where you are today because of your family, your friends, & yourself. This support system is what has shaped your personality, your work ethic, your creativity, & your values. Think of the time you spend with these people as WORKING on being your best self.
Is this not that hardest work of all?
4. Having a beer at lunch.
As Jimmy Buffet would say, it’s 5:00 somewhere. We are entrepreneurs, we make our own rules, & we answer to ourselves. If a beer makes you feel better, be nicer or foster creativity, then go for it. Trust me, my business partner & I have acquired HUGE Clients, brainstormed the best ideas, & signed contracts over beers at lunch. One tip - just make sure it’s good beer.
5. Demanding what you, your service, and your product are worth.
Enough said. You are worth something, you are valuable, & you set those parameters. It is no one’s place to tell you you’re wrong or ridiculous but yours.
6. Rocking your personal style.
Whether it be a suit & tie, leggings, jeans or a t-shirt with a hole in it… if it represents who you are & what you’re about then have no shame & own it. You are an entrepreneur because you are staying true to yourself & your dreams. If you want to rock jeans to a meeting & think it’s the best decision at the time, then do it. Above any dress code or expectation, confidence is what attracts business.
7. Making a mistake.
We all make them. Everyone, everywhere does. No great entrepreneur has gotten where they are without making mistakes. So don’t beat yourself up, don’t be ashamed, learn from it, move on, & become great.
8. Asking for help or advice from a competitor in your industry.
I once read that great leaders should always make sure they are NOT the smartest person in the room, and I agree. One of my personal goals in life is to learn something new every day. What better way to do that than to ask for the help or advice of someone who has been where you’ve been, who is struggling with your struggles, & ultimately taking a piece of the market away from you. There is NO shame in asking for help or advice and that is what I’m most excited about with Startup Soiree. It’s a catalyst for this type of conversation and environment where sharing is fostered and shame does not exist.
The Worst Advice I’ve Ever Been Given.
This is the worst advice I’ve ever been given as an entrepreneur. The last two years of my life have been nothing but hard work. Physical, emotional, and mental hard work. I thought I must be doing something wrong. The words of my restaurant boss in college kept coming to me in my sleep, “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”
What does this even mean? To work smart, you must first work hard, bottom line. You must first go through trial and error and a little pain before you realize what the “smart” way even is.
The Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given
“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” - Chuck Close, American Painter and Photographer
For the last month, I’ve been waiting, dreaming, and listening for anything that could maybe give me some inspiration to write my first Startup Soiree blog post.
A topic that would be so interesting and inspirational to all of you potential soiree-ees out there who may or may not read my blog. A topic that would define my credibility as a founder of StartUp Soiree.
I was looking for a way to “Work Smarter, Not Harder”, by reading endless blogs, by listening to podcasts and You-Tubing commencement speeches given by the great Jim Carrey, Steve Jobs, and Charlie Day.
I thought to myself, “Ugh, this blog writing thing is HARD.” And then it hit me, I was working hard to work smart. Stop searching for inspiration and get to work. Pick up a pen and paper (because I’m old school like that) and just get to work on this blog. And that’s when the inspiration “came to me”.
Lessons in Hard Work
Luckily for me, I learned the art of hard work at a young age from my Dad.
My Dad is no entrepreneur. He is a 30-year Electrician, Union Member, Blue-Collar, Trade-School Graduate, Home-Owner, Happily Married for 30 Years, and an Inspiration of Hard Work to three awesome Gignac kids.
As the oldest child, I was bossy, impatient, and a know-it-all. I remember becoming so frustrated by my Dad in so many ways growing up. For example,
Thanksgiving Morning Breakfast:
Every year as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would start at 9:00 a.m., my Dad would ask, “Who wants breakfast?” It was immediately met with Yes! From everyone – family, friends, boyfriends - but me. Why you might wonder? Because it was never breakfast, it was ALWAYS a way too big and ridiculous Thanksgiving Lunch. But, my Dad would go for it because he LOVED doing it, he LOVED the joy is brought everyone around him, and he LOVED the outcome of his hard work.
DIY Home Projects:
My Dad was the biggest early adopter of the DIY craze. I don’t remember a single month in my childhood that our home was not under some construction or project. Drywall, Wall Paper, Fancy Lighting, Sound Systems, Retaining Walls, Sheds, you name it. My Dad did them all, he did them himself, and at the young age of 16, I finally had my own room!
It was frustrating and tough and annoying, but you know what, all of my friends and family still RAVE about my Dad’s Thanksgiving Day Breakfast/Lunch and our family home is now valued at three times the amount they paid.
In my eyes, my Dad’s hard work paid off. He used to always tell me – when I was complaining – “If you’re not going to do it the right way and with pride and enjoyment, then what’s the point?”
So with everything I have accomplished in my adult life, I credit it to hard work and these lessons from my Dad. I have been so inspired by my Dad’s ability to work hard everything he did and continues to do, even if it’s in the most simplest of tasks.
My Advice to You: Just Work Hard.
If there is one piece of advice I can offer any of you after my two years in business, it is this.
Just Work Hard. Starting your own company is hard work. Just when you think you’ve accomplished something difficult like finding investors or landing your first huge client, something else that’s hard comes along – like blog writing.
But you can’t avoid it, you can’t wait for inspiration, and as a startup you can’t always outsource it right away. You have to get to work and work hard.
To this day every BIG moment that has happened to Intrinsic Events and every great opportunity has come out of our hard work itself.
Success and inspiration do not magically appear. They come to us from a story of a time when someone else worked hard and it paid off. And it will continue to be just that until we are able to get out there, do the hard work, and become an inspiration for ourselves, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us.
FOLLOW my company @EventsIntrinsic for updates & upcoming events.