When I started my Master’s degree in Ecommerce at HEC in September 2014, I soon realized there were no Ecommerce student association at HEC. It struck me since the school had 2 Ecommerce programs (MSc. & DESS): I had to do something about that! When I created the new Comité Commerce Électronique – CCE, my team & I had to find a way to increase its visibility in Montreal Ecommerce ecosystem. After a brainstorming session, it became apparent we had to organize a first-class event. It was a long and hard process but we managed to organize an awesome event thanks to the event growth hack techniques and tools I describe in this “How to Growth Hack an Event” series of blog posts in which I take the event I organized in March 2015 with CCE as an example. Hope you like the “fake it ’till you make it”mindset because this post is full of it!
This blog post is the center post of my “How to Growth Hack an Event” guide and is a teaser & a summary. The more detailed blog posts which will be published throughout March.
It goes without saying that you must find a great topic if you want to throw an awesome event. This angle should allow you to easily promote to your target audience. No memorable event exists without charismatic speakers who rock the stage. Attendees mostly buy tickets to listen to the exclusive speakers you secured talk about their accomplishments & sexy companies. In this in-depth post coming out next week, I’ll provide a technique to guess people’s’ email addresses.
Here is a central part of your event planning and where you’ll see if you are in a make or break situation.
First off, the format (conference, networking or both) of your event will determine much of the rest and you should begin with that. Based on that you’ll be able to choose the venue best fitted to your event to fit your hopefully many attendees.
Then, a well-thought budget will help you relax and determine what your error or success margin is. It will also help you decide what venue, food or alcohol you can afford.
Attendees often expect more that great speakers & venue. Food & booze is a must-have if you have a networking component in your event as it will foster it. Here everything is a question of proportion: too little or too much of food or alcohol and your event will lose in quality.
Setting what I call an “event vibe” is also something to take into consideration. Having a music playlist and eventually, some decoration for your venue will dramatically enhance the perceived quality of your event.
An essential part of the logistical success of an event is volunteers (including a photographer). They’ll have you back during the event are by far your most valuable resource when throwing an event.
Your concept & logistics defined, you know how many people you need to fill your room & cover your costs.
First, you need an online place where you can sell your tickets and a way to collect the money you are going to make. Eventbrite or Meetup provide excellent and easy to use platforms but you can also have your own ecommerce website if you want to save money in the long run (and quite some time in the short term!).
— Contact MTL (@GreaterMTL) 31 mars 2015
Since we’re talking about social events here, social media often play a significant role in promoting them.
Your should have a social media promotion strategy that includes all your advertising channels. If you’re organized enough, all you posts until & after the event can even be planned in advance! This is where you can ask your partners to help you out.
Facebook is my go-to platform when promoting an event thanks to the tools it offers like business pages, events pages, groups and ads! On Facebook you can easily aim in direction of your target audience.
Twitter is also a place of choice when promoting an event in the sense that it reduces the distance you might feel between you and influencers.
If the event you’re planning is of professional nature, then LinkedIn will also be a good platform when spreading the word. Professionals go there to find information on what their network does or where they go!
Often forgotten about, emails are also a channel of choice when promoting an event. In the related blog post coming out at the end of March, I’ll tech you how you can leverage email to promote events thanks to a growth hack of mine that uses Facebook and a mail merge tool!
D-day and the day after tomorrow
In addition to your last-minute event preparation & logistics, you want to make sure your event really gets the buzz it deserves on social media. I always have a volunteer dedicated to handling social media during the day of the event. You can even have an interactive #hashtag wall that displays every tweet or Instagram picture with that #. The WallRus is my go-to solution when it comes to in-event social media wall. Like discussed earlier, make sure to continuously encourage people to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn with your event #hashtag in your opening speech and in-between speakers. This way, people outside the event will also be able to follow it and say to themselves “Damn, should have gone! Next time…”.
In addition to that, remember the photographer I recommended to have earlier? The great pictures that will be taken during the event should also eventually be posted on your social media pages & event page. People like to been seen as “socially active” and thrive for social recognition, so give them some! Create a specific Facebook album photo for your event and tag those you know in your pictures: it will land on their personal profiles and you’ll get a ton of “prospects” likes. What’s more, it could be a great way to re-engage with your attendees through your newly created newsletter!
In this how to growth hack an event guide, I give you some of event growth hacks I came up with while organizing events and most of which I use on a regular basis. Those have seldom failed me so far with events I organized for AIESEC, HEC’s Entrepreneurial comitee, Comité Commerce Électronique used as an example here or even MTL+ECOMMERCE. Sure there were some mistakes, obstacles, improvements all along the way but I firmly believe anyone is able to organize a great event if he or she follow the process I describe in this series of blog posts. Who knows, you might even come up with event growth hacking techniques your own soon! Go fill your empty room, it’s time to shine!
Keep posted about the in-depth blog posts I will release throughout the month by subscribing to my email list!
As always, I’d love to hear feedback about those growth hacks & hear yours: hit me up in the comments or on Twitter!