Ep. 006: How to Get Started with Networking Events
Networking events are great ways to meet people in your niche on a much more intimate scale than a huge blog conference. Lauren Caselli plans events for large and small businesses, and shares so much valuable information to help you get started with your own networking events!
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH NETWORKING EVENTS
- There are 2 styles of networking events: lead generation & money-making. Lead generation events tend to have a lower ticket price but the event is a marketing tool. Money making events have higher tickets, and are typically smaller events like retreats.
- Lead generating events are not just about the audio/visual and the decor - it's about the content. Think about how these events fit into your overall marketing plan.
- For your first event, you should sprint to the finish line, planning & orchestrating it in 3-6 months.
- When planning your event, start with the "why". What is the message of your event. What makes it unique? After you know why you're creating this event, everything else falls into place.
- Events help set you up as an authority while helping you make connections through networking.
- People come to events for two reasons: for the speakers & for the networking. People enjoy getting to know one another in intimate groups. It helps to prepare talking points ahead of time to get the conversation started.
- Set the tone from the beginning. As the host, if you greet attendees by name, it changes the event into a community activity.
- Lauren sends a questionnaire to registrants to help get to know them better. She asks for things like: focus of their blog or business; how long they've been blogging or been in business; what they love or struggle with. She uses this information to organize her seating arrangement and encourage networking.
- Lauren doesn't use traditional advertising for her events. Instead, she encourages you to have an existing community, or create one, before hosting your first event.
- Host free events to build the community, then shift to paid events when you're ready. Your community will help sell tickets by inviting their friends and peers.
- Send personal emails to the members of their community and let them know that you want them at your event. They are key stakeholders - people invested in your event.
- There are really only 2 things you need to launch an event - location & ticket price.
- There are 2 basic kinds of sponsorships: cash & in-kind. When pitching sponsors, think about who will be in the room and what they have to offer the potential sponsors. What is the value to the sponsor?
- Sponsors love to hear updates and see pictures from the events they sponsor, and if given the opportunity, usually like to attend the events as well.
- Home Grown Bloggers: This is the blogger event website that I run with my Atlanta partner Kelley.
- Boss Lady Bash: These are the networking events that Lauren hosts.