Conferences Are Going to Lose You Money Unless You Follow This Checklist | Ep. #478

In Episode #478, Eric and Neil share their own personal checklist for throwing a successful live event. Tune in to hear them discuss whether to use a free venue or one that costs money, the various methods to get the word out about your event, the importance of getting help when planning and running a conference, and why your should focus on building relationships rather than making money.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:28] – Today’s topic: Conferences Are Going to Lose You Money Unless You Follow This Checklist
  • [00:34] – Map out how much the venue is going to cost you.
    • [00:45] – For their Marketing School Live event they wound up booking one that costs $2,500 instead of a free one because the venue took care of everything.
    • [01:20] – If they’d used the free venue, it would have been an inferior experience for the guests.
  • [01:29] – You need to have contingencies for how you’re going to get attendees.
    • [01:40] – Email blast only works if you’ve segmented your list.
    • [01:50] – Partner up with other organizations in the area to get more attendees.
    • [02:20] – Invite people from your Meetup group.
    • [02:39] – Use ads.
    • 02:45 – Use Dux-Soup, an automation tool where you can, for example, hit up all your contacts with “marketing” in their title.
  • [03:05] – You’ll lose money if you don’t create the right experience because over time people will come to know you as someone who hosts bad events – and will likely assume that your business isn’t very good, either.
  • [04:00] – Get help because it takes a team to run a successful event.
  • [04:24] – Eric and Neil’s goal was to break even, not to make money off it.
    • [04:39] – If you lose a couple hundred dollars, that’s a win!
    • [04:50] – Don’t just measure how much money you make from throwing the event, measure how much you make in total: networking, long-term contracts, etc.
  • [05:05] – Build relationships from going to conferences and learn from others who’ve thrown events.
  • 05:55 – Marketing School is giving away 90-day FREE trial for Crazy Egg which is a visual analytics tool
  • [06:06] – That’s it for today’s episode!

3 Key Points:

  1. A good venue is critical so that you give your event attendees a great experience.
  2. Plan ahead how you’re going to get attendees to your event – email, partnering up with other organizations, advertising.
  3. The point is not to make money off of a live event, but to build in-person relationships – which will pay off in the long run.

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The post Conferences Are Going to Lose You Money Unless You Follow This Checklist | Ep. #478 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Narration: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with agile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School, I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: Today, we're gonna talk about how conferences are going to lose you money unless you follow this checklist. So, tip number one, don't try to be a moderator. You want to make sure that you're at least covering your cost, so you got to map out how much the venue is gonna cost you.
So, here's what we did, we ... For the Marketing School live that we did just yesterday, we looked at different venues. So, we looked at ... We work in Culver City, which was free and then we also looked at the cross campus in downtown LA, which is what we ended up using; and that ended up costing us $2,500.
But, here's why we went with that one, reason is because they would take care of everything. They took care of the check-in stuff, also they recommend the food vendor, they set up all the chairs, everything like that and there's a theater setting.
So, you want to make sure, A) it's a good set up in that beginning so people have a good experience, and so they're gonna come back next time. If we had put people into a WeWork where things were unorganized even though it was free, we probably would have lost money 'cause we probably would have delivered a worst experience. We want to make sure that we deliver the first time, so, that's my point of saying that.

Neil Patel: Yeah. You also need to have contingencies on how you're gonna get attendees, it's not always gonna work out to be like, "Hey, we're just gonna go and we're gonna blast out to our email list." Well, what happens if that doesn't work? Eric asked me to blast out to my email list where if we're doing a event in Los Angeles that was night time event and had no way to segment my email list just as Southern California have way too many people on there to just blast to everyone.
So, you have to have contingencies. Some of our contingencies were to partner up with other organizations, and event within the localized region to help get more attendees for our event.

Eric Siu: Yeah. So, to build on that, I mean, what we did was we know have couple people that run conferences. I know a couple people in LA that have start up Digest LA. There's like another ... Two other tech sites based in LA. Social media examiner picked us up, our friend [Vascille 00:02:15] that runs Growth Marketing Conference sent out a blast for us.
He actually segmented his, and I hit my list a couple times. Then, also my little hack here is that I made a meet-up group, and two people actually showed up for that meet-up group. I did no promotion, we have that group for two weeks there's like 40 people in there and it just grows on its own.
So, think about how you can make it work and then also don't forget about ads too. So, you got to think about not only just using one channel, I mean, especially if this is your first time. You got to think about pulling out all the stops.
The final thing I'll add around promotion is that we used Dux Soup; so that's D- U- X S- O- U- P, and what that allows me to do is that allows me to hit up all my contacts in Los Angeles that have maybe marketing in their title, maybe they've done it for two or three years or so.
We have a couple people show up in the crowd yesterday and said, "Hey, thank you for reaching out to me, and thank you for inviting me." Little did they know it was automated and they showed up, and I got to meet some really cool people.

Neil Patel: You're also gonna lose money if you don't provide the right experience. I know this sounds counter-intuitive because it cost money to throw event. But, what I mean by you're gonna lose money if you don't create the right experiences, longterm wise if you're doing things wrong where the information isn't high in quality, you're not providing a good experience for the networking, or for the food, or people can't hear what's going on because this audio and the video is all messed up.
What's gonna happen is it's gonna hurt your business in the long run. So, let's say Eric has a agency if Eric threw a bad experience with this event then people are gonna be like, "Oh, if this is the work that Eric releases, then, how do I know that his agency's gonna produce anything better than this? And it can hurt his sales.
So, in the long run if you want to do well with your business you have to make sure the events you throw are high in quality.

Eric Siu: Yeah. So, in order to do that, I mean, easier said than done. I mean, you have to think about a couple of things, it can't just be you ... If it was just Neil and I doing it, it probably wouldn't have happened. You have to have some kind of conference committee to help out.
So, in that case it was saying, "Okay, you're gonna sit at the front collecting names and then writing down names. You're gonna help with the tacos. You're gonna be the mike runner." Everyone has to do their job, this is a team effort. That's how these conferences happen.
Our main thing with conferences is that if we're ever gonna do it again ... I mean, our goal is to at least break even or make a small profit. Again, we're not trying to make money off the things I know there are conference businesses out there we're not in this to do a conference business, just not something Neil and I are interested in.
So, you have to consider also what your goals are and I would say, I think if you're first starting out, you're lucky if you lose a couple hundred dollars. I think that's considered a win.

Neil Patel: Yeah. So, overall you now have a checklist when you're gonna throw your own event. Follow those tips, and you should do quite well. It's okay if you lose money in the short long, don't just measure how much money you make from throwing the event, measure how much money you make in total. From a lifetime value, from networks, or networking people that you're meeting up, or longterm contracts you end up gaining from these events.

Eric Siu: Yeah. My final tip is, I mean, you go to conferences ... I'm assuming any of you that are listening right now you probably go to maybe one thing per year or so. Look at the people that you're able to build relationships with, I mean, one thing that we did yesterday was we had a tool called Poll Everywhere, and we allowed people to ask questions ahead of time and it was like right at where people can up-vote and down-vote questions.
That only came because I knew one of my friends threw an event before and I saw him using that, so I asked him what the tool was. Then, I asked [Vascille 00:05:29] which is our mutual friend, "Hey, what are some tips you have?" And he gave me the tip from around meet up, and I asked some other conference planners too.
So, I was able to mind the relationships I had already. Just 'cause you're starting out doesn't mean you can't ask people for events that you've been to in the past, and just reach out and started ask for some help.
I mean, you google online there's a lot of conference checklist out there on how to do this stuff. Neil and I are still new to this but given the result from yesterday, I mean, we'll probably think about continuing to do this in the future.
So, that's it for today but before we go we have a 90-day free trial of Crazy Egg to give away to each and every one of you. Just go to to learn more, and we will see you tomorrow.

Narration: This session of Marketing School as come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics, to help you find the success you've always dreamed of.
Don't forget to write and review so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow right here on Marketing School.

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