Should You Throw Live Events? | Ep. #404

In Episode #404, Eric and Neil discuss whether or not you should throw live events. Live events are excellent opportunities to expand your network. Tune in to learn why Eric throws his live events and dinners monthly and the reason he does them for FREE.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:27 – Today’s topic: Should You Throw Live Events?
  • 00:39 – Live events can serve a broad audience and can be a lot cheaper
  • 00:51 – Eric throws live events in LA
  • 01:06 – Eric has a “happy hour” event once a month with his small group of marketers and entrepreneurs
    • 01:13 – The purpose is just to get people together
  • 01:32 – Eric has generated revenue from his live events which are free for the attendees
  • 01:41 – Eric received a $120K deal from one of his events where he only spent around $12K to organize it
  • 02:03 – Eric has done two live events every month for the past seven months
  • 02:16 – Eric has learned a lot from his live events
  • 02:26 – The invited guests are targeted
  • 03:10 – Jayson Gaignard of Mastermind Talks will give you a template for how to throw live events and a mastermind dinner
  • 03:26 – “When you’re inviting people, you want to make sure that everyone’s on the same level”
    • 03:47 – You can use revenue as part of the criteria for who are invited; that’s what EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) and YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) do
  • 04:02 – Eric has two sets of dinners: one for marketers and one for entrepreneurs
  • 04:19 – The main reason Eric has live events is NOT to generate customers
  • 04:45 – The highest ROI Eric made was from these dinners
  • 05:00 – You can consider charging people because they tend to take it more seriously if they spend money on it
  • 05:25 – Eric usually has maximum of 9 people during the dinners to make it really intimate and 25-30 for happy hour
  • 05:55 – Marketing School is giving away a free 1 year subscription of Crazy Egg which is a visual analytics tool
  • 06:45 – That’s it for today’s episode!

3 Key Points:

  1. Target your guests for your live events—make sure people are on the same level so everyone can benefit from one another.
  2. You can offer free live events, but consider charging so people will take the event more seriously.
  3. Don’t focus on the money that you can generate from your events, focus on the value that you can get from it.

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Full Transcript of The Episode

Voiceover: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the gile 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 going to talk about if you should throw live events. This is similar to the episode where we talked about if you should be throwing conferences, but the difference is that live events is a lot broader and it could actually be a lot cheaper, right? Because conferences, we're talking big logistics and much bigger costs. I would say live events ...

Neil Patel: Let's back up a bit. Eric actually throws live events in Los Angeles and they're good. Let's break down what your event is and why you throw them. I'll ask you questions on this episode.

Eric Siu: Go ahead.

Neil Patel: Go for it. That was the first one.

Eric Siu: Okay. My live events, there's two that I do, right? Every single month I will have a happy hour with kind of marketers and entrepreneurs. I try to keep those really small on purpose. Purpose of those is to just get people together and get them to hang out. I find people doing business with each other and they're kind of becoming friends afterwards. I just find getting smart people together is a really kind of scalable thing to do. That's a good start.

Neil Patel: All right. Have you generated any revenue from anyone of your live events?

Eric Siu: Yeah. I'll give you an example, right?

Neil Patel: You don't charge for them, correct?

Eric Siu: Nope. I don't charge for them.

Neil Patel: You pay for the drinks and food?

Eric Siu: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I pay for the drinks and food, yeah. We actually got a deal that was about $120,000.

Neil Patel: Have you spent 120 grand on live events?

Eric Siu: No. Not even close.

Neil Patel: How much do you spend on live events?

Eric Siu: We've probably spent about I want to say 12K this year and we're budgeted for $30,000.

Neil Patel: 12 and we're more than halfway through. How many live events have you done in total?

Eric Siu: Let's just say two per month and we're what? Seven months into it. We can say close to 14.

Neil Patel: Okay. 14 and you got one client at 120?

Eric Siu: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Neil Patel: Okay. Have you learned anything from these events?

Eric Siu: Yup. Learned a lot about different businesses and learned about what other people do. Yeah.

Neil Patel: How do you find the right people to invite to your live event?

Eric Siu: Good question. I'm very targeted with these. For example, I mean the live events I target people that I might want to work with or kind of founders of different companies or people from like YEC, Young Entrepreneurs Council, or EO. Also, sometimes I might just say, "Hey, if you know somebody that kind of fits this criteria, go ahead and bring them in." That work out well for the happy hour.

Neil Patel: What should someone do if they're just starting off and they don't know who to invite and they're not part of EO or YEC?

Eric Siu: I recommend downloading ...

Neil Patel: You're not part of YEC to clarify. You're hitting up random people.

Eric Siu: No, I'm in YEC.

Neil Patel: You're in YEC?

Eric Siu: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You're also in YEC.

Neil Patel: I'm in YEC?

Eric Siu: Yeah. You just don't remember.

Neil Patel: Okay.

Eric Siu: Yeah. Anyway, what was the question again?

Neil Patel: How do you know who to invite when you're not part of ...

Eric Siu: Okay. Okay. Yeah. Google Mastermind Talks PDF and there's this guy named Jason I forgot his last name. I forgot how to pronounce it. He basically gives a template for how to throw these kind of events or mastermind dinners even. The key thing is like when you're inviting people, you might to make sure everyone's in the same level, right? Kind of level playing ground. Because the thing is if I invite Neil and then a bunch of kind of people that are just starting out, let's say kind of interns, and they just doesn't match up, right? Because Neil's not going to get value from it. You want to bring people that are kind of at a certain kind of revenue ... You could revenue as a criteria because that's what EO does, that's what YEC does.
I find that that actually works out pretty well. YPO, you have to do with $13 million a year or above. You want to find people that are kind of like-minded and get them together. Right? That's why when I host dinners for example, I have entrepreneur dinners and I have marketer dinners because these are two different sets of people.

Neil Patel: All right. Last question for you is you've tried different types of events from happy hours to dinners, whatever they maybe. Which one converts the best to generate customers and revenue from?

Eric Siu: Great question. I want to preface this with saying like the reason I throw these things is not to generate customers. It's kind of like a side effect, but ...

Neil Patel: Everyone else is going to go to dinner.

Eric Siu: Yeah. Just FYI, when you throw these things, like I always preface the dinners with like, "Hey, you're not here to pass business cards. Don't talk about what you do all the time and stuff like that," because it just becomes really stiff, right? I will say the highest ROI thing that I've done is dinners because for example, when I go into San Francisco and I get people together, they're all down to do it. Originally I pay for it and some people would flake. I'm going too deep into this now, but I'll give you a little more details. Sometimes you'll have people that flake when you pay for it.
You might want to consider charging people too because what I found is when you charge people, they take it more seriously and they won't flake because they've put in some money already. Anyway, dinners are the highest ROI activity.

Neil Patel: All right. Last question, how many people should you have at a live event? Like if you have a hundred or 10? What's the sweet spot number? If you have more people, do you generate more income? Right?

Eric Siu: Yeah. Going back to the dinners, that's the highest ROI activity. I cap that at nine people max because you start going beyond that it's not intimate anymore and I like to get people to switch seats to actually get to know each other. If I'm talking about the happy hours, I cap that at around 25 to 30 people right now. Once we expand beyond the happy hours and we start doing Fireside chats, maybe even Marketing School lives, let us know if you want to do that in LA, we might bring that up to let's say a hundred people or so, right? It just depends on what we're doing.

Neil Patel: That's pretty much it. Now you guys know how to throw live events and make money from them.

Eric Siu: All right. That's it for today. Before we go, we have a one year annual subscription of Crazy Egg that we would like to give away and that's worth close to $1,200. If you would like to learn more about Crazy Egg, well, Neil, what is Crazy Egg?

Neil Patel: Sure. Crazy Egg is a visual analytics tool. If you're not sure why your visitors aren't converting into customers, Crazy Egg will solve that for you. It'll show you where people are getting stuck, what they're clicking on, what they're not clicking on, where they're dropping off if they're in your form fields, or your checkout flows. You can even fix those issues within the Crazy Egg WYSIWYG Editor, so you don't have to be a designer or developer to make changes now. You can even run A/B test within Crazy Egg to make sure that your changes are really helping you grow.

Eric Siu: Great. If you want to get in on this, we're giving away one every single week. Just go to, and the cool thing is you could actually get multiple entries to win this. Just go to, and we will see you tomorrow.

Voiceover: This session of Marketing School has 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 rate 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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