5 Things We Learned from Planning Our Conference
And What You Should Prioritize for Your Own Event
As a rapidly growing agency, trying new things is kind of our jam.
Upward started the Interact Digital Marketing Conference in 2013. Over six years, the conference grew from a one-day event with 125 local attendees to a two-day event attracting 300-350 attendees from all over the country and internationally acclaimed speakers.
Why Should You Host an Event?
You may be thinking, “We see the theoretical value in hosting an event, but we aren’t an event planning company. How do you measure the success of an event?”
Playing host opens valuable doors that go beyond ticket sales and brand exposure. When you host a conference, seminar, lunch and learn or hosted talk, you create a platform that:
- builds stronger relationships,
- starts new partnerships with industry leaders,
- gives your employees a voice and
- drives collaboration with new organizations.
5 Things We Learned from Hosting our Favorite Event
Timing is Key
When it comes to planning an event, the time of year plays a crucial role in event turnout. You should pay close attention to factors like the weather, other industry events and popular local events. These scheduling conflicts can have an powerful effect on the number of people who come out to your event.
We’ve been playing around with different times of year to host Interact. Recently, Interact’s happened between early spring and early summer—and some weeks work better than others.
As you’re pick dates for your event, consider how close you are to the end of the fiscal quarter, how expensive travel is that month and whether or not your venue has limited date ranges for you to choose from.
No matter what kind of event you are hosting, the added details can be the difference between a prototypical event and an event that people truly enjoy attending. Spending the extra time and effort to make an event special is well worth it. You’ll notice in your attendees’ feedback!
Hint: one difference between an audience listening to a speaker and an audience learning from a speaker? Coffee. Lots of coffee. There’s always someone refilling at the Interact coffee station.
Survey for Success
Surveys are one of the most effective ways to learn from your triumphs and mistakes. You will gain valuable feedback from attendees that helps you improve your event each year. Making consistent improvement each year leaves you with a finished product you can be proud of.
Put in the (Promotion) Work
We’ve all fallen into this trap before: we’ve let self-promotion take the back seat to the work we do for our clients. And sure, we don’t think this is the worst habit—but we learned that it just won’t fly when you’re planning an event.
If you want your event to succeed, you have to work hard at promoting the speakers and content that your event is offering. Be sure to leverage social media, email, event pages and—most importantly—your network when promoting.
Know the Value You Bring
While the logistics of running your event make the day run smoothly, there is no replacement for quality content. You have to ask: “What can people get from this event that they can’t get from anywhere else?”
People can bring their own coffee, they can network outside of the event, they can purchase apparel elsewhere—but they can’t replace the quality of content your event provides. If they can, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.
If you come to Interact next year, you’ll see all these lessons we’ve learned in action. We’re already planning fresh content, energetic speakers, awesome entertainment and all the little details that we think you’ll really enjoy.