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#68: Planning a Foolproof Live Event with Rich Brooks: A lot of you have asked me if it's a good idea for you to start planning live events. You see the entrepreneurs you admire staging weekend retreats where they get up and set their audience on fire with excitement, education and motivation. Maybe...

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A lot of you have asked me if it's a good idea for you to start planning live events. You see the entrepreneurs you admire staging weekend retreats where they get up and set their audience on fire with excitement, education and motivation. Maybe you've even been to one and thought "Hey, I could do that!" The short answer is Yes! I started planning and participating in live events very early in my business, and while my inexperience made it a little terrifying at first, I couldn't deny the powerful boost it gave me--not just in terms of leads, but also in terms of confidence. That's why I invited Rich Brooks to join me on the show today. Rich is a small business owner who just happens to be an event-planning powerhouse. I asked Rich to let me pick his brain for the fundamentals of planning a successful live event. The Who and the Why If you've ever attended Rich's amazing Agents of Change conference in Portland, Maine, it may surprise you to learn that his live event track record began with a simple lunch meeting. The purpose of a live event isn't to wow everyone with your multimedia presentations and dynamic speeches. Those are great bells and whistles to add as you gain experience, but the real heart of a live event is to do four things: Get your name out there and establish your credibility Differentiate yourself from competitors Generate leads for business Turn a profit The more you work on your online marketing, the more you start to notice how crowded it is out there. It's getting harder and harder to get noticed in people's social media feed, no matter how valuable your content is. So why not get the edge on your competitors and take your message directly to your audience, face to face? Yes, it takes more time and effort to plan an event than to post something on Facebook. But, Rich says, "A live event could be that thing that really separates you and raises you above all of the other people out there in your industry. If you are looking to kind of change up the way you engage with people, a live event may be the perfect thing for you." EPISODE FREEBIE Get the "7 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Live Event" FREE DOWNLOAD 3 Phases of a Live Event: Speakers, Sponsors and Seats Rich says that all live event planning boils down to these three phases. Speakers - Getting people to offer valuable content for your audience Sponsors - Getting people to contribute to your audience's experience Seats - Getting people to show up in your audience First Things First - Who Is This For? Before you start worrying about getting people to show up (we'll talk about that later), spend some time thinking about who you want to show up. The key thing here is quality over quantity. Here's what Rich has to say about it: "The #1 is that you are putting on an event for people. Who is this audience? What do they look like? Who is your avatar? What kind of information do they want to consume? What are they looking to accomplish? What are they looking to do?" As in all other forms of marketing, you need to narrow in on your ideal audience member, and design the perfect event for them. I know it's counterintuitive, but being super specific will actually help you attract more people. Once you know who you're planning this event for, you'll have a firm foundation to build on with the three phases. Phase 1: Speakers There are three main ways of attracting speakers to help lead your event: Get them to do it for free as a way to gain visibility. Pay them. Have them pay you. If that last item made you do a double-take, considering that many potential sponsors are eager to be seen as thought leaders, and would love the chance to get up and present to your audience. (Too many of these type of speakers can kill an event, though, so limit it to one or two sponsors whose product or service would truly benefit your ideal audience.) Obviously, if there's an ideal speaker that you can afford to pay, then do it! But it's actually much easier than you mi

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