How To Run A Successful Event In Your Accounting Practice
By Amanda C. Watts
Hosting events can be a daunting task. Getting people to the event and it being a success is even more challenging.
Events are important though, and provide huge possibilities to grow your accounting practice, enhance your network, and be known in the industry and in your geographical area as the go-to accounting practice.
In this article I share with you some best practices to ensure that your event is worth the time and effort you will be putting into creating it.
Getting People To Sign Up
Having run events for many years, and having helped my clients also run events, it is clear that the biggest worry isn’t about what you are going to say at the event, but in fact getting people to attend the event.
The best way to approach this fear is to run a campaign to fill the event. When we plan our live events we have them mapped out a year in advance.
We ensure that we know what articles and blogs we are going to write to lead up to the event, we know what is going on our event invites, and we have our social media and outreach marketing planned.
This is not something we do a few days prior to the event, but in fact months and weeks before.
This campaign approach means we can tweak and measure what works and what doesn’t, and each campaign gets better and better, event after event.
When planning your event make sure you have a campaign plan that covers all opportunities to maximise its success.
Getting People To Show Up
When your campaign goes to plan you should find that you have a full house and can relax knowing that your event will be well attended. In fact this is not quite true.
Getting people to sign up can be the easy part, especially if your event is free. Getting people to show up can be the more difficult part.
In your campaign planning you need to factor in how to get people to actually leave their offices, or the warmth of their homes, to come to your event. If it is a free event you can expect 25%-50% of people not showing up. This is something you need to take into account when you are monitoring sign ups. Allow for more people to register than you actually want.
To ensure that you minimise the fall out and maximise the show up rate, have a way to remind people of the event, and keep the benefits of attending your event front of mind. You can stay in touch with potential attendees by SMS, email, and a phone call.
Getting People To Take Action – The Follow Up
Congratulations… if you have run a successful sign up and show up campaign hopefully the event went as well as you wanted it to.
I am very well aware of how much events can cost to put on. The Wow Company, a pioneering accounting practice, have run events for years. When I asked Paul Bulpitt, the co-founder of The Wow Company, how much his events cost to run he said anywhere between £1500 and £5000.
This is no small amount and when running events you want to get a decent return on your investment of both time and money.
This is why the follow up is so important. By having a campaign in place for following up with the attendees and making sure you get them to take action of some kind, you will yield a nice return on your efforts.
It can be a simple email campaign and a phone call for feedback. It can be direct mail letter, or getting them to come to a smaller more intimate discovery session at your accounting firm.
If you can follow up with the attendees then you will reap the rewards through client acquisition and staying front of mind with those who are not ready to change accountants…just yet.
One final thought…
Whilst running an event is often a great idea, you do need to have in place a clear outcome for the event, and a clear idea of who the event is for. If you make your event bland and boring no one will be interested. The Wow Company has influential guest speakers with strong topics around business growth. In latter years it has niched its practice and their events are for Digital Agencies. It is not unusual to have 200 people at these quarterly events. Many of their attendees have become, or will become, their clients due to the outstanding community The Wow Company have created.
What kind of event could you create for your target audience that would enable you to be seen as an authority, and the go-to accounting practice? How can you create a community that people want to be part of, and are excited to share with their friends and colleagues?
Amanda C. Watts is the founder of TwentyTwo Agency and the Marketing Implementation Programme – The Pioneering Practice. For more actionable marketing ideas download her report – 100 Ways To Market Your Accounting Firm.
I’m delighted to tell you, I’m hosting a free online webinar where Amanda will explain her system for generating a Consistent Flow on New Quality Leads for your practice on Tuesday, 13th, February at 12:00pm.
Click here to reserve your place