Warning: getimagesize(/home/customer/www/carolienmertens.com/public_html/wp-content/uploadshttps://www.carolienmertens.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Event-story-3_pic-1.png): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/customer/www/carolienmertens.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/Total/framework/classes/image-resize.php on line 103
In 2014, Chantelle Adams had a vision for creating her first intimate high-end event, for 15 ladies only. Now, three years later, she sells out Centre Stage Live time after time, with little to no effort in promotion.
How did that happen?
As a professional speaker, Chantelle Adams had a lot of event experience under her belt. When she decided to pass on her know-how about public speaking and started teaching others, she created Centre Stage. In this online course, students craft their story into a keynote speech.
The online format worked fine, but Chantelle wanted to bring together a group of her clients to give them an experience in person beyond what she could deliver online. Three years later, she’s led her event Centre Stage Live seven times, and sold out all seats, every single time, with very little promotion.
Here are three takeaways from my conversation with Chantelle about how she plans Centre Stage Live — which you can apply to build your own live event.
With Centre Stage Live, Chantelle solved a very specific problem her students faced.
Centre Stage Live was born because Chantelle was working with clients to help them become speakers, and she noticed her students needed extra support to create their promotional speaker kit with pictures and a demo video. This kit is essential for being booked as a professional speaker.
But they continually found a chicken and egg scenario. “How can I get a beautiful demo video and pictures of myself speaking on stage if I can’t get booked as a speaker?”
That’s when the light bulb went off. “Enough people were asking me and telling me this problem they were dealing with and I realized I had the needs and ability to create an experience that could do all of that for them, ” Chantelle says.
Instead of dreading to put together all of this esential material themselves, Chantelle’s clients enjoyed a luxury in-person experience AND got home with what they need. She turned a not-so-great situation into a done-for-you solution and dream experience.
And that’s why the event sells out time after time.
Takeaway #1 Putting up a live event to solve a specific problem for your clients is a brilliant way of complimenting your main online offering. And, it has all the benefits of meeting in person, making new connections and getting away from it all!
When you’re planning your own live event, find out:
• What is your client’s #1 pain you can solve?
• What’s the additional support you can give your attendees that they can’t get online?
Chantelle methodically mapped out everything her participants would need in the event to get results. And then looked at the numbers.
For the very first edition of her event, Chantelle sat down and created a Mind Map where she dreamed up everything her attendees needed to get great results. Then she looked at how she could deliver it to them, all while staying within budget. Keeping an eye on the numbers allowed her to price accordingly from the beginning.
For every edition, Centre Stage was upgraded, and its price increased accordingly. Initially, Chantelle might have bartered with some of the suppliers, like the photographer. Other features such as the styling of the outfits, were added on as the years went on.
The event features are great, but it was the Mind Map that allowed Chantelle to craft a dedicated and tailored experience for her attendees from the first edition.
This is why she came up with a unique format of 2 months online preparation, the 3-day live event, and 1 month of online implementation support. And every attendee has a personal event schedule cut to her preferences. Early riser? Your photoshoot is at 8 am. Like to sleep late? 11 am appointment with hair & makeup for you.
Takeaway #2: Want to go premium on a tight budget? Go personal!
• Sit down, take a large sheet of paper and brainstorm about how you can deliver a “white-glove” service in your event.
• Talk with your attendees, and find out their personality, their preferences, and how you can accommodate them. You have all the answers within if you allow yourself to slow down and think logically without being sidetracked by what other business owners do. Because the event they introduced to their audience solves another problem than yours.
Chantelle started actively reaching out in a personal way – and this paid off. Now, the event almost fills up itself through word-of-mouth.
When she designed the first edition of Centre Stage, Chantelle had a specific group of attendees in mind. They were all faced with a problem she could solve.
For those first editions, Chantelle reached out to a list of people she thought would be interested, one by one. This very personal approach of getting people on the phone, and listening to their stories and their challenges, paid off big time.
The first attendees received so much value, coaching and attention for their money, that they instantly became the biggest advocates for the event. Today, 7 editions later, the event fills up almost by itself. With no fancy funnel in sight. Just genuine people whose stories and results inspire others to go for the same transformational experience.
Takeaway #3 To fill a small, high-end event or group course, consider going with a simple, human approach instead of a sophisticated online marketing funnel.
• Draw up a list of pre-selected potential attendees, reach out to them one by one, and have a conversation on the phone.
• Once they sign up, do everything within your power to craft the best, most personalised experience.
• You have just created your army of raving fans.
* * *
Thank you, Chantelle Adams, for taking us behind the scenes of the Centre Stage Live event.
The next edition of Centre Stage Live will take place in Kelowna, Canada on October 15th-18th 2017, with pre-event online coaching starting on September 18th.
Want to be part of it ? Book your ticket for Centre Stage Live in October 2017 here.
* * *
This conversation is part of Event Stories.
Event Stories is a series of portraits conducted for the Huffington Post by event planner Carolien Mertens. She interviews entrepreneurs who host innovative professional events.
If you are thinking about hosting your own live event, but need help getting started, head over here to download Carolien’s free started guide on planning a successful live event.