5 tips to host a successful event that leaves attendees raving about you and your brand

The Noel & Co. team is finally coming up for air after hosting our first-ever founders weekend and we could not be more thrilled.

Not only did we have a fantastic turnaround, but we’re thrilled to share that we’ve received GREAT feedback from almost everyone that attended! 

We’ve always been big believers in the power of bringing people together by hosting events. 

First, because it’s fun and meaningful.

Second, because it can be a viable marketing strategy.

People want to work with PEOPLE. And having the opportunity to experience a brand, in person is invaluable.

So, in case you’re considering hosting an event at any point as part of your marketing strategy, we’ve put together the top 5 things we learned from hosting our first-ever Founders Summit:

1. Define the GOAL of the event first and then plan all of the details around that

First, I cannot highly recommend Priya Parker’s book The Art of Gathering enough. The Audible version is fantastic and it is a must-read for all leaders responsible for facilitating or hosting any type of event. 

Your goals for your event should inform:

  • Who you invite
  • Where you host the event
  • The number of people you invite
  • The food and beverage you choose to serve
  • The cost of the event
  • The length
  • The format
  • Whether you choose to record it or not
  • what giveaways to have (if any)
  • … and the list goes on

If your event is for “everyone,” then let’s be clear – it’s not going to be compelling for anyone.

Don’t be afraid to make strategic decisions and put clear boundaries in place to protect the outcomes you’ve set out to achieve with your event whether the goal be facilitating meaningful connection to leaving your attendees inspired and informed.

2. Don’t be afraid to build sponsorships into your model 

If you’re going to put on a larger event, take time to develop a sponsorship strategy.

A few things to consider:

  • What organizations would be interested in gaining awareness from the audience you’re bringing together?
  • How much would they be likely to invest in sponsorship?
  • Are there other types of sponsorship you can ask for? In-kind? Services? etc.

NC IDEA was our premiere sponsor and made it possible for us to “go big” with our event. 

Since the event’s goal was to connect founders to resources and many of the resources are not-for-profit, we didn’t charge a “tabling” fee. 

In the future, we plan to explore whether it makes sense to ask service providers to contribute a fee for presenting at the event or develop a tailored sponsorship strategy into our event planning model. 

3. Tap into the network of speakers and partners

There’s a reason there is an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far… go together!”

One of the most powerful ways to host a successful event is to identify mission-aligned partners and speakers.

In the case of the Founders Summit, we identified a handful of entrepreneurial support organizations that were willing to join us to talk about the resources they provide. They also helped us promote our event with THEIR network.

We also pulled together an amazing group of bada** speakers and investors to share their expertise with our event attendees and further help us promote the event.

4. Want to make sure people show up? Ask your friends to tell their friends about any event you’re hosting

In our last newsletter before our event, we asked our network for help spreading the word and they DELIVERED!

Thanks to the support of all of our friends as well as the cross-promotion of our sponsors and partners we were able to get the word about to a wide range of founders across our community. 

It’s VERY helpful to have multiple stakeholders bought in when hosting a big event and promoting it with THEIR network.

When it comes to successfully marketing an event having both a network strategy AND being willing to send thoughtful emails + text messages to everyone you know that may be interested is the best way to set you up for success. 

5. There is no such thing as the “perfect” event – so do your best, enjoy it in the moment, and ask for feedback to make it even more “perfectly imperfect” next time! 

Talk to any event planner and they’ll tell you something ALWAYS goes wrong. 

Probably the most dramatic thing that happened before the Founders Summit was the coffee dispenser was clogged and JP the head of Business Development at Raleigh Founded who had volunteered to come into work ON A SATURDAY was stuck spending 40 minutes troubleshooting so we didn’t have uncaffeinated founders (which would have been REALLY bad).

When things don’t go as planned, just take a deep breathe and remember:

We sent out a survey after the event and got some terrific feedback. However, there were also a handful of suggestions we received that we’re excited to incorporate the next time we host an event.

At the end of the day, you get to define what makes an event successful.

By using the tips above, we hope you’ll have a bit more intentionality and ensure you have the strategic resources you need to bring people together in an engaging, meaningful way so your attendees leave saying this: