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What We Talk About

Hosting an event isn’t a one-and-done situation for your business… but if you do it the right way, it can be a cornerstone of your marketing strategy.

Eventologist Anna Osherov is here to talk to us about what hosting virtual or live or hybrid events can do for your business… and how you can get started without all the planning.

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Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex 0:03
hosting an event in your business can feel really super daunting. And when we think events we think, live big, multi 1000 person conferences, and we can't imagine what that might look like for us. And so we wanted to dispel a few of the event myths about running your own events, and what they can really look like in your business, which is why we have Ana Osheroff here today, she is an event technologist, which is like the coolest title I've ever heard. And she's going to talk to us about using events in our business. So thank you for being here with us today.

Anna Osherov 0:52
Thank you so much for having me. It's really, really fun to be able to communicate with people from all around the world. Because I am in Melbourne, Australia, and I don't know where you guys are listening. But where are you guys located?

Alyson Lex 1:06
I am in Baltimore, Maryland,

Jennie Wright 1:09
Toronto, Canada.

Anna Osherov 1:11
Global. It's amazing. Yeah. Hello,

Alyson Lex 1:14
national.

Jennie Wright 1:15
So yeah, the time we're recording is nighttime here the day before and is literally in the future. So Anna, hopefully it's good.

Anna Osherov 1:25
The future looks bright this morning. So reporting reporting back from the future. Awesome.

Alyson Lex 1:34
So And what made you decide to focus on the event part of growing or running a business?

Anna Osherov 1:43
That's very, very good question. So my background is in marketing and communications. And so I was working within the marketing comms space working within agencies. And then I finally decided I'm going to go out there and do this on my own and consult as a marketing and comms consultant. And then I realized I really enjoy the teaching side of business families really sharing knowledge, training others how to implement marketing into their business, I had this brilliant idea, I brilliant idea was to open up a business event venue, where I could run my own workshops on marketing and communications, and others could then hide the space and run their own workshops. Because, you know, sharing knowledge is really, really important and can be really fun. And so I did that, I opened up a place called the holistic business hub with the idea to teach marketing and rent out the venue. And what I found as I was venting at the venue, is that these incredible people that have such a desire to make a difference and to share their knowledge and to build and grow their business and build a community, they would hire my venue, and then they would have no idea how to market that event that they had coming up. And so all be really disappointing is, you know, not just that they failed in running this event, but they also weren't able to make the difference that they want to make for the people who are going to come along. And you know, these events could be on anything from, you know, women's groups, or, you know, parenting, on marketing, or on, you know, sales, there's such a diversity within what can be shared in a workshop or an event. And then when that doesn't happen, it just is really disappointing, disappointing for me as a person who's, you know, renting out my space is appointing for the person who's invested money in running a workshop and really disappointing for those people that didn't get a chance to, you know, gain the knowledge. And so what I realized is that there is a lack of support for people who want to go from that one to one to one to many who want to run workshops, but there's a lack of support in how to do that effectively from a marketing perspective. And I thought that was a good little niche for myself. Yeah, I was trying to do, right, I was learning how to market and promote my marketing workshop. So I just took what I was learning, and then implemented that into, you know, training and then pass that on to people who would be coming to use my venue. So that's kind of the weird directive that I ended up taking in order to be able to share that knee.

Jennie Wright 4:39
So you kind of went yeah, it's a little bit of a roundabout, roundabout and honestly, I started off in the marketing and comms world to just putting that out there. And to be where I am. I don't even know how I did it anymore. I kind of felt silly backwards into it. So for this show, we were kind of concentrating on the in person live events, or virtual events or both, like obvious Say moments have taken a hit in the past 24 plus months. So which one should we be focusing on?

Anna Osherov 5:09
Now, I think there's an opportunity in in, in those live events taking a hit, what has happened is we've had a big shift into the virtual world. And what's happening in the marketplace now is that a hybrid idea where people are running, both in person and online. But the way that the world is still is I believe that we should continue to focus, especially in our business, to do live online workshops, because it gives us a global reach, right? Like we're having a conversation right now. And if at the end of this, I say to the audience, I'm money at live, online event, people from all over the world are able to join me, if I say our money, a in person event in a room, then only people who live in Melbourne, who are not affected by the current situation, are not afraid of it are able to come. So I wholeheartedly believe that for business growth, it is really worthwhile to spend some time in building your own online workshops, and being able to use them as an amazing strategy for marketing your business.

Alyson Lex 6:23
And you said something really interesting there, because I've heard of and seen a lot of hybrid events. Do you see those being as successful as 100% Live or 100%, virtual events like? Or is there something kind of lost in the sauce there?

Anna Osherov 6:42
Look, from the research that I've done, and from events that we've run, we've run hybrid events, as well as different ways of running a hybrid event currently. So the places that hybrid events currently are working well is let's just say you running, you're running a conference, and you've got the speakers in a live studio. But the participants are in a virtual world. So that tends to work well. So you're kind of using a live studio for where the speakers are all in one space. And then the audience is external. It seems to work well in a workshop environment where you've got somebody who was specifically managing the digital environment. So I recently attended a workshop, which was a hybrid workshop. So there was like 120 people in the room. And I think there was only about 30 people on zoom in there. But it was done well enough, you know, there was enough of a tech support for people to be able to hear this presenter to be able to follow the workbook which was provided. So it's, I think they can work they just need to be looked at as two separate entities being handled by different teams.

Jennie Wright 7:58
Okay, that makes sense. And if you're running a live event versus an online event, and if you have people who mostly run online events who've never really run an in person event, can you just quickly sort of share why there would be that value add to have people in person versus strictly online? Because it seems like and I used to do event planning, back in the day when I was doing communications and investor relations, it would seem like it would be more output of money, more potential, you know, more potential hassle lost, etc. To do the marketing of it, you have to be marketing to people who are local, etc.

Anna Osherov 8:41
Is it worth it? Look, I people still seek human connection. So it really just depends on why you're running this event. So the event that I went to which while I'm going to virtually because I had to get a COVID test and couldn't go to the event. But I flew all the way from Melbourne to Sydney to go to this event for our Look, I can't be there in person, I'm going to go online. And because it was by a training organization for their current clients, I think it's a really good idea to run a in person and potentially a digital event. Because if you're bringing people who are already in your community together in person, then you're building a stronger community sense, you've got less potential for failure because these people have already put in the money to be part of your community. So let's just say your business training organization, you're charging for the year, part of those finances are already allocated to an in person event, and then you're helping to build a closer interpersonal community. So in that space, I think it's really worthwhile. If you are doing a more of a brand awareness and a prospect sales style of event Think that you can get away with doing it solely online, or alternatively, running both options, and not as a hybrid, but both options. So you know, running a in person event in maybe your local city, so you don't have to do travel, and then running a digital event that is for, you know, nationally or internationally. So there's definitely a benefit for that personal touch. And it just really depends on whether you feel like it's going to be of benefit for you. And also depends on what you're selling from it as well, right, and how good you are at at making that pitch, I feel that pitching in a live environment, you get instant feedback in a much more direct way than what you do online, because you can literally see people's faces, and you can see whether they are there or whether they're kind of not there with you. So there's definitely benefits for both. However, if you are running just online events, and they are working for you just continue to run them online, especially if it is more of a sales based event, and it's working for you. Okay,

Jennie Wright 11:18
I get it that makes sense. Question. I used to work with a woman several years ago, and she was being coached by a coach to have these in person events. And the goal from the in person event was to get 60 people in a room. And you know, it was three, maybe, you know, four hours long or whatever broken up over the day, I guess. And they would make these offers off the back end these high end ticket offers and whatnot. And to make it work, they had to do Facebook ads and spend anywhere between six and $8,000 on Facebook ads just to get enough people in the room local people to make that happen. Do you recommend that sort of style of doing an in person event? Does that make sense in our new way of doing things? Or?

Anna Osherov 12:05
No? That's a really, really good question. And I've been watching that space. So I've been working with a speaker training organization. So I went through their training, and then I became one of their facilitators. And that is exactly how they built their whole business is that we'll run a free one day event in a local city, they'll do like a national tour of that. And they will spend, like, up to a million dollars on advertising because they've grown over the last eight years, and they'll fill a room with up to 100 people and then, you know, their conversion rate is anywhere between 20 to 30%. And then they sell like a three and a half $1,000 product. And then what mine is from that they'll have another conversion of like, say 50% After that product into their one year program, which is like $20,000. And it's been really interesting to see their transition from doing in person to to building online. And I'm not sure that I did that still trying to go back to that in person space. Mostly because the I guess the results from an in person, one day event will take you to an in person three day intensive, which takes you to a program are better for the participant. So what we find is, it's a better experience for the participant. However, I've built my whole business on not spending money on advertising at all. And really using the event space as a space to be able to build that brand awareness to be able to build organic marketing to be able to engage people to come along to the in person events when I was running them and now to the online events directly through running those events. Okay,

Jennie Wright 14:01
that makes sense. And I appreciate the way that you're looking at it. I know Allison has something to say on this too. And I'm trying not to jump on her go for it,

Alyson Lex 14:09
because I have so many questions. So, you know, a lot of times people will plan an event as like this one time yearly thing, or like this one big thing that they're going to do it's like a one off. But is there a place for a regular smaller event? Can they be profitable? Are they effective? Are they worth the time, effort, energy you're putting in?

Anna Osherov 14:41
I look at I look at it this way. It's an event marketing strategy implemented one event at a time. So it's just like just like saying, you know, I'm going to do a social media marketing strategy. We implement an event marketing strategy, so I run a free webinar every single month. Every month,

Jennie Wright 15:02
but a free webinar every month. Tell me more. So how are you marketing it? Where your people coming

Anna Osherov 15:08
from? Right? Good question. So essentially what I do is I will put on a event, it'll be a free webinar, I will post it through social media. So I've got a whole, like six or a full week to four week marketing cycle. So essentially, we will, week one is we'll put the event up on Facebook, on LinkedIn on Eventbrite, we will put it on our website, then we will share it with our email database, we will invite people to the Facebook events to the LinkedIn event. And we will send out our affiliate marketers their own link to be able to share that event with their audience. And then we basically promote that event across Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, personal, Facebook, basically social media. And we will communicate with people who are interested and start to build up that resonance. And we also use meetup. So there's a whole strategy. And what that does is it one, it promotes the webinar. But it also promotes me and it promotes my business consistently. So using that free webinar, I use that free webinar as my ongoing marketing strategy for my business. And we'll usually get for each webinar. So we'll have anywhere between 40 and 100 people register, and then we'll usually have about a 40 to 50% sharp rate, which is quite high for a free event. And that's because we have a really solid nurture sequence. So we will remind people, we'll give them a workbook, we will provide them excitement and information after they've registered so that we do encourage them to come along, send them SMS, etc. And then what I find is, then when people show up to the webinar, then, you know, we'll do a two hour workshop. And then at the end of that two hour workshop, I will pitch our leash industry influencer program. And you know, we have anywhere between 10 to 30% conversion rate into a program. But what it does is that that those, you know, even though we might have, you know, 10 bills, I've had six people show up to my webinar and three of those people purchased. And then I've had, you know, 50 people show up to my webinar and two of those people purchased. So, you know, it is a consistently growing process. But the point is, is that it's not actually about just the webinar. But if I have 100 people register into my webinar every month, that's 100 new leads in my database consistently every month, you know, if we have an exposure of, you know, 4000 people that have seen our event on Facebook, that's 4000 people that we have got some brand awareness towards. So if we're looking at the customer journey, you know, you've got your awareness, you've got your consideration, you've got your purchase, and you've got your loyalty and advocacy. We cover a lot of that, of that awareness by running these events. And we knock out that consideration. Because when they show up to the event, they spend, you know, two hours with my face, in their face, talking about stuff that's going to be of value to the person. So we kind of build up that know, like and trust within that event. And you know, you don't have to have a message Summit. And what I've now implemented is in our program, and each industry influencer program at the end of that is I run a summit for all the participants for them to be able to speak at that event. And that event now has a higher exposure, which we can run, you know, quarterly or at the end of each program so that it helps to build the brand awareness of our participants. But then it also helps to build awareness of our program, because these people just finished our program. So as I said, it's an event mapping strategy, but implemented one event at a time. Does that help to answer your questions? Yeah, it

Alyson Lex 19:21
totally does. Now. What about like an evergreen webinar? Like do you ever take one of those webinars that you do that? Maybe just really was popular, converted well, and kind of run that as a ongoing freebie?

Anna Osherov 19:36
Yeah, that's a really good, good question. And it is something that I've been looking to implement, but I have not taken the leap as yet. So you know, we've been running it we've been doing line work, we're doing work in the way that our business has been doing work for the last say, you know, 18 months because obviously we went from in person to closing the venue because of current life circumstances to shifting everything online and, and all the research that I've done. The thing with an evergreen webinar is your conversion rate will decrease by, you know, at least 50% to 80% in an evergreen webinar. And so I haven't, I haven't been able to create enough value in the amount of effort it will take to market an evergreen webinar, to be able to think that it's going to bring around a the ROI that, I guess that we want and return on investment being the time not necessarily the financial investment. But it is on the radar for this year, just to try and test it right.

Alyson Lex 20:48
Yeah. And you know, oh, my gosh, I am going to try to resist slipping into like, major brainstorm mode. But there are things that you can do like your longer term marketing, like Pinterest or YouTube that have a longer shelf life, you market the Evergreen on those platforms and save your LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook for them recurring ones. And you actually leverage the platforms the way they're designed to be leveraged, right. But that's me getting into brainstorm mode, and then we can write about that after the show. That's right, when you talk about that more after the show, right?

Anna Osherov 21:29
Totally. All right, well, all about learning how to do everything. As I said, everything that I teach people, just something I've done, I'm like, Okay, I've made this part work. I know how this works, I can show you the process from A to Zed. In this particular instance, if we go to implementing evergreen webinars through, you know, they said Pinterest and through YouTube, and that works for us, right, we can pass that on. And, you know, share

Alyson Lex 21:58
that with people as well. That's right. I can't thank you enough for being here with us. And talking about this, I was really, one of the things that I noted down in my notes was just the reframe of this idea that events don't have to be these big six month planning 3000 person conferences, which by the way, I am one of those people that will travel well did travel to big conferences, and that was how I prefer to engage. But it doesn't have to be that way, a webinar or regular thing. With 40 registrants can still be highly successful. And I'm really appreciative of you sharing that with us today. So

Anna Osherov 22:47
where are you very, very well.

Alyson Lex 22:50
So where can our audience you

Anna Osherov 22:53
know, go ahead and learn about me. No, say the word event. Essentially, all that means is something that happens in a specific place in time, that's what an event actually means. It's something that happens in a specific place at a specific time. So it's just about reframing the idea of what the event actually means. And the dictionary meaning is just something that happens at this space in this time. In this particular instance, it's a, you know, digital meeting of people where you can discuss ideas.

Jennie Wright 23:24
Oh, I can get on board with that. I love running webinars, I love I don't care if there's three people or 30 Still gonna deliver the same amount of value, still gonna, you know, pitch my thing. And if people find it to be the right thing they'll join. And it all depends on how you sort of run it. And I really appreciate that. So just want to say thanks, once again, really great to have you on. Thanks for making the time. I know you're, you know, getting some time with you was a bit of a challenge for us. But I'm so glad that we pursued it as a group. And yeah, it was so good. So thanks so much for doing this. Everybody go and check out this particular podcast on system to thrive.com. Check out the show notes. We'll have everything there from Anna, her website, as well as all her different social media so you guys can connect and find out more about her go to her website. I was while she was talking a little bit earlier, I was on the website playing around. She's got some really great photography and some awesome opportunities on there for you to connect with her there. So please go ahead and do that. Thanks so much, Anna. Thanks so much, listeners. We really appreciate you tuning in. And we'll talk to you all soon. Take care

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