Your online presence is what gets you Google recognition, a solid reputation, and leads to more and better visitors to your website and your clinic. While on-page SEO strategies (those that are controlled within the webpage) are a huge part of that, you may be surprised to hear how company events can really pay off, too.
In this episode, we’re talking to Vanessa Forbes, founder of Karma Goddess Event Planning. She’s going to tell us about the nature of event planning for your business and how events done right can be a big win for your business’s online presence, leading to new patients.
Some of the takeaways you’ll learn about:
The three stages of planning an event
How to prepare for an event
Day-of tips to help your event run smoothly
How your event can improve your online presence and brand awareness
Repurposing event content
Adding event details before and after the event to your website
Are you ready to learn how to turn your in-person event into a boost in online presence? Hit the link, and let’s do it!
Listen to the audio version:
Watch the video version:
- [00:04:53] What are the three stages of a business event? The beginning (the prep work), the day-of, and the follow-up after (yes- there’s some follow-up, and it’s where you get the most exposure using the best content).
- [00:05:27] What's the number one element of planning your event? BUDGET! You want to stay on track with this! Things can get out of hand fast. But also, your plan of action should be in writing, so you know exactly what needs to be done.
- [00:07:54] If you have the event catered, how much food should you get? It really depends on the event, but generally, go over by 10%. You always want more food and drink, never less.
- [00:08:28] How important is branding your event? It’s vital! Your event needs to show who your company is. And, don’t forget to give away free stuff (we all love free stuff) with your logo, business name, colors, all of it.
- [00:09:55] What are some tips to make the day-of run smoothly? Relax and breathe. Enjoy yourself. If the prep is done right, you have nothing to worry about.
- [00:10:46] How does social media plan into your event? Going live is huge! Instagram Live is a great way to show your audience what’s going on in the moment. And don’t forget to have a photographer and get names for tagging guests. This is a powerful brand awareness strategy. Your visual elements can be used for loads of future content, too.
- [00:12:19] What’s the event meant to accomplish? More patients, a wider audience, lead generation (get that contact info!).
- [00:13:15] Can the existing patients at your event benefit your brand, as well? Totally. Word of mouth is the best marketing you have, and a good event will provide that.
- [00:14:12] What should you do after the event to remind those invited about how great the event was? Thank yous are super important after your event! It shows thoughtfulness and professionalism as it promotes your brand.
- [00:15:14] What are other tips for after your event? You want to ensure you talk about it on your website. Maybe create a page about it, add info to your calendar, promote it on your social media platforms, write a blog post, the possibilities are endless.
- [00:16:49] What is the most important phase of an event? Definitely the planning! Do it right and your event will be a success- and you’ll have time to enjoy it.
- [00:18:00] How else can I improve my online presence? Check out our Five SEO Secrets to Owning the First Page of Google Without Buying Ads for some specific quality content intel.
Selected links and other resources related to this episode
- Propel Marketing & Design
- Karma Goddess Event Planning
- Propel Your Practice Podcast
- Chelsea Erwin Burns podcast: How to Plan a Picture-Perfect Photo Shoot
- Google Business Profile
- Suggest a topic for an upcoming episode of the Propel Your Practice Podcast
- Free training: Five SEO Secrets to Owning the First Page of Google Without Buying Ads
About the Guest
Vanessa Forbes founded Karma Goddess Event Planning in 2004 in LA. After a successful year there, she opened her second location in Miami in 2005. She's worked with some of the most premier venues in LA and South Florida, planning both wedding and corporate events.
Vanessa utilizes a vast network of resources to ensure the events she plans run smoothly and streamlined, allowing attendees to fully enjoy themselves. For corporate events, Karma Goddess uses branding techniques and developed marketing skills to enhance the experience and contribute to the business’s success.
You can check out more of her work here:
Darcy: On this episode of Propel Your Practice, we're talking about how you can leverage your in-person events to improve your company's online presence. Vanessa Forbes from Karma Goddess Event Planning is here with me today to share some of her top event planning tips.
Hello, and welcome to this episode of Propel Your Practice; I'm Darcy Sullivan, your host. And today's guest is Vanessa Forbes, the founder and creative guru behind Karma Goddess Event Planning. Today, she's going to share with us some of her top event planning tips, and we're going to chat about how you can leverage in-person events to grow your company's online presence.
Welcome to the show, Vanessa. I'm so excited to have you here today.
Vanessa: Thanks Darcy; I'm really excited too, thanks for having me.
Darcy: Events are back, and they’re back in a big way. Aren't they?
Vanessa: They're in full force. I don't think anyone in our industry imagined it would quite be like this.
Darcy: Everybody in the event industry that I've talked to, whether they're photographers or event planners, wedding planners, I mean, it has been crazy. Every event that was put on hold, seems to have gotten pushed to this year, and things have been just going in full force.
Vanessa: Absolutely. When COVID hit, we were in the midst of one of the best years we were ever going to have. We were involved in a very big launch with a celebrity that we were all so excited about– I can't mention who– but, then everything came to a crashing halt and we all anticipated it to be, like, really quite simple, like in and out just like that. But we were on hold, and now we're back.
Darcy: Now it's back. And I love this because I think that a lot of people that listen to this show are chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists. And either they haven't done an event in a long time because of the shutdown, or they might be new to the industry or just opening their clinic, and they haven't had the opportunity.
During today's show, what we're going to talk about is the type of events that you can do live, why you should do live events, and Vanessa's going to share some amazing tips for not only planning in advance for these events but how to leverage them to really increase your online exposure. And we'll talk about how you can also use them to leverage more traffic to your website.
So it's going to be a fun show.
Now, one thing that I want to mention is if you haven't done an event or haven't done one in a while, there are tons of examples of other events that you could run. You could do a lunch and learn. We see a lot of chiropractors do events like running clinics or rowing clinics or corporate wellness events or teaching about desk ergonomics, stretching events, sports injury recovery. There’s health fairs, the list goes on and on, and even includes things like corporate networking events or vendor appreciation, or just continuing education events.
So you don't need to just pigeonhole yourself into thinking that there's only one or two types of events that you could have. And in addition to that, I think a lot of people put off their grand openings. So you might want to consider having an event like that.
And if you're new and you're just starting your clinic, you can use these events to grow your audience base, especially if you decide to partner with organizations like local gyms or chambers of commerce or other organizations that already have a large audience.
And one thing that I like to suggest is, especially if you're just getting started, that you leverage meetup groups. There's tons of meetup groups that would give you the opportunity to grab on to some of that active audience that a lot of chiropractors and other people are looking for, whether it be triathlete groups or running groups; there's lots of opportunities there where you can really connect with an audience that's already established and is your ideal target audience. So that was long-winded. But Vanessa…
Darcy: Let's talk about that there's basically three stages of planning an event.
Vanessa: You're going to start with your beginning, your planning, your prep, all of those things are as vital as your day-of, which would be your next step. And then, just as vital, is your follow-up. I think that's probably where most people lack or don't do enough of, because it's really just as important as the exposure you had that night.
And the best part is you can really use that over and over again. For your social media, for your website, for whatever it is, it's a never-ending cycle of good content.
Darcy: that's really great point, but so let's start with the preparation stage. What should people keep in mind if they're planning an event for the first time or when, if they're planning their next event?
Vanessa: One of the key things that I would say is your budget is always where you want to start. You want to be realistic with your budget.
Everybody wants a lot of things and thinks they can do a lot of things, but when it really comes down to it, you're best prepared when you're realistic in that manner.
And then, going from there, you want to set up what type of event you want to do and your timeline of that event. Even the time, like the day, picking your date. Is it a weekend? Is it a day, evening event? And those sorts of things.
And then, who's going to help you prepare for those events? Meaning do you need vendors? Do you need food and beverage? Do you need tables? Do you need rentals? Anything that might come into the logistics of what you're going to want to.
Figure out, write down, have a plan of action prior to even getting to your event– if you're going to plan a successful event.
Darcy: So let's talk about that for a second. If you're planning an event and the people that are listening to this, it might be an evening event where there's cocktails, or it might be a day event, where there is a little bit of strenuous activity or stretching or running or something like that.
So I know people always ask, like, food and drinks, how much they should plan for? Is there anything you can say directly to that? So if it's an active event, should they have like two bottles of water per anticipated person there.
Vanessa: It's a pretty great question. Very hard to answer in any sort of general sense, but you know who you're inviting. So if you're doing a daytime physical event, you want to make sure you have some sort of hydration station, whether it's water… always have more than less. The last thing you want is to run out of water if you're doing some sort of physical activity.
If it's a daytime thing, maybe you have a suntan station, things that are- suntan lotion station, pardon me– things that they can prepare for in their event. And what they're doing.
Darcy: And what about food? Should people take what they think they're going to need food-wise? If [you have] the amount of people [that are supposed to] show up, should you add an extra 20, 30% to that to be safe?
Vanessa: So, general rule of thumb for us when we're doing any sort of catered event is prepare for at least 10% overage. Now, if your guest list is a little bit more fluid, you obviously want to add more to that.
Again, it goes back to always making sure you have enough and not running out. Because that represents your company, and that's going to be the takeaway of your event.
Darcy: We talk a lot about branding and making sure that your company comes across with the proper imaging. Those are things that you need to take an account, right?
Vanessa: They're vital. I mean, you're putting yourself out there. You're going to put your business out there. You want to make sure that every aspect of your event ties back to your brand, your brand image, your brand coloring, your brand strategy, whatever it might be.
Darcy: So that might mean being as simple as making sure that all of your team members are wearing their logo shirt and that you've got…
Darcy: … you know, swag because people love free stuff.
Vanessa: People love free stuff. Anything that they can take away that you can have extra branding on, whether it's a branded box, a branded mug, a branded water bottle, those types of things that they constantly either have to have on their desk or they're reaching for out of their cupboard. It always puts your brand in front of their face.
Darcy: I think those are really good points, and, planning in advance leads you to a better, smoother day, right?
Vanessa: Of course, if you look like you're frazzled on the day-of, that's the way your entire event is going to feel. The more planning you do ahead of time, the more rechecking and confirming and doing all of those things ahead of time with the vendors that are going to participate in your event will make a much smoother event for you, but also for your guests.
Darcy: And so that leads us to the day of the event or the evening of the event. And what tips do you have for that time period to help things from smoothly?
Vanessa: Breathe. That's probably the biggest thing. A lot of people forget to breathe. The one thing that I've learned in events of almost 20 years is that everything always works out. If you do your homework, if you do your preparation, the day of is going to go well, because you've done it. All of it.
Enjoy your event. Be there, represent your brand, talk to your guests, make sure that you're out there and enjoying yourself. You are the extension of your business at that point. And if you don't look like you're having fun or enjoying the event, you can't expect anyone else to.
Darcy: I think one of the goals people have from events is for them to go viral or to be able to use them at a later date and time for content marketing, social media, etc. What tips do you have in regards to that?
Vanessa: As far as social media, going live, I mean, Instagram live is huge. It's not going away at any time, and we try to go live for one aspect of our events, each and every event, if it calls for it. And then it can be used, repurposed again and again and again, whether it's repurposing onto other media platforms or onto your website.
We take a ton of pictures. Hire a photographer to have pictures for your event. Your guests get excited if they're tagged in a post, if they can go onto your Facebook page and see that event. And they're, like, they were there, and they can comment. And, you know, there's all of those things that you can just keep building forward post-event.
Darcy: And we're living in a digital age right now. So, ideally, you want somebody to sign up for the event ahead of time. Get their email address, get their phone number. Get their information.
If you're hosting an event that doesn't allow for that, you can always do the good, old fashioned pen and paper, where you just make sure that you're still getting people's names and email addresses, and phone numbers so that you can follow up with them after the event is over.
I think that that's one thing sometimes we'll miss- is if they've got these great opportunities to be a part of these events, sometimes they forget, or they get so distracted with making sure everybody's having a great time that they forget about the lead generation aspect of the event.
Vanessa: Agreed. It's vital that you are able to walk away from your event with potential new clients or potential return of clients. That's what you're really looking for when you're doing an event. It's not just to have a party at this point. You want to be able to grow your business. You're expanding yourself; you're expanding your brand. And an event is the best way to do that because you're opening yourself up to all of these great new opportunities.
Darcy: You just said something really interesting there, because I think a lot of people look at events as a way to get to reach a new audience, to touch new people. But if you do have the opportunity, let's just say at an event where you've got current clients that are there, it would be a really great idea, especially when you have a photographer there, to go ahead and get some pictures of them—a good testimonial. I mean, you might as well.
Vanessa: Absolutely. I mean, it's, that's exactly what you want. You want your current clients to be just as big a promoter, as you know, as you are. Because that word of mouth is everything in our small business world.
Darcy: Yeah, on an earlier episode, we had Chelsea Erwin Burns talk about photography, and we talked about planning for a photo shoot. And if you are thinking about hiring a photographer for an event like this, you might want to circle back and listen to that because I do think that it's a good opportunity to make a photo shoot list so that you're not just spending money on having a photographer at an event, but you are getting some specific images that you can make sure that you can use later in your content marketing efforts.
So we talked about preparing, we talked about the day of. I think sometimes, like you mentioned before, some people aren't always focused on what do we do after to leverage the event.
Vanessa: Well, and that's it. So now you have this great event, great feedback from this event. Hopefully, you've done what you should, and you have a list of who was there, um, adding it to your database, whatever it is. Now you want to send a follow-up thank you. You want to make sure that you [show that you] appreciate that they were there. Then you want to make sure that you're tagging in all of your social media what's happened.
Utilize what you've done that day to its fullest. Because it could just keep going, and it can snowball because then you could have, even on your Instagram or Facebook where someone tags, you tag somebody, and then they need to tag forward.
Darcy: You know, it's interesting because when we go in and we do SEO audits for companies, and we'd look at what pages perform best for them on their website. There will be pages, pages from events that they had years prior that are still driving traffic. And so I do want to talk about that for a minute.
I think it's really important, if you are going to host an event, that you include that information on your website. But one, you need to make sure that you include the date, including the year because there's nothing worse than somebody calling you about an event that took place in 2002. And if you have a sign-up for that event after the event has already taken place, what you can do is remove the link for signing up and instead, add a line, like, sorry you missed this event, but make sure that you stay in the loop, sign up for email list or follow us on social media. So you can find out about other upcoming events.
And then another tip, if you have an event on your website, and do you think that other people might be interested in partnering with you for events of that sort? You can add a simple one-liner. That's like, if you're interested in partnering with us on an upcoming event like this, please contact so-and-so at whatever email address.com to see about scheduling one of those events.
So I think there's ways that you can leverage the before, the during, and the after, and also make sure that you follow up with those people if they did sign up in advance, even if they didn't make the event, because they should be qualified leads, if the event is targeting your target audience.
Vanessa: I agree.
Darcy: Now, Vanessa, do you have any other final tips as we start to wrap up?
Vanessa: When it comes to events, being prepared is everything. It creates a smooth, enjoyable event for you for everyone involved. Our tagline within the company is “Inner peace starts with good planning.” So you start with that, and you'll be fine.
Darcy: That's great. And Vanessa, if anybody wants to get ahold of you, obviously they can find the links in the Show Notes. But do you want to share with them your website?
Vanessa: Sure. Our website is KarmaGoddess.org.
Darcy: And you are located here in sunny, south Florida, but you do events…
Vanessa: We do events nationwide. We love to travel, so we will come and see you.
Darcy: I hear you even have access to some private islands. If people want to get crazy,
Vanessa: If people do, we have access to private islands that we can definitely set up: workout retreats or yoga retreats or anything that you can imagine we can come up with.
Darcy: Thank you again for your time today at Vanessa and this was fun.
Vanessa: It was a lot of fun. Thanks, Darcy.
Darcy: Well, hey, before we head out, I want to invite you to join in on a free masterclass I put together, the Five SEO Secrets to Owning the First Page of Google Without Buying Ads.
You can find a link to sign up for this free masterclass and the Show Notes for this episode or by visiting PropelYourCompany.com/learn.
During this workshop, we do a deep dive into strategies to help you improve your online presence. Including your Google Business Profile, that's what used to be called the Google My Business listing and what controls the Google Maps section. Along with how voice SEO plays a big role in today's search and where you should be focusing your efforts online for the biggest impact.
All right. Well, that's it for today. Again, you can join the masterclass by visiting PropelYourCompany.com/learn. And if you have a topic that you would like to hear on an upcoming episode of Propel Your Practice, please send it in by visiting propelyourcompany.com/podcast-topics or looking for the link in the Show Notes.
Thanks so much for your time. I'll talk to you soon.
Darcy’s SEO strategies are easy to implement and effective. She’s the #1 SEO expert I refer to whenever I need help with my rankings.
- Nicholas Scalice, Growth Marketing Podcast // Growth Marketer
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