Be Free Or Die

When we first discussed hosting events at group88, we thought that we would have some freebies mixed with paid seminars that provide many layers of apply-it-now knowledge. Now I’m rethinking it all. We want to have tons of events but I don’t want attendees to have to pay. I’m finding out that finding sponsors is not difficult, nor is convincing them to pay for sponsorships in a cool atmosphere with cool people.

Convincing people that, yes, they are more than welcome to attend our events, however, is a bit of a challenge. Our space is brand spankin’ new and the comfort zone has not yet been established. One thing that I’m quickly learning is that people are just too nice.

Our first event is next week (4/24) and is a discussion on “Low-Cost Video Production for Solos and Small Businesses” from a local TV anchor celeb and her new vid production company. We first promoted this event as $25 for non-members and $15 for members. Our result was: zero. Not one sign-up.

Today, after sealing the deal with cool social finance site Geezeo as our sponsor, I was able to eblast a “guess what? drinks are on us!” announcement. Response? Four sign-ups within two hours. And I only eblasted half my list.

What’s really interesting is that I got a phone call from someone who received the invite but was unsure if it meant she could really attend. This brings me back to my earlier point: people need comfort zones. Once they visit your space and have a good experience, you’re golden. Before that happens you need to make sure your online, mail and phone experience falls 100% into their comfort zone.

It’s no different than having new friends and going to their house for the first time. There’s always that adjustment time. I know we’re all e-hogs and find it easier to chat or email but, when it comes to making people feel comfortable, there is nothing better than a phone call. It’s the closest thing to meeting in person and helps create a comfort zone for your new friends instead of making them create it on their own. Then, the decision to join your community is not a decision, it’s an important event on their calendar.