A big part of running a global company is community outreach. Although we live in a day and age where most things can be done remotely, nothing beats face-to-face meetups which is why we started PiktoTour – our event series.
Inspired by brands like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Unsplash, who created local meetups for and by their users, we also wanted to give Piktochart users around the world ownership of the brand and also an opportunity to share the tool with their local communities. While we’re an online tool, we also wanted to build something in the offline world as well.
The idea behind the PiktoTour is to bridge our online product with the real world, and help users feel more engaged alongside others in their local communities.
Instead of hosting the events ourselves, we empower our users to host them instead – handing over the reigns to our passionate power users so they can share their love for visual storytelling with others.
With our very first event in Las Vegas, we’ve since hosted events across five continents – in India, Australia, Morocco – the list goes on and we’re always looking for new cities to host in.
If you’re thinking about planning your own event series, what’s the best way to get started? To help, we’ve created this step-by-step guide based on how we planned our PiktoTours from picking a format and finding your target audience to creating a poster and promoting your event.
Pick A Format
The very first step you’ll take when planning your event is to pick a format. Depending on the audience and also on the background of the user that you’ve chosen to host your event, your format is going to vary.
Here are a handful of event formats that we’ve used in the past:
1. Presentation: This one for example was hosted in Santiago, Chile.
What you’ll need: A projector and a strong WiFi connection
How it works: It’s fairly straight forward. Present the content in an interactive way, then leave time for a Q&A.
2. Workshop: This is a very basic workshop we organized in Cordoba, Argentina along with the brand Yelp.
What you’ll need: A comfortable space with tables or desks, a projector, a good WiFi connection, and let people know ahead of time if they should bring their own laptops.
How it works: The idea here is to show people how to use the tool, as well as all its different uses. Workshops are very hands-on, and this format allows you to be as purposeful as you need to be if say, you want to teach a certain group of users about a special feature or special skill within your tool.
3. Fireside chat: A live interview and discussion with an expert.
What you’ll need: The help of an expert willing to chat at length on an interesting topic which will attract attendees. Make sure that your interview is well prepared, that the questions are relevant, and that your guest speaker feels comfortable.
How it works: The idea here is that you’ll want attendees to learn something from your fireside chat, and to also consider your company as a thought leader in the space.
4. Breakfast or Lunch: These are for smaller and more intimate PiktoTours
What you’ll need: This will require your community evangelist to ideally be in town to organize and run this meet-up. Pick a great restaurant!
How it works: The idea here is to have a one-on-one dialogue with your users, give them a chance to ask questions whether practical or technical. The aim is to get to know your users and learn more about their experiences with your product.
Thanks to our Piktochart users in Austin who joined us for #PiktoTourAustin at @thedriskill! If you’re interested to be a part of #PiktoTour – our friendly user meet-up in your city, reach out to us! #startup #startups #startuplife #startupculture #tech #meetup #networking #community #communitybuilding #Piktolove #Piktochart
Find Your Target Audience
Next, you have to find your target audience.
We started by searching on Intercom for the amount of users in any one given area, using filters to make sure that we were looking at the most accurate numbers. We searched for “last seen” users for our tool within the last 30 days or so for people who had created at least ten infographics or more.
What we found was in big cities, where we have larger and more engaged communities, we were able to increase the number of created infographics in the search to get lists of more experienced and dedicated users.
As for smaller cities, we would keep the number to a minimum of 1-3 infographics. This number can be tweaked depending on the size of the list that you can get.
And if you feel that the number justifies the event, then your first step is completed! Don’t forget to save your segments on Intercom so you can send the invite in the future.
Here’s an example of filters that we set up for our PiktoTour in Sydney, Australia.
Begin The Prep
It’s time to begin preparing for your event! Here are a number of steps that we take once we’ve decided the format and our target audience for the PiktoTour.
1. Prepare goodies: Ahead of the event, we prepared a coupon code for 30 days of PRO (the paid version of our tool) that we would be giving away. Something to consider is to also prepare a swag bag for your attendees if you can – ours usually contain a branded t-shirt and stickers.
— Jenn Patel (@thejennpatel) June 7, 2017
2. Get to know your attendees: Gather information from your RSVPs and make a list of the attendees, filling in their names, emails, occupations, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. This way, you can keep track of the people that you’ve networked with and you’ll also learn more about your guests beforehand. This is also useful for a day before the event when you’ll be sending confirmed guests a reminder. Don’t forget to include a map!
Promote Your Event
Now that you’ve done all the prep, it’s time to start promoting your event. We do this in two ways:
1. Intercom emails: We use Intercom to notify our users of upcoming PiktoTours that are happening in their city. To create these emails, we’ve experimented with several filters including:
- How many infographics users create
- How long they’ve been users
- When did they last log-in to the site
Note: Emails should be sent out to users at least 5 days in advance, but we’ve actually found that even 10 days or more is often times better.
2. Social channels: We also use our social channels to spread the word about the PiktoTour. If it’s a high demand event, we actually wait to post about it just before it happens. This way, we won’t have surprise RSVPs, but we’ll also be able to communicate our worldwide brand to our community via our social channels.
— Piktochart (@piktochart) April 21, 2017
To add, we also post a photo from the PiktoTour right after the event as it helps build awareness about our meetup and also get our users excited for the next one. We’ve found that it’s through these social media posts that we get proposals to run PiktoTours from users in their cities.
3. Marketing visuals: Now it’s time to work on some visuals for the event, which can range from event flyers to posters.
Something important to note – you should keep all your visuals consistent since it will give the user a sense of what to expect in the event series as a whole.
We have a large selection of poster and event flyer templates in Piktochart, running the gamut of most events under the sun. Here are some of our favorites that would be a great fit for an event series.
01. Angular City – Interactive Conference Flyer
02. Ocean Overlay – Save The Date Flyer
Create this save the date flyer now!
03. Square Cityscape – Hackathon Invite Flyer
04. Startup Central – Entrepreneur Event Flyer
Edit this event flyer template now!
05. Urban Brushstroke – Business Conference Flyer
Create this conference flyer here!
06. Black/White Abstraction – Design Event Flyer
Make your design event flyer here!
07. Angular Inspiration – Leadership Conference Flyer
Edit this event flyer in Piktochart now!
08. Blue Sky Business – Business Conference Flyer
Create this business conference flyer now!
09. Graph Paper Necessities – Minimalist Leadership Event Flyer
Create this leadership event flyer now!
10. Pastel Overlay – Design Event Flyer
Edit this design event flyer in Piktochart now!
11. Playful Shapes – Career Fair Flyer
Create this career fair flyer now!
We hope you were able to takeaway some event planning tips from our PiktoTour preparation guide. Our event series has, over the years, provided incredible opportunity for us to get to know our users more intimately – and our product has changed a lot due to these meetups. We’ve been so grateful to all of this offline inspiration.
Wishing you the best of luck in your event series creation. As always, reach out to us on social media if you’d like to connect. Happy Piktochart-ing!