Continuing our discussion about why, when, where, and how to host a My Digital Studio event for your customers, downlines, and demonstrator friends...see Part One for common demonstrator concerns and fears, helpful tips about what to focus on teaching, who to invite and what they should do in advance of the event.
I have held multiple styles of MDS events since the software was released. The first one was a large seminar-style event held at a local college. The classroom was ideal, the lighting and number of outlets was optimal, and the set up with the large projection screen could not have been better. There was even a wonderful buffet and salad bar at the college cafeteria, which I was able to include in the price. However, if such a space is not at your disposal or the rent is out of reach, rest assured that you can still hold a great event in the confines of your home or even around a kitchen table. I have also held smaller "overview" or "survey" classes and MDS worknights and felt they were equally successful in comparison with the large events.
One very important aspect of an MDS event is having displays of printed projects. If your customers cannot see any finished items, it makes it hard to envision the things on the screen translating into useful objects in real life. Challenge yourself to have several different types of print products ordered in time for your event. I would suggest at least one photo album; a calendar of some kind; a 12x12 page in both the paper and cardstock options; and at least one card. The journals and the swatchbooks are also very compelling finished products and would be attractive to people on the fence about ordering through Stampin' Up as opposed to another outlet.
If you don't have very many finished projects you can show, you can possibly borrow from other demonstrators. I am also impressed with the pre-selected kit of finished MDS samples that you can currently purchase from the Supply List on a demonstrator order. But what you want to aim for is a big enough selection of samples to really give an overview of the program's potential.
The only other base-line requirements for an MDS event are tables, chairs, good lighting, and plenty of outlets. You may want to ask participants to bring extension cords. I would also suggest they bring a mouse along as it can get tedious to digi-scrap with only a little touch-pad on your laptop.
I divided the talking points and teaching concepts of MDS that I wanted to cover into three main categories: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. You will not be able to cover all three in a single event unless it is a day-long seminar. Even that gets tiring by the end of the day However, you can either hold a "beginner" and "advanced" class on successive weekends, or you can simply give a quick overview of beginner techniques in the class, and work with those who want more on an individual basis. There is only so much they will be able to take in during a single session.
A suggested schedule for a day long event is as follows:
- Coffee and displays open at 8:30 a.m. Request all laptops set up and plugged in, ready to go by 9:00 sharp.
- Morning session from 9:00-11:00 Beginner level functions
- Break for lunch 11-12
- 12:00-12:30 create a hybrid project from previously printed pieces combined with traditional papercrafting (for instance, a card whose focal point was printed and then punched out)
- Afternoon session from 12:30-2:00 Intermediate level
- Q&A time from 2:00-2:30
- 2:30-3:00 Coffee/stretch/bathroom break, play a slideshow of an album or MDS movie. At this point people could leave as needed, or continue on to the next session.
- Afternoon session from 3:00-4:00 Advanced level functions
A suggested schedule for a single evening event:
- 6:00 p.m. displays and set up. Request everyone be plugged in and ready to go by 6:30.
- 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Beginner level functions
- 7:30-7:45 dessert/stretch/bathroom break
- 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. Intermediate level functions
- 8:30-9:00 p.m. Q&A time
Alternatively, you can do a free-style event once a month or quarter, which I call an MDS Worknight. This event is for anyone at any level, and is really casual. Those who are already into MDS can work on their own projects and I am right there to answer questions, give design advice, and teach them some more advanced tips. Sometimes they come with a list of things they were wondering about or wanted to learn how to do. For those who are totally new, I can start with a walkthrough of the various buttons and then let them loose to play and ask questions as they think of them. I offer these nights for free, and I think they are very reassuring to my MDS customers. They know I'm not just going to sell them something and then leave them to flounder.
Whatever style of event you choose to go for, set yours apart from the pack by making the invitations in My Digital Studio, so that from the get-go they are seeing the potential of the software. At the event itself, you could serve “computer nerd” food—twinkies, Mountain Dew, beef jerky, Red Bull, Cheetos. Or, a more classy twist might be to bring in a chair massage during the lunch hour or afternoon break of a day-long event (make sure you are charging enough to cover this). Encourage the participants to dress comfortably and come prepared to work.
Follow up the day's or evening's activities with an email thanking them for their participation and retierating where they can go with questions. Include a link to your online store so they will recall how to view and purchase downloads. You may even want to include an attendees-only discount for the full version of My Digital Studio, if you know all they have is the trial version. Encourage them to show you their finished products when they come back from the printer, and include a link to www.mydigitalstudio.net, where they can share their work in the gallery.
Your customers are going to LOVE My Digital Studio. And once you feel more comfortable with it yourself, you will love not only the functionality of the software, but the potential business applications as well. This product can revitalize your business, but it must be marketed, and once we've sold it, it must be supported with training. Go after this new market with confidence! And feel free to leave comments below about your own ideas for MDS marketing and events.
Dream BIG, friends!