Making It Big: Four Steps To Grow Your Business To A Regional And Global Success How MENA startup Eventtus managed to lock global deals with the top players in each continent.
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Founded in 2012 in Egypt by Mai Medhat and Nihal Fares, Eventtus has grown its web and mobile apps to an all-in-one platform for events ticketing, event management and networking, with its headquarters in Dubai, and an operations office in Cairo, Egypt. As an event app provider, Eventtus has served 9,000 events in 15 countries, with clients including Expo 2020 Dubai, Informa Middle East, DMG Events, STEP Conference, Emirates Foundation and ArabNet, among others. So, how did Eventtus lock global deals with the top players in each continent?
We get asked this question almost every day, and actually, there are a lot of lessons learned throughout our journey that we'd like to share with all entrepreneurs out there, who are looking to expand their business outside of their hometown regions. But, as we all know, the internet and conferences around the world offer lots and lots of advice, and some are really good of course, but the thing is that advice alone doesn't make a great cash inflow, or even leads. It's hard work and persistence that counts, and a driven mindset that makes you grow into your full potential. Here, we will try to boil it down to four steps to grow your business to a regional and global success.
1. Make a great product
The first step is always to make a great product. A product that solves a real problem for your clients, and is designed in a way that makes them fall in love with it. On average, we reach a 90% engagement rate across all the events that we powered with an app, which is far ahead of the market average. That means that 90% of the people who downloaded the app actually used it- we calculate that based on the meaningful actions the user does on the app.
Now, this will never happen for you without an agile mindset and continuous development and fine-tuning of your product. We've listened to our clients and attendees after every event app we provided, and we've adjusted our technology and experience to optimize the results for both the organizers and attendees. We've done 9,000 events so far- so imagine the amount of fine-tuning our product went through. At the end of the day, you must remember that it doesn't matter how much marketing or PR you put on a product- if it doesn't really solve a problem, or provide value, it won't go far.
For the global market to trust you, you need to be the top player in your region first. To achieve that quickly and effectively at Eventtus, it wouldn't have made sense if our focus was distracted by many verticals. We've managed to power almost all of the top events in the region, which include Expo 2020 Dubai, STEP Conference in Dubai, ArabNet, RiseUp Summit and many more. By focusing all our efforts to dominate one vertical first (i.e. the business events), we then went further, and sharpened our focus more on the tech and entrepreneurship events in the region. To get our brand attached to these conferences and exhibitions was our sole target- to make people think of Eventtus whenever they thought of a regional tech, entrepreneurship, or business conference or exhibition.
Once we achieved that, it was pretty easy to convince the global tech, entrepreneurship, and business brands to get the Eventtus app, because by then, they had already heard about us, and tried our app in the conferences they visited in our region. After achieving domination in the tech and business events, we're now using that background to expand into other verticals like sports and pharma. So, the key lesson here: keep all your efforts aligned in a focused vertical if you want better acceleration.
3. Showcase your successes
Make sure you have a great product, but also get people to talk about it. Word of mouth is good, but it's not enough. Commercialization is key. Our clients are mainly event organizers, brand managers, and marketing managers- we understood these guys very well, and identified their pain points, and why exactly they might need an event app. The next step was creating content that is relevant to what they're looking for online, to answer the questions they have about their events, and address their worries and concerns, while showcasing our achievements and our product's key selling points, slowly pushing clients down the funnel.
We made videos, reports, and blogs about the events we do. We capitalized on content marketing, and we also kept organizers, speakers and key people in the industry involved all the time. We took their feedback always, and showcased it to other stakeholders through the content that we produce and share. That's how you can easily find Eventtus's name in all regional publications and ceremonies- by being relevant to the right people and clients. It's in our belief system that in order for us to grow further, we need to help our peers with the essence of our best practices. We think that each entity has its own philosophy and experience that others may find common areas in. That sharing philosophy allowed us and the industry to grow faster and more efficient, and we're determined to keep sharing what we think works best in this field.
4. Dress up, Show up!
We tried to be present in all the major events happening around the world like the Mobile World Congress, Harvard Arab Weekend, Google IO, The Web Summit in Lisbon, Startup Grind in Silicon Valley and more. Doing this has had three huge benefits for us. To be able to craft the best experience to attendees, we have to continuously and actively become attendees ourselves, for us to be always aligned with what the attendee needs in the modern events of today. The second advantage we got by doing this was the strengthening of our brand position as "the event pros," by being present in all the top events around the world, and getting closer to their organizers and rock stars. Third, showcasing our product and achievements in a global market, hearing feedback and getting challenged by a global standard was the only way to move forward, and become a world-class player. After all, one should always get closer to the crowd one aspires to be part of!
Final words for all you entrepreneurs out there: Just remember that at the end, hard work pays off. If you've placed enough effort, and are backed by the right knowledge and the sufficient amount of patience, you'll eventually get there. Good luck!