Don’t forget there are a few UG / SIG leaders on the list have can give you some insight on starting/running a UG /SIG. As a User Group leader, one thing that I will always suggest is to create a Special interest group under a bigger group, this has many advantages.
First off it allows you to send about broadcast emails to their group list thereby allowing for a bigger audience right for the get go, plus it has a lot less work for the executive board.
As for you first presentation.
Find a presenter
o Local MVP
o Regional MVPs
o Local MS IT Evangelist
o Local TAMs
o Local Trainers
o Vendors (but be careful as you don’t want a sale presentation)
o Product team
Pick a date
o Midweek, I find work best (Tuesday – Thursday)
Pick a time
o Daytime: remember that day time presentation may give you a bigger audience,
plus some people will be able to convince their boss for time off for the event.
Plus it can be easier to find a boardroom to use, like the local MS office.
o Evening: you will get more Consultants and local presenters like this time because it does not interfere with their “day job”
Pick a venue:
o Free parking & close to buses routes help drive attendance
Find a sponsor for food and door prizes
o MS options
Local IT Evangelist
o CPLS’ (Training Centers)
o Event Drop of rates
I go with a 35% drop of rate for most events
However some event like this one, I expect only at 10-20% drop of rate.
Get a web presents, this help for other to find your group (Ron tell me that he has something in the works that might be cool, so Bug him to give you a preview! J , Sorry Ron)
o Make sure that Live and Google have searched your site
o Use Clicktoattend.com for registration for the event.
Have business card printed with UG/SIG details, give these out to everyone.
Give extras to Executive members to hand out
Try for quarterly meetings
Make sure to announce your events to:
o Myitforumo FAQShop.com
o All the UG /SIG
o To other UGs in the area.
Associate with other UGs
o Locally (exchange, widows, Server, Storage, etc)
o Asked to have you UG added to a list like this one http://owsug.ca/content/usergroups.aspx on every other group that you know of. This helps with Google/Live ranking
Blog you events
Get a Domain name!
Create an Executive committee
Setup roles for each executive
o Maybe have business card printed for each executive
o Give the executive an email address to use
o President, VP, Marketing, Web master, etc.
Talk to local CPLS’ about your UG/SIG they can help direct new users to your UG
Talk to the local College, so that their students know about US/SIG
Consider NOT calling you group a User Group, use IT Professional group/association instead.