Events can be a great resource for strengthening your client relationships and allowing your customers to connect with you on a personal level but you must be careful as in this day and age business owners and managers are far too busy to give up their day for a 6 hour "sales pitch". You don't have to necessarily sell to prospects at the event if you build a connection the sale is going to happen over time, it's not a one off thing.
In a recent episode of The Marketing Strategy Show I was joined by Tiz Porreca, Founder of Ajunjo, to discuss the do's and don'ts to ensure event marketing success.
The Three Stages of the Event
Most businesses when hosting an event focus solely on the event itself, when it actuality to ensure the best possible result from the event you need to think about the event in three stages - Pre-Event (or the planning stage), At Event and Post Event.
1) Pre-Event (Planning)
It is crucial that you leave enough time before the event to build buzz and generate interest among your clients, customers and prospects so you should give yourself a bare minimum of three months to plan your event.
Making sure people attend your event is all about creating as many touch points (or reminders) as possible to let them know about the event and having the campaign spread across 2 or 3 months allows you to do this.
There is an initial touch point to let the contact know about the event asking them to confirm if they can make it. Then you create a second touch point which is a hard copy invite in the mail. Then you can create a third touch point with an email confirmation and a fourth asking people who haven't confirmed via email to do so. Then you can send an email after the event with a summary of the day and an email asking if anyone needs any help or anything from you. That's 6 or so touch points for the campaign based on the event right there.
Before you put on an event you need to have a clear idea of what you want the result of the event to be, whether it be:
- A feeling - Happy, excited, intrigued?
- A business outcome - generate leads, connect with new people, to thank clients or introduce clients to each other?
To get the most out of your event you need to make sure you have done the appropriate work beforehand to entice people to come to your event. Have you contacted your key demographic ? Have you contacted your database? What are you doing to entice people to attend the event?
It is critically important before you start planning your event, to think about exactly who is it that you want to talk with or connect to. Because the point of hosting an event is to build a deeper relationship with your clients and customers or potential clients.
You also need to consider how you will create the energy at the event, to make sure it is remembered for a long time afterwards. The problem many businesses face is that they focus solely on getting people to attend the event without thinking the outcomes that they are trying to achieve.
When planning your event you need to consider the following beforehand:
- Are you trying to achieve brand awareness?
- Are you trying to get sales?
- Who is your demographic?
- Who is it you are trying to get to an event?
- Is it more women? Is it more men? Is it a 50/50 split?
- What is the age group?
- What is it you think the attendant wants to get out of the event?
- What is it you want to tell them?
You need to ensure that you are providing value to the attendees who are coming to the event, because if someone is making an investment of their time to attend they don't want to be presented a sales pitch for the entire time.
It's also very important for you to use all the tools you have at your disposal to help you build buzz or get as many interesting prospects to the event as possible, this means things like posting on your website, include a mention about it in your emails and newsletters and generating interest through your social media channels (like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
2) At The Event
Here a few things you need to be able to check right before the event starts:
- Is the room set up in the correct manner?
- Is all the necessary audio-visual equipment set up and working? Has it been tested?
- Is the room to cold or too hot?
- Where are the restrooms and exits?
- Has food / catering been appropriately laid out and organised ready for the first guests to arrive?
- Are there programs/guides/brochures available if needed?
Once the event has started you should periodically check in with any vendors, speakers or special guests to ensure that they are all on the right track and make sure you are available to answer any questions they might have during the course of the event.
3) Post Event (The-Follow-Up)
So often businesses will host an event and after will end up thinking "Oh I'm glad that's over, that's done" and they are shocked when they haven't received any feedback from the attendees. iIn reality the attendees are probably too busy with their own priorities and aren't likely to reach out to you without prompting.
What to do after an event?
- Thank everyone;
- Send out an email with some photos and video's;
- Send out a feedback survey;
- Have a clear a call to action/next step;
- Call the attendees;
It is much easier to think about your event as a two to three month campaign with a month focused on before the event, a month focused on when the actual event occurs and a month focused on the follow up or what you need to do post event.
Make sure at the very least you create an email with a summary of the day with a few notable highlights and send that off to any attendees that you have contact information for. It is advised that you send follow-ups to any attendee asking them if they need any assistance or help from you.
A new way to run Events
Have you ever considered how much better the results would be if you could combine your efforts with five Strategic Partners? This is an interesting concept that Tiz Porreca has created. It's called Strategic Partners Accelerated (SPX) and its a great method of creating events for businesses who typically couldn't afford to host an event.
Tiz found that a lot of people were putting on events and were aiming to have roughly 100 attendants but a week or two out from the event only 20 or so people had RSVP'd their spot. So the event organiser panics and starts inviting everyone from their contact list or everyone that follows them on social media.
The problem with this approach is it becomes impossible to distinguish who the targeted prospects (the ones you really want to connect with) from the random people who decided to come to the event.
They are often strong partnerships and that is where a lot of businesses generate their referrals from. So the SPX concept puts these people together to create something special and unique.
So, each of these six partners personally invites only 12 of their best customers, the ones that they have the best relationships with. This also eliminates the possibility of a low turnout as if each of the 6 partners invites 12 that’s 72 plus themselves.
The whole point of this is to say thank you to your 12 customers, but what you are doing is providing the opportunity to meet the other 60 people in the room and get them all to introduce themselves to one another.
Connect with Us
If you need any help with how to integrate events into your marketing strategy don't hesitate to give us a call on (02)9125 5020 and book in an obligation free consultation or visit our website themarketingstrategy.co and we will be in touch.