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Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Event by Acing Your Post-Event Strategy

two women strategizing with team at white board

Hosting a marketing event is an excellent way to interact with customers, expand your audience, build brand awareness and increase sales.

According to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, most marketers believe that events are the single most effective marketing channel compared to digital advertising, email marketing, and content marketing.

person holding tablet with marketing strategy

Now, your company has pulled off the perfect marketing event. The venue was perfect, the speakers were engaging, the exhibits were just what was called for. And, the attendee traffic indicated a high level of interest.

Yet, Monday morning, back at the office, the real work starts: following- up after the event. In order to maximize the impact of your event, you need to have a strategy to follow-up with attendees, stakeholders and prospects after the event.

Here are some post-event strategies you can follow to help you convert prospects into buyers and leave a positive and lasting impression on your event and business.

1. Plan your post-event strategy when you begin to plan your event

Planning an event and hosting it is time-consuming and demanding. If you don’t plan your follow-up strategy beforehand, chances are there will be at best, very poor follow-up and at worst, very little or no follow-up.

Scheduling who will do what to reach out to prospects after the event will ensure that the job gets done. Assign tasks to specific staff members.

team member creating follow-up checklist

This may sound obvious, and it is, but you might be shocked to learn that according to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, a staggering 80% of trade show exhibitors don’t follow up with their show leads. (Tweet this!) Can you imagine the vast amount of money left on the table?

In preparation for your follow-up strategy, plan to complete a lead qualification form after speaking with prospects. This is vital information that you will capture to qualify leads and save lots of time when it comes to following up with prospects after the event.

→ SEE ALSO: How to Qualify Leads at Your Events

2. That all important follow-up email

business person sending email

Start planning your follow-up emails before the event, including when they will be sent. Your follow-up email is an important aspect of your event strategy – it’s a crucial step in achieving the goals set out for the event, be it increasing sales, creating brand awareness or expanding your customer base.

  • Make sure your post-event email stands out. Keep in mind that your prospect will most likely have several emails to respond to after being absent from the office. A subject line like “Follow-up” is going to get you nowhere.
  • Be very clear and specific on why you’re following up.
  • Consider that sending an email on the day after the event might not be the best timing, in some instances – an exhausted traveler from out-of-town might not be in the mood to look at emails first thing when they arrive back – consider giving it a day or two before you make your approach.
  • During the event, make notes on visitors’ business cards so you can remember the conversation and refer to it in your email, giving your email a personal touch.
  • Keep this first email simple: say who you are, where you met and most importantly, why you making contact is important to them. Keep it short and to the point.

3. Exploit the full potential of social media

Social media can help you to connect with your prospects, share your message and help to leave a positive and lasting impression of your event.mobile device with social media iconsYou have been sharing news about the event on your social media accounts. Don’t stop after the event. Continue sharing your message.

  • Make a short video that shows how the event went. Have snippets of people talking about the event and how it benefited them. Make sure it contains your company message. Post this on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
  • Keep posting photos from the event. Tag your speakers, industry leaders, and important stakeholders.
  • Encourage your audience to keep tweeting and using your event hashtag to continue the digital buzz around your event.
  • Stay active on Instagram. When you plan your Instagram schedule for your event, include the days and weeks after the event. This social media platform is ideal for promoting your event and engaging your audience in a fun and visual way.
  • Use social media platforms to thank attendees, participants, speakers and industry representatives – these kinds of posts are popular and are usually shared immediately, extending the positive impact of your event.

→ SEE ALSO: How to Use Social Media During Your Event

4. Approach prospects with a tangible asset

One of the most effective ways to follow-up with prospects after an event is to have something to offer that adds value for them. Consider segmenting your prospects into different categories with different offers for each segment.

Following up with a tangible asset like an industry-relevant report, ebook, whitepaper or the like will enhance the business value for prospects and establish your company as a thought leader in the industry.

Didn’t have the time or the resources to send out a survey and create an industry report? What about an intangible gesture? The value you add could be as simple as a referral to a business partner in your network that you know would benefit your prospect.

Never lose sight of the fact that a marketing event is a relationship building tool. Following up with prospects after the event is a crucial part of that strategy.

5. Be sure to measure event marketing success

How you will measure ROI (return on investment) is determined when you decide what the goals are for your event. In fact, without having a way to determine event success, the whole exercise would be pointless.

Be clear about what your primary goal is for the event. Do you want to build brand awareness, launch a new product, increase customers or generate qualified leads?

business person writing list of post-event strategy goals on board

The next step is to set some specific metrics for each goal. For instance, if your primary goal was to build awareness, you could set a goal of 5,000 attendees and 1,000 social media mentions.

If your goal was to attract more customers, you need to establish how many of the qualified leads actually culminated in closed deals.

If your goal was to build stronger relationships with your stakeholders, you could leverage surveys to determine attendee satisfaction and event involvement, taking into account the buzz that was created on social media. These factors should disclose whether you succeeded in your goal.

Bottom line: the best way to determine whether your marketing event will achieve the desired return on your investment, is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals – that is goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely. (Tweet this!)

Summary

These five strategies form the framework for the proper conclusion to your marketing event. Following them also guarantees that you can measure whether the event achieved its goal.

Planning and executing your post-event strategy is as important as planning and executing the event itself. If you fail to implement a follow-up strategy, your event may essentially be a waste of valuable time, effort, money and other resources.

Executive Events is ready to help you plan the perfect follow-up strategy. Contact us today to chat about how to get the most out of events for your business.

Grow Your New Business with Events

Woman promoting her new business at an event

 

Growing a new business can be very challenging. You may ask yourself, “How do I tell people about my services? How do I get my name out to those that may be interested in my product?” There are many different ways you can use to market your new company. One of the most innovative ways to do this is by hosting strategic events. Events can help you build the visibility of your organization and gain awareness from your ideal customers.

→ SEE ALSO: Event Marketing 101: Getting the Word Out

There are many types of events you can host to help achieve this when starting a new company. Some are more specific to the industry than others, such as hosting a family and friends dinner at a new restaurant or having a grand opening offering discounts at a new store. This article will explore some event ideas that can be implemented across all industries.entrepreneurs speaking at event

Before we get into the types of events, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your event.

The most crucial element to consider is the return on objective. Don’t host an event just for the sake of it. When you plan your event, think about how it is increasing the awareness of your organization or its capability to help build your customer base.

 

The most crucial element to consider when planning a strategic event is your Return on Objective.”  Tweet this!

Here are a few questions to ask:

1. What is the objective of this event?
2. Will I be able to generate any new business leads?
3. How will I measure the success of the event?
4. What is my follow up plan?

event coordinator explaining plan to business team

The next thing to consider is how to manage your time wisely so the event is successful but does not distract you from running your new business. Given the stress of starting a new company, consider hiring an event planning company to help you with all the finer details. This not only frees up your time during the planning process but also allows you the freedom to enjoy the day-of-event and mingle with prospects. An event manager can help you choose the right location, select catering everyone will enjoy and book entertainment that suits the environment of your event. Some companies, like Executive Events, will also help you determine your event objective and put metrics in place to achieve your event goals. Rather than worrying about event logistics, you can network and build relationships with your attendees.

Finally, don’t forget about social media. Create accounts for your organization on the platforms your ideal client frequents. Consider using hashtags and posting pictures and information for each of your events. There are many great ways to use events to build out your public profile. Adding your event information to appropriate social platforms is a fantastic way to extend the life of your event.

Now, let’s explore some effective ways to promote your new business through events.

→ SEE ALSO: How to Use Social Media During Your Event

Official Business Launch

Consider hosting a launch event. Capitalize on your event by inviting the media and high-profile members of your community in addition to your ideal clients. Remember to give them a compelling reason to attend.

team planning for business launch

For media invitations, don’t just send out a blanket press release. Target journalists who have written about what you’re marketing. Even online bloggers with influence in your industry can be more helpful than just trying to get every major news outlet to attend.

Utilize the staff you have in public relations, marketing and sales to attract the right network connections and sales prospects. If you don’t have those departments in your company yet, sit down and make a list of those in your community that could purchase your product or service. Who are the types of people that you help most with your new business?

Give people a reason to come. New businesses launch every day, what makes yours special? You’ll have a captive and diverse audience in one room. Capitalize on this by keeping the information interesting and finding ways to make your event unique. Consider incorporating a demo of your product or doing a giveaway for something exciting. You could incorporate your event hashtag as part of your game for a prize. The winner could be the person who gets the most likes, comments or retweets. This has the added benefit of getting your new business some extra social media exposure. Finding ways to make your event exciting and unique is something you can work on with your event manager.

Don’t forget to acknowledge the people who have helped you get to the point of being able to launch a business. Showcase your employees, investors, and other partners during the event.

Product Launch Event

Not to be confused with the official business launch event, this event is targeted to one offering you want to feature. Both launches have significant benefits for your new business in terms of attracting key people and giving you one-on-one time with them. The product launch allows you to make more targeted sales.

Consider choosing a venue that reflects your product or service. Are there conferences or expos that happen in the same venue year after year in your industry? See if you can find space in that venue. Choosing a location synonymous with your product will help you to build a reputation in the field.

This event is more product or service specific than the business launch. This is where you get to show off your product with demos and a more in-depth explanation of its uniqueness.

Utilize the same key focus areas mentioned in the business launch; attract the right people, give them a reason to come, and don’t forget to acknowledge the people who helped you build the product or service you’re featuring.

Retention Event

You just got your business started but you’re already concerned with how to keep customers and clients. This is common for all new businesses; the first five years are always when you must work the hardest to ensure people keep coming back. This is the time that sets the precedence for years to come.

Hosting an event to celebrate the first year you’ve been in business and thank those who have helped you achieve that success can go a long way. The focus here can just be expressing thanks to your existing clients, customers, and network. And less on hard sales. You will still find return on investment through this type of event by retaining those you are already in business with.

“Hosting an event to celebrate the first year you’ve been in business and thank those who have helped you achieve that success can go a long way.” Tweet this!

Going a step further, you may consider hosting casual drop-ins every month or two. Such as a wine and cheese night or an industry-specific activity. Give your network and customers access to your office to ask questions without having to schedule an appointment. Invite them to drop in to say hi or bring a friend or colleague in who may be interested in your business. Supply some food or drinks and have a casual open-door policy where you and your staff are available to chat with anyone who comes by.

receptionist welcoming people into the office

Attend Events

Don’t forget to allocate some of your budget to attend events also. Find events where your ideal customer will be and make sure to have a presence there. This gives you even more opportunity to build your network and generate prospective business.

Next Steps

All these events can help you cultivate your business network and connect you with valuable opportunities in your community. Consider meeting with a strategic event company to plan out the first year or two of events that you will host. Be strategic in your timing. Research conferences or industry weeks that you can time your event to work in conjunction with. Or create a stand-alone event that fills a gap in the market.

Our team at Executive Events has experience in helping businesses execute promotional events. Contact us today to learn how a strategic event can help you promote your business.

How to Qualify Leads at Your Events

 

A marketing event is an ideal way to interact one-on-one with current and potential customers. In a world saturated by digital, a marketing event creates a valuable personal relationship between your business and your ideal client.

Even better, a marketing event can do more than build strong relationships, it can help you generate leads. New leads are the lifeblood of every successful business. They strengthen your portfolio and help the business grow.

What is a qualified lead?

Knowing which attendees are qualified leads and which are just along for the ride ensures that your time and money is spent efficiently.

Identifying qualified leads lets you tailor your pipeline to those potential clients. Don’t turn someone offer by aggressively following up when a lighter touch is needed. And don’t lose out on potential customers by failing to follow up with someone who is on the fence.

So how do you tell if someone is interested? They ask a lot of questions. They opt-in to receive emails or follow up information. They post about your event or company on social media. They try hands-on demos.

Usually, the more touch-points a lead interacts with, the warmer that lead becomes. So create multiple opportunities for attendees to engage with you. That can be through presentations, demos, Q&A sessions, social media sharing, opt-ins and more.

Knowledge is power

Getting the most out of your event marketing starts with gathering as much data as possible about your attendees. Go beyond who showed up and who didn’t. Keep track of who attended which parts of the event and who was most engaged throughout the process.

The tools you use to track attendees can range from the traditional to the cutting edge.  You might ask attendees to sign in to a talk or drop their business card into a fishbowl to win a prize. Or you might have attendees scan into a seminar using a barcode or enter a contest by posting to social media using your event hashtag.  

Convince attendees to opt-in to follow ups by promising to email them a link to the slideshow or similar resource.  All of these tactics allow you to see who was interested in which topics. That will come in handy when you’re ready to follow up.

Start with sign-up

Start gathering information from the very first interaction. When attendees sign up for your event, they should fill out a simple form that includes such information as their name, title, company, and reason for attending.

This simple information can help you organize your follow-up later. You can sometimes see right off the bat whether that attendee will be a qualified lead.

If you’re selling to businesses, a c-suite executive from a large company is probably a qualified lead from the start. If you’re selling to individual consumers you may need to get more creative with your questions. For example, if you’re a pool company, ask if the person owns their home or is renting.

Use social media

Social media is an effective way to gauge attendee interest. Attendees who are engaged in what you have to offer may post on social media. Make it easy for them by creating a custom hashtag. You can even create photo opportunities that remind them to post their pictures.

Host a Twitter based Q&A session. And make sure someone is manning your social media during the event to quickly answer any questions attendees may have. Monitoring engagement in this way can help you identify leads that are ready for more information.

The beauty of social media is that even people who can’t attend the event can experience it in some way. You may even find additional leads among the comments and likes from social media during the event.

The proof is in the follow up

After the event is over, you’ll be left with a ton of information to sift through. Quickly identify your most qualified leads and rank them by level of interest. Then follow up.

Tailor your follow-up to the level of engagement and interest. A lead who shared multiple pictures of the event on social media might be a warmer lead, and require a different approach than one who just dropped their business card into a raffle.

If you’re not following up with leads post-event, you’re missing the biggest value your event can offer  — warm, qualified leads ready to buy.

Start generating leads

If you’re ready to start planning an event to generate qualified leads for your company, contact us today.

Executive Events

AssistMyEvent.com

How an Outside Event Manager Can Save Your Business Money

When it’s time to plan a marketing event for your business, which is the more cost-effective option; hiring an outside event manager or using your internal marketing team?

Your first instinct might be to choose the internal marketing team. After all, you’re already paying their salary so there’s no need to hire someone else. But not so fast.

Using your internal team can cost you money in the long run. Sure, the up-front cost will be absorbed in payroll, but your ROI is likely to suffer. Here’s why.

The benefit of focus

First, let’s assume your marketing team is like every other marketing team on the planet. They’re busy managing multiple complex projects with competing timelines. If you task them with coordinating an event, they’ll be handling the details in between fielding sales team emails, writing a script for the radio ad, and setting up a content calendar for the next three months.

Meanwhile, an outside event manager is focused on your event. She takes the detail work off the shoulders of the marketing team but still collaborates with them on the big picture marketing goals.

While your in-house marketers are generalists, your event manager is a specialist. All of her energy and talent goes into a meticulously planned event that surpasses your goals.

Expertise and proven connections

Everyone has heard the axiom, practice makes perfect. While your in-house team might organize one or two events a year, an event planning professional has dozens or even hundreds of successful events under her belt. She knows what works and what doesn’t and brings you the benefit of her expertise.

Experienced event planners know where costs can be cut without skimping on quality. They use their expertise to make sure every dollar you spend gives you the highest possible return on investment.

In addition to her expert knowledge, she comes prepared with a roster of vendors, venues, caterers and other service providers who can make sure your event goes off without a hitch. She knows the best in the business and will bring them in where they can be most effective for your event. Sometimes she can even turn those preexisting relationships into discounts or special deals for you.

Event Managers keep an eye on the trends

Sure, your marketing team might know all about the latest trends in inbound marketing or how to use big data, but do they have their finger on the pulse of the event industry? Do they know what the next hot trend is and how to best capitalize on it for your business? Probably not.

A professional event planner makes it her job to know where the industry is going and what is likely to work in the future. She’ll make sure that your event exceeds attendee expectations by delivering the latest and greatest the industry has to offer.

That translates to a better overall attendee experience. Attendees walk away more engaged, better informed, and more likely to buy.

If you’re ready to get higher ROI for your event by working with a professional event manager, contact Deany Dormer at 757-785-5081.

 

5 Ways to Generate Leads with Events

5-ways-to-generate-leads

 

Marketing your business through an event is a wonderful way for you to showcase your company in a unique way. Whether it’s promoting your company directly or celebrating a business achievement an event is the perfect place for networking and obtaining future customers.  Putting on the right type of event can offer potential customers a relaxed and comfortable buying environment rather than a high pressured sales meeting.  Like we always say at Executive Events, an event can take the place of a first sales call. With event marketing you are able to meet new people, build real-life relationships and create a lasting impact, therefore, creating the perfect place to generate new leads that will eventually become paying customers.

 

Here are 5 great ways you can generate leads at your next marketing event:

 

1. Stop Being a Salesperson  

 Talking at an event

The purpose of the event is to ultimately obtain new customers, so you will eventually need to make the sales pitch – but don’t be too eager to do so.  Take the time to have a genuine conversation with each person you meet. Ask them questions and get to know them. This will make them feel more comfortable, and will make it easier for you to pitch the sale once you know what’s most important to them and how you can help.

 

2. Plan Ahead

list-of-people

Depending on the size of the event, it may be challenging to have a conversation with every potential customer.  So, before the event, make a list of all the people to whom you want to talk. Whether they’re complete strangers, or you have met them previously, know who your top prospects are and what they look like.  Especially if you have only reached out to them through email, telephone or another virtual platform. An event is the perfect place to formally introduce yourself and establish that relationship. If you have a team, make sure each team member knows your divide and conquer plan.

 

3. Manage Your Time and Set a Goal

cartoon-people

Managing your time at the event is crucial. Talking to one person for a lengthy amount of time, or taking too much time to approach someone you want to talk to, can be detrimental to your game plan. Set a goal of the number of people you want to talk to in order to keep yourself in check. If you plan on talking to twenty people, but you’re in the middle of a conversation with only an hour left, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself. Be aware if a conversation is going nowhere, or if the person has no interest in talking to you, so you can use your time more wisely.

 

4. Talk to Strangers 

special-people

While it’s smart to know who you want to talk to beforehand, you should also approach people you don’t already know. Walk up to a stranger, or ask a mutual friend to introduce you. That person will appreciate the friendly gesture, and the interaction may benefit you in the long run.  Especially if you have already talked to your top prospects, reaching out to new people will only generate more leads.

 

5. Follow Up 

message-to-people

After networking and taking the time to make so many new connections, you want to be sure your efforts were not in vain. It is imperative to get every single person’s contact information so you can get in touch with them in the future. Even if you only chat briefly, ask for their card or contact information so you can continue the conversation if you feel they are a good prospect. If there are people you especially want to pursue, send them a handwritten note or invite them to coffee to get to know them better.

 

Overall, make sure you are inviting the right people to your event so your chances of turning attendees into customers is as high as possible. Know beforehand who your perfect customer is so you know them when you see them. Have a conversation and listen to their needs to discover exactly how your product or service can help them. And always have a follow-up plan. Create your strategy for lead generation as you are planning your event for the best results possible. Happy lead generating!

Learn more about Lead Generation.

How to Use Social Media During Your Event

Marketing for an event is an important step in achieving your desired audience and attendance goals. Most of this will occur beforehand, but it is crucial to continue marketing during the event as well. And one of the most efficient ways to accomplish this is through social media.

Read more

4 Ways to Be the Best Company at Your Next Job Fair

Oh, job fairs. Setting up the perfect, eye-catching booth, preparing your winning pitch, and fighting for the attention of job seekers. Events like this are great to attract new talent, network, and promote your business, but you have to do them right if you want to reap the rewards.

So how do you make your business stand out amongst the rest? These hiring experts shared their insight on making your company the best at the fair. Here’s how:

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7 Things That WIll Improve the Number of Yes RSVPs

There’s nothing like the anxiety of sending out that first invite blast. It’s like asking several hundred people out on a date all at once (and they don’t even have to reject you to your face).

So how do you avoid being ghosted by your entire guest list? There are plenty of party planning softwares out there to help ensure that your next invitation looks clean, professional, and definitely gets your guests excited for your event. Check out some of these proven tips for getting that coveted RSVP.

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3 Ways Event Marketing Increases Business

When you hear the term Event Marketing, you may assume it only means marketing for a specific event. While it does mean this, Event Marketing is also a strategic marketing strategy that directly invites your target audience to participate in the advancement of your brand.

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4 Steps to Successfully Evaluate Your Event’s Performance and Find Scopes for Further Improvement

Events do not end with the departure of the last guest. Post event analysis, or more popularly known as event evaluation, is a basic step that organizers need to adhere to in order to quantify the event and identify any scope for future improvement. The aim is to distinguish the mistakes and learn from them. The evaluation process is the answer to queries on whether you have been successful in achieving your goals or was your message properly conveyed to the target audience. Today, there are various Cloud-based software products which come with tools that ease the process of event evaluation for organizers.

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