Organising events takes up time and resources, so it’s important to get the best possible return on that investment. But a good event doesn’t have to stop adding value once the delegates are out of the door. As part of a broader but well-integrated marketing strategy, events can help you develop fruitful relationships with potential customers, suppliers, partners and others. The preparation begins long before, and the work continues for some time afterwards.
Make the most of your data
Pre-event marketing is about starting conversations with attendees, developing and sharing interest in the purpose of the occasion. Afterwards, you need to focus on using that starting point to cultivate relationships. This means making the most of the information you have to ensure you already have to hold their attention.
To do this, it’s important to ensure you manage your information effectively. Online event registration software can make it much easier to transfer and apply the data acquired when delegates booked their places. Systems like EventHQ integrate seamlessly into other applications such as Campaign Monitor and contact management systems, automatically sending the information to the right places and saving time on manually exporting and importing data.
Stay in touch
Provided you have their permission to do so, use the contact details you have for your participants to keep the conversation going. Send an email after the event thanking them for their attendance and contribution as well as inviting them to connect with you via social media. Set up a LinkedIn group for attendees – you can even do this beforehand as part of your pre-event marketing – where you can keep discussing related topics and news.
You’re not just communicating for its own sake, although this can be very useful. By building familiarity between you and other participants, you’re giving them a fuller picture of what you do and why you’re good at it. As such, they’re more likely to see you as a respected authority in your field, which can only benefit your objectives in the long run. Inviting them to provide you with feedback is also important, since this will inform how you go about future events.
Draw a new crowd
The content from your event can be very useful for future marketing purposes – for example, your next event might benefit if prospective delegates can watch a video clip from one of your enlightening speakers. But the wide variety of rich content that an event produces can also be used after the fact, to draw in new interested parties.
Consider recording certain talks or discussions and putting them online. Searchable content will attract web users who are interested in your topic but who may not have been able to attend – all those you could not reach with pre-event marketing. Make sure you include a clear and visible call to action on the screen inviting viewers to join your mailing list or the LinkedIn group. But don’t make everything freely available – if delegates realise you have done this, they will not see any value in attending your next event in person.