Spending all my career in marketing and planning events, I’m the first to admit that us planners tend to spend most of our time and energy leading up to the day of the event. So much work goes into the pre-event planning and logistics and when the actual event day comes, we’re making sure everything is going as planned and putting out unexpected fires. When done, we’re exhausted! But after all the networking, the tradeshow booth comes down or everyone heads back to their office, what is done after the event is just as important to your objectives and success as the event itself. These follow up suggestions will set you down a path of making sure to take care of those you met to qualify and nurture or close that deal!
Lead generating event
If you collected leads via business cards, badge scans or list of attendees because you were an exhibitor and/or sponsor these events are lead generating. Whether its 25 or 500, you must do something with these. Leads show the following:
· Whether the event has your target client/market in attendance
· If you attracted your target client to your booth or table
· Success of the event for you
Once you take all the collected leads and enter them into your CRM of choice, you can start to access whether the attendees are whom you target and the initial results to measure the success of the event for you. But ROI for an event isn’t built in one day, nor does scanning a zillion badges make a good identifier for a successful event. Those leads need to be prioritized and followed up promptly. You’ve got a sales team (or person) to feed! CRM tools and marketing automation/email marketing are perfect for this. You can customize emails to provide requested information, send everyone a thank you for stopping by and providing an e-book to download or asking them to subscribe to receive emails on a regular basis from you. Any of these follow up emails can be set up prior to the event to ease the burden of post-event exhaustion. You can nurture via emails and depending on their triggers, you can start to move these leads to a qualified state and schedule a phone call to learn more about their needs.
CRMs are also great about noting where the lead generated from and touchpoints. As these leads are nurtured, emailed, called and qualified, you can start to show the ROI for the event. As opportunities fill the pipeline generated from event leads, you’ll be able to see the results of your hard work and whether that is the right event for your organization to invest in.
Relationship building/thought leadership event
If you invited existing clients or high-level prospects to an event of yours these events aren’t considered lead generating activities. These kinds of experiences are relationship building activities and absolutely need follow up to keep that relationship strong or help it grow. It can be as simple as a thank you card or email thanking them for attending and asking for their feedback on the event. Or you can go a bit creative by sending them a small gift that reminds them of the experience and keeps you top of mind. Your CRM tools and marketing automation also come in handy here and takes a bit of the follow up pressure off the sales teams. Thank you emails and asking them to subscribe to receive emails from you on a regular basis is a great example of continuing to grow that relationship. By keeping track of the touchpoints with the CRM for these events you can show the ROI and impact these types of events have to help your sales team through the sales cycle and grow the business.
Everyone loves the excitement and thrill of an event, but people lose steam at the end when it comes to post event follow up. Event marketing doesn’t end when the trucks roll out with the properties and everyone flies home. Making sure that post event follow-up is included within your event marketing plan for a lead generating event or relationship/thought leadership event is critical in the success of your overall event marketing strategy, objectives and business outcomes. Try taking care of what you can prior to the event by using automation and your CRM so when you land from your flight home and the exhaustion kicks in, you’ll be relieved that half of the work is already taken care.