When organising events the best starting point is to understand what you want to achieve. The second is what are you going to say.
Do you want to:
- acquire new leads
- turn infrequent customers into committed clients
- encourage referrals
- position yourselves as the experts
- generate press coverage
Once you know your objective, agree what your message is going to be. Having too many, even more than one message might dilute your offering. Be clear about what you’re saying about your business and your relevant USP (unique selling point) to this event. For example:
- Is your tech leading in your sector
- Are you experts in personalising your service to your clients
- Is your customer service outstanding
- Are you offering a service no one else does
Once you have decided your objectives and your message you can consider if this event is going to help you meet your goals.
The next step is to pick the best marketing tools to make it a success!
Before the event
Identify the types of people that you want to attend your event and send them invitations. They might not book the first time but are more likely to on the second or third. Below are a few ideas that all may help raise awareness:
1. Digital email campaigns
You could send a series of emails to generate interest such as industry insights, tips and guides, all with event invitations.
2. Direct mail
Direct mail can create impact and get your message noticed as this form of marketing has not been used as much in recent years. It can be anything posted from a simple letter to a personal invitation.
3. Online & social media
Tell your social network by tweeting, posting updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and ask them to share the event information with their network. Update your company website pages with news about your event. Engage with event organisers and online forums.
4. Online and print advertising
Consider advertisements online or in appropriate magazines and papers. Having an editorial feature as well as your ad will create a greater impression.
5. Event communications
Consider what communications will have the biggest impact at the event. People need to easily understand what you are offering. Decide what words and images will really get your message across. Think about the mediums to do this: pull-up banners, flyers, interactive touch screens, videos, presentations and testimonials from happy customers. Check stock levels for brochures, business cards and giveaways.
6. Calls to action
Make it easy for people to know how to book their place. Give them a reason to act now, by letting them know that places are on a limited basis. Exclusive opportunities are more likely to engage customers to book quickly.
7. Feedback and follow-up forms
Having a consistent way to capture all the information from attendees is essential. This ensures every one of your team members asks for the same information, making it easy to communicate after the event (by email, phone or post).
8. Arrange a videographer or photographer
Recording your event can be a great way to market yourselves. It can be used after the event for people who are unable to attend but might be interested your seminar or workshop.
9. Day plan
It’s good to have a printed itinerary listing timings, items to be taken/set up and important contact details. Share the plan with your team so they understand their responsibilities. This will ensure your event runs seamlessly.
During the event
You are now prepared for your event and have everything you need. Here are a few things to consider on the day…
People buy from people, so it’s best not to be too sales orientated when chatting, it’s about building relationships at this stage. Show an interest in the delegates and then find out how your business may be able to help theirs.
Give people a little gift at the event so that they can take it back to their office. This will act as a reminder and they’ll have your contact details to hand if they want to talk to you. Big, heavy and cumbersome brochures might not be the best option here, consider sending a personalised digital version so you can keep the conversation going after the event.
3. Feedback forms
Ask delegates to complete contact details feedback forms – not everyone will but it’s worth a try – maybe you could use incentives.
After the event
Your event should have gone extremely well by now, and you will be armed with numerous feedback forms and leads to follow-up on. What you should do next:
1. Follow-up with delegates
You’ve met some great new contacts so ensure you prioritise contacting the people who told you they have an immediate need for your product or service. Write a “thank you for attending email” to the all your delegates. Send a “sorry we missed you email” to the people who could not attend. In your email campaigns insert links to your updated website page and include a write-up of hot topics, video presentations, pictures and positive delegate comments.
2. Keep the momentum going
This event was fantastic, what will you do next? A series of events perhaps?
If so, strike while the iron’s hot and let people know about what additional events are coming up. You could ask your contacts what topics they would like you to focus on next time.
3. PR and advertising opportunities
Now is the time to write an article and share it with relevant editors to reach even more people.
These are our top-tips for organising a successful event. We follow these steps as part of our overall strategy for each exhibition or seminar that we organise for our clients. This ensures we can record all the results and actual return on investment.
Here’s what our client 3di said:
“Thanks for your support in making it one of our best exhibition ever!
We ended up with 63 quality leads”
John Bendel, Business Development Manager