Event Marketing Part 4: Pre planning your post event plan

In the first three posts of this Event Marketing series I’ve talked about the lead up to the event and what happens on the day. There’s a lot of time, effort and investment that goes into preparing for an event.

How much time do you spend on an event after it’s over?

Research shows that less than 70% of companies develop plans for following up with prospects after sales events, despite the fact that following up post-event increases the likelihood of converting prospects into leads and buyers (Source: Vendere Partners).

Here’s some tips for getting the most out of your event marketing spending by having a robust follow up plan post event…

1. Have a plan before you go

Planning prior will mean you’re better equipped at the event. Planning post event follow up is a valuable process for understanding the questions you should be asking. It’s likely that a first name and email address won’t be enough information to help you remember what a person was interested in.

As part of this planning decide what touch points you’ll use post event to keep in contact with leads. People are likely to be excited and responsive to your information so you want to make the most of this before it fads. If you’re planning to email people then make life easy and draft these before the event. After the event you’ll be exhausted and it will be the last thing you feel like. It’s much better to return to the office knowing you just need to action the follow up comms!

2. Don’t wait until after the event

It’s important to follow up quickly and the best way to do that is actually at the event. This might be by sending quick emails during breaks or using apps to send resources automatically. This way you’ll be top of mind when attendees head back to the office.

We used Showcase Workshop app at the AWS Summit to send resources like case studies directly to people from our stand.

Showcase workshop app

3. Debrief

Straight after the event when things are fresh in your mind have a team debrief. Get feedback about the event, audience quality, what worked and what didn’t. Document this quickly so that you can learn from this next time around. If you’re anything like me you blank out events once they’re done and get to focusing on the next big thing!

Part of this debrief should be confirming that all the leads gathered are in one place (in case any notes have been scrawled on paper or backs of business cards). Then agree how each will followed up. This might be a combination of personal emails/phone calls from your sales team and targeted emails from your marketing team.

3. Prioritise the follow up

Once you have the leads all in one place it’s important to decide what actions need to be taken, by whom and by when. Make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for.

The actions should be planned pre event, post event you’re simply deciding which action applies to each lead. People that indicated they’re keen to buy immediately should be treated differently to people who told you they’re researching options.

What does success look like? If leads are handed over to sales you need to know how you will get information back on the conversion rates and values. This is important information for deciding whether to be involved when the event rolls around next year.

4. Provide value in follow ups

Effective follow up should not look like it’s from a pushy salesperson. For the best result, make sure that there is a true reason for the follow up and it provides value.  There is nothing more frustrating that taking the time and effort to create a follow up email and that find out that your click through and open rates is less than you had hoped for or expected.

Some resources you could use to provide value with your follow up include:

  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Webinar and slides links
  • Blog posts
  • Special offers
  • Product demo invites

5. Stay in contact

You can’t rely on one email post event converting a lead into a sale. Heinz Marketing shares a good story about the value of keeping in contact regularly with clients. And marketing automation software provider Pardot explains how their post show follow up process in this blog post.

To have an effective event that delivers on your ROI goals you need to pre-plan your post event plan. This ensures that you don’t lose momentum post event. Never count on people getting in contact to purchase from you, make sure you plan how to reach out to people post event.

This is the last post in the Event Marketing series:

  1. Rewarding your audience
  2. Staffing your booth (Why you shouldn’t hire promo girls)
  3. “Standing out” – Tips for an eye catching trade stand
  4. “Pre plan your post plan” – post event follow up

Please let me know what you’ve learnt from the series! 

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