The way we do events may have changed but some things are still the same. Developing a post-event follow-up plan is still critical if you intend to grow your business.
Surprisingly, statistics shows that less than 70% of companies develop a plan for following up with prospects after events. Very few companies follow-up with prospects who registered for the event, but were not able to attend. What a lost opportunity!
So much time and effort goes into creating a stellar event that sometimes all sight is lost of the importance of developing an event follow-up strategy. After all, what’s the point of putting this event together if you’re not going to follow-up with those interested?
By letting the actual event planning take precedence over developing a post-event follow-up plan, you are sabotaging your company’s business development efforts. In order to avoid this, you must put time and effort into developing a post-event follow-up plan, which will turn promising leads into loyal customers.
Developing a Post-Event Follow-Up Plan:
1. Before the Event
Plan Your Follow-Up Email
Timing is important and you will be grateful that you have done this beforehand. Event follow-up emails are critical to a virtual event. With today’s technology, attendees usually expect to get some kind of acknowledgement that they have attended or even just registered once the event is over.
The email you send after your event should thank attendees for attending or registering, highlight the goals of the event and how it benefited those who attended. It should have a link to access event materials, and a recording of the presentation, if applicable. It should also contain a commitment that you or another team member will contact them again shortly. It is helpful to have a link to an online scheduler where the prospect can choose a date for a conversation.
One way to gauge attendee interest is to provide a quick, online survey at the end of the event. You want to find out if they found the event information valuable, learned something about your product or service and ask them for comments. You will gain valuable feedback and also see who was interested enough to respond.
Get Tailored Information
It’s not good enough to have a lead’s basic contact information. When hosting a virtual event, the software is able to collect information from the attendee and some platforms allow you to tailor this to meet your needs. Make sure you enter this information into your CRM system. During registration, you may be able to ask some questions about the registrant’s needs and what they are looking to get out of the event. Add these details to your lead system in order to be able to bring up these points in future conversations with the prospect.
See also: The Importance of Gathering Event Data
2. After the Event
Prioritize Hot Leads
Your virtual platform should have allowed for some kind of attendee interaction and possibly tracked who interacted in what ways. At the minimum, you can check the chat feature to see who responded or asked questions. You can use this data to categorize leads into hot, warm and cold. Don’t forget those who registered but did not attend the event. Treat those as a cold lead since they showed initial interest. There are many reasons why they may not have attended but may still be interested in your product or service.
Once you have sent a follow-up email to all participants, you can check the open and click through rates to see who is engaging. Anyone who has opened or clicked can be moved up into the hot category. It goes without saying that anyone who has set a date on your online scheduler is also a hot lead.
The Follow-Up to the Follow-Up Email
The initial follow-up email thanked them for attending or registering and provided them with content from the event. This next email should remind them of the event, let your lead know how your business can be of service to them and be very clear on how they can work with your company.
Offer something else of value with your follow-up email. Send them content that would be relevant to their business. Think in terms of an eBook, an industry info graphic, a link to your blog post on an industry challenge and how to handle it, or a demo of a product that they could use in their business. Ideally, if they responded to a survey with their specific need, tailor the email to speak to that need. You can also include links to register for the next event, if there is one.
Be sure to include a specific call-to-action.
The leads that make use of your offer by downloading your eBook or info graphic or by clicking on your blog post become your next targets to follow up with. Contact them by phone to find out what their interest in your business is and how you can be of further service to them.
Keep Attendees Engaged After the Event
Some marketing experts engage with attendees after the event by asking for their comments to be included in an online article. You can ask a few attendees for their comments on the event, the speakers, what they learned, ways the event benefited the industry, etc. Later when the article has been published, you can include a link to the article in a personal email to them.
This is an excellent way to build your own brand image while boosting the image of your attendees as well.
Remember: an attendee at an event is just an attendee. You still need to develop a relationship and an effective follow-up strategy to cement a solid foundation with your lead. Without that, your event will have failed in its purpose.
Allowing for individual differences, it takes an average of seven “touchpoints” to convert a prospect into a customer. In terms of events, this process starts with an effective post-event strategy.
Executive Events is ready to help you plan and execute the perfect post-event strategy. Contact us today to discuss the best strategy for your business.