- – 50% of your event planning should go towards your post-event strategy
- – Personal follow-up is critical
- – Provide value when you communicate with attendees and leads post-event
- – Take advantage of your team’s post-event energy by scheduling a brainstorming session.
The holy trinity of strong event planning includes pre-event, at-event and post-event strategy. But did you know that planning before and during the event should only compose 50% of your time? The other 50% of your effort should revolve around the most critical part of your event – post-event follow up.
Follow Up Best Practices
Following up with attendees and qualified leads is one of the most critical aspects of your event. Whether the event’s goals are to educate, sell or connect, any event that exists in a bubble is not truly successful. Here are some post-event best practices to follow when connecting with event attendees:
1. Make it personal
Personal follow-up is critical. Note the person’s name and tailor the way you communicate to their interests. Try to add details about what you spoke about to jog their memory (and yours) and show them you were listening.
For example, if an attendee was asking you about safety ratings and car seat adaptability then you may want to bring that up when you contact them post-event. Also remind them of the fact that your family-friendly vehicles are industry-leaders when it comes to safety ratings for front and side impact collisions. Your target consumer will be impressed that you listened and remembered what was important to them, and this will set you apart from your competition, who may also be following up with them.
Decide how you will reach out to attendees and do it quickly while your brand and the show are still top of mind. Common channels include:
- – Text message
- – Social media
- – Direct mail.
In order to set your team up for a successful, personalized follow-up you need to plan to capture the right information during the event. A great way to do this is to survey each lead during the event to understand:
- – Product interests
- – Pain points
- – Areas where they’d like more information.
2. Provide value during the follow-up communication
Your follow-up should provide value to your attendee or target consumer. Focus on meeting their needs rather than your own. In fact, this is a great mantra to follow in all your communications with potential and current customers.
Plan to include relevant materials or schedule post-show events that will be useful and interesting to your leads or attendees. Remember, quick follow up is critical so you should have planned these materials and have them ready to go before the event even happens (whenever possible). Ideas of value-added pieces to include with your communication include:
- – Event take-aways
- – White papers
- – Event videos
- – Photo collages
- – Invitation to a post-event webinar or podcast.
3. Stay in contact throughout the year
If the event is an annual trade show, conference or training event then you will probably see some of the same faces next year. Plan an annual content strategy that allows you to communicate with your leads throughout the year. Whether this includes sharing webinars, seminars, blog posts, articles, industry-leading pod casts or industry news you’ll be able to maximize your connections and set yourself up for an amazing event next year (with possibilities of a VIP mixer or other get together).
Additional Post-Event Best Practices
- – Plan in advance how you will nurture your leads and build relationships after the event
- – Follow up immediately with everyone – most people tag leads as hot or luke-warm and instinct is to follow up with hot leads immediately, while collecting and forgetting luke-warm leads altogether. A good rule of thumb is to follow up with all qualified leads within 3-4 business days
- – Collect the data you need to determine the ROI of your event
- – Evaluate your team’s performance – what went well and what didn’t. How can you improve?
- – Capture team ideas – your team will be on an adrenaline high after the event and this includes being filled with information about what went well, ideas to improve and observations about the competition. Take advantage of this post-event energy by encouraging staff to share their thoughts and ideas at a post-event brainstorm working session.
How to Evaluate Your Event’s Return on Investment (ROI)
Key metrics depend on the type of event – but you should track the following metrics regardless of the event you’re hosting:
- – Registration numbers
- – Attendance numbers
- – Engagement and satisfaction (based on talking with people during the event as well as surveys during and post event).
How You Calculate Your Event’s ROI Depends on your Goals:
- – Lead generation – If your goal is to generate leads then your ROI is measured based on the true investment cost (not just the venue, but also the people cost, materials, etc…) and the quantity and quality of leads captured.
- – Income – If your goal is to generate profit from sponsorships or exhibitors then your ROI is measured based on the revenue that was brought in after all event expenses are accounted for.
- – Education – If your goal is to educate attendees on a specific topic or product then your ROI is based on attendee engagement and retention of the content you presented.
Post-Event Planning Checklist
Do you have…
- – A plan in place to capture the right information during the event (including questions and a way to record answers) so you can successfully follow up with people post-event in a personal and meaningful way?
- – Measurement of key metrics in place so you can determine event ROI?
- – Follow-up strategies in place?
- – Value-add elements in place for follow-up communications?
- – A plan to evaluate your team’s performance and identify areas to improve?
- – A formal method in place to capture team ideas post-event?
- – A post-event brainstorm working session scheduled to take advantage of your team’s post-event energy and ideas?
At Integrated Automotive Marketing we live and breathe events, and we know a lot goes into running and participating in a solid event. Your success truly relies on your post-event marketing preparations. Contact us to get started with plans for your next automotive industry event, auto show or training session. With the right strategy in place you’ll be able to keep momentum going post-event as you communicate with attendees, cultivate leads and prepare for next year.