Let’s get down to brass tacks here, why do we organise and attend events? It’s about people, right? Connecting people with people, with content, brands and suppliers, so that the wheels of commerce can continue to turn. We buy from people, so if we can learn, network and strike deals all at the same time then everyone wins! Now, what if we can begin those connections before the event, strengthen them during the event and then cement them after the event? More connections, more business, more success! It’s all about building an active community and the great thing is, if you can keep your attendees engaged, then it’s easier to acquire registrations for your next event. So how do you do it? I asked our event team for their ideas and suggestions to help you.
1. Get people signed up early. This means planning 9 to 12 months in advance, send personal invitations, offer early bird rates and extra bonuses for referrals.
2. On your data collection form, collect people’s social details. You can then use these details to find out more about people, what makes them tick, what they do, what are their interests. If you use a tool like Salesforce it makes the task slightly easier. And yes it does take a while but this is essentially what any BDM excels at, so see if you can second them to your team. It’ll pay dividends!
3. With all this data, you can now begin to match leads to sponsors and suppliers and connect delegates to speakers and other attendees. You can also begin to ask questions and get them engaged in your community.
4. Be engaging, remember it’s a conversation. Chat, joke, comment, and answer questions as well as sharing information. Manage your community as a real person. Keep the same tone of voice, be consistent, and be polite like any conversation.
5. You can also begin to plan micro “VIP” events as you know who to invite to make sure as many of your delegates and sponsors make that important connection.
6. There are tools available to find the biggest influencers in your industry. Once you’ve found the right person, why not ask them to present, guest blog or facilitate a panel.
7. Loyalty schemes have worked really well for us in the past and don’t cost a lot to run. Create a loyalty lounge, offer discounted products or services and loyalty rates for your next event.
8. LISTEN… before during and after the event. This is where you’ll get most valuable feedback and you’ll be able to spot the serious influencers who will ensure your community has longevity as they will begin to share their own content.
Do the legwork at least 9 months before the event. Know as much as you can about your attendees so you can tailor content for them. Encourage contribution from your community but most importantly LISTEN.
To find out how Outsourced Events could help you to build your event community, contact Denise Sharpe or Alex Sibley on 0208 995 9495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.