Events are back, baby! Field days, expos, roundtables, conferences, launches – you name it. Some are still virtual, many are back to in-person and lots of them cost a fortune in time, resources and budget to participate.
What’s great about an event is that it gives you access to a specific target audience. If they’re there, you already know they’re interested in your sector. They’re great for networking and they can also be a lot of fun – something we all need after a few tough years.
What’s not so great about events is that you can easily blow a big chunk of budget on one day, or a few days, and never reach anyone outside the event venue. It can be great for the very hyperlocal location you’re in, but what about the rest of your market?
Not to mention the competition for attention from countless other businesses trying to grab a moment with the same people you are.
So, what do you do?
1. Prepare properly
Be clear about what you want from the event. It should be a feel-good opportunity for your team to get out and about – but it also must be more than that.
Make sure your site is eye catching and interesting but is also designed to support the message you want to put to market.
And make sure your staff both at the show and behind the scenes are really well briefed. What conversations do you want them to have, what data do you want them to collect? Do you need updated collateral? What about business cards? (We’ve recently got ourselves digital business cards – they make it easy for people to add you straight to their contacts and they’ve been a great talking point at recent events.)
Perhaps most important of all, make sure people know you will be there.
Pre-event communications are critical. Consider:
Emails to your database – include info about your stand but also add some messaging for people who won’t actually be there
Social posts – talk about why you’re going, who’ll be there and why people should connect
Event platforms – look for opportunities to get into publications produced by event organisers. This is easy if you’re a major sponsor – if not, make sure you have something interesting to say and supported by great visuals.
2. Grab every opportunity at the event
Make sure your team spends some time walking the floor, checking out other sites, networking, as well as working your stand. Be sure they are well-briefed to qualify visitors so they can quickly distinguish between real prospects and tyre-kickers. Organise meetings, lunches, dinners, catch ups with as many key contacts as you can. If you’re not exhausted at the end of the event, you haven’t done it right! Make sure you earn that beer after closing!
Don’t forget to communicate during the event:
- Take pics and post to social
- Set up media interviews in person or by phone
- Gather insights for use later
3. Stretch the tail
Make the most of your investment in an event by chasing down every lead and by keeping the conversation going. And don’t forget to debrief with your team so you can make a considered evaluation of the ROI.
Post event communications can help you convert leads and consolidate networks:
- Send an update email to your database
- Utilise post-event promotion opportunities from the organisers
- Add all those new contacts to LinkedIn and plan your next connection
- Keep rolling out your pics and insights across social
Need support with comms surrounding your next event? We’re here to help! firstname.lastname@example.org