We’ve always done a lot of work helping clients support events – from webinars to road shows to annual conferences. One thing that was brutally apparent over the last two years was the reduced use of events as marketing tool, but that appears to be changing.
I’m seeing a lot of our clients and their competitors renewing their use of events in the marketing mix and while I’m delighted to see it, at first it had me wondering. Let’s face it, all the buzz is still about automation, content creation and social media, so why the renewed interest in events?
Since I don’t think it has anything to do with a desire to spend money that isn’t generating a payback, clearly something important happens at events that is missed in other areas and I’m going to suggest to you that what it has to do with is making a live, personal contact with suspects, prospects and customers in a way that the internet, for all it’s spectacular virtues simply doesn’t offer.
Events allow your audience to see, hear, touch and genuinely connect with their thought leaders, peers, colleagues, vendors, prospects and customers. That enhanced personal connection is the one thing that is unique about events. It’s the one reason that in spite of rising costs and reduced cost efficiency, event marketing is not dead and will never die.
We have to be smarter about how we take advantage of event marketing’s unique attributes by planning our “presentation” more thoughtfully and maximizing the impact of those personal contacts.
Here are some ideas from Brian Carroll and a post he wrote last year called 100 Tips for Trade Show Lead Generation
- Follow-up quickly after the event. Think about your follow-up process before the event happens not afterwards.
- Create event follow-up content pieces, talking points and email templates for your sales team to use to add value and continue the conversation in a relevant way rather than “pitching” everybody.
- Develop a nurturing track that for event attendees connects with the theme or the content of the event. Try to do this at least for a few months at minimum.
- See the event as a conversation (or conversation starter) not a campaign. Don’t stop the dialog. Brainstorm ways you can keep the dialog going.
Now Brian was mostly talking about Trade Shows in his post, but the same thinking holds true for Road Shows, Seminars, User Conferences and Webinars as well.
Use the face to face connections to nurture an ongoing dialogue and once you’ve established it, don’t sacrifice the personal connection. You’ll do a lot of email follow up for sure, but be sure to pick up the phone and remind your contacts that you are a real person with a real voice.
If you don’t have the time to make those calls yourself, consider how much further ahead you’ll be with a well planned and brilliantly executed voicemail message. Just don’t settle for less than brilliantly executed and you’ll improve your marketing ROI by increasing the efficiency of your events.