8 proven ways to get the most out of your event

Throwing a big event always seems like a good idea, but if you don’t follow these eight pieces of advice you might not be getting the most out of your investment, writes Lauren Pedigo.

If you want quality with customer and prospects, hosting a big event is the best way to do it. Face-to-face interaction is a big deal for your customers and prospects – it gives them a chance to see the human side of your business. More importantly, it lets you see everything your business does for them. It can be a great reminder of why you do what you do.

Still, putting on an event is no easy task, and it’s always a shame to see an event turn out okay when it could have been fantastic.

Want to crush your next event? Here are eight tips to throw a truly memorable event that will feed your sales pipeline and delight your customers.

 

The build-up

1. Lock in great speakers

Authors, executives, motivational speakers, thought leaders, influencers – people love hearing from them. And the bigger the name, the bigger the crowd. For example, speakers such as Seth Godin have a huge draw for the marketing audience.

That said, by no means do speakers need to be A-list celebrities. In fact, it can often be more impactful to host someone who can give actionable advice about the industry than someone who is a big name.

2. Use inbound marketing to build hype

If you’re familiar with inbound marketing, you already know that you can’t just open your doors and expect people to show up – you’ve got to make them want to come. Inbound marketing is your magnet, so use it to pull in your most important customers. Create remarkable content on your blog and share it with influencers and on social media to build buzz about the event. Then, improve the chances of people registering for your event with a clear conversion path on your website by using dedicated landing pages and call-to-action (CTAs). Finally, make sure you make it easy for people to remember to show up by sending email reminders to registrants.

Events are also a chance to get your most promising prospects involved with your company on a personal and interactive lever, so make sure to loop your sales team in for extra leverage.

 

The big event

3. It can’t be all work and no play

Corporate events are a dime a dozen, and unfortunately for attendees, most of them are really, really boring. It’s your job to stand out from the crowd and to give your customers and prospects something worth remembering. What should you include? Snacks and water at the very least, music and entertainment if you’ve got the budget, and who could could say no to beer and wine during a networking cocktail hour?

Events can be expensive, but it makes sense when you think of it as an investment in your customers’ success.

4. Tweet it in real-time

FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing. For everyone who didn’t buy a ticket, let them see what they’re missing. Record sessions and put them online. Live-tweet speeches and important sessions. Grab amazing quotes and ideas from thought leaders and promote them across social networks.

Sharing this information for free online is the essence of inbound marketing. People will see what they’re missing and vow never to skip one of your events again. Prospects will understand how much value you create for customers and line up to learn more about your product. Most importantly, you delight your customers and leave everyone wanting more.

5. Reserve on-site meeting space for salespeople

Because events are such a great opportunity to interface with prospects, it’s important to make sure there is a formal space in which to do so. Many prospects may want to learn more about your product or service, so offering them an official space gives you a good chance to seize the opportunity the moment it presents itself.

 

Following up

6. Don’t forget to say thanks!

The most important thing you have to do after your wedding or birthday party is send thank-you cards. And as it turns out, the business world works in much the same way. You don’t have to thank your customers, but if you want your company to look human, you should send a follow up email thanking everyone who attended.

If you want your customers to really love you, send a recap of the event to your master list. Everyone who went will get nostalgic, and everyone who missed it will be thankful for the opportunity to get their hands on some of that sweet, sweet content.

7. Keep on nurturing

If you really rock your event (which you will), it will leave waves of delighted prospects in its wake. People will want to read more, learn more, and talk more about your company, so make sure you’re there for them, and nurture to their hearts’ content! If you want to look like a pro, create special workflows for prospects that attended the event. That way, they can get highly tailored content and move through the funnel with ease.

8. Seal the deal

You worked hard to qualify those leads, so make sure sales follows up with them! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen businesses neglect to seal the deal after exhausting so many resources on a great event.

Whether your salespeople met with prospects on-site or not, following up ensures that you get the best possible return on your investment in the event. You’ve already done the work, so why pass on up the chance to move your bottom line?

 

How do you get the most out of your event? Let us know in the comments section.

 

Lauren Pedigo is the head of event marketing at HubSpot Asia Pacific.