Trade shows and sales meetings tend to have a short shelf life. There is a lot of work and effort that goes into the build-up but once the event is over, it often gets pushed to the back of attendees’ minds—even if they are willing and ready to continue the conversation. This often occurs because event planners make the mistake of excluding post-event communication from their strategy. It’s a pity this is overlooked because post-event communication is an excellent opportunity to extend the positive experience that occurred during the event.
The fact is that after putting such a strong effort into planning, organizing and executing the event, it is worth the extra effort to further develop relationships with attendees, as well as keep your brand top of mind until your next event.
Here are four tips to help extend the conversation far beyond the close of your event:
1. Integrate Virtual Elements
Adding a virtual component to an event provides a place for organizations to keep the conversation going both during and after the event. For an internal event, it provides ample space for collaboration and interaction. For an external event, especially one you don’t own, it allows you to continue reaping the benefits of your huge investment of time and money, directing attendees to your materials and subject matter experts as a natural extension of what they just experienced during the in-person event.
For instance, you can schedule separate webcasts or mini forums with company thought leaders. You can also promote a “VIP” lounge chat or discussion. The idea is to provide a sense of continuous activity for attendees during the event, while at the same time creating quality content that attendees can access and share once the event is over.
2. Keep Things Fresh
The second you switch from live to on-demand, the event remains in the public eye for as long as you wish. Refresh content periodically to extend your on-demand period. Posting new materials will not only keep original attendees coming back looking for more, but you will also be able to draw additional attendees, energize your space and keep your brand relevant.
3. Host Follow-Up Q&A’s
A clever way to promote your on-demand event is to record a session strictly dedicated to answering all the unanswered questions during the live Q&A sessions of your webcasts. This “answer the-leftover-questions session” can then be placed as an on-demand webcast within the conference hall. Promote this session with a follow-up email or other marketing campaigns to all registrants and attendees alike. You might also benefit from having your sales team follow-up one on one with select attendees to see if they have any questions about a specific session they attended. This re-engages attendees and gets them thinking about your brand once more.
4. Social, Social, Social
Continue the dialogue about the event on your company blog, Twitter or other social media sites. Encourage attendees to get involved by asking them to leave reviews on your online event calendar, post pictures from the event and even tweet about their favorite session/speaker. Once you start seeing a lot of discussion around the event, harness the enthusiasm by featuring key attendee posts, photos, and/or reviews on your blog or social profiles.
Have you implemented any of these to keep the momentum going after your event? What other things have you seen success with?