We spend so much time, effort and money on making every event the very best, but is all that work really just going towards what can sometimes be a single afternoon? A lot is made of the pre-event communication as it’s an essential way to drive attendance numbers and pre-event buzz, but let’s talk about the post-event. Do we really close the doors on the experience as easy as we close the doors to main stage? In fact, based on a poll taken last year by Eventsforce, 91% of event marketers find post-event engagement a struggle, so here are my six tips to maximising the post event experience…
1. Continue the education
One of the main reason’s attendees come to your event is to learn; be it a new product, new organisation structure, new process, or just to learn from some of the guest speakers. But, with the constant distractions of emails, calls, meetings or multiple sessions happening simultaneously, there is almost no chance every attendee will be engaged with every single stage of your event. So, making your content available post-event is essential to continue that education and also allow attendees to share what they have taken away with peers – I can’t be the only one that has gone to explain something I learnt to a colleague and then forgotten half of it. Arm your attendees with the tools to become your biggest advocates.
2. Create a community
If the first aim is to learn then, the second is to network; apps are becoming an integral part of any event experience as a way to encourage delegate interaction, but once the event is over how many of these apps just go quiet? Maintaining this community not only builds upon the excitement of the experience and allows for further engagement, but also builds momentum towards any future events and encourages brand loyalty. Your event should not be seen as a means to an end but as one piece of a bigger puzzle, constantly enabling and empowering your attendees.
3. Listen to your attendees
What worked? What didn’t? Follow up on the event not just with a thank you, but reach out to ask attendees about their experience and actively communicate that their feedback will be taken on board. The first audience to market to are those who attended an event of yours in the past – and they could be your biggest advocates, or if you haven’t listened to them, your worst nightmare! Listen to them, improve your event year on year to keep them onside, and the rewards will be obvious.
4. Record the event
For those on a tighter budget, the expense of video and posterity recording can be one of the first things to lose, but while this may not take away from the live experience, you’re losing a huge post-event opportunity. At a recent event, we handed over more than 40 hours of content to a client to distribute out on their social channels, including a sizzle reel which 6 months later is still plays in their headquarters on loop – engaging people with their event experience and our work! If you are spending thousands on quality entertainment, speakers, and amazing products, then make sure you give yourself the best chance to show case this time and again - 73% of marketers have increased the use of videos at their events (Social Media Examiner) and it’s easy to see why!
5. Social media
You have hours of video, thousands of photos, piles of content, but what do you do with it? Get your hashtags and social channels out there early, encourage sharing ahead of and during your event, and continue to post long after the event is over. In terms of a community, what better place than LinkedIn to continue to network, build a purpose-built destination and drive your attendees to connect and engage with each other. Offer them opportunities through Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on your post-event messaging and market your future events. Keep your social updates short, sweet and continuous to retain your audience long after they’ve left your venue.
6. Promote next year
Recently, 16% of event marketers said they open registration just one month before their event (bizzabo). However, you’ll have far greater success if you promote early, maximising the hype from your current event in order to get attendees signed up early – the moment they leave the closing session, registration for the next should be ready and waiting for them. Remind them of the great learnings they took away from the event, encourage continued conversations through your communities, give insights into how you have listened and learned from your attendees and use social media to share content and updates, and your audience will be waiting to sign up for the next instalment.