If you’re running a small business you likely know the importance of in-person interaction with your clients and prospects. In-person interaction is a great way to create meaningful engagement and also turn prospects into clients, and past clients into repeat ones.
Seminars, workshops, meetups, social events, and exclusive brand events, like grand openings and product launches are all great ways to bring people together.
Whether you're a seasoned event hosting pro, or soon to be hosting your first event, here are some tips and tricks for maximizing your in-person events for engagement and conversions.
Getting engagement on social during an event is a great way to form more lasting bonds with attendees. Entice people to share pics and tag for an entry to win something. Try a photo booth area that is Instagramable to draw people in and make them more likely to share their experience with the audience.
Once you see these posts online, be sure to engage right back. As social media users, there is nothing worse than tagging or reaching out to a brand and hearing back crickets. Be sure to respond to comments, posts, and stories after the event to continue to nurture leads. Factor time into your schedule for this kind of post-event audience engagement.
Who doesn’t love a loot bag?! It doesn’t have to be anything major, but a small token from your business to your guests is a great way to show you care and create a shareable moment for your audience.
When deciding what to give attendees, be sure to think about who will be in attendance and the nature of the event itself. If it’s an informative workshop event, something practical like a pen and notepad is a great way to add value both during and after the event.
If your event is more social and fun, think of giving something that suits the event. Candy, sunglasses, or a water cup, can be a great way to impress at a more social event. Keep your budget in mind and make sure to do it right. Something small and of better quality will make a better impression than something larger but crappy.
At the event, be sure to have a method of grabbing people’s email addresses. Use an iPad and ask people to sign up to your newsletter to be entered to win a prize. Even paper ballots at a small event can be manageable and is a more low tech option.
Some say pen and paper is less intimidating for people and they are more likely to complete a physical ballot than sign up on an iPad, but I think this really comes down to your audience and their level of comfort with technology. Choose which ones make the most sense, or have both options if you’re not sure. Just be sure you have a way to capture all of the names and addresses after the event if going the paper route.
Another way to drive engagement from your event is to communicate with attendees afterwards. This can be a simple thank you note for their attendance. We also recommend posting updates and thank you's on social for all to see. This allows people who did not come to the event to see what went on, and may increase the chances that they will want to be part of the next event you have. A little FOMO can be a powerful thing.
So, now that you have some tools for engaging your audience and making the most of your event from a marketing standpoint, it's time to actually have an event.
Hosting your first event can be intimidating. If you're a first-timer, start small and work your way up. Try an intimate open house at your place of business, attend a craft or trade show with other vendors, or collaborate with another business and use their space to host a shared event or workshop.
When it comes to events, there are countless options. Look to see what your peers are doing and try and take your own fresh and unique approach to the concept.
No matter which event you choose, make sure you have a plan in place to engage clients and prospects before, during, and after the event, through the ideas mentioned above.
Want to discuss your marketing plans further? Contact a member of our team today!