By Daria Knupp, Sr. Content Marketing Manager
You’ve put a lot of hard work into making your tradeshow or conference a success. We’ll give you a moment to pat yourself on the back or do a little celebratory dance, but then it’s back to work, my friend!
The last thing you want is your planning efforts to go to waste now that the event is over.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep your attendees engaged even after they’ve left the show floor.
This blog post explores post-event connection strategies to keep your attendees engaged. Let’s get started.
Have a Plan
Plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. Post-event engagement should be intentional and focused, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Strategizing ahead of time for how to connect post-event will help you stay organized and track critical guest information along the way.
If you know you’re going to put together a video highlight reel, you’ll be prepared with the right equipment and be on the lookout for those highlight-worthy engagements. If you plan to write follow-up articles or blogs, have your topics established ahead of time so you can seek interviews and ask insightful questions.
Express Your Gratitude
Show your appreciation by promptly sending a thank you message to your attendees. In this case, an email is perfectly acceptable but be sure to include a sincere message of gratitude to let your guests know how much you value them and their time. You might consider tailoring a unique message for returning guests and an alternate message for first-time attendees- every little bit of personalization counts!
Sorry, We Missed You!
Don’t miss an opportunity to check in with invitees who couldn’t attend by sending a “Sorry We Missed You!” communication. From an emotional perspective, it’s a great way to show them you care and that their absence was noted. It’s also an opportunity to showcase the missed conference highlights and keep communication channels open by extending invites for future events.
Make the Most of Social Media
Choose the social media channel(s) that work best to best connect with your target audience. LinkedIn is a great avenue to give shoutouts and express gratitude in the professional arena.
Ginger Johson, Chief Connecting Officer, of Ginger Johnson LLC suggests tagging key attendees in posts and doing so regularly to help boost their presence as Johnson reminds us, “we all want to be seen, valued, and heard.” What better way to do that than on a global forum for all the professional world to see?
You might also consider going beyond shoutouts and hashtags by using social media to initiate thought-provoking or comedic conversations with your followers. Ask experiential, hypothetical, or critical thinking questions to get the conversation going and invite key stakeholders to contribute for some added notoriety.
We spend a lot of energy hyping our event ahead of time through social media, blogs, and vlogs, but these communication strategies are just as important afterward, too. You can keep the buzz going by simply editing your event landing page by adding a photo gallery, a video recap, showcasing speaker highlights, and providing access to presentation or marketing materials.
If you want to level up your engagement game, reach out to a few attendees requesting quotes you can include in an event recap or future article. Not only will your attendees enjoy these highlights, but those folks who couldn’t attend can see what they missed and perhaps motivate future attendance.
Even really successful events have opportunities for improvement. Inviting guests to complete a post-event survey is a great way to understand what went well and what could be done better next time.
Be sure to keep your survey relatively simple by using a Likert Scale to gauge satisfaction across essential amenities or metrics and keeping text responses to a minimum to increase the survey participation rate.
Upcycle Your Content
Time and money were spent creating presentations and marketing materials, but chances are these materials didn’t reach every guest, and they certainly didn’t reach those who couldn’t attend. This is an excellent opportunity to re-purpose your material and reach more viewers by using them as the focus of an upcoming blog, vlog, or email communication. Many events are utilizing a learning management system (LMS) or community platform to also host and create year-round engagement with attendees.
In our fast-paced world, there remains plenty of room for an occasional phone call, text, or handwritten note. That’s right- dialing a phone or picking up a pen are simple ways to connect on a more personal level. Johnson suggests sending a postcard as they are “incredibly economical- everyone who handles them sees them.” This is the perfect opportunity to check in, share relevant content, and build a lasting connection.
According to Collin Tokosch, a Senior Account Executive at 42 chat, text messaging is also an excellent way to break through the clutter and interact with attendees after the event has ended. It must be done correctly, he adds.
“You wouldn’t send a mass text out of the blue, ” he explains. “They have to be timely, relevant, and value add. The engagement in that channel really starts pre-event, but the conversation continues post-event. This is also incredibly meaningful to important exhibitors and sponsors. You may also want to consider doing something special for your first-time attendees and exhibitors and sponsors as well.
Bring People Together…Again
Yes. You just brought many people together for a smashingly successful event but consider setting up a more low-key gathering for the sole purpose of networking and building connections. This can be a live or remote event. Still, the idea is for returning guests to come together in a targeted way- consider coordinating these small-scale events based on unique customer segments to keep the gathering focused.
You dedicated a lot of time and energy to bringing guests together for a successful event. But keeping your audience engaged in the following months will help you build meaningful relationships, nurture leads, and hit those conversion goals. Post-event engagement efforts don’t have to be overwhelming, though- having a well-conceived plan will save you time and help you make those lasting connections!