Hosting a successful virtual event takes a lot of effort, but when it comes to maximizing your return on investment, it is what you do next that matters most. Making a virtual event memorable is the first big challenge, especially now that most of us are spending a lot more time in front of the screen than we would like. At the same time, a virtual event offers some clear advantages over traditional events, especially when it comes to lead- generation and nurturing and the post-event follow-up process.
No longer do sales and marketing professionals have to wait for event organizers to send lists of leads after the event has concluded. Instead, thanks to virtual event booths, they will have access to leads in real-time. Better still, these leads have already been qualified to meet certain criteria that define them as real opportunities. With a fully integrated virtual and hybrid event management platform, all the data from the events flow through sales and marketing systems to offer tremendous value. However, it is what you do with that data that counts.
The Event Follow-up Process
Given today’s busy lifestyles, it is more important than ever to act quickly when it comes to following up after an event. If you fail to do this, an otherwise promising lead could soon forget about you and turn to a competitor. When sales and marketing professionals have to wait for a post-event report and then wade through the data manually, there is a much higher chance of losing the lead. To stop that from happening, teams must be swift in sending their post-event follow-up emails and publishing other content that will keep their audiences engaged.
Event planners should always have a clear strategy for following up after an event, whether it is a virtual, hybrid, or in-person one. However, given that virtual events are not as immersive as in-person ones, it is important to provide your target audience an additional impetus to stay in touch. The first and most important thing to do is send a post-event follow-up email providing valuable resources that encourage attendees to stay connected. Here are proven post-event communication examples to consider:
- A post-event webpage summarizing the key takeaways from your event and highlights of the experience. This should ideally feature a message of thanks, a brief recap of the event, and some key statistics like attendance. This is also an opportunity to highlight some of your most valuable partners, sponsors, and customers. By giving them some additional exposure, there is a good chance they will return the favor.
- Publishing other post-event content, such as blogs and whitepapers, can add further value to your virtual event by offering actionable insights and key learnings from your workshops, seminars, and other activities. This will be especially helpful to attendees who might have missed some of your events by serving as a touchpoint to follow up with them later on.
- The best time to start building connections on social media is before the event even begins, but it is better late than never. Now is an important opportunity to connect with attendees you might have missed before and keep sharing your core messages. Aside from a quick thank you on all the social channels you use, you might consider posting a video summarizing the event or sharing key quotes in the form of tweets.
- Feedback is one of the most important things of all when it comes to the continuous improvement of any business process, and events are no exception. Be sure to send out a survey to request feedback from your attendees. That way, you will have a better idea of what works and what does not, allowing you to craft an even better event next time.
- One of the hallmarks of a successful event is the creation of meaningful relationships between attendees and each other, as well as with the business. Events play a central role in developing branded communities, and that is an opportunity you should not let go to waste. Creating attendee groups on social media and messaging platforms like Slack gives people a place to keep in touch and nurture those relationships.
- Everyone likes getting something for free, and event attendees are no exception. It is important to make your attendees feel valued, whether by providing event-related gifts like exclusive merchandise or special offers and discounts. By collecting leads via your virtual event booth, you can even group your attendees based on their level of interest, and offer gifts and offers accordingly.
- Almost every event has its no-shows, and while they are much less likely to become promising leads, it is important not to forget about them entirely. Always send a ‘sorry we missed you’ email to any no-shows, and direct them to any content, such as event recordings, to show them what they missed. Especially if missing the event was due to no fault of their own, they will appreciate your remembering them.
- Internal collaboration is also extremely important. By integrating event data streams, all relevant lead data, such as session details, attendee interest, and registration data, goes into a single centralized system. This allows you to automate many routine event follow-up tasks and foster a more collaborative environment between product, support, sales, and marketing departments.
Events, no matter the form they take, are just one part of the sales and marketing funnel. It is essential to adopt effective ways to nurture your event leads in the longer term to get maximum value in return for your hard work. This is especially the case in businesses where the sales cycle is long and spans numerous touchpoints.
Always consider where events fit into the buyer’s journey and make sure your sales and marketing teams are fully aligned with the wider process. By incorporating an integrated event management platform, you will have the opportunity to monitor and measure your event metrics and test what works and what does not.
Aventri helps you maximize the value of your virtual events by providing the tools necessary to nurture leads long after the event is over. Request your demo today to see how it works.