How to make the most out of event attendees

How to make the most out of event attendees

Monique Holtman

Monique Holtman
12th November 2019

Recently I wrote a blog explaining the importance of events for SMEs along with some suggestions about the types of events you can host. What happens after your event however? After putting in all that time, effort and money, the last thing you want is for your attendees to forget about you.

Chances are one of the key reasons you held an event in the first place was to build long-term relationships with your guests in order to drive sales. Below I explain how to make the most out of event attendees so you can achieve exactly this.

Why is post-event engagement crucial?

For your event to be a success, you need to work on delegate engagement throughout all stages of the event life cycle. Most of us only focus on engagement activities before and during the event however (probably due to a lack of time or resources) we miss the all-important phase when the event has ended.

Why exactly is post-event engagement crucial though?

Builds brand loyalty

Spending time on engagement activities not only generates interest and excitement around your events, it also creates a greater sense of loyalty around your brand and what it represents.

It helps you achieve your business objectives

Every event you host should have an objective. Whether it’s capturing leads, making connections, showcasing a new product or driving sales, what’s going to get you where you want to be is working on engagement before, during and after the event.

If your communications suddenly drop off, you could be losing out on potential sales from leads you worked very hard to warm up.

Enables you to extend your reach

As well as building a closer relationship with the people who came to your event, you can extend your reach to engage with those who didn’t.

There could be a number of reasons why people couldn’t go to your event but by engaging with them afterwards, you can provide them with a sense of what they missed out on which could encourage them to attend future gatherings.  

How to make the most out of event attendees

Here are some great ideas you can implement to get the most out of event attendees.

1. Send thank you emails

It may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many organisations don’t think to send a simple thank you email to event attendees.

Doing so (with the right permissions from your attendees) is a great way to show your appreciation and ensure your guests feel valued. You can further boost engagement by adding photos and links to video highlights of the day, sending any documents you promised, encouraging recipients to follow you on social media and giving them a special attendee discount code for future events or products/services.

Here are five of the best tools for email marketing.

2. Collect attendee data

The data you collect from your events is hiding all sorts of insights which can be incredibly valuable if you know how to use it.

It allows you to have a greater understanding of your audience so you can create better events. Ultimately, this enables you to sell tickets more effectively and potentially increase sales for future events.

You can also use your customer data to analyse the demographics of those who attended and the marketing channels or offers they responded to. This will help you to target your marketing efforts far more effectively in the long-run.

When deciding what data to collect, bear in mind that people don’t want to fill out long questionnaires. Think about what’s going to help you reach your objectives. For example, an email address may be important so you can keep in touch with attendees after the event.

You can also target your most valuable customers by creating a filtered contact list of those who purchased your premium ticket for example. If you’re planning on hosting a similar event in the future, it makes sense to reach out to this group because they’ve already shown a keen interest.

Eventbrite is a great example of a platform you can use to capture data. Because you can manage your event and sell tickets through the site, it means you can manage everything in one place.

Not only is it simple to use, you can create standardised reports to show things like attendee summary, sales by ticket type or even the exact data around check-ins at the event.

You also have the option to create and customise your own reports based on the information that’s important to you.

Another bonus is that Eventbrite offers integration with a number of different CRM systems so if you already have a Salesforce account for example, you can automatically sync the information to your database.

When collecting customer data, it’s very important to consider GDPR. You’re responsible for ensuring that any data you capture is kept secure and the penalties for failing to do so can be severe. You can find out everything you need to know about GDPR here.

3. Create attendee profiles

Using your data, you can create attendee profiles which will help you with future marketing activities.

Personalised content is a highly effective method of boosting post-event engagement. You can create this by using the data you captured at your event (through registration forms and surveys) to create detailed profiles of your attendees.

You may for example discover that a number of attendees had a particular interest in one of your speakers. You can use this information to continue to engage with your guests by sharing more content from this speaker and hosting additional events where they make an appearance.

Again, when creating your attendee profiles, remember to consider GDPR. Eventsforce has put together a helpful piece which explains everything you need to know about event marketing and GDPR.

4. Follow up with your guests

Depending on the type of event you hosted, your sales team might consider following up leads, prospective customers or existing customers a few days after the event.

Whether it’s a phone call or an email, it’s important that the contact is personalised to each attendee. If someone expressed an interest in a particular product for example, get in touch and ask them if they would like any further information and perhaps offer them a discount if they make a purchase in the near future.

5. Send out surveys

Just like a thank you email should be standard practice after your event, so should sending an email asking for feedback.

This will enable you to determine what worked well, what didn’t, whether or not people will attend another, what they would like to see from future events and what they got out of the day. Ultimately, this will help you to create really great events that your guests are going to look forward to attending. 

It’s really important that you actively listen to what your attendees are feeding back because this is what will ensure you stand out from your competitors.

Staying on top of post-event engagement may require extra effort but your event data is worth its weight in gold. Discovering the insights that will help you boost ticket sales and plan even better events in the future can really help take your business to the next level.