Whether the event was a big success or nothing more than a learning experience, it is important to perform an event follow-up. Event follow-up actually starts at the event. During the event it is important to talk with the attendees and get to know them and their businesses. Ask relevant questions that will identify if there is connection. A connection can lead to doing business together. Take pictures and videos during the event because these can be used in event follow-up on social media sites, emails and the event website.
Schedule a deadline on starting follow-up work. This deadline should be soon after the event, usually 24 to 48 hours. If follow-up is not started within this time frame, it is often not completed. Start with organizing attendees into categories: must follow-up, great people to remain in contact with, and should follow-up. Of course it is important to follow-up with all who attended and registered, but it is most important to follow-up with ones that connections were made with. Go ahead and put any new contacts in a database. An example of this would be a newsletter email list.
Gathering the event data is key to a successful follow-up. Look at who attended and who only registered. Review social media activity, who was the most interactive on these sites. Contact people that won prizes/contests during the event, people who gave business cards and consider how attendees answered registration questions. A great way to follow-up after an event is to create a survey for the attendees to fill out. Here are five important questions to ask in the survey:
- How satisfied were you with the event?
- How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend or colleague?
- What can we improve for our next event?
- What did you like most about the event?
- May we use your comments when marketing to the public?
Next a follow-up email should be sent to the attendees. Most importantly, the email must include a Thank You to the attendees, speakers and sponsors. It would be beneficial to include event materials, a link to the survey, links to event photos, resources and contact information. As one would with any business email, it is wise to make sure there is clear branding of the company and links to social media sites. It is wise to also follow-up/check-in with those who registered but didn’t attend.
Make sure to interact with attendees and others who were interested in the event through social media. Post event pictures and videos on sites like Facebook. Ask others to post pictures they took at the event and to tag and comment. Engage people by posting fill-in-the-blank sentences (these are often responded to the most), and ask people to share their expertise. Don’t forget to update the event webpage by including the survey, event pictures and thank you’s.
Event success can be measured by gathering feedback on social media sites, email responses and surveys. An analysis would include answers to this question, “Did the company meet the event goals?” This can be answered by measuring attendance, web traffic, social media activity and satisfaction. These aspects need to be used to plan any future events. It is a good idea to send segment email invites to attendees based on their interests, location, and past attendance. This information can be derived from past attendee registration forms and survey data. Don’t forget to keep social media sites engaging between events. It is easy to lose a person’s interest if one is off their radar for too long. Interactions on social media will often make someone join future events.
For more information on event follow-up contact Across the Horizons at firstname.lastname@example.org.