When our events end, the inclination is to take a deep breath, relax for a few days and move on to the next big thing. But according to The 2018 State of B2B Event Marketing, a report from the event-automation firm Certain and Heinz Marketing, the post-event period can be equally as important as the event.
"Use the data you captured at your event to personalize your follow-up and sales tactics," the report urges. It's also a good time to "demonstrate thought leadership... Close to 50% of people use content marketing in their follow-up to event attendees, and of those 50%, 2 in 3 find it highly effective in continuing the conversation and leading to new business."
Also be sure to thank your speakers and sponsors. "Personalize these notes as much as you can," writes Callie Walker in a separate post. "Reference their specific session, their specific sponsorship tier, or even a particular conversation you had with them."
Here are other takeaways from the report:
Define your ideal attendees. If your event attendees aren't right from the start, then your event "success" isn't truly a success. Define your ideal attendees - whether that be by identifying key target accounts, verticals, titles, or roles - and develop a thoughtful strategy around how you want to reach them, engage them, and, eventually, convert them.
Use what works best in reaching your audience. Though there are dozens of tactics that impact event success, just because one can doesn't mean one should. This is especially true when those activities take up valuable resources and budget. More than 90% of event planners surveyed use email marketing to drive their pre-event work. Find the channels that work for you and prioritize there.
Send a handful of personal invites to key prospects and customers. This can greatly impact your registration and attendance rates. Use your data on what the recipient has interests in to provide suggestions for sessions, activities or content.
Employ better tools. When asked to rate the effectiveness of the mix of technologies and resources being used to plan and manage events, only 25% of B2B pros ranked their mixes as effective, with a majority ranking their mixes as somewhat effective. However, B2B professionals who use an event mobile app and event automation platform rank those tools as very effective.
Use social media during the event. When the bell rings, hashtags become marketers' favorite tactic, and other options, such as event apps, printed agendas—which I'm still a big fan of—and social content are used more frequently.
Get more from your speakers. (Not from the report but important.) Secure additional commitments for popular speakers when they sign contracts, not just letting it happen as a one-off, 60-minute session and then forgetting about it. Ask if the speaker can stay for lunch or for a reception where attendees can meet her. Make sure that anything held before—a Facebook Live session perhaps—points to something at your live event.
Automate as much as possible. Surprisingly, nearly 50% of B2B professionals report having to manually upload lists of contacts to their CRM or marketing automation platform. A manual task like that puts one's entire event strategy at-risk. Sales not only has to wait for the list to be uploaded, but also has the added concern of whether or not the data was uploaded correctly.
Continue to build relationships after the event. "Achieving ROI from events is not about attending the event as much as it's about growing those relationships post-event. B2B marketers with a comprehensive strategy for nurturing post-event are better-able to tie revenue to events," says Ardath Albee, CEO at Marketing Interactions.
Partner up. Partnerships and content marketing are among the best-performing post-event tactics. By pairing both channels, you can increase your reach, effectiveness and value to your leads. Identify a partner, develop an asset or webinar together focusing on key findings from your event, and leverage your new content and partnership to make a bigger, more meaningful impact.
You can download the full report here.