Pulling off the perfect event is hard! So much to do, to prep, to set in motion. But you did it! Congrats! The event is over and it went great! If you think the work is over, you are sadly mistaken. Sorry to break the news, but event follow up is just as important as all the prep you did for the event itself.
Keeping the connection alive by following up with attendees after the event is over is important both for future event attendance and as part of your overall marketing goals. With a great event management tool at your disposal, such as event registration software, accomplishing the task of follow up is easy!
Below I’ve expanded on a few easy ways to connect with your guests after your event. In each section, I include HOW to use this method to communicate when following up with attendees and WHY it’s important for you.
Following Up With Attendees With Thank You Notes
Do NOT underestimate the power of a simple “thank you”. I know it sounds crazy, but consider a handwritten note as a way to say thanks after an event. This might not be feasible depending on the size of your event, but it’s a classy touch and one that is incredibly meaningful, more so than an email.
If a handwritten note doesn’t make sense, do send a card via snail mail or an email that is personalized. I’m not sure people who attend events necessarily expect a thank you, but this makes it all the more imperative that you send one! It will help you stand out from other events they may have attended and feel as though their presence was truly appreciated and noted.
Consider also a phone call, again if this is feasible given your staff and attendee pool. Especially if your event raised money in some way, a phone call follow up just to say ‘thanks’ can net you another donation and also doubles as a way to say thanks and show appreciation for the donation their attendance brought.
A phone call also opens the conversation, versus a card which is one sided. You can receive feedback, get to know your guests more and use that to build upon and improve your next event.
Following Up With Attendees via Email Newsletters and Email Marketing
This is the obvious one but I have to mention it for the sake of being thorough.
I think it is a safe assumption to say your attendees are expecting some sort of post-event communication via email at the very least. Thanks for attending, follow up on SM for future event info, etc. Don’t disappoint!
I’ve written a few times, here, here and here, about great email marketing tips so I won’t belabor the point here, but make sure you use this tool to thank your guests, and send out great content email marketing emails often enough to keep attendees in the loop with your event schedule and how they can be involved with you in the future – whether through donations, attending another event, sharing your event with their networks, etc.
The goal of email marketing isn’t just to convert your past attendees into repeat attendees, but to create great content that will stand out and be shared! Regularly communicate with attendees via email to keep them up to date and engaged! With a great event management software these tasks are easy to do!
Following Up With Attendees Using Social Media
You knew this was coming, right? Social media is a great way to get the word out about your event, to market to new audiences and just in general is a great place to be on. But don’t forget it’s power in following up with attendees AFTER your event is over and done with.
So many event professionals focus on using social media for the before, but fail to realize it’s a great place to keep the conversation going, reconnect with past attendees, and make your attendees repeat attenders for your future events.
During and after an event, posting photos is a great way to connect and engage with attendees. Tag them in photos and give shout outs to them on social media. You can do a #throwbackthursday every week with photos from past events, retagging those attendees.
It’s a great way to promote new events coming up (For example: Hey check out this event we did last year at the same time! Can’t wait for the event coming up in 2 weeks!)
You can also use social media to host conversations with attendees, past and future! Many people do Twitter chats or Twitter parties, using a common hashtag and an agreed upon time to have a live chat.
This helps create buzz about your event and gets the conversation started before it happens or continues the conversation after the event while also encouraging attendees to stay involved, active and connected with other attendees.
You can also use Facebook groups to connect. Each event can have it’s own group where attendees can join and continue discussing, networking, connecting, etc and it’s a great way for continued marketing but also to give more enriching opportunities to attendees.
The biggest takeaway from this idea of post event follow up is a. you should be doing it, b. there are many ways you can achieve it and c. you should probably consider more than 1 way to follow up, but do at least 1 if that’s all you can manage.
People like to be appreciated, thanked and like to connect with others, both in person at events and online thereafter. To really have a successful event, you want your attendees to enjoy themselves during and would love to ride the wave of awesomeness from your event well past the time your actual event ends.
This isn’t only great business for you to get repeat attendance, but helps to build your own brand and what you’re all about. You want people to say, hey that was a great event and I had even more excellent networking opportunities, or learned tons more after the event when the event coordinators facilitated so many ways to stay connected and keep in touch.
Good luck planning your event and don’t forget to say thanks and connect with attendees once it’s over!