You can help attain success for your business-to-business event by using these helpful tips. As I’ve worked with many B2B marketing businesses of all sizes in promotion, and planned and promoted workshops, webinars, and other events, I know what makes an anticipated event into a smashing success and what could cause it to crash and burn. Consider these helpful hints when organizing an event, as not to learn the hard way.
Whatever sort of events you intend to organize, the promotional text – and the tone and style of the writing, is what will drive sign-ups. If there’s no good marketing copywriter on staff, take on a freelancer. Search the Web for phrases like ‘direct marketing writer’ or ‘freelance writer.’ Investing in an effective writer will certainly pay for itself through better attendance numbers. Consider the following:
The following types of ideas won’t work:
* Failing to understand who your target audience is, and the problems that they want to solve. People will be disinterested in promo text that reads like a commercial and fails to address them properly.
* Thinking that the audience already understands the reason for participating in the event. Copy which is devoid of explanation won’t supply enough reason to go.
* Errors in grammar or spelling or broken links in announcements. One group I know of mailed out a costly four-color mail-out but didn’t list the date of the event. Yet another forgot the phone number to call, and another led people to a web page which didn’t exist. You get the idea.
What Works Well?
* Create an exciting feel to your event with an engaging headline such as, “How to Avoid Five Common Errors that can Cost Big Dollars,” or “Building the Right Supply Chain – How to Do it Right.”
* Put your message in longform. People want many reasons to allocate their time, interest and money into an event. Be sure that the message goes into detail about the benefit to attendees. Still, it should be skimmable for those who want to cut right to the chase, using subheaders, attractive fonts and call-out boxes.
* Pitch the event instead of the business. Your intention is to market your product or service, but if you want a larger group of people attending, concentrate on the benefit of the specific event. Tell them the take-home benefits right up front, such as materials to be distributed, information they will receive or a checklist of the agenda.
* Offer completion certificates so professional and technical people can receive credits for continuing education. This is another good reason to attend the event, particularly for CPAs, lawyers, and the like.
* Promo text must include correct info about the date, time, cost, location, registration info and contact information. This is imperative.
Begin promotions with plenty of time before the date of the event. Book the execs, managers and technical people well in advance, before they’re committed to other obligations. Often, relying on a single form of communication won’t make it possible to get through to the audience. Try multiple concurrent methods to reach a larger potential audience. Timing is critical. Promoting too far out in advance, or at the eleventh hour can both be disastrous. Do promote plenty of time in advance and send out reminders to prospective guests as the event date nears. Response is lower if your send-out pieces appear to be too formal or can’t fit enough of the relevant information on them.
Integrated marketing approaches that include post, email, phone marketing outreach and a website work well, as does reaching the intended audience with multiple promo messages. Three is the number of contact instances which seems to work best. The first instance can be a ‘save the date’ type message far in advance, the second sent a couple of weeks before the event, and the third a final opportunity or reminder. Purchasing ads in electronic newsletters that your potential customers subscribe to and putting event info on online calendars can be helpful. If the budget allows, the last stage of contact can be done by telephone for a more personal touch. Last minute reminders to registered attendees are great, and can even turn them around at the last moment by providing the logistical info needed to make it to the event.
Keep Your Audience’s Schedule in Mind
For best success at your event, plan around your type of audience. C-level execs’ time is limited and usually they’ll be unable to go to an all-day event. However, techie types seeking great amounts of detail are more likely to. Events held on Mondays or Fridays can expect lower attendance. ‘Executive Breakfasts’ or webinars can be good for getting the attention of time-sensitive exec schedules, and half or full day learning luncheon conferences for tech and admin types.
Location is Key
Like in any business matter, the location for your workshop or webinar event is of utmost importance. If your people are driving around in an unfamiliar area during a busy time, it will all only annoy them or provide a last-minute excuse for not attending at all. The same is holds true for sending them off to a distant location over an hour from where they are located. Venues which are difficult to get to don’t work. Failing to provide simple, easily-followed directions doesn’t either. Don’t underestimate the importance of easy parking at the event. If the budget allows, prepayment of the attendee’s parking is a good idea.
Using your own business meeting areas or a customer’s facilities works well, as does a hall or conference area at a hotel. Often these locations are accessible from the freeway. Drive the given directions yourself; it’s the only way to know for sure that they work well and are correct. Upon arrival, pay close mind to the parking situation, and anticipate what the area will be like on the day and time that the event will take place. Maps and best route directions are appreciated by your attendees.
There’s also the possibility of streaming your event electronically to your audience. Web seminars, or webinars – whatever you call them, are virtual-type events which take as much preparation and promotion as a live event, but have additional barriers and considerations to keep in mind. Using low-budget technology which hasn’t been properly test-run could fail during a time-sensitive event, a situation nearly as bad as simply failing to do a successful trial and being unable to host the live event at all. If the audio is bad quality, the attendees may simply break off the call. Most people will only give one hour of their attention to an event in this format. By avoiding a monotonous lecture throughout you’ll have a better chance of keeping the listeners engaged throughout the full sixty minutes. Often an engaging forty-five minute lecture, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A is a workable format.
Events on the computer work best if scheduled sometime between ten in the morning and three in the afternoon, in the attendee’s time zone. A trial run can work as a great confidence builder, reducing the negative effects of technical stress from the live event. Attendees could possibly be away from their desks at the correct time to phone in. Sending supporting materials in advance will help your audience have downloaded materials available for them at their discretion. It’s also a great idea to archive the event to make the proceedings available to those who showed interest but had a time conflict with the event schedule. At the end of the day, events are an excellent way to gather leads and develop winning sales relationships with your customers. Ensure the success of your event by taking care to plan and promote it correctly.