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Your B2B Marketing Event Requires Prompt Follow-up

Mar 17, 2008
You're knackered after putting on a marketing event, and when you get back to the office, you're met with a deluge of backlogged work. Without a post-show plan in place, the task of responding to event attendees to thank them can take the back seat. But smart, prompt follow-up after a Webinar or other event can really continue the positive effect of the event. Research shows that over 80% of attendees will wait for the organizer to initiate the next contact after the event.

Effective post-event communications can take many forms:

1) Letter or e-mail. After spending a bunch of money on getting a lead out to your event, don't simply send out a generic e-mail which fails to personally address each of these valuable contacts. The message should synch with the content of the event, and if the event disseminated info about a new service, this is a great opportunity to recap the outline. This is also a great chance to request feedback.

2) Postage-paid reply mail. These mail pieces make it simple for attendees to give you information about their particular interests and purchasing time frame.

3) Collaterals. Offer to send a free newsletter to attendees while at the event. If an attendee indicates interest in something particular, send them a brochure.

4) Ad specialty. Including an item such as a fridge magnet or highlighter can help ensure that your name and contact info stay in the attendees' awareness.

5) Business card. Make it easy for prospects to find your contact info by including a business card whenever possible.

Also contact those who did not show up at the event. If they sent in an RSVP, but there was an empty seat, don't simply remove them from your communications. These are leads who signed on with interest in your product or service, and unforeseeable circumstances may have kept them from making it to your event. In this case, it's a good idea to refer a web address where they can catch the archived event proceedings.

Choose a method of communication which works for both your company and for your prospects. Many event organizers prefer e-mail for communicating with attendees, but despite the benefits, e-mail lacks the 'oomph' of a full-color brochure or print piece. By using a combination of e-mail and print, you can cover your bases by offering something for immediate contact as well as something for them to show the boss. The phone is a great follow-up method as well, particularly with your hottest prospects. Often, attendees will indicate their preferred method of contact.

Regardless of which methods you use, event follow-up should be conducted immediately after the event. In fact, prompt contact can really only be orchestrated before the event begins, integrated as part of the entire event strategy and plan. Make sure your materials are all printed, correct, and ready to go. Event follow-up isn't always an easy task, but with the right foresight it can really help increase the value of your events by giving your prospects the chance to communicate at the later parts of the purchasing cycle, which could ultimately lead to more sales.
About the Author
M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America's leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and an expert on sales leads.
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