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Engaging your Visitors through their Event Lifecycles

Have you noticed, in the past events that you organized or attended, that visitors not only come from all backgrounds, seniority, and industries, but they have diverse reasons for being there as well? The most commonly observed reasons from many events are:

  • Catching up with old colleagues and friends in the industry (“Missed you buddy!”)
  • Checking up on competitors to plan for the next course of action (“Wow, can I get all your brochures? And I ran out of my name cards…”)
  • Got an invite from your vendor, so why not skip the office for a while and grab that VIP lunch? (“Boss, I’m there to fact-find about the latest release of …….”)
  • Grabbing as many booth freebies to make the time spent worthwhile (Enough said)

The truth is, most event visitors are genuinely interested in discovering business opportunities during an event. But, why does it feel like you couldn’t connect with your audience to unearth such opportunities, and most leave the event without any meaningful conversations at your booth or with your sales teams? If you are the organizer or an exhibitor of the event, it is your job to make their time worthwhile by first getting clarity on their objectives, and adding value through clear, real-time communications of what they need to know, and where they can best achieve their objectives before, during, and after the event.

As event organizers, you feel disappointed when visitors disappear before the end of the event. It might have started with great energy from the great turnout, but petered out with troughs of them leaving before the event officially ended. To prevent that, you need to know what they want to get out of the event, and start engaging them throughout their ‘Event Lifecycle’.

Here are some questions for you to address while planning your visitor’s ‘Event Lifecycle’:

1. Gaining interest, refining visitor profiles

As you gather interest and sign-ups for your event via a 360 social media and web marketing strategy, are you starting to profile your visitors by their role in the organization, reason for attending, specific interests, and desired outcome?

This first step allows you to segment them into different buckets, some for logistical reasons, others for creating the perfect networking luncheon or party. The ‘Big Bang’ approach of inviting everyone denoted as VIP to the networking luncheon, without deep awareness of their overall intentions, will waste opportunities. So how do you excite them to reveal enough for you to build up their profiles, and allow you to decide who gets that special lunch?

2. Reminding them about what they are there for

Most visitors get lost or distracted during events, or spend too much time at one particular area and miss out on crucial sessions taking place elsewhere. Once you have profiled your them well, how do you get them them to participate in parts of the programme that are meaningful to them in order to elevate their personal experiences? Could you perhaps create incentives and set a reward system in place?

How can you squeeze the value that your esteemed speaker and guests bring to your event for as wide an audience as possible?

3. Post-event round-up and continued engagement

So you have spurred great insights and discussions from your visitors during the event, and it is time to ensure that they continue engaging your brand or your event – long after the event has ended. What are great KPIs to have to measure the success of your event, and how do you capture them? With the depth of understanding that you now have of your visitors, how often should you reach out to them and what type of content should you use?

Conclusion

I hope I have stirred up some thoughts around what type of thinking and planning is needed for your next event, and I am sure that many of you have been using web forms and email surveys to get some insights of your visitors. During the GEVME Xchange 2016, I will share what are some key drivers and communication means that will help you better understand your target audience, get their attention and responses quicker and more concise, and deliver the right messages to them, leading to an enhanced ‘Event Lifecycle’ that keeps the positive value generated in the event rolling into the next Event or programme that you planned for them.

Learn how you can excite, attract and engage your visitors today.

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