Who doesn’t love a party? Well that’s exactly what your clients are thinking too. Remember, the goal of an event isn’t to give out free booze or food, but to ultimately drive sales. So how do you plan on doing this? With a strategy of course! Ultimately, what is your overall goal of this event? Are you looking to: add prospects to your email database, close deals, create public awareness, or release new product information? Each of these different goals have their own set of challenges. This boils down to different types of events. Events are broken down into a few different types:
- Community or Charitable
- Local or Networking Event
- Tradeshow or Expo
- Internal Events
Ok, so now the question is which event do I attend? The answer is all of them! Each event has a different marketing goal. Take Community or charitable events. You’re probably not going to have systems on display or a live demo of the latest VSaaS solution. These types of events play off of your history and your heritage. Show people that you are an intricate part of the community and that you have been around for x number of years and you are not going anywhere. Plus this is a great time to give back to the community or get recognition for supporting your favorite charity.
Local or networking events are generally a step above community type events. For the most part this is not the place for a hard sell. This is a place for building relationships and for informing others what you do so people start getting excited about what your solution can do for their business. Bring tons of business cards and be ready to take notes so that you can follow up on the next business day. You may not close anything, but you will get a buzz generated.
Tradeshows and expos are for two things: qualifying leads and selling. You need to have a call to action at your booth; a reason for people to stop by and listen to you. This is also a great place to gather a ton of leads. From the traditional business card in fish bowl to a digital lead scanner that scans attendees badge information. Be sure to have a reason for people to stop by and inquire about you (a give-a-way of some sorts) and a show special to get those who are ready to pull the trigger that night. From demos to booth babes, there are lots of different ways to bring people to your booth, just be sure to clear it with the event hosting company first.
Internal events are probably one of my personal favorites! Just like the holidays, when someone gets a new house, you can be sure Thanksgiving is going to be held there. This gives them an opportunity to show off their new place. Well, you can do the same thing! How about a client appreciation luncheon or BBQ? How about a lunch and learn at your facility open to the general public. By bringing them into your house, this gives your sales team the home field advantage, and who doesn’t want that?
Events can and should be your bread and butter for your marketing efforts, but just throwing money at an event without a strategy isn’t going to do anything for you. See what your budget is and what events you can attend. If you’re not sure, feel free to do a little recon and go to the event just as a regular attendee. Scope it out and see if it’s a fit. When you get back from the tradeshow, be sure you have a plan of attack ready to go for all those leads and be sure your track is ready to put into ConnectWise!