Get in the driver’s seat: Driving success with events
Just because your firm exists online doesn’t mean you have to neglect your brick and mortar potential. Events held in real time, in real places, can also be a great asset for your firm. They’re an excuse loosen your tie or kick off your heels at work (not entirely, as you are still the host and this is a professional event) – but they’re also assets for gathering leads, building connections and growing relationships.
Webinars are also a middle ground to consider. They’re like little online events that your clients can attend, but in cyberspace. Each type of event has its perks, but there’s something that is certainly true for both of them: you can use them to drive major results back into your firm.
How does it happen?
A well-planned event or webinar can essentially work for you on its own. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to put in some elbow grease to make it all happen. It pays to put in this work. The more leads you generate via your event, the more profitable it will be.
Invite the right people
Sure, your event could be open to everyone. But making it more specific is a far more fruitful approach. Invite those people that you know will find your event topic relevant and will gain benefit from coming. Not only will they grow their own knowledge in a topic of interest (to them personally, professionally or to their business situation), but they will associate it with you, as the expert.
By all means, make your event inclusive, but remember it’s an investment in your business development and should be treated as such. Asking each guest to bring a friend along is one approach to get more like minded guests attending. Your current clients will develop a stronger relationship with your firm and anyone they bring counts as a bridge built.
Do your homework
After you know who will be in attendance, make sure that you do an adequate amount of research to find out about them. Look at their LinkedIn and website profiles — who are they? What do they do? What accomplishments are they proud of? What is the focus of their business and how long has it been open? This enables you to quickly build rapport upon meeting them, and build trust and loyalty between the client and the firm.
Remind them to attend
Don’t send just one email to invite them to attend your event. Send multiple emails – an invitation, a reminder, a last chance, a ‘tomorrow’, a ‘registrations close, contact us for our next event’. Include event information in your newsletter, create a text alert program and promote it through your social channels. The point is, it’s okay to be slightly annoying when it comes to event reminders, as it is time and date specific. The more people that know and the more you remind them, the greater attendance will be.
This applies to webinars and in-person events. No one wants to show up to a webinar and then learn absolutely nothing from it. Nor do they want to attend a webinar or event that is not relevant to them – you’re wasting their time. Even if your webinar isn’t strictly informative, the opinions or discussions that it contains have to be relevant and valuable. Don’t regurgitate information already on your website. Give those who attend something new instead.
No one should walk out of your event empty-handed — or, in the case of a webinar, close that browser tab without a further takeaway. This can be a leaflet, a coupon code, a link to your free ebook…this creates tangible value, which is psychologically important. People remember tangible things before they remember an experience when it comes to intrinsic value.
Finally, make sure that you give every guest or attendee a reason to get back in touch with you. The following day, send a ‘Thanks for coming’ email and ask for feedback. You may also like to send a summary of learnings. The ball is officially in your court, so follow up a week later personally. Ask if they have any questions, if they have a problem of relevance, make an offer for a consultation – use your business development skills to convert to new business. This builds trust, shows continued interest and can help to generate more leads.
Events are an asset, but only when done correctly. There’s no use in pouring effort into an event or webinar that isn’t profitable for your firm. Drive results, drive profitability — that’s all there is to it.