Happily Ever After: 5 Ways to Follow Up With Your Audience
Your event is completed and everything was a roaring success! Now that the dust has settled and your guests have returned home, what tools and tactics are you using to foster the relationships you built during the event? Staying connected with your guests is important, so here are some creative tips to help you stay front of mind after your next event.
Sending an actual piece of mail seems rather outdated and boring, especially with the direct link we have in our digital outlets. While email and social media may be the easiest way to stay in touch with your attendees, they might not always be the best. Sending a letter or handwritten note from time to time, can still be a very nice way to stay in touch.
When I receive a handwritten message of appreciation, it makes me feel extra special and shows me that the person who wrote it truly values me as a guest at their events. The handwritten method can take a lot of time, but if you have a small audience this is the way to go! If your audience is larger, you could still create a printed letter and add in a handwritten signature to provide a nice touch.
Following up with your audience through a phone call can be an excellent way to show appreciation and gain insight on your event. You always want to be polite and aware of the time you spend on the phone, but a brief call or message will provide a true human connection and show your guests that you value their attendance and participation.
Don’t use the call to make an ask of any kind and be sure to avoid spending the entire time talking about yourself. Use the call as a way to genuinely show gratitude to your guest and to listen to their feedback from the experience.
Follow up phone calls are very common in the world of fundraising, as they help encourage future donations and show appreciation. This same method can be valuable to event organizers and will encourage your guests to become repeat attendees.
Social media is one way in which you can stay in constant connection with your attendees. You can directly recognize your guests, post photos and share future event information.
Social media can help your event linger long after the last guest has departed. This continued buzz and enthusiasm will provide a wonderful opportunity to grow your future events.
Online chats are also a great way to engage socially. You can use a common hashtag to connect your conversation or host a hangout, if you have a smaller group. These online events could be conducted on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis.
Depending on your type of event, another idea that might work for you, is creating a Facebook group for your attendees to join. In these forums, guests can discuss what they took away from your event, what they might like to see at future events and it also provides them with an opportunity to interact with fellow attendees. In addition, it allows you to have a central location to reach former attendees for the next year or next event.
While social media has long been on the rise as a marketing and communication tool, email is still alive and well. Email is the number one direct channel in terms of daily use and consumer preference for both personal and marketing communications, with 91% of people checking their email on a daily basis*.
Your audience is expecting you to follow up through email and they also want to learn more about your future events in this format. The key is finding a unique way for your message to stand out and be opened by your attendees. Using creative subject lines and providing valuable content is a fantastic way to increase your open rates.
Email can be used long after your event and is the best way to keep your audience engaged and informed. Create a content calendar that spans throughout the year and utilize this to regularly communicate with your audience.
After your event has wrapped and you take the time to thank all of your guests, you may be looking for unique ways to keep them actively involved. Providing an opportunity for face-to-face meetings helps to foster the connections your group made onsite at your event.
Hosting follow up meetings is a good way to stay in touch and build long standing relationships with your audience. These smaller events could be local happy hours, lunch and learns or networking functions. Keeping your group connected in this fashion provides another opportunity to follow up with your audience.
No matter how you choose to follow up with your attendees, be sure to stay creative and active with your communications. Using a combination of the different methods above will provide a nice mix for your audience and not seem as overwhelming. As long as you show gratitude and provide value to your audience they will appreciate your efforts to stay connected.