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Conducting Effective Events

Marketing events are some of the primary ways to get new leads in to the funnel, warm up existing leads, and create stickiness with your current customers. Whether you're looking at hosting a webinar, lunch and learn, and trade show, make sure you have the details straight.

Video Transcript

" lunch and learns are a major part of our marketing effort for current customers and for prospects alike. Now, when you're figuring out what you want to cover at a lunch and learn, do not think about your typical offering, people do not want to hear about how their backup disaster recovery device works. They're paying you to do that for them. Instead, think of how they think about their network. While we understand their network to be all of their computers, their phones, their virtualized system, any data in the cloud, they think of their network as the system in front of them, and how they interact with it on a day to day basis. So make sure you pick a topic that appeals to them. Some of our most successful topics include things like intro to Microsoft Excel, Facebook, for business, social media, overall, for business, intro to office, Outlook, PowerPoint, how to wow your CEO with your next presentation. Those types of topics that can tie to technology, but don't necessarily have to do with our offering overall. When you decide to host a lunch and learn, the next thing you have to do is recruit successfully for your lunch and learn. First, start your planning six to eight weeks out, you want to make sure you have plenty of time to recruit plenty of time to develop the curriculum, plenty of time to plan your lunch. When it comes to the recruiting aspect, we always recommend seed your event with a few of your favorite clients. This does a couple things. One, it guarantees you're going to have people there. If you already have your current clients RSVP, you have no reason not to have that event. So about five of your current customers is a really good starting point. After you get those people figured out, then it's time to recruit outside that base. Think about two to three times the number of people you want to show up. You want to be marketing to at least that many people and make sure you're marketing in multiple manners. Make sure you're pushing things out via email, phone, follow up, even mail follow up to make some of these things happen. We also tend to make our events open to the public. So we'll do public advertising, whether that's Facebook advertising, or even newspaper advertising still works here in Bakersfield. The good thing about that type of advertising, all of a sudden, it makes us eligible for some vendor marketing funds MDF funds, oftentimes, all you have to do is make your event public to be able to have some of these vendors pay for half the cost of the event. So those are things that are really important in terms of the development. When it comes time to planning the meal itself, we keep it really simple. We go by sandwich trace a cookie tray, and chips, it is not critical to serve a five star lunch here, it is critical to give a five star training and an adequate enough lunch that people won't want to stop at McDonald's on the way home. We have people brave about our sandwiches simply because they didn't have to plan the lunch, they didn't have to pack the lunch. And they were able to eat while learning. So we kept that curriculum tight in that schedule tight for them too. We also always charge for our lunch and learns we charge $10 for our current clients $25 for our prospects, that drastically will reduce your no show right. prior to doing that we had about a 50% no show rate after that maybe one or two wouldn't show up. Now, here's the kicker, we didn't actually charge them until the arrived. But it still generated enough credibility that people wanted to come and knew that the curriculum was worth hearing. The curriculum has to be purely educational, this is not a time to do a pitch about your company services. All of that happens in the follow up. Now follow up to lunch and learns should be really, really easy. You have a legitimate reason to follow up. You can thank them for attending. You can ask them what topics they want to hear more about. You can ask them to fill out a survey about the event that they just went to. All of these ways are really valid follow up. And it becomes even more valid. If you have your sales people involved in the event itself. Maybe they're the speakers, or maybe they're the ones walking in and out of the group making sure everybody is understanding what's going on. We like to have our lunch and learns on a regular recurring schedule, maybe it's monthly, maybe it's quarterly, maybe it's bi monthly. It depends on what you feel comfortable doing. But make sure they're regular enough that you can market the next lunch and learn during your current lunch and learn. Maybe you don't feel like you have a venue that's appropriate for lunch and learns you can't bring everybody into your house. Pick a partner have an event with them, maybe the chamber is a really good place, maybe a current client is a really good place. And if you have to, maybe you can go with a vendor. Now, here's some things to remember, if we go with the vendor, the vendor does not get to drive the curriculum, they do not get to be the ones that are speaking for you. This needs to be all about you, they can participate, they can bring the swag, they can bring a giveaway, but it is not about them. It's about you. So make sure you plan it in that way. If you still don't feel comfortable with something in a large setting, think about something you could do in a smaller setting. Maybe you're just inviting five to 10 people to lunch and you go out to a restaurant and you're just talking with them. You're not preparing a full presentation, you're just giving them a lay of the land. People have done this with security recently. They're just becoming the news source about the latest security hack the latest cyber security breach, and people keep coming back to learn more. The biggest thing to remember these lunch and learns are not direct. I'm going to close the first appointment tomorrow type opportunities. They generate credibility to the point where when they need you, they will remember who you are and they already know that you're educated "