In terms of connecting with customers and getting to know them on a personal level, there’s no better platform than an in-person event.
But to maximize these opportunities, the focus must be on engagement above all else. Do you have a plan?
Tips for Increasing Engagement
Blogging, social media, advertisements, podcasts, email marketing — they all work. But when it comes to engagement with customers and connecting with your audience, nothing is more powerful than face-to-face interaction. You can build a stronger relationship with a customer in five minutes of direct interaction than you can with five years of online exposure.
Events — such as conferences, sales expos, and community involvement — provide excellent opportunities to connect. Here are some ways you can increase engagement with your customers:
Invest in Online Engagement
Engagement begins well before the event kicks off. You can use
social media, digital marketing, and other online platforms to interact with
your audience in the days and weeks leading up to the event. Here are some
- Launch an event hashtag that creates visibility and builds momentum for the event (and, more importantly, your brand’s presence at the event).
- Develop a series of blog posts that prepares
attendees for the event and helps them know what to expect.
- Incentivize people to attend the event by
launching a contest or drawing that incorporates both online and offline
Pre-event marketing is the bedrock of successful engagement with event attendees. Make sure you don’t skimp on this.
Create Opportunities for Conversation
If you have to start every point of engagement with an event attendee, you’ll quickly exhaust your resources. It’s helpful if you can use little magnets to draw people in and create opportunities for conversation.
Freebies and promotional items are great magnets. There’s something highly engaging about receiving a tangible item. Customers will flock to your booth when they see a giveaway. Plus, when the brand’s logo is included on the item, it bolsters the customer-brand relationship. Companies like Promotions Warehouse, which require no set-up fees, make the process of printing promotional items easy.
Your booth’s design is also important in this regard. A strategically located booth with compelling graphics and interactive elements (like video) will do wonders for your engagement. Don’t miss the chance to “set the table” by bringing people in.
Use a Mobile App
As easy and inexpensive as it is to create a mobile app these days, you might consider developing one for any events you host. They’re great for pushing out notifications, supplying attendees with content, and collecting information from leads.
If you’re going to take the time to develop a mobile app, make sure it’s compelling enough to encourage downloads. Try coordinating the app’s release with your pre-event online marketing. Offering discounts or exclusive content is usually a good way to encourage participation.
Use the Right Team Members
With events and trade shows, it’s imperative that you select the
right team members to represent your brand. And while sales skills and product
knowledge certainly matter, don’t underestimate the importance of choosing
people who have the right attitude.
“When selecting the right people to staff your booth and represent your company, it’s imperative to choose staff members that actually want to be there,” writes Scott Price, a trade show design expert. “Attendees will be able to tell in a nanosecond if someone from your team doesn’t want to be there, making the entire exchange forced and awkward. Picking your more enthusiastic and driven employees will set the tone and attitude of the exhibit.”
Your Brand’s Engagement
In a world of distractions — where people are exposed to thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis — trying to win people’s attention and seize their engagement is more challenging than most realize. But if you focus on earning the right to be heard, you’ll discover that it gets easier and easier to make the most of the opportunities you have.
Whether it’s a trade show event or a conference, honing your ability to engage customers at a meaningful level is a skill that will benefit your business (and career) for years to come.