“EG Tips” – Happily Ever After: 5 Ways to Follow Up With Your Audience

“EG Tips” – 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 in front of mind after your next event.

  1. Snail Mail

    Sending an actual piece of mail seems rather outdated and boring, especially with the direct link we have in our digital outlets.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.

  2. Telephone

    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.

  3. Social Media

    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.

  1. Email Marketing

    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.

  2. Additional Events

    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.

In Conclusion

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.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – The Biggest Threat to The Event Industry

“EG Tips” – The Biggest Threat to The Event Industry

Technology and political changes will shake up the event industry as we know it. Are you ready to embrace the change?

I am not sure if you noticed but there is a lot going on in the world. The last 6 months have been quite dramatic, scary and exciting at the same time. It seems we are going through one of those cycles of intense change that happen every 10 years.

  1. Security and Terrorism

    There is a very volatile situation involving security and terrorism related threats. I am not qualified to comment on any of that and I won’t. Looking at the facts of what has happened, events are increasingly exposed to such threat.
    Going over what has happened and revisit the facts is too painful. We know several events have been targeted. Lives have been taken away. Security at events is under scrutiny.
    It seems that most of these attacks want to strike wherever there is a gathering of people having fun, learning or simply enjoying life.

  2. Technology
  3. While we were growing tired of using hashtags on Twitter, a disruptive change happened on major social networks that impacts on the event industry.
    The live stream revolution is happening. What used to be written, is now live video. The social networks’ mantra ‘Tell us what’s up’ has been replaced by ‘Show us what’s up’.

  4. So What’s The Biggest Threat?

    The biggest threat at the moment for our industry, our event company, our job is how we react to these changes. There is no time to think whether a new tool is hype or not. We just need to embrace the change and understand what is happening.

  1. What Smart Eventprofs Do

    I am not saying you should start playing 90s retro games or lock down your event altogether because you read it in the news. What I am proposing here is that we get deep into understanding what is happening around us.
    Smart event professionals look into the recent terror events and understand what they can do to protect their event going forward. They start a conversation with local authorities to have a clear image of potential threats. They invest in extra security if they have established that there could be problems with their event.

    Smart event professionals understand why live streaming and augmented reality games are all of a sudden mainstream. They read about the dynamics motivating such a surge and then they make educated decisions about incorporating such technology in their event.
    I put together these two VERY different topics because they elicit similar reactions. Rejecting the likelihood of an attack at your event is very similar to rejecting technology driven change. Of course the results can be quite devastating in the former, but they are two sides of the same coin, rejection to change.

  2. No Excuses, Keep Up

    Change is around us and recently is happening faster than we’ve ever experienced. Developments are faster and we need to keep up. No excuses, you need to keep up. If you want to be a good event professional you need to keep up.

    Get the facts, read, think, strategize, protect your attendees, understand your attendees. Think how they are changing.

    There is no such thing as hype anymore, understand change and be ready. Your attendees will thank you for that.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – The Dry Hire Venue Guide

“EG Tips” – The Dry Hire Venue Guide

Although there are certainly many venues out there that can provide everything that an eventprof could need to cater for and invigorate guests there are also times when a higher level of flexibility and control is required. For such occasions, event planners can look to ‘dry hire’ a venue, which if planned carefully will offer the freedom they need to create a very special event.

“Choosing a venue is without a doubt a decision that can make or break your event” and this is especially true with dry hire venues, largely due to discrepancy between venues rules and assumptions that event planners can make. The purpose of this blog post is to give you some insight into this approach and to help you avoid finding yourself in a situation that will cost you lots to fix, or cause you unnecessary stress. Many of the points are also true of hiring a venue in general as well!

So What is a Dry Hire Venue?

When booking a venue, the term “Dry Hire” means that the client pays for the use of the venue space only, generally with food and beverage, furniture, staffing, audio-visual equipment, decorations and theme being organized externally by the client rather than the venue.
You might think of it as hiring the space as an empty shell, as opposed to using extras that are provided or recommended by the venue. Some venues are only available to dry hire, whereas others offer it as an option, or do not allow it at all.

Different venues will include different things (in-house furniture for example) and have different rules (some venues require that you hire their kitchen porters, as they know where everything goes), so it is important to understand this and know what to expect from your venue from the very beginning.

Serious problems can arise when event planners’ discover that their booked venue has restrictions that hinder their event, or unexpected costs that have not been budgeted for.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dry Hire

When faced with the choice of dry hiring a venue, it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of the approach:

Dry hire offers greater control but demands more responsibility

Obviously dry hire venues give event planners a higher level of control, making it a great option for highly personalized events such as weddings and product launches. Remember that with great power, comes great responsibility and the entire process of organizing the event will be down to you, with more work, potential problems and variables. People with little or no experience organizing events will need thorough planning and good project management skills to make the event a success.

Be aware of the fact that venues with a lot of character and built in decoration, such as historic buildings or museums, can be hard to theme without appearing tacky or excessive.

Dry hire offers a greater choice of suppliers but often with less experience working at the chosen venue

A large number of our dry hire enquiries stem from a desire to use specific caterers, such as those that have catered for family weddings or corporate events over a number of years, or to provide cuisine with cultural significance, in which case dry hire can be a great solution.

There are, however, benefits in using a venue’s regular suppliers (including in-house caterers) who are familiar with the layout, understand access restrictions and have handled any issues that may have arisen in the past. If you are not emotionally attached to a caterer then at least consider using the venue’s usual suppliers.

Dry hire can cost less… or more

One bonus of a dry hire venue is that the costs are often reduced, as simply paying for the venue without staff and catering reduces the overheads. Clients often consider this option if their team is able to cover certain duties themselves, or when the event does not require much catering, or when they have a good catering deal elsewhere.

Please note that this is not always the case, as some venues are in fact more expensive to dry hire. For example, some venues with in-house catering, may charge a significantly higher amount to dry hire, as the venue has to cover the lost revenue that would be gained from catering spend. You may need to negotiate hard, particularly if you are on a tight budget.

Dry Hire Pro Tips

If you decide that a dry hire venue is right for your event then here are a few useful points that we like to highlight to our clients:

  1. Have a Clear Vision for your Event

    From the very beginning, you should have a clear vision for your event and an understanding of the various elements involved, so that you can establish straight away whether the venue will be able to accommodate. If the venue has restrictions that may hinder your event, you need to find this out before you sign on the dotted line, as changing venue after that point can be very expensive.

  2. Carefully Discuss the Details with the Venue

    Once you know what you need, discuss everything in great detail with your preferred venue. I recommend meeting at the venue itself, walking through the space and detailing everything that you want to happen and who you want to do it, which will unearth any potential problems.

  3. Find Out Exactly What is Included
  4. Some venues will have a detailed document with dry hire FAQs and equipment lists, so ask for that first (if any venue-side event manages are reading this, it is a great idea and something that has saved me a huge amount of time in the long run).
    Specific things to check include:

    • Exactly which spaces and facilities are included
    • What furniture and equipment is included (don’t assume that the tables you see at your viewing
      are included as they may not be, or may even have been hired externally for another event that day!)
    • Who will supply linen, cutlery, service staff, kitchen porters?
    • What staff members will be included? Aside from catering staff think about cloakroom attendants,
      security, event managers, kitchen porters, cleaners…)
    • What kitchen space and equipment will be available?
  5. Introduce Everyone

    Most caterers and suppliers will have worked at a huge number of venues and will be able to iron out the details very quickly. If possible, take a representative from each of your suppliers to meet with the venue, as they will be able to ask questions specific to their needs and will often highlight issues that had not even considered, or taken for granted.

In Conclusion

Dry hiring a venue will often be the best choice for many events and the trick to getting it right, as with many things in the world of event planning, is communication. Understand and communicate the goals and vision for your event from the beginning with all parties involved and your event will be a success (without the stress!)

(Social Coup LLC)