7 Tips for Hosting a Last-Minute Post-Conference Event - Talkdesk - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Major conferences come to town each year (especially this town!). Your company doesn’t need to sponsor, have a booth or speak at every single event. Why not opt for hosting a post-conference event near the venue? You’ll get the same chance to network at a reduced price.
If you’re thinking you should have sponsored an event, hosted a dinner, or generally been more involved in an upcoming conference, there is still time! Getting into the conference game can be effective, affordable and fast if you make the right decisions. And, frankly, offering an engagement that doesn’t include a banner and some one-pagers is a really good idea.
Here are a few tips from our experience at SaaStr Annual 2016:
Five Days Out:
Talkdesk hosted happy hour for SaaStr Annual 2016. At first, we planned to hold it near our office to give ourselves an easy commute and easy communication with the venue. But it turned out that the venue we’d chosen was 27 minutes away from the conference itself. Driving. No good.
Pro tip #1: Host your event near the larger conference venue. Give your attendees and out-of-town guests an easy walk to your event.
Four Days Out:
Our talented team quickly sourced a buddy’s dive bar (pool table included) and we moved the event four days before the conference. We notified all the major communication sources such as the event hosts and the event app managers. CTAs went out in all public posts and emails. And, marketing and sales made nice to tag team the promotion of the last minute event.
Pro tip #2: Collaborate with Sales. No, really. They are the “cool kids,” so take advantage. Sales reps are just outspoken enough to boost your field marketing efforts and galvanize possible attendees into action simply by casually mentioning the event in conversation with prospects and posting on LinkedIn. Our event blog post was shared more than 100 times in 24 hours due to our joint efforts.
Three Days Out:
On the weekend, we knew we wouldn’t have the attention of our customers and prospects. In anticipation of that reality, we’d queued up a few tweets; tweets that included the same traction-bearing hashtag #SaaStrAnnual used by the main conference. Twitter is the obvious choice for evangelizing field events, but many companies overlook its usefulness. We didn’t.
Pro tip #3: Use scheduling tools to link to your event with a bitly url and post pertinent articles that demonstrate your company’s clout and thought leadership. Posts that offer more than just an “Attend CTA” will gain more attention. Your company will also continue to grow its reputation for being dependable content producers rather than spammers.
Two Days Out:
We made it very clear to ourselves and our team who we were hoping to attract at our event. To encourage team members to speak to their networks, we prepared a two-sentence summary to explain the advantages of the event. Our description focused on offering a simple experience, one that no other event sponsor would be offering. We chose not to focus on attracting Talkdesk customers. Instead, we targeted prospects, like-minded businesses and our best and brightest team members.
Pro tip #4: Value your team. Invite colleagues because you’d like to see them and because you trust that. they will bring friends and evangelize your company. Team members can be your best assets, validating both your field marketing efforts and the quality of your company’s product all due to their presence at your event.
We encouraged our team to emphasize that this event would be an opportunity to relax and step away from the constant intake of information and SDR pitches. Our event was a chance for guests to breathe, reflect on their long day and chat with peers about their experiences.
Pro tip #5: Give conference attendees a chance to get away from sales pitches. Our event was meant for guests to drink, hangout, and play pool with their peers. We chose a divebar to get away from the stress of hipster mixology bars and California tapas. And while they relaxed, our guests began to develop a positive correlation between our band and their experience.
One Day Out:
At this point, our guest list is growing rapidly. We put out the usual fires with late print jobs and rushed the materials and then checked in with sales. They were pushing the event as hard as we were and it was paying off. Sales was excited to start organic conversations with prospects and those of us in marketing were excited for a successful event turnout.
Pro tip #6: Don’t stress about your attendance numbers. Like all after-conference events, conference attendees move from one event to the next because they’re all afraid of missing the best one. Attendees will saunter over to your local event because they’re curious and don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to meet new connections.
We were fortunate that even in SaaStr’s second year of major conferences, our company had a few SaaStr veterans. We sent those veterans to SaaStr all day. They shook hands with colleagues, met new SaaStr sponsors, visited the lounges and generally spent a very busy day networking. All the while, they are inviting people to meet them at a casual hosted event right after the conference.
Pro tip #7: We all seek out our colleagues at conferences and it’s nearly impossible to both find them and have a solid conversation with them. That’s OK. Go with it. Use your own event as a chance to see old friends while driving attendance to your hosted bar around the corner. Your colleagues will jump at an opportunity to catch up with you, meet your colleagues, eat and drink.
Ultimately, our event led to excellent prospects, several verbal confirmations, and positive feedback. Guests were heard saying “I’ve had some of the best highest quality conversations here tonight. So much more than I was hoping to get out of this event.” We hosted a curated list of invited guests, participated in the SaaStr community, and promoted our company by valuing the relationships we have.
Be sure to invite us to your next event! We’ll see you around the customer success conference circuit. Maybe we can buy you a beer.
Publish Date: February 16, 2016 5:00 AM
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