In this first article, we explore the Planning Stage. When executing an event registration strategy, there is quite a bit more groundwork to be laid than first meets the eye. It's kind of like making a film. The audience sees the final product without fully grasping how much is really involved behind-the-scenes: the work, man-power, ingenuity, outlining, the careful planning of everything right down to the voice inflection used in the sales presentation.
The real meat of the process in is in the later stages (stay tuned for the rest of the series), and the Planning Stage essentially just becomes a checklist. The very first thing you need to do is answer these tough questions:
- Who will manage the various aspects of the event?
- Will you do it yourself or outsource event marketing?
- What are the primary objectives of the event (qualitative and quantitative)?
- Who exactly are the targets?
- Which marketing messages are most effective?
- What combination of e-mail marketing and telemarketing will be used to increase event attendance?
- Where will the B2B prospect list come from?
- Who will be responsible for the follow-through?
- How will you track and measure the follow-through?
Some other things on the to-do list in the Planning Stage:
- Develop overall campaign timeline. We recommend one week for planning, and two weeks for promotion and event registration.
- Build out scripting. Make sure to include (a) value statement of event, (b) qualification questions, and (c) market intelligence
- Leverage existing content to build out e-mail marketing invite. In other words, use your best copy and your best collateral.
- If you are going to use an internal lead generator to register attendees, train them on the nuances of the practice. If you don't know the nuances, our blog entry, 10 Ways to Increase Event Attendance at your Lunch & Learn or Seminar, is a good start.
- Develop the budget. Be sure to track key metrics after the event against your budget, like cost-per-attendee, and cost-per-opportunity.
- Select venue and negotiate contract including food, space, and service fees. Don't cheap out on the venue or food.
- Manage online registration confirmation & logistics communication to attendees. Be sure to include specifics that will make for a smoother prospect experience: directions, location, parking.
- Create post-meeting survey and method of deployment. E-mail is obviously the cheapest and easiest method of deployment. The advice here is to use the survey as a means of (1) grading the effectiveness of the presentation/presenter(s), and (2) discovering how much of a prospect the respondants are by asking solution-related questions.
Go to the next article in the series: The 4 Stages to Successful Event Marketing: Mini-Seminar Promoting
There are certainly merits to organizing a marketing event internally, but be sure to consider the possibility that you can save time/money by outsourcing the function. Download our Event Marketing checklist so you don't forget anything fundamental and critical in planning for your next sales event: