The hype for event managers doesn’t stop when a tradeshow, conference, or meetup ends. Following Ebbinghaus’ “forgetting curve”, attendees are likely to forget 67% of event contents after only a day and 75% after a week. By encouraging post-event engagements, event managers can build long-lasting relationships and significantly boost one of their primary KPIs.
Responding to the 2022 B2B Events Industry Outlook by Emerald, event managers, organisers, and participants all said they value the quality of contacts and level of engagement beyond actual events. Similarly, a recent Bizzabo study has shown that 45% of event organisers prioritise attendee engagement above attendance (38%) and budgets (35%).
To effectively engage their audiences pre- and post-event, organisations should apply conversational strategies throughout the participants’ journey. This article considers how this can be successfully done using different communication channels.
Embracing the Conversational Approach
The conversational approach has gained in significance over the past few years, with online users becoming more critical of how brands engage them. They now expect immediate responses and personalised updates via a range of communication channels, forcing brands to reconsider their communication strategies.
The rise of AI chatbots is one of the most important trends that sparked the development of conversational approaches. However, it’s only one of the channels that help enable instant and personalised interactions. Messaging apps, SMS, RCS, and Push notifications are integral to delivering exceptional customer experiences, as shown in a 2022 survey by Verint. The report revealed that business leaders expect the following three technological advancements to have a major impact on CX:
- 55% personalisation technology
- 37% messaging channels (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.)
- 25% bots and automation
These three technologies represent the foundation of conversational approaches that are being adopted across departments and industry verticals. Event managers can use it to drive more registrations, ensure memorable experiences, increase net promoter scores, and build communities.
Uncovering the Moments of Truth
One of the essential steps to building an effective event engagement strategy is participant experience (customer journey) mapping. By defining attendee profiles, behaviours, and engagement channels, event managers can identify potential conversion points and develop messages most likely to encourage user actions and interactions at each. Liveto offers a great template to help you develop your attendee journey.
This graphic neatly illustrates the intricate pattern of communications that lead a prospect to register and attend an event. Conversational strategies focus on delivering relevant messages at each of these stages and via the most appropriate channel.
For example, you can send Push notifications, SMS or Viber and WhatsApp messages to inform existing contacts of ongoing ticket sales or offer them an early bird promo code. Once they register, you can use these channels to send venue maps, links, and guides to keep them informed and engaged. It is also essential to streamline their registration, booking, and payment experiences by sending transactional communications via their preferred channel. In addition to this, an AI chatbot on your website can be crucial to providing urgent info and assistance with common queries without overwhelming your team. After the event, each of these channels can be a handy way to collect attendee feedback through quick surveys or rating prompts.
Streamlining Information Access
While still effectively used for customer service, traditional channels such as phone and email have dropped in popularity over the past few years. Salesforce State of Service 2022 reveals that Communities, Mobile Apps, and Text/SMS have recorded the biggest usage growth among businesses with 30%, 14%, and 6% respective increases compared to 2020.
As online users grow accustomed to the immediacy of these channels, they increasingly expect to receive all relevant updates this way. For event managers, this means that transactional messages such as order and purchase confirmations, cancellations, urgent notifications, and other essential information should be communicated via the channel where the participant is most likely to see it instantly.
However, rather than assuming their preferences, you should ask them about this on a registration form or by sending a quick survey. Based on this you can craft your messaging strategies and ensure best visibility. With a customer engagement platform such as GMS’ Business Communication Suite, you can easily send bulk messages across different channels. The solution will also enable you to set up fallback options in case the recipient’s primary channel is unavailable, which helps minimise missed communications.
For most online users, personalisation has become an essence of a great CX. 59% of consumers think brands should use the data they collect on them to provide personalised experiences. Furthermore, 62% of them value receiving a personalised experience for services when they need them on the channel they want.
By tailoring offers and communications to different attendee segments, event managers can improve attendee experiences and boost results. This requires them to carefully plan their messages, offers, and content based on their consumers’ individual needs and goals. For example, you can use location data to send info on the upcoming local event to the audience in that area or provide useful info on how to get to the venue for those arriving from afar. RCS and messaging apps allow you to provide this in an eye-catchy format to ensure visibility and drive actions with links and CTAs. Furthermore, you can tailor your offer to attendees who previously joined one of your events by providing a loyalty discount or personalised complimentary services.
Once the event ends and post-event campaigns are underway, event managers are faced with the task of evaluating their efforts. Some of the most common KPIs include attendance rates or ticket sales, level of engagement, quality of experiences, and lead/opportunity count. Most of these metrics can hardly be observed in isolation, which is why it is important to have access to comprehensive analytics on all your organisational or promotional activities.
When it comes to evaluating engagements, you can use a cross-channel engagement platform to look at the number of messages sent and responded to, as well as consider top channels and content. If you’re using AI chatbots on your website and other platforms, the percentage of inquiries handled can be taken as a success metric that helped reduce the overall event budget (i.e., there was no need to hire additional staff to measure attendee requests).
Attendees’ desire to continue building the relationship with your business and return to your future events is another important success metric to consider in event evaluation. Regardless of the format, scale or purpose, building relationships with the people who joined the event can deliver positive long-term business results.
One of the ways to ensure you keep your attendees connected beyond events is to create Viber or WhatsApp communities where you can share interesting and relevant updates, topics, or resources. This is an excellent way to foster many-to-many relationships by gathering all attendees to a single place to discuss their shared interests and challenges your business can help solve.
Memorable event experiences are tailored by the right approach at every point of the participants’ journey. As a strategy focused on providing multi-layered experiences across different stages of engagement, a conversational approach can dramatically boost event results. By adopting the strategies outlined above, you can successfully meet your KPIs and build long-term relationships.