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When Does Your Program or Event Really End?

Posted on Thu, January 1,2015 @ 15:28 PM


Your last presenter signs off, attendees head for the exits, staff packs up whatever needs to be packed, and another conference – or training program or cooking camp or other event – is in the books.

Aside from a few participants’ comments in passing and additional feedback via surveys or evaluations, customer interaction and your opportunity to influence them could end as they leave the room.

It doesn’t have to. And in most cases, it shouldn’t.

There are numerous means to connect with your customers post-event, and just as many benefits of doing so – most notably, retaining them.

At the conclusion of a training program, for instance, consider sending participants a certificate, a synopsis of the materials covered, or links to additional, relevant resources. Tabulate the responses to surveys or evaluations and let them know the results and (if appropriate) how you intend to act upon the findings. Quiz them on the material covered. Post a follow-up article on your website or blog, and encourage them to read it and comment. Send them a thank you, and invite them to the next relevant workshop. And cross-pollinate all of this with your social media platforms, if applicable.

Aside from demonstrating that you go above and beyond for your customer, such extended contact is an essential means of helping training program participants retain the subject matter.

Annual conferences or meetings offer their own opportunities. Post photos and videos of the event on your website, and share the link(s) with participants. Do the same with the keynote address, other relevant presentations, and the details and rationale behind any important decisions made at the event. Again, blogging about the conference or meeting can continue the conversation and provide important feedback.

Some organizations do an excellent job of planning such post-event activities as a means to keep customers engaged, continue adding value and prime them, if you will, for the next sales opportunity. Some even use a step-by-step roll-out of follow-up initiatives, so as not to overwhelm participants with one flood of information, but rather to keep them interested one piece at a time.

A staggered roll-out might include a pre-planned, post-event message (a thank you, a reiteration of the event’s theme or central message, a discount offer for a future event, etc.) sent out immediately after the event, followed by weekly links to the types of information suggested above.

Too often, program providers put a lot into planning an event yet still start from scratch trying to attract registrants when the next cycle rolls around.  A post-event engagement plan can help you bridge the gap between events, add value to your offerings and keep your registration list full.

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