In our digitally driven world, the human element of your brand can easily get lost. Which is why events can do wonders for your sales—because nothing can replace the rapport built by meeting face-to-face.
If you’ve never hosted an event, it can be daunting to manage all the logistics. But the effort is well worth the reward. Depending on your brand and positioning, you’ll benefit from a certain type of event more than others.
Here are three types of events that can boost sales for your brand.
1. User Conferences
As the name implies, this event gathers users of your product or service for a conference that’s centered on your offering or industry. Microsoft Ignite and Salesforce’s Dreamforce are top examples of this type of event.
Often, the goal of these events is to promote the sharing of best-practices among your users so that they can get the most out of your product. That deepens and solidifies your user’s relationship with both your brand and your product.
User conferences build trust and can have a significant impact on customer retention.
There are also other benefits. Chances are if user want to travel to your conference, your product is instrumental in their business or livelihood. You can not merely teach them how best to use what they’re already using but also upsell them on a higher-end product or service. You can also give them previews of your product road map.
Although the sales benefit can be well worth the effort of hosting a user conference, make sure it’s right for your company and that you’re ready to go all-in. You’ll only hurt your brand if you gather loyal customers only to disappoint them with a half-baked event.
Gauge your customer base to see whether they want an event and would benefit from in-person training and networking.
You don’t have to break the bank to put on a sales-boosting event. Lunch-and-learns are a simple opportunity to meet with prospects in a specific area or region.
Typically, these are hosted regularly, perhaps once a month, at your office or in other suitable meeting space. You provide lunch and bring in interested parties for a brief presentation, panel talk, or product demonstration.
Lunch-and-learns are great for newer brands, because nothing establishes trust and legitimacy better than in-person interactions.
Aside from the cost of food and meeting space, lunch-and-learns are low-cost events that can have a high impact in generating leads and building trust. Participants are easy to entice with a free lunch, and meeting with them face-to-face is a great way to build a relationship.
Hosting them regularly starts to build loyalty and a sense of community, which can then be grown and used to strengthen your sales funnel. You could use lunch-and-learns to demonstrate a new product, but be careful it doesn’t come across as a sales pitch. You want your attendees to learn something useful at these events, or you won’t build a community of repeat attendees.
Budget time for networking along with your learning session.
Tradeshows are excellent networking opportunities, whether you’re exhibiting or just attending. You can meet with qualified buyers, give in-person sales pitches, and demonstrate how your product stands out.
If you’re exhibiting, don’t be discouraged if you have a lot of interest but don’t close a lot of new deals. With the right strategy, the connections made at tradeshows can be nurtured and merged into your sales pipeline.
There’s also a third option, aside from attending or exhibiting at tradeshows: speaking. Reach out to the event organizers well in advance to see whether they have speaker opportunities. Sending a representative from your company to give a talk at a large tradeshow elevates your brand across the entire event. It gives you a chance to establish credibility and showcase your relevant experience, and an engaging presentation is sure to draw in interested customers.
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Whether large or small, a single meeting or a three-day conference, an event can be a goldmine of personable interaction with potential customers. It’s no wonder 41% of marketers say events are the most effective marketing channel, more than email marketing and digital advertising.
No matter how sophisticated your digital targeting and strategy, there’s no replacement for looking someone in the eyes and shaking their hand. There’s a reason why, on average, CMOs spend a quarter of their budget on events: They work.