The most exciting, exhilarating and exhausting efforts of our job come down to the “big day.” We spend the entire year prepping and promoting our biggest events and then it’s over, but not really! As many of you wrap up your summer marketing and start planning for next year, or maybe your event is just around the corner, we want you to be prepared for the “downtime” afterwards. There is an opportunity to gain returning and loyal customers the moment they leave your grounds. Here are our recommendations for engaging and retaining your customers online after your big day has passed!
- Say “THANK YOU!” It’s as simple as that. Acknowledge, appreciate and express your gratitude to your sponsors, volunteers, vendors and especially your attendees the moment your event ends. An email, social media post and graphic on your homepage are the easiest ways to get this message across, so make a plan to execute this in advance. For bonus points, use BufferApp for your social media, an email marketing system and a scheduling feature on your website to get things done long before your event arrives, thus keeping your organization organized post-event.
- Update your website. Be sure to take down any info that is no longer relevant, such as last year’s dates or ticket sales to an event that is no longer available. You’ll also want to make your event results easily accessible on your homepage–like rodeo, pageant and cook-off winners.
- Send a recap to your email list. Let folks know about the thrilling things that happened throughout the course of your event with images, links to your website, posted articles and social media posts (again, these can all be created ahead of time). This will increase your customers’ desire to attend next year and support the idea that your event is the best thing to do in town!
- Add event photos to a gallery on your website. This is the best way to get people coming back to your website and clicking after the fact! You can even advertise this on social media so that you can convert your social audience into a website audience. Want more bonus points? Create a post-event contest for “BEST EVENT PICTURE” to motivate people to share and be a part of next year’s marketing efforts!
- Announce any records broken. Posting milestones like attendance, donations or revenue increased lets your participants know the impact they had on your successes this year, and motivates them to contribute again next year (hello, sponsors!).
- Publish next year’s dates – This is the easiest way to ingrain in your customers’ minds when they’ll get the opportunity to attend your awesome event again. Maybe the dates for next year haven’t been determined yet, but you can still let folks know when you’ll be announcing that–which keeps them coming back to you for more information. Most importantly, be sure that these dates go in the header of your website so that they’re on EVERY page, and be sure to update all of your social media.
- Start planning for next year – Don’t worry, this sounds harder than it is. Start filling in an Editorial Calendar for how you’ll promote yourself and stay relevant year-round (if you’re not already an all year event center). What’s one of the best ways to stay relevant year-round? “Be bigger than yourself!” Here at Saffire, we use that phrase often because we really believe that showing your support for your community, promoting and participating in other events is the easiest way to gain traction in your area when your event is not the main focus.
Your event has the potential to be “out of sight out of mind” after your last day, so don’t let that happen! Be relevant and inviting online so that people continue to come to you as their source of entertainment.