Live Events: Before, During, and After
Hosting or attending a live event to promote your MSP is a great way to get in front of your target audience. Whether you’re in-person or behind a computer screen, these events are a very powerful conversion tool that you should be taking advantage of.
This blog will cover everything that you need to know about live events, including the best live event types for MSPs.
What Types of B2B Live Events Are There?
There are three main categories of live events that you should be hosting or attending:
- Lunch & Learns - Lunch & Learns are a great way to meet prospects face-to-face to educate them about solutions to a pain point they are experiencing, while at the same time trying to sell services that can solve those pain points. Becoming personally acquainted with prospects while at the same time providing them with a free, no-obligation meal, is a great way to showcase that you care about their technology-related woes.
- Webinars - Webinars allow you to reach a larger number of people at once, with the added benefit to the client or prospect of not having to travel to learn more about what you do. Webinars can also be recorded and put on your website, creating a valuable resource to draw in and nurture prospects.
- Local Events - There are plenty of other local events that you can choose to participate in. It could be a trade show in your area. Or, maybe your local Chamber of Commerce is hosting some sort of event for small business owners. Keep an eye out for these types of events that you know your target audience will be attending.
The types of events that you choose to do and the frequency in which you do them will vary depending on your marketing goals and your budgetary constraints. There are also other types of live events that you may consider outside of this scope that aren’t as sales-related. For example, you may want to host a company picnic, or participate in a charity, volunteer, or fundraising event as a company. These are all great things to do! There are also other things that may occur ‘live’, but aren’t ones you can necessarily plan for. For example, a local news or radio station may choose to do an exposé on your company, or may ask you on to comment on some sort of local cybersecurity issue.
The B2B Live Event Process Stages
Stage 1: Before the Event
There is a LOT to do before the event happens. Specifically, you will have to plan out your event and create any event-related materials that you’ll need. Then, you will have to promote your event to encourage people to attend.
Make sure you allot for enough planning time in this process. You need enough time to promote this event, and you also don’t want to seem to be unprepared during the actual event!
After picking what type of event that you want to run or attend as a company, you’re going to have to carefully plan out each of the different aspects of your event, which will vary quite a bit depending on what type of event it is. Some things that you might want to consider when planning include:
- The topic(s) of discussion
- The method of your presentation
- Who will create your materials and who will present during the event itself
- The technology you will need for this event and your presentation
- The incentive that people have to attend your event (e.g., a promotion given to registrants and/or attendees, deliverables, company swag, etc.)
If this event is in-person, there may be some other additional considerations to make regarding the event. You might want to have some printouts to allow people to take notes, have some sort of brochure or handout for them to take away, there may be food considerations (especially if it’s a Lunch & Learn).
After planning this, you need to actually create your presentation and/or deliverables. You may put together a PowerPoint presentation, or write a script (verbatim or a general outline) for your presenter or presenters to use. You may also need to create or revise deliverables to give to attendees.
If you want people to attend your event, you have to make sure that they know about it. This is where marketing comes in. You’re going to need to create marketing materials to advertise your event.
Some good ways to promote an event include:
- Social media posts / advertisements
- Blog articles
- Newsletter articles or showcases
- Emails (if this event is for clients)
Keep in mind that the larger the event is, the more that you should do to promote it.
Stage 2: During the Event
It’s event time! Hopefully you’ve done enough to promote this event so that you’re able to reach your marketing goals. Here are some general tips to make sure things go smoothly:
- Be Ready for Issues - As much as we’d like every event to go smoothly, sometimes they don’t. It’s important to be prepared for issues that may arise due to weather or technology-related problems. When possible, test things out before the event occurs and have some sort of backup in place to help mitigate any issues. An event delay or reschedule is better than a cancellation!
- Take Pictures/Videos - If this event is an in-person event, you better take at least a couple of pictures! This is important for the ‘after the event’ stage of this process. You can also take video recordings that can be spliced together to really showcase what it was like at the event in question. Or, in the case of a webinar, you may choose to record the webinar to share with those who weren’t able to attend or just to put on your website to be an educational resource.
- Encourage Discussion - No matter what type of event it is, you need to try to encourage conversation in some shape or form. If you’re talking at those who attend your event the entire time, you’re going to lose people. At minimum, leave some time at the end of your presentation for questions, and try to encourage them.
We suggest tracking what people attend your event, or at least those who interact with you. For a lot of event types, we suggest requiring people to register. This allows you to collect contact information (an email) from those who intend to show up, making the follow-up process easier. If the event is one not being hosted by you, bring a sign-in or sign-up sheet with you instead.
Stage 3: After the Event
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean that you’re done. For a truly successful event, there are two more things that you need to do: follow up, and show off the event itself.
You should be reaching out to the people who attended your live event after it occurs. This is why it’s so important to collect contact information via a registration form or some type of ‘sign in’ form - you need a way to contact them! In this follow-up, thank them for attending your event and remind them of any special offers that they get since they attended your event.
It also doesn’t hurt to reach out to those who registered but didn’t attend your event if it was ‘registration only’. They registered, so they were likely interested in the topic(s) it was supposed to cover. Let them know that you’re sorry that you missed them, and tell them about future events that you have coming up. You can also point them to other resources that you have related to the topics that you covered. For example, if your event was about cybersecurity, you can point them to a cybersecurity blog or whitepaper on your website.
Showing it Off
Have a successful event? Let people know! Social media is a great place to showcase this. Share some pictures of the event itself and its attendees so that people who didn’t attend can see what they missed. If you decided to take videos and have the editing skills, put together a short video to really show it off! You could also write a blog about it, which you can then choose to share in your newsletter and through social media.
By showing off your event after it happens, you encourage people to attend the next event that you host or are a part of.
Get Ready For Your Next Live Event!
As you can imagine, it’s a lot of work to successfully plan for and promote an event. If you would like assistance in doing so, we can help. We have various kits available that you can use to run either a lunch and learn or a webinar.
...and more!These kits are equipped with a presentation, marketing materials, and more! Contact us to inquire about all of our options.