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What We Learned While Marketing Our Cybersecurity Lunch and Learn

What We Learned While Marketing Our Cybersecurity Lunch and Learn

We recently ran a Lunch and Learn series talking to local businesses about essential cybersecurity protections and laws they needed to uphold. We learned quite a bit throughout this process—thanks in no small part to an obstacle that suddenly required us to make some significant changes in the middle of our series—and wanted to share what we learned here so you could take advantage of the lessons the next time you plan an event… or how we can help you directly.

Let’s take a little trip through the process to help put these challenges into perspective.

The Story Behind the Series

We wanted to address a few cybersecurity-focused topics, so tying them into a single series seemed a good plan. 

Our series was going to be about the threats that businesses in our service area are apt to face and how many companies would be accountable to different standards based on various regulations that laws, regulatory compliances, and even industry groups would place on them. Our original plan was to host a series of three separate seminars: one discussing the importance of cybersecurity, one concerning how important it is that they maintain their compliance, and one explicitly covering the requirements of the New York State SHIELD Act.

(Certain events required us to change these plans on the fly, but more on that later.)

Fortunately, our membership with our local chamber of commerce made hosting this series far simpler, as we could host it as a chamber-sponsored event, with the chamber announcing the series to other member organizations. As a result, we could access the chamber’s resources to market the event. 

We were even able to partner with a local bank (a fellow chamber member) and have them help sponsor part of the series and offset some of our costs. Considering that they had been dealing with phishing attacks, working with them to put on the first of our seminars—which covered phishing (as well as other threats)—seemed appropriate. It also helped that we know the folks at the bank personally, which just goes to show the value of personal relationships between businesses and their representatives.

This also allowed the bank to appear at one of our sessions to market themselves and what they could do for the businesses in attendance, making their involvement mutually beneficial.

As for the venue, we had already used the facility for other events and found it quite nice, and the team there was extremely helpful and accommodating. The availability of the space ultimately dictated our schedule, which was a crucial bit of data to have as we continued.

Marketing Our Event Series

Regarding these kinds of events, we’ve created a general plan that allows for a healthy preparation period before any marketing touches are made. While different circumstances will necessitate changes to this plan, we can easily help you customize it for your needs.  

First, we plan what these marketing touches should look like and when they should be activated, creating a calendar and scheduling our resources accordingly. Our writer is scheduled to compose the copy, our team reviews the copy, our designer is scheduled to make the final product look nice, and we account for production and distribution times throughout this process.

This ultimately helps us keep on track, ensuring that steps aren’t missed or things aren’t rushed.

We’d follow the same process for you, taking your given topic and designing marketing materials that hone in on the key points you plan to make. The idea is to give your audience a taste of the value they’ll receive and then deliver more than you promise during the event.

Fortunately, many of the deliverables we planned to distribute at each seminar were those we had already created. Each applied to the topics we’d cover, so having a library of valuable deliverables to draw from made that process far more straightforward.

We decided to use social media and email marketing to drum up interest, creating events on Facebook that could be used to help publicize each event in the series and keeping in touch with those whose interest we had attracted with regular emails.

It also didn’t hurt that we had initially planned these events to take place throughout October—Cybersecurity Awareness Month—and that the rest of our social media activity would help keep the importance of general security and compliance at the forefront of our audience’s mind. We spent the whole month sharing tips and best practices regarding cybersecurity in our blog and social media profiles, further reinforcing our authority as a trustworthy source of this crucial information.

You might like assistance creating social media that endorse your services while drumming up interest in them. In that case, we have an assortment of social media-centric services that will help you accomplish just that.

There Was Also the Event Planning Aspect to Keep in Mind

It’s important to remember that, in terms of a Lunch and Learn, you aren’t just hosting a seminar. We were effectively hosting a party, albeit one that talked about some troubling business statistics and important habits and behaviors to help counteract them.

Of course, a party isn’t a party without food—especially when that party is a Lunch and Learn. Fortunately, we have no shortage of delicious catering options around us, including a local eatery that has proven itself to be dedicated to our community—both in terms of supporting community events and serving delicious sandwiches. Plus, they were able to offer us better pricing than our other options and could provide our needed fares with a short turnaround time. Add some assorted chips, cookies, and beverages, and our menu was ready.

We also needed to keep in touch with our attendees, if only to keep them excited and looking forward to the event. Unfortunately, that proved not to be the only reason.

The Event Itself…and the Wrench Thrown in the Works

So, the presentation was ready, the food was ordered, and the RSVPs had répondez-ed. What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, one last-minute guest showed up: the COVID-19 virus, infecting the team member who was supposed to be the one making the presentation. 

Naturally, it would be irresponsible of us to hold the event with this crucial team member sharing essential information and infection.

We, in a word, scurried.

With three dates locked in, we could combine two of the three presentations and shift the event back—postponing the first session until the second was to be held, condensing the second and third into a single day.

Once this change was decided, we needed to alert our audience. To ensure the message got out there, we used every option we had. We made calls. We sent emails. We updated our website.

With that part seen to, we set our writer to work condensing the two of our presentations into one. Fortunately, our session about compliance paired very well with the session about a specific compliance requirement that our audience would be accountable for upholding, so that was a relatively simple adjustment.

You can trust our writing team to create content that precisely fits your needs and goals, working tirelessly to hit the right tone in your marketing materials, whether it’s some promotion for your next event or your blog, to share the value of your services overall.

All the other preparations we made helped make it relatively simple to host the event once our presenter had sufficiently recovered. Our team showed up a little early to ensure everything was set up for a successful presentation, that the food was picked up and arranged nicely, and that we had all our visual aids set up. All the deliverables we had selected to give our attendees were neatly and uniformly organized into folders.

Thanks to these preparations, our sessions were well-received by those who attended…as evidenced by the feedback sheets we asked our attendees to fill out.

How We Handled Our Post-Event Marketing

Of course, any good marketing event is just the start of good marketing efforts. First, we needed to check in with those who had attended each seminar and those who had planned to but didn’t. We sent thank you emails to the former group and “sorry we missed you” messages (with the deliverables mentioned above attached) to the latter.

Again, the key to marketing your services is to cement the value they offer in your target’s mind, so providing access to these deliverables will ultimately only help your efforts. If you lack deliverables for any of your services, we can help correct that, too, so make sure you contact us.

We also reinforced that we were interested in hosting additional events later on, planting the seed that there would be more value to be had in the future.

We then reviewed our registration lists, determining if those who came would be a good fit for further marketing efforts, like our newsletters, cybersecurity materials, and such, and adding them to any appropriate prospect mailing lists. Naturally, some of our attendees weren’t a great fit for our services, so they weren’t added to these lists, but we’re happy we were able to help educate some members of our community about these issues.

What We Would (and Will) Do Differently Next Time

Moving forward, we plan to run more of these kinds of events online to build an audience that would potentially be interested in attending live events and the virtual ones we put on.

We Can Help Your MSP Market Its Events

When it comes to promoting and running an event of your own, it can be a lot. Just think about it… not only are you trying to drum up interest in your lunch and learn or webinar, but you’ll also be busy putting it together.

Hopefully, it’s clear how our various services can help you accomplish all this and more. We’ll handle the marketing aspect of your event (or even your MSP’s services as a whole) so you can focus on making your efforts as impactful and successful as possible.

Give us a call at 888-546-4384 to learn more.

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