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Translating networking events into business

This article is part of
Guide to Networking Events

The event itself should clearly identify potential opportunities that your audience will relate to, says Mark Hutchinson, head of marketing at the Personal Finance Society.

Mr Hutchinson says clear opportunities should be coupled with specific calls to action to make sure they consider the implications for their specific circumstances.

He says you should have an effective follow-up process to make it easy for those proactively seeking further information to do so.

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For the others, Mr Hutchinson says you should extend the reach of the event and thank them for attending; ask for feedback; direct them to a website with follow-up content; send a related newsletter, etc.

If the subtleties don’t work, then Mr Hutchinson says frankness might jolt – a follow-up call might ask specifically if they would like to discuss how your firm can help them achieve the XY or Z.

Mr Hutchinson says another option might be to invite local journalists and offer to write a follow-up article on one of the topics presented or conduct a radio interview.

While this might not be targeted to your specific target segments, Mr Hutchinson says it might nevertheless offer independent endorsement of your firm’s expertise to help reassure those that did attend your event.

Asking attendees to highlight in their feedback the key things they have taken from the event that they will implement is good practice, says Jay Naylor, marketing manager of Personal Touch Financial Services.

Seeing a wide variety of strong ideas and learning points can highlight that it was a successful event, she adds.

Ms Naylor says it is also good practice to understand key topics of the event so you can integrate it in to an event programme or send out to delegates post event.

She says: “Post event marketing is as important as prior to the event.”

The one thing we all come away from an event with is a business card, says Victor Sacks, IFA of Ringrose Grimsley Ltd.

Eventually Mr Sacks says you have enough to make some abstract art module. Perhaps he says send a social media connection request or email to say thanks for coming after the event.

In this age of tweeting Mr Sacks says it is rare to receive follow-up telephone calls these days, so he suggests emailing then calling your delegates to arrange a meeting.

Mr Sacks says: “You may not be transacting together but it could be the start of a mutual referral process. Keep a log as to who comes along. If they keep coming, ask them to bring someone else.

“If they stop coming, give them a call. We all know what to do. It is just that we don’t do it often enough.”