#1 List your goals:
With all the different technology that is available today it is almost like you only need a team of one to run your event.
With social media automation to email marketing automation to seamless registration sync into your mobile app it seems that if you take just enough time to plan everything, you could pull off an event all by yourself… Okay, so you couldn’t pull off a 3,000 person event by yourself but all those tools would make the process a little easier.
The important thing is to know that the tools are not only tools, but solutions.
The problem is that most people seem to just scratch the surface with these technologies and never see them as an aid to help in their strategy.
There is a difference between adding social media automation into your social media plan and using it as a means to create a tighter knit community online. Automation does not mean that you immediately relinquish ownership to your real-time social media or marketing communication rather that you now have the time to better establish a relationship with your customers, clients and community. That means that it becomes part of your strategy.
When it comes to events, automation can be a great solution for communicating with your attendees year round. The tricky part is that you need to decide how you are going to weave this new process into your everyday ecosystem.
I Love When a Plan Comes Together
The key to adding automation into your marketing or communication strategy for your event is finding a way to work in a combined effort with your new solutions rather than using them as one off tools. In order to do this you need to have a plan in place.
What do you want your new automation tool to solve? You are obviously looking into these solutions for a reason, so write down your goals to see if it the end the money was worth the investment.
#2 What to automate: Just because you can pre schedule things does not mean that everything needs to be. Pin point what would be worth your time to schedule in advance. Some ideas would be event speaker content, event promotion, webinars, blog posts, etc. These are things that you know are going to happen in advance and unlikely to change. Take the time a month or two months before to work out a schedule for social media and emails on the subjects.
#3 Real-time communication: Keep what matters. Since you won’t be automating everything, have a list ahead of time of what you will always be communicating about in real-time. This could be company news, investments, trending topics, product updates, customer feedback etc. Think of things that don’t have a prescheduled start or end time and you need to be able to be a little more flexible when speaking about it.
#4 Find THE tool(s): When looking for a solution to add to your already existing ecosystem, you need to make sure that it works well with everything else. The reason you start to use technology is to make your life easier. Don’t bring a new tool on board if it is just going to make things complicated. Make sure that all of your platforms work in harmony.
With a Little Help from my (Automation) Friend
Once you have your plan in place, it is time to get back to the big matter at hand. The whole reason that these tools were created was to make your life easier.
Tools like sprout social, Social Dynamite, Silverpop, Marketo and more were developed to allow you to gain time back on tasks and increase your efficiency in your overall marketing and communication efforts. As was stated previously, most people only scratch the surface with these tools by implementing them and forgetting about them.
These are not just tools! They are your solution to gaining more time for human interaction! Take these steps to allow automation to breed human connection:
#1. When tweets are scheduled, emails pre-made, and press releases are created don’t forget to actually take the time to monitor them. Yes you planned this a month in advanced, that doesn’t mean that people are not going to have questions or maybe that things have changed since then.
Keep an eye out for chatter around your communication. Also on what is currently going on in your industry. Maybe the keynote speaker at an event had to cancel, but the email you schedule a month ago mentions his name – make sure you update this! You can never create and forget.
#2. Take time to actively start communicating with your clients, audience or attendees. The reason a lot of people have a problem with automation is that is removes the social aspect and real-time communication. That is not really the case, people just don’t know what to do after it.
Once you determined what you will be automating you now have time to focus your efforts elsewhere. Maybe you wanted to get more active in LinkedIn groups, but never had the time with all your daily social posts. Now you can spend a half hour a day getting involved in conversations and building your community. Use this as a time to start engaging and getting active. That is how you will become a leader or influencer.
#3. Take the time to make things personal. Once you have sent out your email marketing, start to monitor the open rates, clicks, etc. Maybe you found that a few people are actively engaging with your content, signing up for events, requesting demos, doing whatever CTAs you have in your email – that is your chance to reach out.
Automation is just the first step, the second is to build that relationship. Send out a more personalized email next time around. People like to feel special and like they matter. They are most apt to pay attention to an email from someone they know, rather than a corporation. So once you make the first touch point, reach back out and show them that there is a face behind the email!
Automation and communication can be a tricky thing to master especially when it comes to events. The important thing is to find what works for you and your organization. Realize that just because everything can be automated, doesn’t mean it has to be. Remember that automation leaves more time for real-time engagement.
Finally, never schedule and forget about your content. Always monitor what you send out, look at reports and see how you can better serve your audience next time.