Much has been written over the past few years about Customer Relationship Management or CRM—the tactic of engaging and cultivating your prospects with the goal of nurturing them into loyal, long-term customers and advocates for your brand. One of the proven ways of initially engaging prospective customers is to invite them to special events and activities, such as group tours, sponsored lunches and presentations by subject experts on various aspects of senior living and caregiving.
Special events create opportunities for personalized “touches” with your customers and also afford them the chance to experience your staff, your facility and your business philosophy which can be a springboard to winning their trust and confidence and positioning yourself as their first choice community – if not right now, then when the time is right. As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” Therefore, it’s worth considering how your community can optimize such opportunities for personal engagement.
A recent article by Patrick Cava, Five Ways to Boost Attendee Engagement at Events, July 3, 2013
http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/11117/five-ways-to-boost-attendee-engagement-at-events#ixzz2YC1ysVm2, offers some useful tips for getting the most out of your events.
Drivers of Attendee Engagement: Involvement, Commitment, and Satisfaction
As the author says, “Real-world attendee engagement is crucial to event success and events must deliver the benefits that participants want. Attendee engagement is directly related to the level of commitment, involvement, and satisfaction that an attendee experiences regarding an event.”
Tips for achieving the goal of engagement:
Take a personal approach
Use the online registration process to gather attendees’ preferences and then personalize the event experience for each attendee – from using their name in an email to adjusting event offerings to match topics that interest attendees most, to delivering relevant content via a participant’s preferred communication platform.
Use social media
Social media initiatives, such as Facebook, have been shown to increase brand awareness, event attendance, media coverage and sales. Social marketing can create and enrich relationships between clients and prospects, leading to greater attendee engagement. A recent study highlighted in Exhibitor Magazine found that 38% of marketers today use social media for event marketing.
Capitalize on common interest communities
Community-focused opportunities can keep attendees more engaged. Event marketers can utilize participants’ common interests to develop event-dedicated sites, e.g. a Caregivers Forum Facebook page.
An ever-increasing number of adult children are using smartphones and tablets. Mobile-friendly event apps can provide event reminders, updates and helpful links. During events, attendees can become further engaged by participating in real-time surveys or accessing the content being discussed.
Value relates to an attendee’s desired outcome for an event. Event marketers can use technology to customize information and activities based on individual participant’s expressed needs, i.e. requesting additional information on amenities or arranging a personal lunch with an aging parent at the facility.
Implications for Senior Living Providers
Increasing the level of engagement at your community’s special events requires recognition of the importance of the attendee’s involvement, commitment and satisfaction. This requires extra effort, but is essential to getting the most out of your event. If your community requires additional support to optimize the return on your special events and activities, be sure to look for an experienced organization that operates exclusively in the senior living marketplace and has the specialized expertise and experience in senior living marketing required to succeed.