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Best Practices

Best Practices

Small Events, Big Impact: Tips for Better Small Events

9 Mar 2023 | Heather Pryor | 4 minutes

Events are powerful. Compared to other marketing tactics like emails, even the smallest events can provide a much more immersive, memorable experience. 

Small events, such as networking lunches, specialized webinars, and user conferences around a particular topic, also lend themselves especially well to building trust and relationships. Right now, with many marketing organizations tightening their budgets, they can rely on small events to drive pipeline, upsells, and customer advocacy in a cost-effective, efficient way. Whether you need to reach new audiences or maintain existing ones, small events are ideal for engaging contacts throughout the entire customer lifecycle. 

Here are some tips for driving an even bigger impact with your small events:

Align Marketing and Event Data 

One of the greatest advantages of hosting small events is that they tend to feel like a natural continuation of your company’s communications. By integrating your event data into your customer journey, you can determine which clients and prospects are most likely to make a purchase, join other events, or engage with other forms of content. 

Begin by determining which data points you want to pull into your event platform and which you want to push to your CRM and MAP. Understanding what you want to gather and share will help you decide which field mappings to set up for your integrations. Some of the most common data points to include in your mapping include check-in status, number of sessions attended, session duration, and survey responses.

Wherever possible, set up one-to-one field mapping to standardize data management across your organization’s tech stack. For example, you directly might map fields such as account name, first name, last name, email address, contact type, or engagement score. One-to-one mappings ensure all data shared is comprehensible to stakeholders.  

Switch Up Your Delivery Format

Small events’ data can tell you a lot about your audiences’ needs and desires. Consider what you’ve learned from your past events. For example, how many of your registrants showed up to your in-person small events? If you are struggling to get attendees to show up in person, it might be more affordable to host a webinar or virtual meeting. By hosting virtual events, you also open the door to attendees from all over the world. 

On the other hand, if your online attendees show low engagement, it might be worth it to host your next event in person. In general, attendees want to interact at events. Even during challenging times, organizations find the budget to invest in networking opportunities. Small in-person events tend to have a very strong impact because they draw attendees out from of their typical work atmosphere and bring them into a highly interactive environment. 

Increase the Number of Interactive Elements

As you are planning your small events, ask yourself, “Could the same content be delivered in an email or newsletter?” If your answer is yes, you need to add interaction. Consider gamifying your event experience. In general, the more touchpoints you offer attendees, the more data you’ll gather. Gamifying attendee actions is an excellent way to boost the value of your event for both attendees and stakeholders.

In addition to gamification, think about the layout of your small events. Are there comfortable spaces for attendees to network, both in person or virtually? If you have sponsors, are their booths enticing? Offer attendee surveys before your event to discern what attendees hope to experience at your event. 

Connect Event Experiences

Many event planners have come to understand that one event experience should naturally lead to the next. Small events are ideal drivers for conference attendance. They can be used to generate excitement, set expectations, and build a following for your larger events. Likewise, small events can serve as a great follow-up to a large annual conference or convention. Leverage qualitative and quantitative event data to discern what content is of most interest to your audience.  

Our data suggests that, on average, 73% of those who register for a small event actually attend. Identifying those who did not show up and providing them with content after the event can be just as important as connecting experiences for those who did attend. Record small sessions and offer them on demand to those who missed out to extend the impact of your content. 
Our own events team puts these suggestions into practice each year as they plan our annual INSIGHT event program. Visit RainFocus On Demand to see how our small events fit into our overall event strategy.