Forget loyalty. In today’s world of burgeoning choices, you can no longer depend on your regulars to keep on coming back just because, well, that’s what they’ve always done. Your competitors—who, let’s face it, probably also offer educational and entertaining speakers, and fun networking opportunities, and new business opportunities—are just a click away.
How can you keep—or win back—your key clients, be they sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, or members? Professional speaker David Avrin, CSP, author of Visibility Marketing and It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You!, shared some strategies during a session at Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress, held June 2–5 in Indianapolis. Among them:
• Don’t just create events—create experiences. “Experiences are remembered,” he said. “Your clients won’t ask you for a great customer experience, but that’s what they really want, not just a great transaction.” And if someone comes up to you and says they just had a great experience, ask them to repeat it so you can record and share it.
• Visibility wins. “Your greatest challenge isn’t your competitors, it’s anonymity.” When a client does or says something favorable toward your event, reward them for it with something more memorable than a Starbucks gift card. Instead of sending the usual holiday greeting card—which he said should have the tagline of “When you care enough to send the very least”—send a hand-written note, he said. Look for opportunities to stand out from the competition and remind them why they want to do business with you specifically.
• Be strategic about social media. First, make sure you’re findable on sites like YouTube, which he said is the second most-used search engine after Google. And don’t sell on social media—share. “If you want people to be interested, be interesting,” he said.