When planning an event for your organization or business, it’s important to understand the audience and attendees you’re targeting. The best way to do this is by using a customer relationship manager (CRM).
What is a CRM?
A CRM manages all of your relationships with customers and prospective customers. It tracks communications, interactions, and past involvement with your organization.
So, how can you leverage this effectively when it comes to planning an event?
We’ve compiled the following ways you can leverage your CRM and make your event a success.
- Deciding what information to collect.
- Segmenting your audience.
- Combining your CRM with marketing automation.
- Tracking all activities.
- Following up with attendees.
Your event planning process should incorporate as much data as you can gather, but it needs to be the right data, too. Read on to learn how to effectively leverage yours!
1. Decide what information you need
Before you get into event invitations and other forms of outreach, make sure your CRM data is cleaned up and organized. Part of doing this, aside from using deduplication tools and other resources, means understanding what data you actually need.
If you’re already using a CRM at your organization or business, make sure you’ve captured, and continue to capture, the right data. You probably already have profiles created for your customers and supporters, but are you capturing too much (or too little) information?
Make sure you include data such as:
- Biographical data. This includes your customer’s full name, prefix, birthdate, and gender.
- Contact information. Capture phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, social media information, and workplace contact information.
- Any history with your organization or business. This includes donations, volunteer history, purchases, marketing data, and events they’ve attended.
Sometimes you’ll need more than this, however. Let’s say you’re organizing a golf tournament. You may be inviting corporate partners or important customers as a way to thank them for supporting you. Determine their interests and business needs and record this in your CRM so you can build your relationships with them and create loyalty.
Keeping this information updated and accurate will help you understand who to invite to your event and how to reach out to them. Focusing on key information will make it easy to keep your records organized and pinpoint exactly the data you need.
2. Segment your audience
Once you’ve cleaned up the data in your CRM, you’ll want to start determining how to leverage this information in terms of your event. What kind of event are you hosting? Who would be interested in attending? What are the benefits of attending?
For this reason, it’s important to invite individuals to your event who are likely to want to attend. You can figure this out by segmenting your audience.
Segmenting your audience is easy with a CRM; simply split the profiles in your database into groups based on certain criteria to ensure they receive relevant communication from you.
- Field information. What job titles, departments, or industries are likely to want to attend your event?
- Your target audience. Are you looking for new customers, prospective customers, donors, or another grouping? Determine your target audience so you know who to reach out to.
- Geographical locations. Target people who live near the location where your event will occur.
Segmenting your audience will ensure your outreach goes to the appropriate recipients. Your CRM should offer capabilities to easily segment your customer or supporter profiles, so be sure to invest in the right solution that offers the features you need.
3. Combine your CRM with marketing automation
After you’ve segmented the profiles in your CRM, you’ll need to focus on outreach for your event. One of the most effective ways to do this is by combining your CRM with a marketing automation platform.
For example, if you’re a nonprofit organization taking part in event fundraising, using automation tools can help you reach out to donors, advocates, peer-to-peer fundraising ambassadors, and volunteers alike!
Here’s how you can leverage your CRM with marketing automation:
- Preferred communication channels. Determine which marketing channels (email, social media, direct mail, etc.) will be most effective based on individual preferences in your CRM profiles.
- Segmented outreach. Customize each message to each segment you’ve selected. This way, each message will be relevant to its recipient. When your CRM and marketing automation tools work together, you can streamline this entire process and easily send out effective invitations.
- Email lists. Anyone who has ever registered on your website or through other databases can be imported into your CRM and contacted through your marketing platform. Be sure to gather a comprehensive list of customers or supporters.
If you want to improve your email marketing and other types of outreach, be sure to look into tools that work together, including a CRM and marketing automation platform. This way, you’ll have the contact information and other data you need and you’ll be able to easily reach the individuals and segmented groups you’ve selected.
4. Track your activities
As you continue your planning process, tracking all activities related to your audience, registrations, donations, and other metrics should be a top priority. Your CRM will help you do just that.
Data that you can track includes:
- Registration. Track all event recruitment activities and their respective results within each customer profile. This includes direct mail, phone calls, voicemails, etc.
- Donations. If you’re accepting donations for your event, make sure your CRM integrates with your fundraising software so you can track these donations and add or update profiles in your database. For example, if you’re running a silent auction as part of your event, you’ll want to track item donations and monetary donations from your supporters. Then, you’ll have their information readily available for next time.
- Attendance. Track attendance numbers and trends, as well as attendee engagement, within your CRM. These valuable insights can help improve your event and provide helpful suggestions for how to improve your next event even more.
- Sponsorships. If you’re looking to secure a sponsorship for your event, you can track its progress in your CRM, as well. Craft your sponsorship outreach and track the results as they come in.
Leveraging this type of data through your CRM can help you make the most of your upcoming event. By understanding how best to contact your prospective attendees, tracking the results, and using the data to improve your future events, you’ll come out with a solid planning process.
5. Follow up with attendees.
Even after you’ve planned and executed your event, your CRM is still a valuable resource for future events you’ll be planning. Use the information in your CRM to reach out and continue building relationships with your attendees.
What is the best way to do this?
You can leverage your CRM to create a follow-up plan, which includes:
- Following up with those who have received event invitations or requested more information. By tracking each stage of your event recruitment process, including formal invites, you can effectively follow up with individuals and provide more information, or remind them to register.
- Following up with event guests to thank them for attending. Showing appreciation goes a long way toward cultivating relationships. Use your CRM and marketing platform to reach out to each and every person who attended your event to say thank you. Check out some unique ways to thank your attendees here.
- Sending out surveys. Send surveys to those who attended your event using the data in your CRM and solicit feedback about their experience. This is also a great way to learn how you can improve your next one.
Your event doesn’t end after it has been planned and completed. The planning process for your next event will always be on deck, which means you should be leveraging the data in your CRM for the next time around. Be sure to follow up with your guests, thank them for their attendance, and send out surveys to determine where your event excelled and where it can improve.
Your event planning process doesn’t have to cause headache. By leveraging your CRM and managing all of your important data from one place, you’ll be able to run a smooth event and keep track of all the individuals and partners who helped make it happen. Be sure to determine what information you need, segment your audience, and track sufficient metrics so you can host the best event possible. Good luck!