We all know the saying: “a little gratitude goes a long way,” but have you thought to employ it with your attendees? You can win big with attendees and encourage them to return in the future by simply saying ‘thank you’ for coming and contributing to your event.
Ready to win some brownie points? Try these creative ways to say “thank you."
1– How you say “Thank You”
The first way to say thank you is to actually say “Thank you!” This might seem obvious, however, how you say it is what matters most to your audience. Are your attendees YouTube fanatics? Then create a fun video thanking them for all the ways in which they contributed to make the event successful. If your attendee group is small, maybe hand-written notes would be a good approach. People don’t get many of those from organizations these days! A letter may be a great, personalized way to thank them and leave a lasting impression. However you say it, make sure you say it in a way in which they are most likely to receive the message and remember it.
Everyone loves a good giveaway, but when giving away prizes to a select few in your audience, inevitably, the majority of your attendees will feel left out. The solution? Offer prizes large and small so everyone walks away feeling appreciated. For instance, you might be giving away one big trip to the Alps. After the drawing, inform the rest of the audience that you didn’t want them to feel left out, so you have Yeti tumblers for everyone to keep their drinks cold (or hot!) even if they’re not in the Alps. Your attendees won’t forget your generosity and every time they look at their tumbler they’ll think, “Maybe at next year’s event I’ll win the trip” which subtly reminds them of your event and encourages them to come back next year.
3 – Give them a Bonus Experience
A bonus experience could be a night at Universal Studios or a special concert with an artist that resonates with your audience or even a micro-event based on interest areas of your audience like how to brew your own beer or cook like Bobby Flay. It’s important when you introduce the bonus experience to communicate to the audience that this is your special “thank you” to them.
4 – VIP Treatment
Have an awesome keynote coming to your event? Or a panel of experts your attendees would love to have one on one time with? Create a VIP Pass for your veteran attendees to thank them for coming consistently for 5, 10 or even 15 years in a row! Give them special access to your speakers, a lounge to themselves with food and beverage, a special host-city excursion and a way to remember their VIP experience (think photos with the keynotes and on their city excursion). Make sure you promote the VIP Pass to other attendees so they can see how you reward repeat visitors. They’ll be encouraged to shoot for the same milestones!
5 – Surprise!
Don’t underestimate the power of a surprise thank you. People won’t forget being surprised and will be buzzing about it for weeks following the event. A surprise could be a celebrity appearance, a special food experience (perhaps related to the host city), or free merchandise (like free copies of books written by guest speakers). Whatever you surprise your attendees with, be sure to build enthusiasm and an atmosphere before your ‘big reveal’. Get them engaged and expecting something before you announce your surprise ‘thank you’ treat. Communicate about what you gave away both during and after the event to attendees and non-attendees alike.
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About the Author
Kate Dodd is the Vice-President of Marketing for Expo Logic, an experienced event marketer and thought-leader for the event industry.