A conference organizer's job doesn't end when their conference does; several tasks need to be performed as soon as a conference occurs to make sure you're organized and have your data ready for your future conference, but also to maintain the rapport you've worked so hard to build with your attendees, service providers, and stakeholders. Read the following tips to learn more about what you should do after a conference.
1. Reach out to say thank you
Following up with your participants is very important, especially if you plan on organizing more conferences in the future. It is an opportunity for you to boost your reputation and encourage guests to show up for your next conference. But even if you'll never plan another conference, it's common courtesy to follow up with participants and guests to say thanks.
Send a personalized follow-up to all participants to let them know you enjoyed meeting them. Also set up a phone call or face-to-face meeting with anyone you specifically want to do business with. You'll leave a good impression as a conference organizer.
Your vendors were a key part of making your conference a success. Always make sure to thank them for their efforts. A personal follow-up works best, so try to give them a call if you can. If you're dealing with a large number of vendors, you might want to at least craft an email to thank them and leave things on a high note.
2. Disseminate surveys
Surveys are an important part of any customer-driven operation. You need to know what your participants thought of your conference so you can start working on improving your future one by replicating what's working, i.e. what your participants loved about your conference, and leaving behind what hasn't, i.e. all of the details your participants did not quite like. This should include all elements of your conference from your selected topics, themes, and speakers, right down to your choice of venue and catering. Remember, no detail is too small; you should never neglect any element to make sure your future conferences are exactly what your customers expect, especially if your conference is paid!
3. Update your conference website
Your conference website was and still is your participants' main source of information for anything that's related to your conference. Use this platform to share highlights from your conference, photos, videos, and more materials and resources that your participants' will appreciate the access to. Participants will also visit your website to learn about your upcoming conferences. Make sure you concurrently share those updates so they have ample time to add your conferences to their calendars.
4. Send periodical newsletters and updates
To make sure your participants don't forget all about you and by extension, your conference, it is important that you keep in touch by curating, designing, and sharing periodical newsletters that comprise meaningful updates, helpful content, and links to resources your participants are interested in. Email is a great channel for such updates. Do note however that this channel must not be abused; there is such a thing called spamming! Make sure you don't send updates more than once a month. That gives participants enough time to anticipate updates from you, without considering them spamming because of their low frequency. But more importantly, this also gives you time to work on crafting something meaningful newsletters that attract the attention of your readers and are worthy of their time.
5. Get organized and ready for your next conference
Organizing a conference for the first time is a difficult undertaking usually due to the lack of data and contacts. Luckily, this shouldn't be an issue when you're organizing a conference for the second time as you're able to use all of the contacts and data you've gathered from previous conferences to design your future conferences and send invitations accordingly. To keep things organized, make sure you:
- Keep data in clean spreadsheets, free from duplicate entries and errors
- Take a backup of your data to ensure its safety and availability whenever and wherever you need it.
The bottom line for organizers is this: take care of your attendees, and they will (hopefully) be more inclined to come back to your event next year. If your attendees like their experience with your conference, they're certainly more likely to tell their friends about it. And if you're able to gain some valuable insight from them after your conference, that's even better.