You know events are a powerful way to reach your prospects, but are you using customer events to their full potential? Many B2B companies want to host customer-centric events, but struggle with knowing where to start. In my experience helping Attend’s customers run customer events, I’ve learned a lot about how to host an event that provides value for both you and your customers.

The goals for customer events should focus on adoption, retention, growth, and advocacy. To accomplish those goals you need to have a format that combines:

1. Education

Have your top Customer Success reps discuss best practices for using your product. Make sure any sessions on using your product are aimed at the right level of experience for your audience. Will your attendees be experienced users, new users, or a mix of both? Ideally, you will either present information that is applicable to your entire audience or have separate sessions for users at different levels.

In terms of what drives people to attend events, over 90% of event attendees say education is important. That means providing valuable training and thought leadership will help you get more customers to show up.

2. Customers Successes

Providing practical training from your internal team is great, but it’s the successes of your all-star customers that will inspire your customers to use your product to achieve their larger goals.

Bringing in a knowledgeable customer to talk about how they currently use your product accomplishes multiple things at once:

  • Educates and inspires your attendees
  • Helps your presenter build their personal brand and showcases their expertise
  • Demonstrates the value of your product
  • Provides useful marketing content and customer quotes to use in other mediums

3. Product Roadmap

Have someone from your product team discuss where your product is headed. Give your attendees a sneak peek at new features to get them excited and be the first to hear about updates. While it’s easy to send out these updates via email, delivering them to a group of customers in-person gives them more weight and allows your product team to share their passion for the improvements.

Make sure not to bore your audience with an overly-long run down of every single new feature. Anyone who has been through a product demo that lasted too long knows how boring this type of presentation can become. Stick to a high level overview that looks at the big picture and make sure the person presenting the roadmap is high-energy. Save the technical details for training!

4. Feedback

Okay, you may not want to open up the floor to live product feedback from a huge audience. But having a small group discuss your product and give ideas for improvements can be a valuable part of your event. It shows your customers that you care about what they have to say and how they use your product. Sometimes it’s useful to have these sessions without a Customer Success team in the room to give your customers the chance to speak freely with your product team.

5. Networking

Every event is better with some time for networking. Even a technical training event will be more enjoyable for your attendees if you add cocktail hour. Leaving time for face-to-face interaction brings the community out of the computer. This gives your customers time to chat and learn from each other while giving your customer team a chance to strengthen relationships with their accounts. Back to what drives people to attend events, 75% say networking is a main reason they attend (Decision to Attend Study).

6. Advocacy

Hosting customer events that educate and inspire your attendees will help you build your customer community and develop advocates. Giving your customers a great experience via an educational and entertaining event gives them another reason to love your company and your product. Post-event, consider putting together a formal customer advocacy program using the intel the team gains from being onsite.

This article originally appeared in Attend.

 

This article was written by Melissa Talbot from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.