Your company’s annual event is coming up, and the attendee list bypasses last year's by a long shot. Everyone on your attendee event list can’t quit gushing about how excited they are for the day of the event, and your post engagement rate is through the roof. With all the shares, comments, and likes on your social posts, you know that this event is about to be a hit! Just yesterday, you shared a post on Twitter about the event, and it got 100+ retweets. You couldn’t believe it.
Besides the fact that you’ll get to teach attendees a thing or two during the presentation, there is more to be excited about in all this. What's the best part about this event? The leads. Your company is about to witness exponential growth from this single event, and your whole sales department is ready to take on the extra projects. You’ve already shared the engagement metrics with your coworkers, and it has gotten the entire team excited about what’s to come.
Just as your company starts to nail down the catering, event venue, and the slide deck, an unforeseen situation hits. This situation isn’t just your normal type of situation. It’s big, and the event needs to be cancelled. Luckily, the event date isn’t happening for a few more weeks. There is time to let your guests know the adjustment ahead of time and do some marketing automation clean up on your end.
Over the next few paragraphs, we'll explain the exact steps you need to take to clean your HubSpot portal in the case of a cancellation. As a bonus, you will learn how you to still generate leads from “the event” even if it isn’t IRL.
What to Do After Your Event is Cancelled
Send a Cancellation Email
Sending a cancellation email to guests is crucial. The last thing you want is for someone to show-up to the cancelled event because they didn't know it was cancelled. This will leave that person feeling frustrated and that their time wasn’t valued by the company.
What exactly should you put in cancellation email to make the intent clear and to the point? Check out this great example of an event cancellation email by HubSpot.
This email was well written for numerous reasons. Here is what we liked about the break-down:
1. Starts with the problem/situation - Instead of adding fluff in the beginning of the email, the copy cuts right to the point. It lets them know within the first few seconds of skimming about the issue.
2. Lets the attendee know that the decision was hard to make - Letting the reader know that it was a difficult call to make, humanizes the company. It lets the recipient know that it wasn’t something that the business wanted to do.
3. Bolds the the event cancellation - In case the RSVP member only glances at the email, they will be able to get a quick take away that the event is cancelled from the bolded statement. This will lessen the likelihood of them showing up the day of.
4. Recognizes the feelings of the recipient - Keep in mind that your attendees are as bummed about the cancellation as you are. Recognize that. Again, this will humanize your company because you understand where their feelings are coming from.
5. Gives an alternative solution - Rather than leave the email on a negative note, give alternatives to how they can still connect with your company. You can point them to a resource library or other upcoming events that they can look forward to attending instead.
Halt Email Workflows
Have you ever gotten an email that seemed a little misplaced? It may be an email that was sent to you reminding you about an event itinerary even though it was cancelled or some other email that was flat-out sent at the wrong time. The course of action you need to take is to turn off your event workflows.
Forgetting to turn off email automations after the event is cancelled shows unprofessionalism, and it can confuse your guests. Again, the aim is to let the attendees know that the event is cancelled not to continue to promote the event.
You wouldn’t want someone to show up to an empty venue with no one there to greet them. It’s easy to soften the cancellation news through the initial event cancellation email. It will be harder to overcome that disappointment when other email blasts were saying other wise.
Check Social Media Schedules
Similar to how it can be easy to overlook turning off the event workflows, don’t let your scheduled social media posts be forgotten about.
To ensure that you don’t add any confusion to the mix, be sure to delete any posts that point your followers' attention back to the cancelled event. Instead, swap out those posts for other pieces of helpful content that your viewers will love and share with their friends!
Your Cancelled Event Game Plan
In any game plan, there can be shifts in any of the plays. Instead of giving up after hearing the bad news, turn it into a positive. There are still ways to nurture leads from the people who were supposed to attend your event. Here are some ideas.
Host a Virtual Event
With the rise in the digital landscape, hosting a virtual event isn’t difficult. Using a virtual, video platform like Zoom, allows for your guests to still see and hear the speaker in real-time. This platform also lets guests still ask questions and “raise their hand” if they need something clarified. Although it’s disheartening to have to cancel your event in-person, technology allows you to give your guests a similar experience!
Gift a Downloadable Guide
After the event is over, you can give the attendees a downloadable guide to take home with them. If they need additional insight later down the road, they can quickly turn back to this guide to get answers. Giving them this token is an opportunity to position your business as caring and a thought-leader.
Your Work is Not Lost
After reading this far, you may still think that all is lost. It’s common to have skepticism, but we are here to tell you that it’s not all lost.
In 2020, the worldwide pandemic COVID-19 had many individuals resort to taking everything online. From work to personal happy hours, using online platforms to get through the pandemic has become a way of life.
With hosting your event online, you will have your raving brand fans still come because they want the information regardless if it’s in person or not. According to Forbes, COVID-19, has pushed up internet use by 70% and streaming more than 12%. These stats show that moving to online sources isn’t uncommon, and your attendees will appreciate having the choice in an event alternative.
If you are having trouble capturing new leads, you need to have a playbook that will help you learn how to generate more leads, conversions, and customers. Download the Inbound Marketing Playbook here.