We Had A Blast! – Recruitment Agency Expo

The GU team and George the Giraffe

We Had A Blast! – Recruitment Agency Expo

The GU team and George the Giraffe

This is a slightly different article from the usual opinion and educational pieces I write. The first half of this week was spent in London at the Recruitment Agency Expo, and I’m not going to lie… two days later and I'm still cream-crackered. My brain is slow, my feet are still throbbing, and I'm 100% convinced that it's not just me that's feeling that way! This event is one of those 'not to be missed' in the event calendar because of the opportunities it brings.

I love the online world of social media, email marketing, and content creation. When you successfully combine the offline and online worlds, you can take your efforts to a whole other level. And that's one of the things we managed to do this week with resounding success!

We took the opportunity to stand out

Branding is EVERYTHING! From the stand to what we wore, we ensured we stood out. There were some incredible installations across the show, but you don't need to be big-budget to gain attention. Colour, positioning, friendly faces. They're the key components to a well-attended stand.

Friendly, welcoming faces really was the key here. We know what our values are as a business and they're reflected so strongly in our culture that this is what the people around us saw and felt from us. When you hear from multiple people you've never met before that your stand was the most fun, and comments are made about interactions with the team that include the specific words you use to describe your values as a brand... well, let's just say I was immensely proud of Kim, Nicole and Debs.

Event Experience Is Essential For Success

The GU team were a connected unit. Everyone knew their roles, they knew what they needed to achieve individually and collectively and they owned it. I'm not just talking about getting leads at the event, it was also about who was doing what back at our shared Airbnb, what everyone's needs were to ensure we all got to fully enjoy the event. Yes, we took the time to make a game plan ahead of the event, but we also ensured we all had time to relax as a team and hang out so we could start the next day well-rested.

Obviously, it goes without saying that people coming to your stand should have a positive experience, but what about you going out to see other businesses to forge relationships? Doing a walk around so people can see you? I love that we have such fantastic relationships with other vendors in the recruitment industry. We're respectful of each other's brand and understand where our fun levels are!

Use your voice! - Speak at Events!

If there is an opportunity for you to speak and deliver a seminar or be part of a panel at an event - take it! I often end up in conversation when I hear words like 'it's ok for you, but no one wants to hear about <insert what they do here>.' I literally had this conversation with a good friend at the event. I asked him what a good client looked like for him, as he explained, he mentioned a keyword - Growth. Brilliant, he cares about their growth, they care about their growth - so all he needs to do is put something together around that topic and add in some examples from what he's seen amongst his client base! I honestly think that anyone can find a topic to speak on that will serve their audience and allow them to gain interest in their services from that audience.

And if you think you won't get chosen to present because you're unknown, most events are looking for new names and fresh faces so they won't be stuck with a stale line-up or accused of favouritism.

I'm asked to speak at a number of events these days. However, I do remember the days when trying to get those speaker slots was a struggle. I only got the opportunities I did back then because I kept trying, and when I didn't get picked, I didn't complain. I just made sure I had something prepared anyway and made it known I'd be on hand and ready to go if something happened on the day and a slot needed filling!

Are you Following Up?

You have no idea how often I ask that question! One of the great things I love about events like this is that they don't begin when the doors open (you should be promoting your attendance well in advance of that), and they don't finish when the doors close! The true success of this event will be in the leads we've acquired (which are a little overwhelming, if I'm honest!) and our ability to close them. Let's be honest, we attended this event with a purpose - not just to have a jolly!

Here's what following up looks like for us!

  1. Prior to the event, I knew what I was presenting, my slides were ready, and I knew what we’d be promoting on the stand. So, we prepared a landing page ready to collect data from anyone who might want a copy of our slides and resources. Completion of this triggers a short series of emails delivering relevant information.
  2. We'll keep our new contacts updated via our weekly news roundup – that way, they can stay in touch with us until they feel they need us. Here's the thing with events: ROI needs to be measured in the long term. It's not necessarily about immediate sales; it costs to acquire a database, so I also put a monetary value on every record in our email list.
  3. LinkedIn—here we come! We’ll be sending connection requests to these people, too, and while we’re noseying at their profiles, we'll engage with any relevant posts they may have shared from the event.
  4. For those we had more in-depth conversations with, we’ll likely pop something useful in the post for them; creating touchpoints across a variety of media can really help move people through the various stages of your marketing and sales funnel!
  5. We’ll call anyone we had a meaningful conversation with and get a call booked in where they'll get our full attention without the distractions of everything else around the show!

There's more of course, but those five items are things you can model whether you're involved in an in-person or online event.

Don't forget THE DEBRIEF

The debrief is not the conversation you have on the stand when you’re packing up! It's also not the conversation you have in the car on the way home! It’s a few days later, after you’ve started to get through your follow up activities and started to see a response. We'll do ours next week and cover off the following:

  • We'll decide how valuable the show was, and whether or not we see value in doing it again.
  • What changes we want and/or need to make to the stand.
  • We'll discuss our event budget - is there further opportunity if we increase it?
  • We'll reflect on what made things tricky and what was easy. What else at that show inspired us?
  • Resource - this is an important conversation. Were there enough of us? Too many or too few?
  • What have we learnt from this event that we need to take forward to future events?

This won't just be a casual conversation, this is something that gets documented and revisited at each event we engage in. Think of it as becoming another part of your processes and procedures.

Be realistic about ROI

I hinted at this already, there is no point expecting an immediate return after investing in an event. We need to be realistic about the return on investment. The hot, hot leads we gained were partly the excitement of the moment and the environment! From both the prospects and us! Some will convert in days or weeks, some may take months or years even! They will convert, though, as long as we keep maintaining those touchpoints, popping up in feeds, dropping regular email communication and attending these events.

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