Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type - NextME Waitlist App

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type

If you work in the marketing world today, you’re probably familiar with event marketing. This technique promotes products or other ideas through live events. It can be as simple as a table in the vendors’ area of a trade show. Or it can be complex and creative, like the many viral events we’ve seen of late. 

With so many concepts and ideas floating around, how do you know which is best for your next project? It’s vital to marry the concept of your marketing event with the message you want to convey. A green message that creates loads of trash with excess brochures and flyers is unlikely to resonate with its target audience. But give the public the chance to test drive a high-performance car on a closed track and you’ve got marketing gold. Read on for some ideas to help you get started with your next event marketing project.

Choosing the Right Type of Event to Align with Your Marketing Goals

It’s no secret that the closer you tie your event to your message, the clearer that message will be. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you choose the right type of event for your goals. Conferences and Seminars are wonderful in some industries, but in others, they’re not going to reach your target market. A virtual event might be best for a tech startup, while a brand activation is a better fit for a new cosmetics or clothing line. We’ll walk you through the types of events so you can plan something that will wow your audience and convey your message at the same time. 

Brand Activations

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type: Brand Activations: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of trendhunter.com

Brand activations are a fun and dynamic option for companies fresh on the scene. These are typically B2C (business to consumer) events, designed to introduce a new brand to the public at large. They can also be used to bring an existing brand into a new market, to launch a new product for a well-known brand, or to launch an overhaul of an older brand. A few brand activations you may have seen include:

The most important thing to remember with a brand activation is that creativity is key. The more over-the-top your activation is, the more likely people are to talk about it and to remember it. That equates to word of mouth marketing and even viral sharing on social media. 

Conferences 

Conferences are nothing new. They bring together large groups of people for presentations and workshops and often plenty of networking. We’ve seen conferences with all sorts of themes. And they can be B2B (business to business) or B2C endeavors, depending on the theme. Examples include:

When planning a conference, be sure to carefully plan for downtime and space for networking. Many conferences have failed to do this, leading to clogged hallways or missed opportunities. If you want to keep your crowds happy, give them the freedom to spend their time as they see fit.

Expos and Trade Shows 

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type: Expos and Tradeshows: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Team One Exhibits

Expos and trade shows are similar to conferences in that they gather together large groups of people around a single theme. These can also be B2B or B2C. But where conferences are all about learning and sharing ideas, trade shows are more about exploring new products and services. Examples include:

As with conferences, planning is key here. But the most important thing to be concerned with is the movement of people through the trade show. You want visitors to be able to see as many booths and displays as they like, without getting lost or having to spend a lot of time waiting around. 

Gala Events and Awards Ceremonies

You’ve likely seen some of these events on television. The entertainment industry is famous for awards shows like the Oscars or the Grammys. But most often, these sorts of events are used to raise funds or awareness for nonprofit groups. 

At Galas and Awards Ceremonies, the key is special treatment. You want to make your guests feel honored, whether they’re receiving an award or not. This may mean delicious food and drinks, an opulent setting, or black-tie formal attire. No matter how you choose to hold the event, it should be memorable and something worth talking about. 

Networking Events

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type: Networking Events: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of FinTech Connect

Networking events are generally social opportunities for people to make connections and interact with others whose business interests are similar. These can be large or small but are rarely consumer-focused. Instead, they tend to focus on professionals from similar or complementary industries.

At a networking event, you want to give attendees plenty of time to talk amongst themselves in an informal setting. But icebreakers are a great way to get the ball rolling. Key to a successful event here is the ability to bring together the right people. You want a broad enough group that they won’t likely already know each other, but not so broad that they have trouble finding common business interests.

Product Launches

Similar to brand activations, product launches are B2C events used to introduce a product to consumers. They can be as simple as handing out samples or creating a pop-up shop in an exciting location. Or they can be unique and creative, the kind of event that gets plastered all over Instagram and other social networks. 

The key to a good product launch is getting your product to stick in the minds of your target consumers. To do this, you’ll want to build up anticipation before the launch, often with teasers or hints about what’s to come. Then be sure to deliver on your promises, making sure to associate your brand or product with a positive experience.  

Seminars

Seminars tend to be smaller events than their larger cousins, conferences. But like conferences, they’re typically focused on education and an exchange of ideas. Because they tend to be smaller and more intimate, seminars are an excellent way of building a community around an idea or theme. 

When running a seminar it’s important to not be overly sales-related. Remember that the focus should be education. Instead of spending the seminar singing the praises of your product or service, educate attendees about the problem your product solves. Or discuss the importance of the type of service your company offers. Attendees should walk away with broader information than your product’s features and uses. Give them something they will find valuable in their lives or businesses, whether they become a client or not.

Virtual Events

Virtual events are attended remotely, rather than held in a physical space. They can include everything from virtual conferences broadcast across the web to social media influencer campaigns. As virtual and augmented reality platforms grow and become more mainstream, expect to see these incorporated into virtual marketing events more often.

It can be tempting to default to virtual events because they typically require fewer resources. But don’t discount the importance of face-to-face interaction that is missing in these events. Often combining virtual events with live ones can give you the best of both worlds. This allows you to reach people who would never consider traveling to your live event, while still making meaningful connections with those who do.

The most important thing to consider if you’re hosting a virtual event is technology. You want to ensure that your event runs as smoothly as possible, without bandwidth issues or other technical problems. But in order to create a memorable event, you should also ensure you’re using the most up to date technology you can. A new and novel concept can draw crowds that you might not otherwise reach.

No matter what type of event you choose, you’ll want to attract a crowd to spread your message as far as possible. If you manage this, it’s vital to keep your crowds happy to make sure the experience is positive. One important aspect is making sure you don’t force visitors to stand in endless lines. Instead, check out NextME’s waitlist app. It’s the easy-to-use solution that event marketers are falling in love with!


Top KPIs to Measure Success at your Next Event

Top KPIs to Measure Success at Your Next Event - NextME Waitlist App

Experiential Marketing is huge right now. Perhaps you’re currently planning an event. Or perhaps you’ve already held one, but aren’t sure how to gauge its success. Here are some of the most important KPIs to keep in mind when assessing your next event.

KPIs to Measure Success at your Next Event

Brand Awareness

Pre-Event Online Engagement – Before your event even begins, you can start to get a picture of brand awareness. Closely track unique hits to your marketing event’s page or website. Keep track of how people are engaging with social media for your event.

One great way to do this is to encourage the use of a hashtag early on. This will make it easy to see exactly how people are talking about your event. You might consider running a social media contest to encourage people to share your event with their friends and followers.

Event Attendance – This is probably the most obvious KPI for any event. It’s vital that you know how many people actually attend your event. This number will be factored into many of the KPIs you’ll be looking at after the event as well.

Of course, there are a number of ways to track attendance. If your event requires registration, you probably already have the numbers. But if not, you may have to get a bit creative. You might collect social media handles or email addresses. Or you could set up a counter at the event’s entrance. However you choose to do it, do be sure to keep track of how many people are coming and going.

Demand at Booths or Events – Did you have a waitlist a mile long the whole time? Did you run out of promotional materials and giveaways? Were your booth workers busy all day? Keep track of the ebb and flow of traffic to your booth as well as how engaged visitors are.

Waitlist technology like NextME can be a huge help here. This simple app will check-in attendees, then let them wander as they await their turn. In the app, you’ll text them when it’s time to come back. And at the end of your event, you’ll have an accurate measurement of how busy your event was at any given time.

Brand Engagement and Interest

Leads – The most important thing to capture during any marketing event is a list of leads. Ideally, you want contact info and a few details about the interest of each person. In the middle of a busy event, this can be a challenge.

Fortunately, technology like NextME is a great way to get this info quickly and accurately, then keep it and all sorts of other event data in one place until you’re back in the office and ready to use it.
Follower Growth Rates – Check out your social media numbers before and after your event to see how they’ve grown. If your event is compelling enough, you’ll add followers not only from attendees, but also from their friends and followers.

One good way to boost this number is to get guests to engage with your social media during the event itself. There are a million ways to do this, from contests to photo ops. If you’re using NextME to handle your waitlist, be sure to include your social media links on your customized marketing page.

Clients and Sales

Top KPIs to Measure Success at Your Next Event - NextME Waitlist App

Conversions – This is the main goal, right? How many of those leads turned into sales? Depending on your industry and the length of your sales cycle, this number may not be immediately available. But be sure to review before you plan your next event to see how well you really did.

Increased Sales – In addition to conversions, experiential marketers also need to look at overall increased sales. By nature, this type of marketing can turn attendees into brand ambassadors. So you might see an uptick in sales from people who didn’t make it to the event but saw it on a friend’s social media.

Brand Loyalty

Referrals – If you do an event right, people will want to share their experience. Be sure you let them do so by encouraging referrals. You can offer an incentive of some sort or simply ask attendees who you should invite to your next big event. Either way, once you’ve created some level of brand loyalty, people are likely to give you plenty of referrals if you just ask.

Sharing – A marketer’s dream is for their event to go viral. And plenty of good events have. But even if you don’t see millions of shares and a trending hashtag, be sure to keep track of how people are talking about your event. Word of mouth is still a powerful tool for any marketing effort. And social media shares are the digital, measurable version of word of mouth.

Brand Ambassadors – Consider launching a brand ambassador program. This can be a higher level of your brand’s loyalty program or can be a completely separate effort like a street team. Either way, once you’ve got some loyal brand fans, it’s time to let them help you spread the word.

Select only ambassadors who already have a social media following and are likely to be able to share your message with a broad audience. Then, offer them perks. Keep them in the loop with a special newsletter or webpage detailing what’s coming up for your brand. Give bloggers prizes for contests on their site. Let ambassadors be the first to sample new products. Give them swag like t-shirts and stickers. And of course, give them samples or coupons to hand out to friends and family.

No matter how you measure it, experiential marketing is a great way to get people excited about your brand. And if done right, it can turn leads into ambassadors in a way few other marketing efforts ever could!


Impossible Burger Pop Up by marketing-interactive.com - NextME Waitlist App - Experiential and Interactive Marketing Trends 2020

7 Trends in Experiential Marketing for 2020

 

Dinner in the Sky by unusualdinner.com

Dinner in the Sky by unusualdinner.com

Top Experiential and Interactive Marketing Trends for 2020

Marketing trends are always evolving and the world of experiential marketing is no exception. If you want to create relevant interactive marketing events for your customers, you’ll need to stay two steps ahead of the game. Here are a few of our predictions for the industry in 2020.

Tech-Driven Experiential Marketing

The first and biggest trend we’re seeing for the coming year is technology playing a major role. As the experiential marketing space continues to grow, more and more companies are taking advantage of tech advances to really engage the market. 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are big pieces of this puzzle. The ability to digitally create whole worlds, or manipulate the real world, is just too much fun to pass up. Not only that, this sort of technology creates an immersive experience unlike any other available today. 

But in addition to attendee-facing technology, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes tech making marketers’ lives easier and marketing experiences run more smoothly. NextME is an excellent example. The simple concept of the app is to manage waitlists and appointments. This amazingly intuitive app has become a huge help to experiential marketing teams across the country. With one simple interface, you can keep track of your waitlist, manage appointments, notify attendees when it’s their turn, present them with marketing messages or other online content, collect data, and so much more!

Sensory-Driven Booth Design 

“Instagrammable moments” in marketing are on the way out. That’s because they only engage the eyes, and skip over all of the other senses. The next trend we’re seeing pop up is full sensory design. By engaging all five senses, your event marketing will become infinitely more memorable. But how do you accomplish this? 

Sight and sound are easy. We’ve been doing those from day one. But taste? For a food or beverage company, it’s a no-brainer, but for the rest of us, that’s likely not a sense we’ve thought about in connection with our brands. Consider catering your event if it’s upscale, or just offer some tasty snacks and beverages for your visitors on the go. Be sure to have options for specific diets like allergen free, low carb, and vegan. To really do this right you want top-end food that everyone will be able to try and adore.

Smell is partially about what people do smell, but also about what they don’t. A booth too close to overflowing trash cans or the restroom could leave an unpleasant experience in visitors’ minds. And too much strong scent is overwhelming, even if you’d enjoy the fragrance if it were dialed down a bit. 

The last one is touch, and it’s easier to incorporate than you might think. Pay attention to the textures in your booth. Are you going for sleek and smooth or fluffy and cozy? Offer guests soft chairs to sit on, use rich fabrics to cover tables or choose tables with a texture of their own. Natural wood, stone, or even tile table tops can each give a different sensory experience. 

Experiential Art Installations

Mysterious Oreo Storefront - Photo Courtesy of Marketing-Interactive.com

Photo Courtesy of Marketing-Interactive.com

Experiential marketing, at its heart, should be creative. Increasingly, brands are taking this to a whole new level and elevating their marketing with art installations. From the mysterious Oreo storefront last February to the 3D Burgers from Impossible Foods last summer,  this is an attention-grabbing technique that could work for any industry. 

A well-designed art installation should be bigger than life. It should grab the attention of anyone who walks past. And it should be highly memorable with a tie-in to your brand. Successful installations will instantly go viral as people begin to talk about that cool thing they saw on the street or at a convention. 

“Stayable” Experiences

It used to be that grabbing the attention for a moment or two was all we were after. After all, people are busy, right? While that’s certainly still true, many brands are now aiming for a longer experience that will last several hours or even overnight. 

This sort of event is completely sensible for the travel and hospitality industry. After all, “stayable” is what they do. But what about other sorts of brands? Your local zoo has probably been doing this for years. They often host overnight events at their locations, allowing families to experience wildlife after dark. You might also remember the Bates Hotel at SXSW a few years ago. This overnight stay helped to promote a television show. Get creative and design an experience that immerses visitors, not just for a few minutes, but for a full day or overnight stay.

Green Initiatives and Advocacy

Climate change, pollution, single-use plastics, and other green initiatives are making their way into the interactive marketing world. The first way this is happening is when environmental campaigns create their own events. A great example is the trash cleaning robot you control like a video game that’s aiming to clean up Chicago’s waterways. But the movement has gone way beyond this simple concept. 

Now, we’re increasingly seeing a call for sustainable marketing materials and recycled or reusable experience materials. And many brands who aren’t directly involved in advocacy are promoting green messages alongside their marketing. One such experience is the Pokemon GO Earth Day Cleanup promotion. In April of 2018, the AR video zgame partnered with the likes of Mission Blue and Heirs to Our Oceans to encourage players to pick up trash. More than 6,000 kgs of trash later, they had engaged over 4,200 attendees and created a positive association between their brand and an environmental cause.

Pop-ups

We’ve been seeing Pop-ups for years now, but the concept continues to grow and get more creative. Originally, we’d see pop-ups for retail brands and restaurants. A brand that’s new to town would rent a short-term space to introduce itself to the locals. Or a new restaurant concept would pop up to test its menu before opening a permanent place. But today’s pop-ups are so much more. 

Fast Food Aid Pop-Up- Tokyo, Japan

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen.com

To announce his 6th album last summer, Ed Sheeran opened 32 pop-up shops for precisely 6 hours. In Tokyo, a restaurant specializing in healthy foods opened a pop-up lab and gave away vitamins to people who ate fast food. “Dinner in the Sky” hoists guests off the ground to enjoy a world-class dining experience. And extreme sports clothing brand 37.5 opened the
World’s Most Remote Pop-Up Shop” on the side of a sheer cliff in Colorado. The lesson here is to get creative and think about ways a pop-up can be more than just another short-lived retail shop or restaurant.

Viral Challenges and Social Media Contests

Finally, we predict the era of viral challenges and social media contests will continue through 2020. You remember the Ice Bucket Challenge, right? It raised funds to combat ALS. Since then, the concept has been used by all sorts of brands and causes. The Vans challenge had people tossing their sneakers in the air. Lil Nas X had us all dancing to promote his Old Town Road single. What will your brand challenge us to do?

Want to go a different viral route? Lots of brands spread awareness with social media contests. Invite fans to caption an image. Have them share your brand with friends. Let them vote on a new product concept to win. Or go all out with a social media scavenger hunt. The sky is the limit here, and for the cost of a few nice prizes you’ll have people all over sharing your brand with their friends and followers.


How the 'Experience Movement' Fuels the Growth of Interactive Events

How Americans' Crave for Experience Drives the Interactive Event Movement

Recently, Eventbrite published a study entitled “The Experience Movement” in which they explore the ways the millennial generation’s desire for experiences is shaping our culture. They found that 3 of 4 Millennials would rather spend money on experiences rather than things. But even beyond this oft-talked-about generation, 80% of Americans of all ages believe that live, in-person interaction is essential for positive change.

With data like this, it’s no surprise that interactive events are gaining more and more traction in our culture at large. From conventions and concerts to pop-up events of all sizes, we’re seeing huge growth in the events industry. But what exactly is driving this push toward live events? 

Millennials Value Experiences Over Things

Research shows that Americans, and in particular, 75% of Millennials, now prefer experiences over things. This means that instead of buying a designer bag, they’d rather spring for concert tickets. Instead of updating their wardrobe, they’d rather visit a new corner of the world. And instead of buying books or reading articles, they might choose to attend a talk or meetup to learn about new ideas.

Live Events Promote Positive Change

80% of Americans believe it’s essential for people to come together in-person to promote positive change — regardless of age, gender, income, or geography — and 1 in 5 Americans attended an event supporting a particular cause within the last year. This has changed the way we experience political, cultural, and environmental causes. 

Additionally, respondents to the study said that there are two main ingredients necessary to promote positive change in our country. First, we need to connect with one another face to face (rather than just online). Second, we need to allow these connections to expand our perspectives and broaden our understanding. This type of interpersonal connection is far more easily achieved through events than other traditional means of promoting a message.

Live Events Drive Human Connection 

A craving for human connection in this digital world is an increasing concern. And 4 out of 5 Millenials say that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world. With social media and the internet taking over larger and larger parts of our lives, sometimes it’s vital to get out in the world and experience things with a group of other people, no matter how large or small.

Live Events Are More Impactful 

While many events could just as easily be converted to digital experiences online, would that have the same effect? 75% of Millennials believe that participating in a live event is more impactful than taking action online. And 74% of Millenials believe that live events are more successful at expanding perspectives than merely reading about the same information online. If you want your message to reach this generation, it seems that digital experiences are no longer enough.

So What Does This Mean for Brands?

It’s no longer enough to create fun commercials for television and radio or internet ads that will grab people’s attention. Even social media and influencer campaigns may not be impactful enough for Millennials. 

This generation and many other Americans both crave and prioritize live, interactive events, as is clearly shown through this study. If brands want to create a memorable, impactful, perspective-changing experience for people, then they need to focus on building these types of live, interactive experiences for people. You need the sort of event experience that will get participants thinking about and talking about your brand for weeks to come. Something that feels less like marketing and more like pure fun or meaningful connection.

Tips on Creating a Memorable Interactive Event or Experience 

So how can your brand create this sort of event for guests? How can you connect with a generation that craves interaction, human connection, and meaningful experiences? 

First, create events that are fun and engaging, that show your brand’s strengths in a way that is both interactive and memorable. BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience or SYFY’s Karaoke Bus at ComicCon are excellent examples.

Next, drive personal engagement and connection by setting appointments for visitors to have one-on-one interactions with event staff. GE Appliances and Nutanix have used this type of event to demo their most successful products and create personal connections with their consumers. 

No matter what type of event you create, be sure to prepare for a crowd. Nothing will kill the buzz of a fun interactive event like forcing people to stand in line for hours, waiting to take part. Instead, use a waitlist app like NextME to engage with guests as they wait, while giving them the freedom to do other things until their turn comes up. 

Check out our guide to engaging interactive event ideas for more information and tips. And be sure to give us a call to learn how our waitlist app can help keep your event running smoothly!


What Is an Appointment Waitlist System?

How Appointment Waitlists Work

Perhaps you’ve seen the buzz about appointment waitlists and wondered how they could benefit your business. Today’s technology is allowing all sorts of industries to manage their clients professionally and efficiently. And since nobody has to spend time sitting in a waiting area looking through old copies of Time and National Geographic, it’s a true win/win!

But What Is an Appointment Waitlist Exactly, and How Do They Work?

Today’s waitlist technology is a great way for any service-based business to schedule customer appointments and walk-ins alike. A waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients, who are of course far less predictable. So if your nail salon has regular monthly manicure clients along with walk-ins who are trying your salon for the first time, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-shows with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins on the fly.

The best part? Nobody has to sit around and wait. Waitlist technology, like the NextME app, allows your clients to monitor their place in line from the comfort of their phones. A simple text message gives clients a link to a custom webpage where they can see their spot in line, in real-time. Another text when it’s almost their turn confirms that they’re coming back, so you can give away their spot if they’ve changed their mind.

How Appointment Waitlists Benefit Busy Businesses

If you’ve run a business in any service industry for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the nightmare expense of no-shows. The restaurant industry is a classic example. It’s not uncommon for 10-20% of the reservations on any given night to result in tables that sit empty waiting for fickle diners who are not coming. Knowing the famously thin margins of restaurant budgeting, this can be a real problem with a huge impact on the bottom line.

Many restaurant reservations and waitlist platforms exist, but most have no idea how to handle no-shows. NextME, with its simple texts, custom pages, and unobtrusive customer experience, has proven to be a great way to fix the problem. By texting a confirmation to customers just before their reservation is set to begin, restaurant hosts can know in a flash whether it’s safe to give away that coveted Saturday night spot or if the diner who’s reserved it is on the way.

But this technology is not just for restaurants. All sorts of other businesses are finding it to be a perfect option for managing their queues of customers too. In a salon, having just a few large appointments not show up can make or break a stylist’s day. The cost of no-show salon customers can add up quickly, disrupting your stylists’ momentum and leading to disgruntled employees and management difficulties. A strong cancellation policy is a good start, but wouldn’t you rather be able to retain as many appointments as possible, while filling in the empty slots with walk-ins?

Auto Repair shops can face similar issues. Customers notoriously don’t understand the amount of time involved in complex repairs like timing belts. So they may not consider it a big deal when they book an appointment and then miss it. But if you’ve blocked out several hours for your top guys to handle a technically challenging problem, the last thing you want is for them to be standing around waiting for the car to arrive.

Today’s event marketing agencies spend a fortune creating unique customer experiences to help connect consumers with a brand. Elaborate convention booths and pop-up customer experiences are a great way to build a brand’s name and a ton of customer loyalty. But you don’t want to force show visitors to stand around waiting, blocking the way to your booth and generally getting frustrated with the experience before it even really begins.

Instead of eating the costs of dreaded no-shows, why not choose a solution built to handle them with minimal disruption to your business? Contact NextME today to find out how our appointment waitlist system can help.


How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

Waiting is a fact of life. And managing waitlists is often a big part of doing business. 

You may be thinking of the waiting area at your favorite salon or those little buzzer coasters at restaurants. But there are so many more industries who have to tackle this problem. From bowling alleys, to car lots, to stylists, to sales professionals, to event organizers and exhibitors, waitlists seem to be everywhere.

And those annoying buzzers or the old-fashioned clipboard technique are a poor way to keep track of such a vital part of your business. Fortunately, today’s technology has given us a better way to manage the wait through appointment waitlist platforms.

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointments and Waitlist Management

Create an Appointment Waitlist

If your salon, repair shop, or other service business uses a walk-in model, you might be leaving money on the table. But moving to an appointment-only model can also have financial drawbacks. A better solution is to create an appointment waitlist — it’s the best of both worlds.

An appointment waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients. So if your dog grooming business has monthly bath and cut clients and walk-in flea baths or nail trims, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-show appointments with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins with ease.

Confirm Appointments with Text Reminders

Many walk-in type businesses have found that setting appointments can actually hurt their bottom line when people don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and staffed their business appropriately only to find that half of the clients have gone elsewhere or forgotten the appointment. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. The whole business is less busy, and consequently less profitable, than it should be. 

This is similar to the no-show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment clients can let you know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted that they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. The staff stays busy, the business stays active, and workers and clients alike don’t have to waste time waiting. 

Let Clients Control How They Wait 

By sending SMS updates estimating wait time and then notifying clients when they need to head back, you allow clients to control and manage their own time. They don't have to hover in or just outside your shop (or keep checking back). They can take off and do as they please, then only begin to return once they receive a text letting them know that they're next or almost next in line. 

Not sure how this would look? Take Apple's Genius Bar. They do an excellent job of allowing clients to schedule their appointments and then wait wherever or however they like. Since many of their locations are inside shopping malls or busy commercial areas, this means people can shop or run errands as they wait. This leads to happier clients and better customer service ratings across the board. And there’s no denying that they’ve managed to create a loyal following.

Take Advantage of Clients' Captive Attention

In today’s data-driven world, your clients are constantly bombarded by marketing messages. So finding ways to get their attention is harder than ever. What if you could get your clients to view a page with your chosen messages, voluntarily?

One of the best features of NextME’s waitlist platform is that it sends your clients to a page where they can monitor their place in line in real-time. This creates a captive audience who is already interested in your business and its services. And you get to decide what content is displayed on the page beneath the countdown. 

This means you could advertise potential upsell products or services like adding a blowout to a hair cut or offer new air filters for clients coming to your automotive shop. You could also showcase your website, give customers the option to sign up for your email list, or encourage them to follow your brand on social media. Have a customer loyalty plan? This is a great place to give them a sign-up link.

This waiting page is also a great option for event management teams. It allows event exhibitors to manage wait times for attendees visiting booths. The marketing page allows exhibitors to prep attendees while they’re waiting to experience all a booth has to offer. They can use the page to help attendees make a more meaningful connection to your brand or cause by combining mobile marketing content and one-on-one meetings with staff members. 

Want to see how an appointment waitlist can help you grow your business? Give NextME a call today!


NextME Waitlist App - Top CRM Consultants in Chicago by Clutch

NextME Featured on Clutch’s 2019 Top CRM Consultant Report

Clutch Top CRM Consultants 2019 NextME Waitlist App

NextME Appointment Waitlist App Wins Top Honors from Clutch

NextME is the ultimate solution for helping various businesses, event organizers, exhibitors, and restaurants effectively manage their appointments and waitlists while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. As technology develops, virtual solutions are being used more frequently as a method to manage customer relations, which includes managing a queue if you’re an appointment-based business. Due to our success in improving appointment and waitlist management across industries, we have earned a Clutch award for being one of the top CRM consultants in Chicago.

Located in Washington, DC, Clutch is a ratings and reviews startup dedicated to B2B service firms. Since 2013, Clutch’s platform has connected thousands of prospective buyers with service providers for their business needs. By carefully analyzing industry data and conducting their signature client interviews, the Clutch analysts are able to rank and rate the top companies in a variety of industries. We are very grateful to NextME’s clients for taking the time to participate in the interview process. 

Along with our rating on the main Clutch page, we have been featured on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister-sites of Clutch. The Manifest is a business news platform featuring how-to guides, state of tech news and industry rankings. We can be found listed among the top CRM consultants on The Manifest. Visual Objects is designed to highlight the work of a wide variety of creative agencies ranging from advertisers to software developers. Each Clutch listing offers buyers a unique look into what we can offer to clients. 

We are thrilled to have been selected for these awards. Going forward, we hope to grow our client base and expand our brand. If your business could use help optimizing your appointment and waitlist operations, let’s get in touch today! 

 


Why All Event Organizers Should Use An Appointment Waitlist App - NextME

Why All Event Organizers Should Be Using An Appointment Waitlist Platform

Nobody likes to wait. This is even more true in today’s fast-paced, on-demand society. But waiting is made so much less annoying when you’re given accurate information and kept informed. This is just one of the benefits a waitlist platform can provide for attendees at your next big event. 

Waitlist platforms like NextME are an increasingly popular way for businesses to handle a queue of customers. From restaurants to healthcare clinics to conferences and industry events, this simple to use technology is taking the sting out of waiting. 

And waitlist technology is making things easier on the exhibitor’s end too. It’s taking care of back end tasks like collecting customer data and keeping track of appointments. 

Read on to find out why an appointment waitlist platform is a win/win solution that every event organizer should be using.

Why Appointment Management is Important for Events and Conferences

Greater Exhibitor Retention – Waitlist solutions like NextME allow your exhibitors to properly manage appointments and visitors during events. This leads to greater retention of exhibitors from one event to the next. 

Let’s face it. Your exhibitors are investing a lot of capital to be a part of your event. And they want to ensure they’ll get a good ROI for this investment. The most valuable commodity they’re after? Qualified leads. If you can provide them with the ability to easily capture and qualify potential leads, you’ll see exhibitors come back year after year. 

Providing NextME to your exhibitors is a great way to do this. In fact, this appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%. And it’s been tried and tested by the big boys like GE Appliances, who were able to capture more leads and close more sales than in prior events.  

Greater Attendee Retention – Just like exhibitors, you want to entice your attendees to return for future events. A solution like NextME presents a seamless and user-friendly face to visitors at each booth of your event. If they can spend their time networking, browsing, and learning rather than standing in line, they’ll feel like it was time well spent. 

At BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience, NextME was deployed to great effect. As attendees waited to test drive the car of their choice, the chaos of this packed event was effectively managed with this waitlist platform. It allowed for quicker turnarounds so that visitors could participate more fully and test more cars. At all 16 of these events across the country, this lead to enhanced attendee experiences and positive responses. 

"This appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%"

The Benefit of Using a Platform that Offers Waitlist and Appointment Management

So why NextME? Why not just combine a basic appointment software with a simple waitlist? Or even just use an old school appointment book? 

Many event exhibitors have found that setting appointments at an event can actually hurt their bottom line when visitors don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and brought the appropriate staff only to find that half of the visitors have changed their minds or found other things to do. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. And booths are less busy, and consequently less profitable, than they expected. 

It’s similar to the no show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

NextME offers a combined “appointment waitlist” where people can get a priority spot for a specific appointment time but the expectations are that they still may have to wait. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment attendees can let booth operators know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted to return to the booth as they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. Staff stays busy, booths stay active, and exhibitors and attendees alike don’t have to waste their time waiting. 

So before your next big event, why not give NextME a call? We’d love to show you how our platform can fit into your plans seamlessly.


Top 12 Brunch Restaurants in Chicago

When you want to head out to one of Chicago’s world-class eateries for a brunch feast, it can be hard to choose. Whether you live in the Windy City or are just visiting, you’re going to love these twelve picks. We’ve selected options that are favorites all around town, and all with no reservations required. So without further ado, below are our picks for the top brunch restaurants in Chicago. 

Top Brunch Restaurants in Chicago

Fresh Seasonal Brunch at Bongo Room

Bongo Room - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Zagat

When you want brunch done right, why not go to a spot that only does breakfast and lunch? The Bongo Room has locations in Wicker Park, South Loop, and Andersonville. They serve up a menu full of brunchy faves all week long. But things really get special on the weekend when they break out their “Sinful” brunch menu featuring faves like a chocolate tower french toast or deconstructed lobster roll benedict. Want something a little more classic? No worries. You can choose from breakfast options like their croissant sandwich, also available in a vegetarian version, or a crowd-pleasing breakfast burrito. If you’re more in the mood for lunch staples, they have all sorts of sandwiches and salads with enough variety to please any palette.

Bakery Brunch at Cafe Selmarie

Cafe Selmarie Bakery - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Winnie

Cafe Selmarie features a contemporary American menu, but on the brunch menu, it’s really the pastries that shine. Their Sunday Brunch offerings change each week, but expect the usual options like benedicts and scrambles, each with a unique twist. Normal pancakes are punched up with walnuts and cherries. Enjoy a roasted mushroom benedict featuring feta and caramelized onion hollandaise. Or top off your eggs with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, and housemade basil pesto. But the real star of the show is the pastry case at the front, which you can browse while you wait. From sour cream coffee cake to housemade granola, it’s got options to suit any taste.

Gastropub Brunch at Farm Bar

Farm Bar - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Eater Chicago

Head to Lakeview this weekend and stop in at Farm Bar for an authentic gastropub experience. On the brunch menu you’ll find down-home breakfast goodies like their pasture-raised steak and eggs or strawberries and cream ricotta pancakes. There are snack options like wisconsin cheese curds or Bavarian style pretzels. And if you’re in a lunch mood, their burgers and fried chicken sandwiches are amazing. Wash it down with their crowd pleasing cold-brew coffee or one of their delightful cocktails. They have four versions of the mimosa to choose from plus sangria, bloody marys, and a featured drink they call the alco-chino.

Pizza Brunch at Frasca

Frasca Pizza - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Eggs, bacon, and toast are great, but sometimes you want your brunch with a bit of a twist. If this sounds like you, you’ve got to try Frasca pizzeria + wine bar. Here you can still get all of those brunch staples like eggs benedict, omelets, and pancakes. But they’ll also be happy to make you a delicious wood-fired pizza for your brunch delight. Can’t choose between the two? You’re going to love the breakfast pizza featuring 3 over easy eggs, sausage, bacon, and cheese. For an extra special treat, add some prosciutto and hollandaise. And don’t forget their mimosa bottle service, peach bellinis, and award-winning bloody marys.

Vegan Brunch at Majani

Majani Vegan - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Majani

Looking for soul food minus the meat and dairy? Majani serves up a soulful vegan brunch that won’t disappoint. Scrambled tofu, lentil sausage with tomato gravy, cheese grits, collard greens, and delicious pancakes are on offer. And it’s all made from the freshest ingredients sourced from local gardens, so you can feel good about eating this decadent and delicious fare.

Organic Brunch at Nana

Nana - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nana

For another healthy twist on delicious brunch staples, head over to Nana for local, sustainable, organic food that’s totally crave-worthy. The selections are seasonal, but look for delicious staples like chilaquiles and breakfast sandwiches mixed in with options like avocado fries, dulce de leche pancakes, and cauliflower salad. And be sure to grab a side of one of their house-made sausage patties or hose smoked bacon. Everything that comes out of their scratch kitchen is free from additives hormones, and other undesirables. It’s clean eating that tastes sinfully good.

Patio Brunch at Paradise Park

Paradise Park Patio - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Paradise Park

Outdoor dining is a big deal in warm, sunny locations like Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. But Paradise Park manages to bring a bright spot of sunshine to the windy city with their take on the pizza brunch. You’re sure to love standards like avocado toast and chicken & waffles. But for the more adventurous diner they’re also serving up dutch baby tacos, pulled pork hash, and all sorts of pizza options. Wash it all down with their delicious bottomless mimosas or bloodys, or try out a hangover coffee topped with a Do-Rite Donut!

Fried Chicken Brunch at Parson’s Chicken and Fish

Parson's Chicken & Fish - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App
Clayton Hauck for Parson's

If fried chicken is your favorite brunch food, you’ve got to head to Parson’s in Logan Square or Lincoln Park. For those not in a fried chicken sort of mood, they also offer delightful dishes like their pimento cheese scramble or a smoked salmon veggie club. Want something sweet? Their seasonal cobbler is made with fresh local fruit and topped with fluffy whipped cream. While you’re there, be sure to grab some of their signature beer, brewed in partnership with Revolution Brewing.

Brazilian Brunch at Sinhá

Sinha - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Eating the World

Head for the tastes of South America with Sinhá, a Chicago eatery serving up elegant Brazilian cuisine. The Sunday brunch buffet features farofa, a cassava meal dish, and delicious fried plantains, plus whatever delicious Brazilian delights the chef has chosen to make this weekend. You can expect a variety of dishes made from chicken, beef, seafood, and veggies, paired with mouthwatering hot sauces and chutneys. You’ll also get complimentary desserts, juice, and Brazilian coffee and tea. But if you’re looking for a boozy brunch experience, you’ll need to BYOB.

Foodie Brunch at Southport Grocery and Cafe

Southport Grocery & Cafe - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Southport Grocery & Cafe

At the Southport Grocery and Cafe you can enjoy an amazing scratch made brunch and then bring home delicious and fresh award-winning groceries to create your own foodie feast. This European style cafe offers amazing pastries like scones, cupcakes, cruffins, and savory hand pies. Their all-day breakfast favorites include a veggie quiche or their very own “grown-up pop tart”. Lunch options include the Southport Cuban, chop salad, or a grilled cheese featuring pickled green tomatoes and local apples. Wash it down with kombucha, housemade soda on tap, canned wine, or a beermosa. Southport Grocery and Cafe also happens to be a NextME partner, so even if there is a waitlist when you arrive, you can feel comfortable that it will be managed with ease. 

Filipino Brunch at Uncle Mike’s Place

Uncle Mike's Place - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Fab Food Chicago

Looking for something with an island flair? Uncle Mike's Place serves up their famous Filipino breakfast all day every day. Try the Longaniza, a sweet anise-wine chorizo sausage. Or devour their Tocino, an annato and anise cured pork shoulder. They’ve also got a variety of egg dishes and omelettes to chose from, plus pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and authentic Filipino breakfast combos. For lunch dishes, there are all the usual sandwiches, soups, salads, and fruit plates. Plus sample the free homemade Lugaw rice soup that’s so good it’s also available to go. This place is a little slice of Pinoy heaven, on Grand Ave in West Town.

Louisiana Style Brunch at Wishbone

Wishbone - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Bitches Who Brunch

You may not think of finding a farm-fresh Cajun brunch menu in Chitown, but at Wishbone West Loop, you’ll get just that. Enjoy a jambalaya omelette or crawfish cake benedict. The cajun shrimp and grits and chicken andouille hash will remind you of a lazy Sunday morning in the French Quarter. And of course they’re serving up southern favorites like chicken and waffles, corn cakes, and buscuits and gravy. Brunch cocktails on offer include the bloody mary or an irish coffee, as well as unique concoctions like the corpse reviver #312 and the mud bone.


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