Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue

Event marketing is the big trend everyone is talking about. In fact, 41% of marketers call them the most effective marketing channel and 77% of marketers are using experiential marketing as a key piece of a brand’s ad strategy. 

While it’s easy to create an event for marketing purposes, creating the right event can be a bit more tricky. We’ve already discussed how to choose the right event type and which KPIs to track. Next, we’ll tackle finding the right venue based on your marketing goals and event type.

The venue you choose sets the stage for your marketing event. Sure, you could just create a standard booth at whatever relevant trade show is closest to your HQ, but is that going to give you the most impact for your efforts? We believe finding the right venue is vital to running a smooth event marketing campaign. Here’s how.

Choosing the Right Event Venue to Align with Your Marketing Goals

Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Learn from Past Events and Customer Demographics

The first and most important step is to look at the data you’ve gathered from past events. Review what went well and what went poorly. Hopefully, you’ve gathered feedback from your attendees to help guide you. Consider how space was used at these events and if it could have been configured more effectively. Did you have enough room to accomplish your goals? Was there space for networking? Was the space quiet enough for easy conversation? Did you have room for one-on-one meeting spaces? 

Next look at data from customer demographics and social media. Does your brand have a large following on the east coast? The west coast? Middle of the country? Maybe you’re gaining traction in a specific city or region. Or perhaps there’s a market you’ve recently broken into where you’d like to spread the word a bit more. When choosing where to host your event, be strategic. Traveling to a different city on the other side of the country might be worth the cost and effort if it’s done strategically. But picking the wrong host city could mean an event that fizzles before it even begins. 

Plan Your Space 

Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue: Plan Your Space: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Once you’ve reviewed all the data available to you, it’s time to set out a space plan. Be sure to consider the various ways space will be used and the needs of your event. The information and feedback from past events should help. 

But more than simply laying out an event space, you’ll need to consider the design of the space. Its feel, smell, lighting, textures, and comfort are all relevant. You want your guests to feel welcomed and to associate positive experiences with your brand. A booth close to the aroma of food stalls might be too distracting and split visitors’ attention. Poor lighting might make it hard to see your materials. Uncomfortable seating (or none at all) might mean customers spend less time at your event than you had hoped for. 

Finally, you want everything to be on-brand. A fashion brand activation event should look very different from a tech event. Luxury brands should have a different feel than their less extravagant cousins. Color, texture, decor, and other aspects of design should all work together to tell the story of your brand.

Consider Convenience

The last thing you want is for your event to be difficult to find or otherwise inaccessible. Is there ample parking available nearby? Can attendees get there by public transit or rideshare easily? Are there rooms available for guests coming from out of town? Will guests feel comfortable in the neighborhood? Consider the environment around your event as much as inside it. 

Inside, you’ll want to make your event easy to navigate and simple to understand. Clear signage, maps, and event staff who are ready and able to help are all helpful to guests. Schedules should be easy to read and follow. There should never be a time when attendees don’t understand where to go or what they should be doing. 

Finally, don’t force attendees to waste time standing in lines. Instead, manage waitlists with technology. A waitlist app like NextMe can keep track of appointments and queues efficiently while allowing guests to make better use of their time. Not only that, the technology allows you to present marketing information to interested parties without the need for them to download anything. And it will collect data and create custom reports for your use in planning your next event, so you can improve on your efforts year over year. 


5 Tips for Arranging Individual Meetings at B2B Events

B2B conferences and trade shows are a great way to generate leads and connect with potential clients. But if they’re not well managed, they can be chaotic and unhelpful. Be sure you’re getting quality time with visitors to your event booth by setting up individual meetings at conferences. 

If you’ve never thought of or tried one on one meetings at large events, you may not know where to start. If you’ve used this tactic at conferences and trade shows, you likely know how impactful it can be. But were you getting the most bang for your B2B buck? 

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at Conferences

Schedule in Advance

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at B2B Conferences NextME Waitlist AppIdeally, you’d like to start off the conference with plenty of one on one meetings already on the books. But those meetings aren’t just going to fall into your lap. To make the most of your marketing efforts, you need to start with outreach in advance. For most companies, about 4 months out seems to be the sweet spot. 

Start by mentioning the event to clients in that area and others who you think might be interested. Ask if they’ll be attending. Offer to give them a face-to-face demo or some one-on-one training while you’re in town. In addition to promoting your booth number, send your leads a Calendly link to easily book appointments ahead of time.

You’ll want to schedule as many clients as you can before the event, but also be sure to leave room in your schedule for walk-ups too. If you have enough interest, it might be worth sending additional representatives to handle the overflow.

Keep Things Organized and Moving

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at B2B Conferences NextME Waitlist App - Next ConferenceWhen scheduling meetings, the last thing you want is to force attendees to stand around your booth waiting for their turn. It’s inefficient and looks incredibly unprofessional. And it’s likely to turn away more clients than you’ll ever realize. Fortunately, there are excellent tech solutions like NextME to help you manage an event waitlist. 

This simple-to-use waitlist app will make it a breeze to keep track of your meetings and appointments, add in walk-ups, and allow visitors to monitor their place in line as they check out other booths or take advantage of networking opportunities. With a simple text message to their phones, you’ll also get to push out a custom marketing page, giving attendees a taste of the topics they might want to discuss when their turn comes. 

Listen as Much as You Talk

It’s easy to get sucked into a trap. You spend days or weeks carefully crafting the perfect sales pitch for your conference meetings. You prepare, rehearse, and know your talking points inside and out. And then you get to sit down with clients and prospects who want to talk about something else and all that prep is out the window. 

It could be that each client has a different agenda for the meeting. One may want you to show them how a specific feature works. The next might want to discuss ROI. A third might want to see your product in action. And a fourth may want you to help troubleshoot some difficulties they’ve been having.

In general, it’s best to have some idea of what to talk about should the client not have specific questions, but don’t rely too heavily on this idea. You should approach these one-on-one appointments with an intention to listen more than you talk. Avoid a set agenda or pitch and instead take the time to really connect to your prospects or clients. Creating a good relationship with them is a better tactic than any pitch anyway.

Be a Good Host

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at B2B Conferences NextME Waitlist App - Be A Good Host

Again, you should remember that this is at least as much about relationships and building rapport as it is about marketing. As such, it’s important to remember that you’re a host welcoming a visitor into your event. Respect your clients’ time. Offer them a beverage or snacks if appropriate. Make sure they’re comfortable and at ease. You want them to walk away with a positive feeling about you and your brand, even if they don’t intend to purchase. Create a good enough impression, and they’re likely to speak positively about your brand to others at the event. And we all know the value of good word of mouth.  

Follow Up After the Event

Remember to collect client contact details as you meet with each person on your schedule. If you’ve implemented a waitlist app like NextME, you likely have this info already recorded. You’ll also get plenty of data from your event to help you make the most of each opportunity. And you’ll have lots of analytics to help you plan your next event too!

It may also be helpful to include a few brief notes about the things each client wanted to discuss or your own insights into what might be beneficial to their company. At the end of each appointment, ask when would be a good time to follow up. And most importantly, follow through with every client or prospect, every time. This is your chance to show them that you are reliable and that you appreciate that they took the time to meet. 

Ready to start scheduling meetings for an upcoming event? Give NextME a call to see how we can help you make the most of one-on-one meetings. 


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!


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.


8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

8 Great Examples of Experiential Marketing

How Top Brands Use Experiential Marketing

It seems that everywhere we go today, we’re bombarded by advertising. For many, this means traditional means of marketing a product are less effective. They fade into the background as just so much white noise. So how can a company get their message noticed in this increasingly competitive space?

Enter experiential marketing.

What is Experiential Marketing?

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Parker Design Consultants

While you may only be encountering this term recently, it’s likely that you’ve seen experiential marketing many times. Marketing booths at fairgrounds and conferences, car shows, and sample booths are all common examples that have been around for decades.

Experiential marketing is marketing in the real world, in ways that grab the attention more than your typical ad ever could. The methods and specifics are as varied as the products and companies using this technique, but they all have one thing in common. It means interacting directly with your target market and creating memorable experiences, no matter how small or how large.

Why is Experiential Marketing Important?

In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, smart brands are stepping up their game. Those who pay attention are learning that the best way to capture attention is to stand out from the commonplace. It’s not enough to just hand out a sample or a sales pitch. Instead, marketers must create experiences that people will both remember and talk about.

The best examples of this are those events and experiences that go viral. In addition to reaching people in real time, you also get your message in front of their social networks when they share their experience. In effect, each person reached directly becomes a brand ambassador, spreading your message for you. It’s the kind of reach many brands couldn’t afford to buy, but with a little creativity, it can be created.

How Your Brand Can Use Experiential Marketing

So how do you incorporate this into your brand strategy? The most important thing to remember is that the experience should be unique, and should be intimately tied with your product or message. Here are a few memorable examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience

BMWs Ultimate Driving Experience - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of BMW

What’s the best way to market cars? The test drive. It’s a tried and true method that dealerships have been using for as long as we can remember. But many times, people don’t go test drive a car until they’re pretty sure they want to purchase it. So how does a manufacturer use test driving to get new customers who are not already considering their vehicles? BMW has found a way.

The Ultimate Driving Experience is open to the public at race tracks across the country. But this is not your typical test drive. Rather than cruising comfortably through city streets or suburban neighborhoods, this experience lets you drive in ways you never have before. Spend two hours with professional driving instructors and get behind the wheel of a BMW 3 Series in their Autocross. M Car Control gets you access to a full day with driving coaches, slalom courses, and high-speed skids. The xDrive Experience is a cross between a driving course and a roller coaster, as you take the X5 and X7 through a specially designed course. And for those looking for a tamer experience, there are street drives and even a teen driving school program.

Doc McStuffin Check-up Campaign

When Disney Jr. was looking for a way to market the Doc McStuffin program to their young audience, they knew they wanted an out-of-the-box idea. The show is about a six-year-old girl who has created a health clinic for broken and ailing toys. What better way to promote this than by allowing kids to take on the role of toy doctor themselves?

At retail stores across the UK, a Doc McStuffin’s check up clinic allowed for just that. Big Ted, a larger than life teddy bear, was sick. And little ones could help diagnose and treat him. First, in the waiting room, kids got to watch clips from the show, and get creative with coloring pages and puzzles. Then came doctor training, where kids learned how to give a teddy bear check-up. Once they passed their exams, they got to take home a certificate and a “Doc Is In The House” door hanger to help them set up their own backyard clinics!

Inc. Founders House at SXSW

Inc. is a magazine and website catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners. When they wanted to spread brand awareness at SXSW, they came up with a useful and fun idea. The Inc Founders House is a “one-of-a-kind founders-only space for the extraordinary people starting, running, and growing businesses.”

Inc Founders House SXSW - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Inc. Media

During the festival, the Founders House hosts invite-only happy hours and speakers who can help the next wave of entrepreneurs get their projects off the ground. They’ve chosen some of the most influential founders to bring their own personal brands of inspiration to those who can benefit from them most. And the movement continues throughout the year with the Founders Project, which pairs top-notch founder mentors with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Harry’s Bartershop

Online subscription clubs are huge right now. They’re a great way for brands to cut out the middle man and send their products directly to consumers. And the subscription concept virtually assures repeat business. What’s not to love? For Harry’s, a shaving subscription service, the difficult thing can be to get consumers to give up their tried and tested brand and make the switch.

Their solution? Harry’s Bartershop. (Yes, you read that right.) This pop-up shop in NYC allowed consumers to barter one overpriced brand name blade for two (or more) of Harry’s. The pop-up store was designed to look like a typical home bathroom, complete with bathtub, toilet, and vanity. But inside that vanity mirror awaits the staff, ready to help consumers trade in their old razors for new ones, and experience the quality and comfort of Harry’s products.

Did You Mean MailChimp?

Sometimes it can be hard for people to find your brand once they’ve seen your marketing. No matter how many times you repeat your business name, there will still be some folks who mishear it. And still others will be thwarted by typos and autocorrect fails. MailChimp has decided to take this problem and turn it into fun marketing for their brand.

They’ve created several brand sites: FailChips, MaleCrimp, NailChamp, WhaleSynth, VeilHymn, and SnailPrimp. Then there were the attention-grabbing short films, like MailShrimp, KaleLimp, and JailBlimp. It’s all part of their “Did You Mean” campaign. And it’s an incredibly memorable way to get their real name in front of new eyes. So whether you want to go behind the scenes on a music video shoot or vote for the best new trends in nail art, you’ll be directed back to the MailChimp site to learn more about their marketing platform.

Nivea Bubble Billboards

A fresh sheet of bubble wrap is hard to resist. The feeling of popping those little plastic pillows is unlike almost any other. Likewise, blowing soap bubbles is the sort of innocent fun that most people associate with happy childhood memories. What brand wouldn’t want their name associated with these sorts of activities?

Nivea found a way to make this association a reality with a new billboard campaign that has plenty of people talking. First is the giant “Reduce the bumps” billboard that’s covered with bubble wrap. It invites passers-by to pop to their heart’s content. Next they created a billboard with the tagline “Oxygen is a wonderful thing” that actually blows bubbles from a giant Nivea bottle.

Nutanix’s .NEXT Conference Tech Lab

Want the ultimate experiential marketing option? Instead of presenting your product at some industry conference, why not create your own? One tech brand has opted to do just that.

Nutanix Next Conference - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nutanix Inc.

The .NEXT Conference is an annual event sponsored by tech company Nutanix. More than just a brand spotlight, this full-fledged event is designed to help global IT leaders learn about the latest and greatest developments in data center and cloud tech. A key feature of the conference is the ability for attendees to get a first-hand look at the latest Nutanix products. There are also plenty of speakers, training and certifications, and hands-on labs too.

SYFY Karaoke Bus at Comic-Con

Comic-Con is probably the biggest pop-culture and geek gathering in the country. Every year fans and creators alike descend on San Diego for four days of fun and revelry. And if you’re in the comics, video game, fantasy, or sci-fi entertainment business, you definitely want to be there to reach your target audience.

The SYFY channel has found a fun and fantastic way to be a part of the festivities. They’ve created karaoke bus tours featuring the actors from their show “The Magicians”. On this slow-rolling double-decker bus, you can sing along with your favorite tunes and serenade onlookers. As if that wasn’t enough fun for one convention, they also employed a NOLA style marching band. And finally, they created a geek wedding chapel where couples were united in legally binding bliss by none other than Orlando Jones. It was all designed to celebrate the network’s 25th anniversary in true Comic-Con style.

Pop-Up Restaurants

Before pop-up restaurants, food truck were all the rage. In recent years, pop-up restaurants have become extremely successful, due in large part to their ability to instill a sense of urgency in consumers. For a deep-dive on how to start a pop-up restaurant, which includes tips, cost, and examples, check out 2nd Kitchen.

Why Proper Waitlist Management is Crucial to Experiential Marketing

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how amazing your concept is if it’s not well executed and well managed. And a good experiential marketing concept is bound to draw crowds, so you’ll need to be prepared for them. Long lines and unclear wait times are likely to chase potential customers away before they have the chance to interact with your brand. Instead, utilize a waitlist management solution, like NextME, to keep things moving efficiently and keep visitors happy and engaged as they wait.

NextME has played a big part in the success of several of the examples above. When BMW needed to manage the crowds at 16 different events in 16 cities across the country, NextME stepped up with a standardized tool to ensure quicker turnarounds at each location. When the .Next conference needed to manage the lines waiting to engage with their Hands-On Lab, NextME’s mobile guest engagement platform helped them increase brand awareness. And when the Karaoke busses at Comic-Con wanted a quick and easy way for attendees to digitally reserve their spot on the singalong tour, NextME allowed them to do just that.

As you’re planning your experiential marketing strategies, don’t forget that you’ll need a way to keep waiting guests happy. Contact NextME to discuss how this fully customizable solution can work for your brand strategy.