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Seven Key Ingredients for a Successful Lunch and Learn Program

Liberty Ridge Farm-Lunch and Learn Events

In the world of corporate events a fun one has emerged.  The Lunch and Learn is a fun way to have both a team lunch as well as learning something together to help your team learn a new skill and form tighter team bonds.  But, do you know what the proper ingredients are to host one of these great events?  We found you a great resource that outlines everything you need to to host a great Lunch and Learn Event!

Lunch and learns are a fantastic way to drive leads and cultivate prospects. Too often, business owners over think this marketing tactic. Lunch and learns are neither difficult, nor too expensive to pull off. There are however several key ingredients for making a lunch and learn successful. If you leave out one ingredient, you may not like the result.

eFolder hosts over fifty lunch and learns a month with business owners all over the world. We have perfected the formula.

Here are seven key ingredients for a successful lunch and learn initiative:

1.    A Great List

A growth oriented business needs an excellent house list. Cultivating your house list should not be an afterthought. Instead, it should be among the top priorities for your marketing staff. The house list should be legally compliant, honor opt-outs, and follow the CAN-SPAM Act. The list should also be growing all the time, as additional marketing tactics capture new “suspects,” prospects, and existing client contacts. Adding to the house list requires intelligence and care, with an eye towards quality over quantity. With a robust house list, you have the first and most important ingredient for a lunch and learn initiative: a list of high quality targets that would appreciate education and engagement from your firm.

2.    Educational Content

Business decision makers are hungry for news, information, and insights to help them grow, cut costs, and improve profitability. All B2B marketing initiatives must start with excellent content, which taps into the pain points of your target audience. Your lunch and learn seminar should deliver insights and learnings that prospects can execute without necessarily buying something from you. Many people are cynical about a tactic involving a “free lunch,” but the reality is no one is going to eat free food if the content is boring, irrelevant, or a pure sales pitch. Free lunch is a commodity. Free education is priceless.

3.    JV Partners

Hosting a lunch and learn involves some risk. A great way to reduce that risk and to guarantee your success is to partner with other companies on the effort. Joint venture partners can bring a wide array of assets to the table to help make an event a success. Additional prospects, lists, seminar content, marketing dollars, brand credibility, and savvy co-presenters are valuable resources to help you achieve your goals. eFolder has had great success hosting lunch and learns with a complementary IT security vendor, OpenDNS, which shares our target on MSP companies. For VARs and MSPs, look to your IT vendors for many of these additional resources. And don’t underestimate the importance of involving existing clients in testimonials and panel discussions. Your target audience will in many cases want to hear from their peers, sometimes even more than you.

4.    Killer Venue and Delicious Food

Don’t skimp on the food and restaurant venue. eFolder has hosted lunches at literally hundreds of high-end steak houses around the world. We always pick the nicest places, with the best brand experience. Trying to conserve budgets by picking a middling restaurant is a recipe for failure. By picking top of the line locations, you show your prospects that you have the budget, clout, and experience to pull off a class-A event. Your superior show-up rate will pay for the small additional cost per head of hosting your event at a top restaurant venue.

5.    Professional Logistics

All of your marketing before an event will shape the perception of your event and will affect your show-up rate. If your prospects see that you run a tight ship, they will think twice about registering for an event where they might not show. Your high level of organization will chase away the tire kickers or folks who sign up for everything, but hardly ever show. Moreover, if you have excellent event logistics, with a proper registration process and professional reminders (email and phone), you will set the expectation that this is a serious and professional event. As a result, your professionalism will be reciprocated by your audience, with above average show-up rates.

6.    Strict RSVP List Management

The economics of lunch and learns work, but only if you educating and feeding the right people, namely, those in your target market. Occasionally, your emailed invitation will fall into the wrong hands and be forwarded along to people who are only interested in a free meal. If you focus on dentists, and a bunch of lawyers have registered, un-invite them, courteously, but quickly and firmly. Advertise on your event registration page clearly for whom the event is intended. Make it bold and clear. And then be strict about un-inviting unwelcome guests. People who have no business registering for your event get the picture quickly and will never embarrass themselves or you by showing up after being un-invited. If you keep your event focused on your target market, you can easily stay on message and cultivate the audience you are seeking.

7.    Repetition

Like with anything in life, practice makes perfect. I see too many business owners who try something once or twice, experience lackluster results the first time, and then give up. Lunch and learns require patience, professionalism, and persistence. I personally hosted over twenty lunches at eFolder, experiencing many setbacks along the way, before I perfected the formula. Now I have a crack team of four professionals who host over fifty events a month and generate thousands of hot leads for the eFolder sales team.

Marketing is a bit like cooking. You can follow your own recipe, but don’t forget any of the key ingredients.

This article was originally published on Linkedin.com.  If you are interested in hosting a Lunch and Learn Event for your team, please fill out the form below!  We look forward to hearing from you!

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