October 10, 2018

Event Strategies

Quick Guide to Driving Lead Generation with Marketing Events

By:

Kirstin Fulton

Marketing events are prime lead generation tools. From event attendees to no shows, each registrant is a sales lead that needs to be followed up on.

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Lead generation is the B2B event’s raison d’être, so it pays to have a lead follow up plan from the outset that establishes measurable lead goals. Planning for and drumming up qualified leads is a critical step in the event planning process. So from pre- to post-event, here is our simple guide to high-touch lead gen for your next field meeting event.

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Pre-Event: Lead Generation Starts By Driving Awareness

Generating buzz around your event is fundamental for:

(a) driving event registration and attendance

(b) educating your guests on your agenda and offerings beforehand, setting proper expectations.

In-the-know attendees offer strong lead gen potential as they’ve already given your product or service the first pass just by attending.

Consider all of your available channels including email, social media, pad advertising, website and content updates, word of mouth, partners, and more. Create outreach kits that can be given to internal teams, event speakers, and sponsors with information on how to easily share and spread the word about the upcoming virtual event.

At the Event: Scan and Engage Attendees

If you’ve taken all the preliminary steps to build a great attendee pool and get them excited, your next (big) task is to orchestrate strategic interactions. While CEIR reports that 81% of B2B event attendees have buying power, not all of them do, nor will that whole group be on the high end of the buying spectrum. So your attendee engagement strategy to lead generation should be composed of three pillars.

Engagement

Optimal engagement comes from understanding your audience—not what they want, but who they are and what rouses their interest—and by being creative. Marketing teams are constantly coming up with great lead gen ideas to leverage their events, such as in-booth stations, giveaway items (that aren’t throwaway items), having your best “people” people on the ground, and hosting outstanding speakers.

Scanning

We mean this both technically and subjectively. Collecting and managing leads is a major component of any marketing event, so the market is flooded with apps to help capture all the relevant information. But don’t rely on apps alone. Use your intuition when selecting the hottest leads to engage closely. In lead prospecting, you’ll want to first determine whether you’re talking to the Gatekeeper or the Decision Maker, and then assess their stage in the buying process. Dedicate the most time to those closest to making a final sales decision. Otherwise, connect, educate, and plan for future contact.

Data Collection

Streamline your collection process by deciding what data is most relevant. Think beyond identity data and gather information that will help you customize your offering in the most effective way.

Post-Event: Manage the Heck Out of Those Leads

For the best lead conversion rates, quick prospect outreach can not be overstated. It may seem obvious (we see your eye-roll), but Salesforce reports that 80% of event exhibitors don’t follow up on their prospects. So, clearly it needs to be said: don’t squander your leads! Make quick follow-up a priority and have an outreach plan that shows you’ve listened and understood your client’s current position and needs. And don’t stop with a single call. If your lead isn’t ready to make a decision immediately post-event, create a long-term plan for future follow up.

And remember, every registrant is a lead—even if they didn’t make it to the actual event. Just because they didn’t show, doesn’t disqualify them. So treat even your no-shows as golden opportunities! How you manage a pipeline directly affects the bottom line, so be a master lead cultivator for present and future business. With a simple and dedicated approach to lead generation, your team can maximize the impact of your next B2B field event.

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