Most of the advice about lead generation concerns the encouragement of prospects through supplying them with various types of educational materials. However, at the very beginning of the sales funnel, while still building customer interest, it can be a good idea to generate leads in a unique way — by organizing an outstanding event. Here are our tips for lead generation during events.
Event time! How about a piñata full of leads?
According to Engaging Events Survey published by the Event Manager Blog in 2016, 37% of people responsible for company event organizing plan to prepare more than sixteen events per year. From the lead generation point of view, the most important part of the event organization process is to collect as much data as possible right from the registration stage. The best way to achieve it is to design a sign-up form that gathers the information you need. Try not to bore your prospect by making them fill out a five-page registration form full of questions concerning food preferences or the number of cats in the household.
Tips for lead generation won’t work without engagement
If you build “offline” engagement earlier, it’s likely that participants and guests present at the event will have a more positive attitude towards later online communication. There’s a better chance they’ll recognize you and your brand after a close interaction such as an event.
Engagement is based on three elements:
- Cognitive — how focused and impressed you are
- Emotional — the level of enthusiasm concerning a given item or action
- Behavioral — the action you take after becoming familiar with an object or event
When you plan to organize an event, no matter if it’s the company’s anniversary party or professional workshops in your field of expertise, you must include all of the above. Here are some helpful tips on how to do it.
Engage others in the promotion
Few things have the power to persuade you more than someone else’s recommendation. Did anyone well-known and respected in the industry attend your event and say something about it in social media? Did a media outlet write about your event? Share the good news with others! If you are organizing a recurring event, you should also ask for testimonials from the previous participants encouraging everyone to come to this year’s edition.
Run a contest
Let your participants test their luck. Give them an opportunity to win a free ticket for next year’s event or a private consultation with a conference guest or speaker. It does not have to be a simple prize draw. Think about what competitors can promote your brand and be useful to your business. Can they think of a name for a new service? Describe their ideal product? Or maybe suggest changes to improve customer service?
Make some buzz in social media about the contest and watch people get engaged with the competition!
Create a mobile app
Potential participants may sometimes hesitate to sign up for the event. Descriptions of individual conference panels tend to be lacking in detail, it is not entirely clear which representatives of other companies will come, etc. A good idea to help them make decisions and facilitate the entire registration and participation process is to create a dedicated mobile application.
Such an app can consist of the following modules:
- Media information — relevant content from different sources
- Push notifications — concerning updating conference data
- Interactive calendar — allowing attendees to create their meeting schedule
- Participants and speakers list — including their job positions and links to social media profiles
- Exhibitor location map — helping in finding exhibitor booths
Organize a lunch or afterparty
This is a great opportunity for networking and relaxed conversation (also about business, including topics concerning your product or service). Some people even say that “it’s not about what you do, but who you know”; of course, knowing business partners is not everything, but there might be a grain of truth in this saying.
Introduce yourself as an expert in the field of your business. Try to tell a little about what you are doing and why it is valuable. Show interest in others. Even if you do not sell your service to your guests they may recommend you to their friends and contractors.
Send thank you emails and surveys
Check to see if the participants were happy with the event. What did they like and what needed improvement? What topics would they like to raise in the next editions of the conferences? Send such surveys relatively quickly, while everyone remembers what they liked about the event and what needed improvement. Include questions concerning different parts of an event. In addition to purely substantive information, the survey should also relate to the involvement of the presenters, the choice of the venue, catering, availability of information before the conference, etc.
Be my guest! Prospects at the event
You, as the event organizer, also take part in it. As a host, you and your team shouldn’t hide in the backroom but entertain everybody with conversation. Try to imagine that all those people who come to an event are your friends invited to dinner in your home. Being polite, funny and friendly doesn’t exclude showing some business interest:
- Try to talk to the participants of the conference or expo. Why did they choose this lecture? What prompted them to participate in specific workshops? Collect as much information as you can.
- Prepare yourself. Step into your client’s shoes and think about their questions and doubts. Take some advertising materials and business cards with you.
- Play Sherlock Holmes and identify decision makers. Do you know which of the guests present at the event has the possibility to decide on purchase decisions? Focus on them and spend some time on business talk.
- Follow up your leads. Now you’ve got a pocket full of new contacts. Use them in the next stages of lead generation funnel.
Of course, this is only part of the list of tips for lead generation among event participants. If you come up with any other solutions — implement them and observe the results you get. Good luck and we hope that you host successful events full of new leads!