Event marketing is a great tool for generating leads and building brand awareness. Whether you are hosting your own event or setting up shop in a booth at a trade show, the opportunities for networking and gaining new contacts are plentiful.
So, let's say your business participated in a successful expo for event industry professionals. You had your event marketing strategy in place and gathered lots of new leads…
Read on for our top tips for converting those leads into clients.
Top 10 Methods to Convert Leads to Clients in the Events Industry
1. Get your team on the same page.
If you have a team, small or large, working in your business, then you need to make sure that everyone is clear on your event marketing strategy and its goals. This is a conversation you need to have before any event, but you also should keep touching base to make sure that the goals don’t get lost in the shuffle.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the logistics of planning or participating in a successful event. Keep coming back to your goals, though. Make sure that your sales and marketing teams are working in tandem to accomplish established goals before, during and after each event.
A clear understanding of your goals and event marketing strategy by all team members will ensure that each stage of your sales funnel is working toward making a conversion.
2. Try setting up sales calls and meetings on the spot.
Event marketing gives industry professionals great opportunities to network and make strong connections with potential clients. Now, you never want to seem too pushy. If someone approaches your booth just to browse, you want to connect with them, but don’t try to push them toward any commitment before they’re ready.
However, if someone is asking a lot of questions, has demonstrated a clear need or is interested in more information, there’s no reason to wait for a follow-up to schedule a call or meeting. Make sure that you have a process in place to set up future meetings with hot leads mid-event.
3. Qualify leads right away.
Gauge the temperature of each lead you generate during your event marketing. Where are they in your sales funnel? You want to make sure you are nurturing your cold leads and closing the sale on the hot ones.
Qualifying leads during and post-event will make sure that you have the best strategy to follow up with the method that will be most likely to result in a conversion.
4. Follow up right away.
This may seem like an obvious one, however studies have shown that many businesses take this tip for granted.
According to one survey by Salesforce, 85% of businesses did not follow up with a lead at all after an event. Further, of the 15% that did, 23% took longer than three weeks to follow-up. Now, to be fair, this was just one event, but I think any one of us would be shocked and disappointed if our business was letting 85% of leads slip through the cracks.
Follow up with leads immediately after you gather them at an event. Even hot leads can run cold rather quickly. Consider how many businesses attendees are interacting with at any given trade show or event. The hard truth is if you don’t follow-up right away, they may no longer have a need for your services.
5. Connect with leads over several channels.
When gathering leads during your event, you’re most likely asking people for their name and email address. That’s great! That will allow you to send them targeted drip campaigns. Since you’ve already qualified your leads, you know exactly which email campaign to send them.
Take lead engagement one step further by connecting with them on social media, as well. Content marketing is a great strategy for growing your business. It will be especially helpful for those leads that are at the top of your sales funnel.
Maybe they’re not ready to make a purchase right now, but connecting with them over several channels will make sure they continue to receive your content marketing efforts. That way, you’re top-of-mind when they are ready with cash-in-hand.
6. Provide social proof.
Any chance you have to provide social proof should be taken. Quote testimonials or press mentions at the end of emails. Post them on your website. Show happy guests at an event you worked on, etc.
Social proof is a valuable tool to drive sales. People want to know what they are getting themselves into before making a financial commitment. They want to know that they won’t have buyer’s remorse after the fact. Social proof will provide potential clients with the reassurance they need to work with you.
7. Create free and valuable content.
This is another form of content marketing that your contacts will love. You can provide educational or otherwise valuable content on your social media channels, email newsletters and/or website. These can be videos, infographics, PDFs, whitepapers, etc.
One simple way to provide valuable, free content is by adding a blog to your business’ website. Blogs are primarily used to drive search engine traffic to your website, but they also give you a chance to establish yourself as an expert in the event industry.
People love free stuff. On top of demonstrating a genuine interest in your leads, free content will also allow you to show off your industry knowledge and close sales.
8. Share pricing and relevant industry information.
When you are communicating with warm leads, you want to be transparent about your pricing, as well as any other pertinent industry knowledge.
If your event services are a little more expensive than others, explain to your leads why that is. Many people are happy to pay a higher price point if they believe they are getting an extra value. What extra value does your business provide that your competitors don’t?
Likewise, if your services are budget-friendly, express that to leads. How can you save them money over your competitors’ services without sacrificing quality?
Consumers are less trusting than ever, with a ton of information at their fingertips at any given moment. They are wary of slick salespeople. Being transparent with leads will not only give them the confidence that you can be trusted, but it is vastly better for your business’ reputation in the long run.
9. Make good use of CTA’s.
Your call to action (CTA) should be included in every part of your lead nurturing strategy. What do you want people to do next?
There should be a CTA everywhere, literally: your website, each email in a campaign, social media captions, pay-per-click advertisements etc.
If you want people to move down your sales funnel, you have to ask them!
10. Remarket to cold leads.
Post-event, you followed up with leads; some of them went cold and some of them converted. No problem.
However, don’t forget about the ones that went cold too easily! Especially in the events industry, a lead that didn’t need your services six months ago, might find themselves planning a big event and in need of your help today. That’s also why it’s important to stay connected on multiple channels.
Segment your cold leads to touch base specifically with them once in a while.
We love event marketing as a lead generation tool. All your best efforts, however, will not result in a positive ROI unless you’re converting those leads!
If you’re ready to generate some leads and put these tips to the test, get your ticket for The Event Planner Expo 2020 today!