How to Leverage Events to Get Leads

When it comes to sales strategies, one of the most crucial elements is lead generation. When building your sales funnel, you need to capture as many leads as possible to ensure a stronger bottom line. 

While there are tons of lead generation strategies, one of the most reliable is event marketing. As any salesperson will tell you, the secret to success is to find qualified leads. Fortunately, it's very easy to prepare your leads and filter out those that don't add value when hosting a sales event. Events allow you to showcase your product and brand without feeling like a forced sales pitch. Plus, if you host a desirable event, you can capture far more qualified leads than any other marketing tactic. 

But, how can you host events for lead generation? Let's dive in and find out. 

 

Why is Lead Generation Important? 

If you're familiar with modern sales tactics, you've likely heard of the sales funnel. Leads are at the top of the funnel - they're the ones you try to convert into customers. 

Lead generation strategies can run the gamut from posting on social media to buying email addresses from a broker. Unfortunately, getting leads is not the hard part. The challenge is finding high-quality leads that are more than likely to convert. For example, it's much better to get 100 qualified leads than it is to get 10,000 unqualified ones. Even if you wind up with a few more customers, your ROI is much smaller because of the time and resources it took to whittle 10,000 down to a few hundred. 

So, by hosting events for generating leads, you can qualify your potential customers in a couple of different ways. 

First, you can invite people from within your target demographic. For example, if your product appeals to single men, you can post invitations on sites where single men spend a lot of time. 

Second, you can meet your target audience and vet them in person (even if you're hosting a virtual event). By interacting with attendees, you can make note of the ones that will convert easily and focus your attention on them. Overall, by investing in high-quality events, you can maximize your sales strategy far better than any digital marketing could. 

 

How Can You Gather Leads From Events? 

There are a few options for lead generation at an event. Let's break down the top methods and how to use them effectively. 

 

Event Marketing

If you want your event to succeed, you need to promote it as much as possible. You can utilize various channels, such as social media, pay-per-click ads, video promotions, etc. With whatever marketing tactic you use, you should send your audience to a specific landing page. From there, they can enter their details and contact information. 

The best part about lead generation through event marketing is that you can start working with your subscriber list right away. Although you won't be able to vet everyone as thoroughly as you would at the event, you can still qualify them based on your landing page or marketing channel. For example, you can sort your lists based on those you found through social media vs. search engines, etc. 

 

Registration

One of the easiest ways to capture lead information is to make attendees register for the event. Not only can you get a subscriber list instantly, but you can also use these numbers to plan for your event more effectively. 

Another option is to use checkboxes to qualify leads as they register. For example, a box that says, "please send me marketing materials" can help you avoid bouncebacks and subscriber churn. However, you have to make sure that individuals check the box. Alternatively, if you pre-check the box, you may wind up with many unqualified leads, defeating the purpose. 

 

Networking

Networking is the bread and butter of any event, and here is where you can qualify your leads in person. To make the most of your time, you should have a list of questions or topics to discuss with potential leads. Then, you can sort your leads based on their responses or engagement. 

This strategy works for all event types, as you can talk to guests individually or as a group during a hybrid or virtual event. Just make sure to utilize a high-quality virtual event platform like 6Connex. This way, you can customize your event to capture as many leads as possible. Also, not only can you gather contact data, but you can save video recordings to playback later as a form of visual note-taking. 

 

Post-Event Follow-Up

As a rule, if someone registers or attends an event, there's an unspoken agreement to allow some form of communication afterward. You can take advantage of your event momentum by sending follow-up messages or emails as soon as the event is finished. If you wait too long, you risk losing leads and starting over from square one. While there is no "official" time frame, we recommend sending a follow-up message within a week after the event. This message can include qualifying elements like verifying if someone wants to receive further information about your products and brand.

As you can see, gathering leads from events is relatively easy. Also, you can combine methods to ensure that every lead captured is as qualified as possible. This way, your sales team can close more deals and boost your bottom line. When done correctly, event lead generation can deliver some of the best customers. 

 

Adapting Event Lead Generation Between Event Types

Now that virtual and hybrid events are much more commonplace, both companies and individuals are more willing to attend these types of gatherings. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, virtual events offer some tangible benefits that won't go away. That said, each event type presents unique challenges and obstacles, so let's break them down one by one. 

 

Virtual Event Lead Generation Strategy

Virtual events are actually the best for lead generation because you're already capturing contact information no matter what. Even if you don't have a pre-event registration (which you should), you can at least get names and basic account details from their logon credentials. The specific data you can collect depends on the event app, but you should be able to get something valuable.

Overall, when hosting a virtual event, use these lead generation tactics: 

  • Registration - Attendees need to provide their full name and email address. You can also request more details if you plan on customizing the event or encouraging more interactions among guests. 
  • Event Recording - Record your session so you can dissect it later. You can also use the footage for promotional material to boost attendance numbers for future events. 
  • Separation of Duties - It's hard to run a virtual event and talk with all your attendees. To maximize productivity, you should use an event tech to handle elements like logistics and A/V details. This way, you can focus on talking with guests and vetting them personally. 
  • Enable Group or Individual Interactions - If your virtual event has more than a handful of attendees, it's hard to talk to everyone one-on-one. So, if possible, try to split people into groups or facilitate "hang out" rooms for guests to talk to each other. This tactic keeps everyone engaged and allows you to qualify your leads more efficiently. 

Hybrid Event Lead Generation

The primary challenge of hosting a hybrid event is ensuring a consistent experience for those attending virtually and in person. When it comes to lead generation, you can utilize many of the same tactics as a virtual event. For example, all guests must register and mark how they plan to attend. This option ensures you can accommodate everyone accordingly and enables you to build better subscriber lists. For example, if someone is coming to the virtual session, you know that they're willing to interact online, so you can use that to your advantage. 

Some hybrid-specific lead generation tactics include: 

  • Virtual and Live Hosts - Instead of trying to handle everything from one location, you can have a dedicated staff for virtual and in-person elements. For example, one group can manage the chatbox for all virtual attendees, while an onsite group manages live attendees. 
  • Badging and Tiered Event Access - If someone is coming to the live session, you can have them register for a specific badge. By setting up a tiered system, you can gather more information to qualify leads further. For example, if one tier allows access to top-level speakers or panels, you know the guest is highly interested in gathering industry insight. 

In-Person Event Lead Generation

Fortunately, in-person events are making a big comeback, and you can utilize all the strategies we listed above. Live events allow you to set up registration tables, interact with guests personally, and gather information for follow-up messages. Some specific options can include: 

  • Prizes and Giveaways - Everyone loves free stuff, so you can have guests register to win a prize. Even if they win the item on-site, you can gather their contact information as part of the experience. 
  • Product Demonstrations - Trade shows and conferences allow you to set up demonstrations to show off your best products and services. Or, if possible, find a way to incorporate them into the event. For example, if you sell food, you can set up a booth where guests can buy your items or take samples.  

Get More Leads With Us!

Lead generation only works if you know how to capture attendee details. No matter what type of event you're hosting, we can help you get more mileage from your leads. With our technical savvy and insight, we can help ensure you get high-quality leads before, during, and after your event. Contact us today to find out more.


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