10 Event Marketing Tips to Accelerate B2B Lead Generation
Concluding the Back-to-School B2B Primer—Part Four
Until this point, “walking into a lion’s den” was only an idiom I had heard. Now it is an experience I will never forget—once-in-a-lifetime adrenalin rush that only a close encounter with a Big Cat can give you. My recent visit to Mauritius allowed me the opportunity to literally, walk with lions at the Casela Nature Park. The majesty of this King of Beasts is unmatched and overwhelming to say the least. A magical, surreal experience and definitely not an activity for the faint-hearted. Thanks to the fabulous keepers for guiding us and making this an unforgettable highlight of our family trip.
I had to share that with you, but let’s get back to the Back-to-School B2B Primer series. In this concluding piece (Part Four), I’ll focus on Event Marketing.
HERE ARE 10 EVENT MARKETING TIPS TO ACCELERATE YOUR B2B LEAD GENERATION.
- DESIGN THE ‘BIG CAT’ EXPERIENCE. Whether it is your own company event or you are participating in a larger industry event, take ownership. Think about the experience you want your target audience to enjoy and remember. Plan the one big, unique highlight of your event so your attendees will always remember and cherish it. My own personal experience of Reunion Island could have been much the same as any other visitor’s, but I wanted more. Walking with the lions gave my family and I an encounter that not many will dare to enjoy; but we did, and thoroughly.
- IDENTIFY THE EVENT TRIGGERS. The worst thing you can do is to plan an event because you just want to. I see this all the time—B2B companies of all shapes and sizes will jump up and decide they need to have an event. Why? For reasons ranging from, “we have an event budget we need to expend” to “we need an interactive forum with our customers” to “leads are not finding their way to us, so we need to go to them”. All very well, and I don’t say these are not valid reasons. BUT you do need to determine and validate a strong, compelling trigger for an event. It could be the launch of a new product, a seasonal phenomenon that can boost sales, expansion into new markets, rebranding of your organization after a merger or acquisition, new, high-profile executives that can draw the attention of your prospects and customers, even changes in the industry and socio-economic climate or drastic environment/weather-related changes that warrant an outreach initiative. All of these and more can be useful triggers for your company’s next event.
- STUDY YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY. What can you learn from customer behaviour in the past? Which events and what type of interaction resulted in the highest conversion/buying actions? We are all guilty at some point of wanting to try something new at the cost of forgetting tried and tested methods that really work. Of course, you need a new spin on each subsequent event, but at the core of the sales and buying cycle, you still need the conversion mechanism that will allow you to take control of the funnel and ensure better lead management.
- HAVE A PROCESS TO MONITOR AND ESTIMATE TIME TO PURCHASE. How will you measure the effectiveness of your B2B marketing event? What factors will decide your return on investment. Different types of events will trigger buying decisions in different ways. For instance, if you are launching an upgraded product, purchase during or after the showcase event is likely to happen sooner than when you are launching a completely new product. Demand generation cycles will vary in these situations. Taking into consideration customer mindset and behavioural tendency, you need to accurately estimate how long it will be after an event that buying will start to happen. Are you interested in accelerating your demand generation? Download a free copy of The ALEA Demand Generation Playbook.
- ENSURE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. This can only happen with proper documentation of events, testing, monitoring and analytics. There will always be some marketing events that give your bottom line a bigger boost and some that don’t do as well. As long as you are seeing the true value of each event and how it impacts your business overall, you have the opportunity to continuously raise the bar. Whether this means bringing on better, more qualified personnel to manage your next event, or stepping up your market intelligence efforts or facilitating greater streamlining and automation of event management activities—you can make each event better than the previous one.
- PERSONALIZE, BUT ONLY AFTER YOU BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP. The idea of personalization is so drilled into our minds as marketers that we may sometimes take it too far at the risk of putting off potential buyers. It happened to me recently. I signed up for a virtual event, a webinar by a company that develops custom mobile apps. After I registered, they let me download a free whitepaper. I appreciated that; thank you very much. Next they sent me a survey link to fill out and I obliged because it only took 3 minutes of my time. Good follow-up strategy I thought to keep me engaged. Then they blew it completely. They created a demo mobile app customized with my company’s name and logo and posted it on their Facebook page to show what they can do for others in the same industry. Far out, totally not done and I will never consider this company as a potential vendor again. Of course, they took down that demo, but they certainly overstepped the boundary. Yes, I was a willing event attendee, yes I responded to an early call to action and downloaded their whitepaper, yes I returned the favour and filled out their survey. But did they know me well enough to go this far? Definitely not.
- RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S TIME. Why do we still hang on to the idea that an event of longer duration is more valuable? That’s not true anymore. Time is precious. If your speaker panel is attractive enough to the audience, then 15-minute presentations are far more valuable than hour-long sessions. Every webinar invite I receive wants to book my time for 60 to 90 minutes. I just don’t have the time and most people don’t these days. If you can say what’s important in 15-20 minutes and allow time for Q&A, 30 minutes in total is all you need. The same goes for live events too. Instead of hosting half hour demos at your trade show booth, keep it snappy. 5-minute demos will work much better. And then allow interaction to flow freely, so you can engage in relevant, personal relationship building face-to-face.
- FOLLOW-UP BY CONTINUING TO ADD VALUE. It’s no use if you go back after a business expo with a box full of business cards and start sending distracting emails to follow up with the leads that showed interest in your product/service. Instead, follow-up with good, informational content, Infographics, whitepapers, research studies, social media updates and any other relevant reading material you can provide to those leads. These lead nurturing methods still hold good and help you deepen engagement levels without becoming a nuisance to your customers and prospects.
- PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS. Even the smallest event can become a logistical nightmare if roles are responsibilities are loosely assigned, processes are not clearly defined, monitoring and measurement metrics are inefficient. The devil, as they say, is in the details. It pays to be meticulous about documenting and making checklists for everyone to follow so nothing slips through the cracks; especially those hard-earned leads!
- EACH EVENT IS A MARKETING OPPORTUNITY FOR THE NEXT EVENT. Continuous marketing; that’s what events allow you to do. You ran a sell-out event. That’s great. Make sure you pump out enough tidbits of information to create excitement for your next event or two. Share the success stories of each event with your target audience so they look out for future events and are eager to come back. Content marketing and social media updates are useful ways to do this.
What event marketing lessons have you learned from recent events? How have they helped your B2B lead generation efforts? Feel free to add to the list above and do leave me a comment below.
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