March 3-5 will see this year’s Ecobuild event take place at ExCeL London; and if last year is anything to go by, it’s going to be HUGE! The 2014 Ecobuild event had over 44,500 attendees, 787 exhibitors and 100+ conference and seminar sessions. Whichever way you look at it, this is a fantastic opportunity to generate leads and revenue for your business.
Given that Ecobuild 2015 is taking place in just a week, I’ll assume you already have your preparation activities planned in full. But, what about during and after the event? These are two periods which can be highly valuable when it comes to converting the greatest quantity of strangers from prospects to leads – and therefore ones you need to get right.
During the event - be original
64% of marketers identified ‘creating a unique experience that differentiates your events, motivating the target audience to attend’ among the top event marketing challenges – B2BMarketing
Think outside the box when it comes to exhibiting at events. That’s not to say you need to fly over the venue in a hot air balloon trailing a message on a banner, but you do need to think beyond Powerpoint presentations. Look for interactive solutions, innovative technology, and of course engaging messaging.
Ensure everyone on your stand is fully briefed before the start of the event, and they understand that they need to be on top form… so no standing around on their mobile phones. You should look to create a buzz around your stand and have an easy way to draw people in – such as a game or quiz.
Once prospects have approached your stand, try to keep your discussion work-related, but also short and sweet. There’s going to be a lot of people to speak to over a three-day event, so you can’t stand and chin-wag with just one person for an hour. This means your conversation needs to be well-focused and have a clear objective. Collect the visitor’s contact details such as email address and telephone number, provide them with relevant content and literature, then send them on their way.
After the event - segment, nurture and convert
It's estimated that 75% of leads are not followed up after an event – MarketingDonut
Having collected leads’ details at the event, it’s now time to focus on segmentation. This is a process which is largely overlooked and can prove costly for businesses. All of the leads you have spoken to are not equal. They will be at different stages of the buying cycle and will require different approaches going forward. The hot, sales-ready leads will be passed directly to the sales team to start converting them to customers. The cold leads will be added to a list to receive a monthly newsletter or another kind of infrequent communication.
But what about the warm leads? They’re not quite sales-ready but they are definitely interested in the product/service. The answer is, of course, lead nurturing. It’s vitally important to follow-up with them and drive them into the sales funnel. In order to do this, do not allow the lead to go cold, be sure to email them within a day or two of the event ending – when it’s still fresh in their mind.
When sending these emails, reference the event in the subject line, just to once again remind the lead where you met. Consider subject lines like ‘Thinking of you after (Event Name)’, ‘When we met at (Event Name)’ or ‘Information you requested at (Event Name)’. Be sure to thank the lead for visiting your stand and ask how you can help them further with their enquiries. The idea here is to keep them engaged and start a conversation. This is also an excellent opportunity to suggest they check out more of your content, social media and blog.
Just like every other marketing channel, events and exhibitions need to generate ROI, if they don’t… forget about it. In order to attribute events to your sales, be sure to follow the leads you gathered at the event right through to their conversion to sale. Only by completing this level of closed-loop reporting will it be possible to determine if attending and exhibiting at events is generate sales, revenue and ROI.
To do list…
1. Think beyond Powerpoint presentations and look for interactive solutions to events
2. Ensure everyone on your stand is fully briefed and professional throughout the event
3. Keep discussions with visitors work-related, but also short and sweet
4. Be sure to collect the visitor’s contact details such as email address and telephone number
5. Follow-up with leads via email within a day or two of the event ending
6. Use personal subject lines like ‘Thinking of you after (Event Name)’
7. Ask leads how you can help them further with their enquiries and direct them to content
8. Use closed-loop reporting to measure the ROI of your event marketing efforts
Enjoy Ecobuild 2015 and if you’d like to find out more about generating leads using a multi-channel marketing campaign…