Create brand awareness and generate leads through in person and virtual events. Dayna discusses the benefits and examples of both online and offline events when it comes to lead generation.
- [Narrator] Getting in front of people is critical for outbound marketing and for lead generation. And one of the best ways to do this is through both in-person and virtual events. Events are terrific opportunities to attract new buyers, show off your brand, move leads through your funnel, and close deals. Events generally hit on the full funnel as you're thinking about different lead generation strategies. Whether online or offline, events offer an unparalleled chance for personal communication directly with your buyers.
Of course, in-person events allow you to meet them face-to-face; however, online events can also have that element of relationship building, as a person can really put kind of a voice and a look and feel to your company. So, let's start with physical events, because these could be the cornerstone of a good outbound marketing and lead generation program. Physical events come in many forms like trade shows, conferences, and smaller field events. So, the first step when you think through your physical events is that you need to set goals.
Because physical events are a very on-demand, in real-time type of activity, setting goals up front will really set the stage for success. So, for physical events, your goals might look like this. A certain number of scans. Typically, at these physical shows, especially if you have a trade booth, you'll have the opportunity to scan attendee badges. And that's essentially like generating new leads. Everyone that comes to your trade show booth, you need to scan them. So, another goal is a certain number of new leads.
So, even though you are scanning everyone that comes into your booth, a good number of those scans might be current leads that you already have in your database. So, in addition to scan goals, you also want to think about new leads. So, you also want to think about the number of opportunities created from an event. So, because an event has such a high face-to-face component, you should have your marketing team there, you should have your sales team there. There might be opportunities that are created directly from that event itself.
Another thing that's related to opportunities is number of prospect meetings. So, at many of these events, they give you the opportunity, or you might have a separate room where you can actually meet with prospects. So, having a certain number of meetings is a really good goal to have at a large trade show where you're spending a lot of money. Customer meetings is also the same type of thing. If you do have customers at this event, it's important to meet with them face-to-face, show theme the love, talk about some new things or features that are coming out.
And then, of course, close deals. You do want to make sure that eventually you are closing deals from these events. Now, one thing to note is that sometimes with something like a trade show, the velocity of the new leads from a trade show could take a long time to make it to pipeline or deals, so give your trade shows a good amount of time before you're actually assessing the ultimate value of what you've done. So, here's some things to keep in mind as you're planning a very big event like a trade show or a conference.
You need to develop your trade show presence. So, your key objective is to stand out from the crowd. Your booth and event theme is critical for success. You might want to showcase new products or services at your booth. So, if you are coming out with some great new product or service, make sure that there's information about that on your booth. You want to think through what are the colors you want to include in your booth. So, they might be brand colors, or in some cases, for a trade show, you might want to think a little bit outside of your brand and have bolder colors to draw people in.
Think through your welcome area. So, as people walk into your booth, what does that experience look like? Where is your furniture? How are people standing? Now, of course, this will vary depending on how large your trade show booth is. But thinking through how people walk through your booth is another critical factor. Collateral or swag, so what do you have at the booth that you're giving away. So, it's important to have information about your company, but it's also important to have some collateral items that you can give way like T-shirts, or pens, or things that are branded.
And then, you also want to think through if you have any video content or a demo station in your trade show booth if you are coming from a technology company, you might have the opportunity to put up a demo, or again, a lot of the trade shows will offer you television screens that you can put up in your booth. So, booth collateral and swag. You do want to make sure that you have things at your booth that people want to take away. This will remind them about your brand later in the conference, and this also provides a lot of social media fodder if you're giving away things that are cool.
So, on the left-hand side, we have an example of a booth give away that was done at EverString. Again, you want to make sure that you are thinking about your audience. Audience for this trade show was marketers, so marketers really did enjoy this different type of swag. And then, in the middle, we have standard T-shirts from Cloudability. People love T-shirts, they will eat that up. So, if you have T-shirts, that's a great type of swag. So, booth interactivity and games. Another way to drive traffic to your booth is to have some interactive things there, or to do some type of contest.
This has always worked very well for me in the past. So, on the left-hand side, you see kind of a spin-to-win type activity in a booth. On the right-hand side is an example of a meme booth that was created at our Marketo booth. You could go into the booth and there was a meme background and you could create your own internet meme, and it would get emailed out to you, and then you could share it on social. So, having people interact with you at the booth not only makes people want to stay in your booth longer and learn about your company, but it also attracts other people that are walking through.
So, the other thing that you can do at many conferences and trade show is get yourself involved in a thought leadership speaking session. So, at every trade show that you attend, you should at least take a look and see if this is a possibility. So, ask the following questions as you're vetting different events. Can you get a speaking session included with your sponsorship? If you are a sponsor, especially if you're a higher level sponsor you will often find that speaking sessions are included in a sponsorship.
And sometimes, you can even actually purchase a speaking session without a sponsorship. So, can you apply for a speaking session? If you aren't sponsoring this event, there might be other ways where you can actually apply for a speaking slot. Just remember that your speaking session should be mostly thought leadership, it should be mostly educational. Very rarely will a conference accept a speaking session that's very sales focused. Speaking sessions are great for brand awareness, lead generation, lead acceleration, and customer communications.
So, as many times as you can actually get a speaking session, I highly recommend going for these. So, there's other events that you can do around a trade show. So, just because you have a booth in a trade show or you're speaking doesn't mean you should necessarily stop there, especially if it's a multi-day event. There are a lot of different things that you can do like happy hours, parties, executive dinners. So, think through all of these things. And you can also often sponsor an event with a partnered company.
And this is a great way of not incurring the full cost for ourself. As you're thinking through what ancillary events to do at trade shows, it's important to understand what your priority trade shows are and where the most of your audience is going to be, and then really center your spend in those areas. You can also generate buzz with outdoor and guerrilla marketing, especially around a larger show. So, this is basically fun, interesting, kind of street marketing that you can do outside of a trade show.
Before you do something like this, I would take a minute and see if you can learn about any type of city ordinances, or any different types of things that the people that are hosting the event might have, because it's important to understand if there's any regulations around doing your own marketing outside of these events. So, booking meetings at a trade show. It is important to make sure, especially for lead generation and acceleration, that you are thinking through how to book meetings at your show.
So, for one, make sure that you have meeting space. Some shows will offer you meeting space, others you will have to purchase it. A good idea here is to purchase additional hotel rooms or to see if you can rent out a local restaurant. Your sales and your sales development team should be booking meetings, so make sure that your teams know ahead of time what different events you're attending and what type of meetings they should be booking. Provide to sales a spiff to ensure that meetings are booked. So, this is something that's worked really well for me in the past.
So, for the sales person or the sales development rep that booked the most meetings at big events, we have offered a gift card or a monetary spiff to kind of get that competition going. Also, think through providing an incentive for prospects who actually attend your meetings. What sometimes happens at these events is you do schedule meetings, people get busy and they don't show up. So, what I've seen work in the past is offering some type of gift for a prospect and having that actually physically at your meeting so they have an additional reason to attend.
And then, you want to make sure that you keep track of what is booked and who attends in your CRM or in a spreadsheet. You want to make sure that you have a good idea of how many meetings you're booking and then how many meetings people are actually attending.
- Identifying funnel stages
- Defining key goals and metrics
- Deciding on an approach
- Building a lead generation plan and a team
- Aligning with stakeholders
- Choosing a lead generation technology
- Building attractive content
- Generating leads with blogs and social media
- Creating an SEO strategy
- Tracking ad performance
- Increasing visibility through events
- Using paid ads and direct mail
- Qualifying leads
- Measuring campaign effectiveness