Following up event prospects
Many of my clients have been telling me they are reducing the number of events they are doing in a year. Many of them are focusing now on fewer events, but more focused on their ideal prospects. Some of this is as a result of being more ABM focused in their activities, for others just a realisation that it makes sense to do less events and focus on getting better results from them.
There is no denying B2B events are still an integral part of marketing, especially here in Asia Pacific. 83% of B2B marketers still invest in events, and events make up 20-25% of marketing budgets. Despite these investments it sometimes seems that events are not as successful as they could be. I have seen research suggesting as many as 60-75% of leads from events are not followed up on.
There could be some very good reasons for this. Perhaps they were not qualified leads, or showed no interest in the services on offer and maybe there is a great deal of wastage at these events. Alternatively it could be event fatigue from marketers, sales people and unresponsive attendees themselves busy in catching up with work. All that investment of time and effort goes into an event it's no wonder follow up is not pursued with any enthusiasm. We must also be aware marketers could well be busy working on their next event and activity giving little time to follow up on a past event. Believing they have the basic metrics from that event, registrations/contacts now it's time to move on to the next activity.
I believe there are a number of ways marketers could follow up after an event to yield better results:
Post event content plan - A series of follow up articles/information related to the event personalised to their area of interest prepared in advance . Ideally you would have sufficient information from their registration to personalise the content further by job title, industry and other fields. If you have data on events they registered for or were able to track sessions they attended then you can take the personalisation to another level. If you are able to add and record any interactions with prospects from conversations at booths/conferences/networking that would be ideal. The key would have content prepared in advance and then personalise from data you are able to acquire from the event.
Post event landing page - A summary of the event, not just a collection of photos/videos to help promote the next event but content that would be of value to your prospects. Key takeaways from the event, checklist, key articles, memorable moments, source material for more specific information - all related to what your prospects may need from the event.
Post event networking - A large part of any successful event is obviously the networking. Some 50% of attendees report that they wanted more interaction / connections with the speakers. Whilst difficult to deliver during the event if you can set up a mechanism post event to connect, whether that be simply including links to other speaker activities or encouraging some of your speakers to engage in some post event discussion on your site or via LinkedIn that could lead to very positive engagements with prospects. Related to that if you can connect other attendees with each other post event that could be another way of realizing value for your prospects and increase your engagement levels in the follow up.
Some companies spend more time improving performance at the event. Reasoning that executives are far too busy after an event for post event marketing to make an impact. They prefer to market to their prospects while they are at event. One such company is Certain - https://www.certain.com/ - an event automation service provider. On a recent podcast show, the excellent Sweetfish Media Podcast - https://sweetfishmedia.com/how-to-increase-event-meeting-rates-james-huddleston - they suggest some ideas to improve prospect engagement performance while at the event.
The War Room - For greater sales and marketing enablement meet before during the event, agree objectives, collaborate on ideas for everyone to achieve their goals and make it fun. Agree a "most wanted" list of prospects and look at fun and innovative ways to target that list and reward performers who achieve the best results.
Preset Meetings - Plan in advance and focus on achieving meetings at the event while executives are available, and they are focused on the event, don't wait until after the event to follow up for meeting - ensure you get meetings at the event itself. Certain point to a 300% increase in meetings following this process.
The keys to many of these ideas is personalisation, so the more data you are able to acquire about an attendee at the event itself the more memorable and valuable your connection will be at and/or after the event.