Event marketing is a proven strategy for success. In fact, according to statistics, 73% of B2B marketers say live events are better than other tactics for customer engagement. The most common types of events that these organizations host are multi-day conferences, industry trade shows/conventions, single-day seminars, workshops, etc. More to the point, according to HubSpot, some 67% of B2B marketers say that events make for one of the most effective strategies they use.
So let’s say you’ve pulled off that perfect conference or trade show exhibit. You put together a fantastic booth that attracted lots of foot traffic and you delivered a compelling, educational, and immersive presentation through experiential marketing. You’ve primed your invitees and in turn, you generated qualified leads. So what’s next? The obvious answer: the follow-up.
Here we list some best practices for effectively following up with leads you generated at your marketing events.
Develop an attendee follow-up system
Now that the event is over you’ll want to get the sales and marketing teams together and hammer out a list segmented in three tiers:
- No shows
- Non-responders to the invite
You’ll want to follow up with each of these groups, even those who didn’t respond to your event invitation. Following up with attendees is going to be the most labor intensive as you’ll want to entice them with more interesting content. You’ll also want to draft post-invent surveys to send along.
Contact your leads on proven channels
That means finding your follow-up contacts in the places where they spend the most time. In this day and age that’s social media and email. Regarding social media, as a people and culture we’re engaged on these platforms more than ever before. According to stats from MarketingTech, the average person now has a whopping seven social media accounts. Moreover, they’re spending nearly two hours a day on social media platforms.
So the danger here would not only be underestimating how much your B2B contacts are on social media, but also assuming that they are only on LinkedIn. Do your diligence and try to find them on every social media platform under the sun, from Instagram and Facebook to SnapChat and Twitter. As for using email as a channel to reach your contacts, more on this strategy below.
Send email thank you letters
If you followed the above advice and curated your invite list beforehand, you should have a list of all your clients and invitees’ emails. And if you adhered to the best practices of event marketing, you will have gotten the contact info of all leads you generated at the event itself. If you haven’t invested in a solid event-management tool, you really should; it will make keeping track of all those emails a breeze.
Best practices state that sending out a thank you letter 2-3 days after the event is ideal (but anytime up to a week should suffice). You don’t want to hard sell anyone at this point. The thank you letter should be just that: a simple message extending your appreciating for the recipient’s time. Its ultimate purpose will be to remind the recipient of your meeting and keep your brand in the forefront of their mind.
Encourage an ongoing conversation
The trick with event follow ups has always been how to nurture a regular conversation with leads without coming across as pushy. You want to cultivate these relationships and facilitate regular communication naturally. Luckily in today’s digital age, technology is here to help. Even something as simple as the hashtag can do wonders for promoting engagement and conversation.
So in the lead-up to your event, make sure you help promote it with a unique and short hashtag. A low character count helps because your contacts will be more likely to retweet a short but memorable hashtag. You should be diligent about this and even go so far as to designate someone from your team as the official social media coordinator for your event. That way, in your email and social media follow-ups, you can get your contact’s attention with a solid hashtag.
Incorporate video and photos into your follow-up strategy
There is a proven benefit to incorporating video into your marketing efforts. So be sure to film your event, and during the follow-up process cut a highlights reel together and send it to your contacts in the thank-you email. If you’re really savvy, you’ll have a photographer at the event snapping pics of every interaction. You can then post those on social media and make it fun for your contacts to tag themselves. If you can work it so that your reps are in the photos with the contacts, then all the better.
These are just a few strategies to nurture contacts during the post-event follow-up process. Above all else, be genuine. Today’s generation values authenticity above all else, so the hard-selling strategies of years past won’t do the trick anymore. Meet your contacts on their level, on their social media pages, and let the conversation flow naturally.
About the Author
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.
Ryan is known for taking complex marketing and business challenges and developing solutions that simplify processes while driving customer outcomes and business value. He also thrives on guiding Elevation teams toward execution of strategies that help companies succeed in new verticals, while staying true to core values and brand integrity.