How to Make the Most of Your Event Contacts
If you are the event host you have a great deal of control over the lead flow for an event – how leads are collected prior to the event in the form of registrations, how the different behavioral touch points during an event can be translated into digital form and pushed into your marketing systems for follow up by the appropriate teams. But often, you may not always have so much control over the flow of contact data generated at an event, so here we’ll focus on one of the more common types of events – an industry trade show, where your company is an event sponsor or an exhibitor. This means that the event host is providing rented lead retrieval systems (which you can supplement using some guerilla marketing tactics!) and you will typically receive a list of some portion of the attendees – usually the ones who have attended one of your speaking sessions and have engaged with your booth staff and have been scanned.
Prior to the event, you’ll want to create customer journey maps for the event attendees. Be as comprehensive as you possibly can. (This a job for the big wall-of-whiteboard.) Then craft the follow up actions for each of the customer journey maps for each of the attendees to your event.
Events are one of the more effective top-of-funnel marketing tactics, but top-of-funnel marketing tactics are often not well-integrated to the full demand machine because some tactics may be outsourced to agencies. TOFU initiatives present a big opportunity for ops teams to leverage their technological acumen to automate processes, apply deeper analytics and create positive business impact by taking advantage of technology.
Our friends at Salesforce have illustrated a great example of a template for a follow-up campaign for an event that is definitely worth modelling. This infographic illustrates a mid-complexity nurture campaign that is designed to engage new contacts who are just beginning on their buying journey with your company. The contacts are beginning their cycle of self-education and this month-long content series is designed to progressively engage leads generated from an industry trade show or a vendor conference you have sponsored. This is designed to slowly introduce content to grow interest in your offer.
The first email begins two days after the event with a brief recap of the event highlights and a thank you for attending your booth, speaking engagement, whatever is most appropriate. This is the toughest part of the entire campaign in that as an event sponsor, you will typically have little control over when you get that contact list from the event host. So ensure you’ve prepared all your campaign materials prior to the event so that when you receive the contact list, you’re ready to go immediately.
Other assets to be created are:
- An event recap blog post, which can be written either at or immediately following the event
- An offer of a free white paper, which can be prepared prior to the event
- A webinar invitation, also prepared in advance
- An offer of a live demo, prepared in advance
At each offer, lead scores will be adjusted based on the contact’s response to the specific offer.
The emails offering these assets are sent in 7 to 10 day intervals, but if a prospect demonstrates interest, interim steps can be skipped and the steps progress directly to the highest value educational asset – the webinar invitation, and the prospect is assigned to the appropriate representation in the sales team. Here’s where the power of automation systems to track and take action come in. And of course, these systems are well-integrated with CRM systems, so there is the capability for high-quality closed loop reporting back from sales to the marketing systems.
This is just one campaign example, but most likely your most common use case. Use this as an example, and as you build your library of customer journeys, build additional marketing and lead follow up campaigns to support them, and you will be able to yield better results from your events.