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Published in Event Ideas category on (02/20/2016)

How to Fill Your Marketing Funnel by Getting Event Attendees to Stop and Stay at Your Booth


5 Best Practices from Marketing Veteran Matt Heinz to Increase Lead Conversions at Your Event

What We Learned in our #MKTGPOV Twitter Chat

Matt Heinz’s #MKTGPOV Twitter Chat was a gait-stopper. (No we didn’t misspell that, keep reading!) He gave us insights into how to stop attendees in their tracks at events, how to effectively engage prospects, and how to follow-up to drive lead conversion. But more than insights, Matt gave us actionable tips. He provided us with ways that you can target attendees before the event, how to talk to prospects at the event, cater and personalize your message to your leads, provide personalized follow-up, and how to use events to nurture sales qualified leads.

We followed-up with Matt and had him elaborate on our key-takeaways from our #MKTGPOV Twitter Chat: Increase Your Sales Pipeline and Bring Home The Bacon With Events With Matt Heinz, and he gave us his secret recipe for event success. His top answers from the chat are below, along with his step by step process for filling your sales and marketing funnel.

To read a curated version of our entire Twitter Chat, scroll to the end of the post or read here.

1. Dream It — Pre-planning for Events

“Pull a report of last year’s attendees and engage them with the assumption that they’ll be there again this year. Find the sessions & break-outs that focus more specifically on your value prop and focus attention there on-site. Segment your target prospects from the rest, and weight your engagement and invites accordingly.”

Great event marketing starts well before the event. Who’s going to be there? Which attendees do you want to target and who are you looking to engage with? What kind of content can get your attention in front of attendees so that they spend more time with you at the show itself? Look at last year’s event, attendees who used hashtags to promote it, writers who wrote about it afterward, etc. This will clue you in on who will be attending again this year, and help you focus your content.

2. Prep It — Advice on Prospects

“Two words: gait stoppers. What message in one short sentence will get passers-by to stop and engage with you? Dedicate people to the periphery of your booth with those gait-stoppers. Their entire job is to engage and qualify. A booth is like a funnel. Maximize volume on the outside, qualify traffic to the middle, nurture those not ready for full demo.”  

When it comes to attendees, it’s not like some are assigned to separate teams, some to marketing and others to sales. It’s therefore really important to make sure you have a unified, integrated approach to engage with those finite and precious prospects. This means alignment and coordination of channels used as well and a clear vision as to the story that you want to tell. What’s your message? What’s your “ask”?

3. Cure It — How to Nurture and Capture Leads at the Event 

“It’s about content and context, connecting your conversations with their needs/objectives and logical next steps. I’ve seen companies working events with heavy millennial attendees use Snapchat heavily. For B2B. For real. All good marketing comes back to that center who is your customer, what do they care about?”

Set goals with your sales and marketing team well before the show. How many leads do you expect to capture? How many meetings will you book and complete? Who’s assigned to what role at the show — at the booth, in the halls, and in the demo room?  How will you use stand-up meetings or an equivalent to evaluate performance multiple times during the event and make adjustments as necessary? Sorting out these details ahead of time will streamline your process and enable your sales and marketing teams to effectively convert leads during and after the event.

4. Smoke It — Best Follow-up Practices

“Have your follow-up campaigns ready BEFORE the event begins so you can easily plug new lists in and execute. Define objectives and enumerate prospect needs up front, build all of your strategy & execution from there.”

Follow up quickly. Seriously, on the plane ride home. Respond to your prospects with added value propositions, information that makes your prospects better and smarter.  Qualification for event leads shouldn’t necessarily be different than qualification of other leads, but you can often use the context of the event to craft a better message or offer to increase engagement and responses.

5. Slice It — Tips For Lead Conversion

“There are many organizations that consider events their #1 source of sales-qualified leads. Getting face time with qualified prospects can significantly accelerate impact, velocity and conversion of opportunities. Ask SFDC what their #1 source of enterprise leads & deals is…the answer is events and dinners.”

Be patient. At events, especially evening parties, I rarely talk business. I talk instead about “them”. Ask questions of your prospects, learn about their family and their interests, hobbies, passions. Use that insight to follow up after the event to build further trust and rapport. Talk of business will come, and it will be built on a foundation of value, so that you can personalize your message to your prospects.


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