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Published in Demand Generation category on (11/17/2016)

What Kills Conversions at Events

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How to Increase Event Leads And Prevent Marketing Conversion Mistakes at Events

Are you wondering what is killing your marketing conversions at events and preventing you from reaching your targeted amount of event leads? 20-25% of a company’s marketing budget is spent on event marketing. Knowing this, you begin to understand that events are an invaluable marketing strategy for companies, and need to be done right. By creating a successful event, and enabling conversions, marketers can provide credible ROI from their events and optimize their efforts.

There are many different ways that you can kill conversions at events. So it is important to understand what is working and what isn’t during all stages of the event lifecycle. Here are common conversion mistakes to look out for at your events:

Pre-Event

What we see often at events that aren’t converting is a clear lack of planning. When marketers/event planners aren’t planning their event around attendees’ personas and interests, conversion rate decreases. So, always remember to center your events around attendees and finding ways to increase audience engagement. Early in the planning process, make sure you are creating the “right” event, not the “best” event, something that your target audience will want to go to because it peaks their interests. By planning an event around your attendees’ interests you can ensure a higher conversion rate, and not waste your budget on unnecessary distractions.Think about it, why spend money on session speakers, swag, booth design, etc.  that are irrelevant to your attendees’ wants and needs? Why go to an event that isn’t catered to your interests?

A common mistake that can greatly kill marketing conversions is a landing page that isn’t following best practices and is too long, doesn’t have enough information on it, and isn’t eye-catching. If you are managing your event landing page, make sure you follow best practices. I can’t tell you how many landing pages I’ve seen that aren’t eye-catching and are too long. To avoid this mistake, remember that a converting landing page will have catchy, clear, and inviting CTAs, well-thought out form fields that are neither too long, nor too short, and one that passes the blink test. All these aspects are important in creating a successful landing page, and in turn, a successful conversion rate. The more registrations you have, the greater likelihood that you will have more attendees at the actual event, and the more attendees at your event, the more opportunity you have to market to those interested and the higher percentage that your company will get a sale. Plus, you will have a nice lead list to follow-up with filled with people who attended, and people who registered but did not attend, further increasing marketing opportunities.

Are you using social media before your event? If you aren’t, there’s another reason you aren’t converting at events. Ramp up your social media event strategy! A good way to get buzz started around your event is to promote what is happening across your social media platforms.  On Twitter, create an event hashtag, write a blog post promoting the event, and increase your event’s reach. On Facebook and LinkedIn, promote your blog post, send them to your registration page, and provide your followers with an interesting read that pertains to your event. Social media is a valuable tool that marketers can use to increase conversions at events.

Although using social media falls under the “pre-event” category, remember it is also a good thing to use during the event to increase attendee engagement. Take pictures and upload them to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Gamify the use of social media and offer incentives to your attendees for engaging with your company. Engagement is a great way to increase conversions because you are creating a fun and easy-going environment that your attendees will appreciate.

Your social media presence should always be one that encourages people to participate in the conversation and provide prospects and customers with interesting insight from the event. Doing social media the wrong way can kill conversions also. Using social media for microblogging is a great way to engage with attendees at the event, but needs to be done the right way. Things to avoid while microblogging is to not overload your followers’ feeds with rapid-fire live updates. Keep the tweets at an easy cadence, once every 30 minutes, if an important session is going on, a tweet every 15 minutes during the session is a good idea. Maybe even every hour. It depends! Feel the room and make the decision.

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During the Event

Something that always kills conversions is a booth that doesn’t pop. If your booth isn’t theme based and it doesn’t have interesting swag, then it won’t catch peoples’ eye. But booths that are colorful, engaging, promote gamification and raffles always attract more attendees and more engagement. So make your booth interesting. Tie it to the theme of the event, provide attendees with awesome swag, like selfie-sticks, stickers, bracelets, and even some cool raffle prizes like a flat-screen TV or an Xbox, and always be friendly. We saw great booth designs at Dreamforce 2016 and you can get some great ideas here.

Another thing that is probably killing your conversions is bringing the wrong people to staff your booth. You always want to have friendly and knowledgeable people manning the booth. Without them, it will be hard to get people interested in your product, and conversions increasing. Whenever I go to an event, it is refreshing to go up to a booth and talk with someone who actually seems interested in what my wants and needs are. When they ask me questions about myself, what company I work for, it enables me to have a good conversation with them. Once that good conversation ends, I am more likely to want to know more about their product.

Post-Event

Post-event is another very important time to reach out to your attendees. If you’re failing to do so, your event conversion rate is probably dropping. By not following up you are basically telling those who attended your event that you don’t really care about them. That isn’t good branding and decreases the chances of actual conversion. So, reaching out to those who attended can greatly increase your conversion rate. Are you wondering what you can do post-event that can prevent conversion rate death? If you aren’t sending out follow-up emails, creating a post-event blog post, or post-event Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn content, you need to.

What types of things can you send out after the event? You can always send out a thank you card. That is a great way to show your attendees that you are grateful for their attendance and that you are thinking about them. By staying away from being too “sales-y,” you show attendees that you are looking out for their best interests. Be a friend, not a salesperson.

Post-event follow-up emails are also an important factor in successful conversions after an event, however, they are usually more “sales-y.” A common mistake is not following up within 24 hours of the event! Lindsay Kolowich says, “You can really get a pulse of what future engagement will look like by what people do when you email then within 24 hours of their subscribing to your newsletter, signing up for an offer, and so on.”

Briefly describe the events, or what was learned, and a provide a CTA to an asset or landing page. Remember to consider who you’re sending the email to. Is it someone who attended the event? Someone who didn’t attended but registered? You will have to make separate email copy, each geared towards the particular group. Sending out an email to both of the groups ensures that everyone is getting attention, and being reminded/told what happened at the event so they don’t feel like they’ve missed out. For email best practices see this. Making sure the cadence of the emails are set at a reasonable timing, to keep attendees from being spammed, is also something to think about.  

Now, the event is over, the emails have been written, and you probably just want to pause for a second and relax. Sorry! But now it’s time for the blog post. The mistake that can be made is writing a blog post that’s about how successful the event was or how great the sponsors did, instead, provide takeaways from the event that were not obvious, and give your reader inspiration for how they could apply these learnings to their lives. Tailor your post towards helping your reader, giving them valuable information that may have been lost within the chaos that is events. In short, sum the event up!

Overall, conversion killers lurk everywhere. From forgetting to do something, like following up via email, to the booth at the event, even the people who are representing the company. It is crucial to keeping your conversion rate alive to apply best practices, diligence, and to always be trying to support your attendees wants and needs (to a certain extent, of course). Now that you know what is possibly killing conversions at events, you can hopefully solve the problem!

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