We get into the time of the year, when most marketers will start planning for a busy events schedule. Have you always wanted to Maximize ROI for events ?
I have seen a lot of owners, CEO’s and Sales heads put a lot of emphasis on their events presence. They always want to improve ROI for events They, along with their teams will spend months planning and designing their presence to showcase their incredible products and wow the trade show crowds.
Having said that it is common for most to be disappointed in the results. The event did not produce the return on investment (ROI) that you had anticipated. Leads trickled in and then were wasted away. It’s an all too common problem.
One of the reasons this happens is because the marketing leaders tend to pour all their energy into the most visible parts of an event: the sizzle. While doing so, they forget to do the hard work of creating robust systems and process for recruiting, engaging and nurturing the leads that you are able to capture at the events, while at the event and also after the event. All these are important elements in ensuring that you can maximize ROI for events.
Event budgets one of the highest cost items
Speaking of budgets, If you closely look at marketing budgets for any year, you will always find that the budgeted spends on events/trade shows and advertising will be usually the highest figures. Trade shows/Events offer you excellent networking opportunities to mingle with prospects in your target market, but the costs involved, especially in sponsoring events can be quite prohibitive.
There is only one way, you can continue to get budgets approved for events and that is by proving your ROI from events that you have attended/sponsored in the past. If your past performance at events has not been impressive, then you need to present an awesome plan with a promise of significant ROI to get the event budgets approved.
Here are 8 proven ways, in which you can maximize ROI for events. If you chase to implement all of them, then you will be spreading yourself thin. But even implementing some of these will help you improve ROI for events significantly.
1. Plan your pre-event campaigns
What if you can reach your target audience before the conference and ensure you can pre-schedule meetings to meet with them? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you can reach out to people in advance and schedule meetings with them?
If you are sponsoring an event, it is quite likely that you will get access to an attendee list. What you will not get though is their contact information and email address. So while you can try and meet people, while at the event, doing offline segmentation and planning campaign reach-outs both before and after the event becomes difficult.
You can filter the attendee list and find out the companies, contacts that make sense to you. You can spend time doing a bit of reverse engineering and finding out their contact information, most importantly their email addresses. You might also want to read Get organized with your lists to expand your reach by over 5 times
Once you have all of this, it is possible to reach out to these guys through a series of campaigns. It pays to segment by titles/location and get personalized with your messaging to the extent possible. By titles, it is also possible to create emotional messaging themes, which will appeal to these audiences.
2. Plan messaging on the event app, before the event
A lot of events and trade shows provide you with a mobile app, ahead of the event. Through the app, it is possible to connect to different people and even message them with personalized messaging. Use these options, intelligently and you may be able to fill up your meetings schedule, well ahead of the event.
3. Use Social media to create buzz and excitement
If you have visitors at the booth, who already know what you are providing in terms of products and services, doesn’t it feel great. Your sales efforts in providing the initial elevator pitch are saved considerably. Using teaser posts related to your products and services really help in creating a buzz around your events presence. You can do this consistently ahead of the event across each of your social channels. A consistent stream of posts/images on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter ensures that you create the buzz that is necessary.
The event will usually have an official #tag as well. Make sure that you use that in your posts, so that your posts are visible on the event wall, or when people are searching based on the #tag.
4. Prepare for data collection and instant workflow automation
You might be planning some promotions, while you are at the booth. It could be sign ups for a demo, trial version sign-ups, some freebies on your product and so on. Use the right technology, so that you can register people through a smart interface instantly. Do not rely on card drops as it usually take ages to get all of that data available digitally and being able to process that effectively.
You are engaging with a person, while at the event, make sure that your systems are able to engage with him instantly as well. Use a mobile app or a web page on an iPad to capture details of the visitor instantly and you can create an automation workflow at the back-end to engage with him on a nurture workflow. There are abundant technologies available for you to be able to do this, The simplest could be pushing the data back to an EDM tool like mail chimp and then configuring automation workflows in the tool to systematically engage with the registrant.
5. Tag along with the influencers
Usually the subject matter experts will get an opportunity to speak at the event. They will already have a significant following. Find out ways you can tag along with them. If a speaker is speaking at an event, do a pre-event session with the speaker, an offline interview or a podcast interview and then publish and promote it on your forums. With every post, make sure that you tag the people that you have covered in the interviews.
This will already warm up the relationship with these speakers and it is quite likely that these speakers will promote these posts on their own social profiles. That really amplifies your reach, ahead of the event.
6. Create Special reports ahead of events as lead magnets
Use special reports/white papers/eBooks with some clear takeaways ahead of the event and use the event to launch these documents. Use it as a lead magnet to engage with attendees at the event. This will create curiosity as well as pre-populate your leads funnel ahead of the event. You can use these reports even after the campaign to continue to engage with your target audiences.
7. Use Smart engagement ideas at the booth
One of your biggest objectives while at the booth is to ensure a steady footfall at the booth. You can use a variety of ideas to get people excited to walk up to the booth. Using creative and curious theme based graphics, giving away some thoughtful give-aways, some interesting lucky dip prizes and several other such ideas will get people excited and if they are passing by, they will make it a point to stop by your booth.
If you are getting the footfall at the crowd, make sure that you are capturing their contact information digitally, so that you can stay in touch with them. It is common for sales guys to just pick up visiting cards and then do nothing about the visiting cards, once they are back from the event. Remember that if you spend too much time with one individual, then you are missing the chance to talk to several more. Keep your discussions short and focus on covering a lot of people.
8. Network.. Network all the way
Events offer you so many opportunities to network. All your refreshment breaks offer you the opportunity to talk to new people and understand different ideas. Don’t be shy of meeting with your competition. Who knows, you will be able to pick some ideas, that you can put in execution as well. After the first day at the event, everyone starts feeling exhausted and they are always open to meeting new people. Spend time during your refreshment breaks meeting new people.
Implementing some of these steps will well and truly get you on the way to Maximize ROI for events. If you have been using other ideas that have worked well for you, we would love to hear back from you. It is always nice to her new ideas to Improve ROI for events