Planning an Event That Converts Attendees to Business Leads

July 31, 2017

As an event planner, the goal of every event you coordinate is to create an engaging, memorable experience for your clients. While the vast majority of your responsibilities conclude when the last guest heads out the door, the goal isn’t just to build and execute an event without a hitch. For the clients who employ you, the work is only just beginning at the end of a conference or meeting. That’s because one of the major purposes of almost any corporate event is to convert attendees into business leads.

The real measure of the success of an event is how the event serves a client’s KPIs. With an emphasis on generating and converting leads, it’s in your best interest to design an experience that encourages businesses and co-sponsors to connect with attendees after they’ve left. Because in many cases, it may be what your clients do after the event – rather than during – that’s hurting their ability to gain business leads.

Planning for the end at the beginning
If you want to create an event that will help your clients connect with potential clients of their own, you need to plan for the end of the event from the start. Do your clients want to create promotional offers that they will distribute via email the following week? Or perhaps they want to collect contact information at their booths and have personal follow-up calls? Getting clarity on a client’s post-event objectives will inform the event planning process.

Oftentimes, companies are so focused on executing memorable events that the sales aspect is an afterthought. But without intentionality and a specific plan of action after the event, the spectacle created by exciting speakers and colorful displays may not see a return on the investment. By aligning the sales and marketing plans for the event, you can help to design a more focused experience.

A multifacted approach is important. While your client will undoubtedly collect contact information, you can help them connect with guests in more ways than one. For example, with the right AV components, you can set up large screens that project attendees’ tweets and other social media posts in real time. This strategy will increase social media engagement and potentially boost followers, giving you additional methods by which to connect with these potential leads at the conclusion of the event.

According to a report by the Aberdeen Group, the average prospect receives 10 marketing touch points from the time he or she enters the top of the funnel through closing. Varying the approach through email marketing campaigns, social media posts and other strategies is an effective way to achieve the necessary follow-up.

Conference attendees can turn into marketing leads if the event is designed properly.

Follow up in a timely manner
When it comes to turning guest attendees into leads, time matters. Research discussed in the Harvard Business Review found that companies that contacted online leads within an hour of receiving a query were almost seven times more likely to have a significant conversation with a key decision-maker than those that called just an hour later. Timely follow-up is critical.

As an event planner, you won’t be responsible for personally calling or emailing each contact, but there is much you can do to make this process easier for your clients. One way you can do so is by helping turn the event into relevant assets for timely follow-up. Through recording sessions or having an on-site photographer, your client will leave the event with videos and images that can be used to connect with leads, be it through a social media post, online newsletter, email blast or infographic.

By helping your clients design events that result in business leads, you will end up with tangible metrics that demonstrate the value of your work, which will encourage companies to continue employing your services.