Even in this technologically advanced era, face-to-face experiential marketing is still the most effective. Events, trade shows, and other live activations allow event marketers to create lasting, meaningful relationships with consumers, and do high-quality lead generation. Try using these best practices during your event planning and implementation to maximize your lead generation throughout the engagement marketing efforts.
Before the Event:
1. Be the Early Bird. Everything costs way more the day before an event, once you factor in rush fees and charges for last-minute changes. Don’t wait until the day before to decide how you’re going to run your event promotion. If you’re going to give away items at your trade show booth, place your order early. You don’t want to get stuck behind a backlog of orders with only a few days until your event kicks off. For event marketers that want to host a game or set up a photo slideshow, check with the event coordinators to ensure that you will have access to all of the necessary equipment. These pieces of your event campaign can be excellent ways to do lead generation, but they won’t work if you fail to plan appropriately.
2. Strategize. Set up your web presence well in advance by creating an event microsite with a memorable, recognizable URL. Load the page with event details and useful, evolving content to keep potential leads coming back for more. Better yet, set up an email newsletter and invite visitors to sign up for future updates.
3. Security. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the kind of microsite you’ll need, make sure that you are keeping customer data secure. While data security is not always the first thing a marketing department might think of, leaving out security measures can result in irreparable damage later on when customer data is leaked and your company reputation is on the line.
Privacy and security measures don’t just help protect your company reputation, tough. They also instill consumer confidence. Make your privacy policies clear to any web users by linking to the policies on every customer-facing webpage within your microsite. Be sure that your microsite, and your company as a whole, is adhering to all applicable laws, rules and regulations, and that your secure environment meets standard availability requirements. Always report security incidents and service outages within 24 hours (or sooner), via phone or email. Using a third-party certified intrusion detection system—one that undergoes annual independent penetration testing—can allow you to detect and prevent security breaches. Catch the Moment, for example, uses TrustWave. Above all, smart security practices build trust between your brand and the consumer, and trust is at the base of nearly all successful marketing strategies.
At the Event Promotion:
1. Create an Exchange. You want to capture data from as many event attendees as possible, but what do they want? Consumers are always concerned with value, and if they don’t see the value in handing you their personal information, they won’t do it. Using anything from special promotions to fun, interactive games, you can create an exchange. Acknowledge that consumer information is valuable by giving them entertainment, the chance to win something, or a 10% off coupon, and they’ll be happy to share their email.
2. Hook, Line, Sinker. Thirty seconds. That’s the average amount of time you can grab from a person before their minds begin to wander. Because of this relatively short time span, you’ll want to make your engagement marketing efforts are eye-catching and get any customer data up front. If you allow the potential lead’s mind to wander away from your product or the value exchange you’ve created, you may lose them altogether.
3. Be Invested. Temporary employees aren’t going to be as invested in your success at an event, so staff your booth with brand ambassadors who understand your services and products and can build meaningful personal relationships with consumers. Charismatic staff members can put a whole new face on your brand, and perhaps even win over any visitors to your brand activation who were previously unaware of your brand’s existence.
However, employee charisma is not the only factor in a successful lead generation campaign. Think back to all of the security measures that you put into place before the event, and consider implementing some security measures for potential booth attendants—and new employees, in general. Performing background checks on new hires and subcontractors can ensure that your clients are safe and that their data is secure.
4. Call to Action. For most businesses, consumer data does not just fall from the sky. You have to ask for it. Create ample opportunities for booth visitors to opt-in for newsletters, subscriptions, or special coupons. Post a QR code so they can scan it with their phone and visit your microsite during the event for special promotions. Show off your Facebook and Twitter handles so that guests can instantly friend you or follow your brand. However you decide to do consumer lead generation, make sure that you are actually requesting that information from every booth visitor.
After the Event Activation:
1. Extend Brand Messaging After the Event. Experiential marketing case studies (registration required) have been done on how lead generation event microsites allow you to extend beyond the event date by following up with video highlights, downloadable materials from your booth, an event photo gallery, and perhaps even a social gathering place for event attendees to share perspectives and information (registration required to view case study video on microsites for consumer lead generation).
Be sure to keep imaging on the site consistent with the brand activation. Use similar color schemes on the site and your event booth, or pictures that the potential lead will recognize and be drawn in by.
Again, with the microsite, security is paramount. If you’re accepting credit card purchases, customer card information can be easily snagged if you’re not using a PCI compliant vendor for your transactions. When you begin to cull data for reporting purposes, whether using an EDI or other reporting tools, you’ll want to ensure a secure exchange so that no data gets leaked during transmittal.
2. Instant Gratification. Don’t make your potential leads wait. If you’ve promised them unique content, webinars, games, or a photo slideshow to lure them into your site, make sure that you are making good on that promise. If people have to wait for your offer to materialize, they almost certainly won’t. That’s the best way to lose a lead.
Further, don’t bury your virtual offerings beneath heaps of sales pitches. If a customer feels uncomfortable or can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll navigate away from your site without a second thought.
3. Short and Sweet. Now more than ever, your customers have short attention spans. No one wants to fill out daunting forms with a thousand questions about themselves. They want to scrawl out their name and email, or hop online and plug into your event’s microsite. So, figure out what information you really need to start a relationship—don’t try to qualify the lead before you get it. Make it easy for your event visitors and you will be rewarded with more leads.
With microsites, this is especially true. Avoid alienating the consumer with dozens of questions, and instead, provide them with a survey of perhaps three or four questions. Survey pop-ups can be a great way to collect data as the client enters your lead generation event microsite, but you will get more click-throughs (and leads) if you limit the amount of effort required.