If you recently exhibited at a lead generation virtual event, then I’ve got some tips for you. While most exhibitors consider the program “complete” at the conclusion of the live virtual event, your work is just beginning. Outhustle your competition and you’ll generate more ROI, beating them to the punch on shared sales leads. There are two primary strategies for generating a higher return on your investment:
- Leverage your existing investment to generate net new sales leads
- Better convert your existing sales leads
Leverage Existing Investment
- Convince the virtual event host to light up the environment – most virtual events remain “on demand” for 3 months after the live show date. During those 3 months, you’ll see intermittent activity – some attendees return to visit your booth – some new leads sprinkle in, 1 here and 2 more a few days later. Your event organizer should be incented to produce another “live date”, in which past attendees are invited to return – and, new registrants are invited to participate. After all, the event organizer has fixed costs as well – and lighting up the show again means more revenue. The organizer will want brand new content to draw users in (e.g. compelling Live Webcasts, like they used in the original event) – and you’ll want to leverage the same amount of booth reps to interact with attendees.
- Convince the virtual event host to support portable booths – you spent a lot of time getting your booth just right – selecting the right logo and Flash movie, finding relevant White Papers and producing some case studies just for the event. Your booth is a great marketing vehicle and should be leveraged elsewhere – how about placing your booth on its own microsite – or, embedding the booth on your corporate web site? The eco-friendly practice of re-use applies here as well.
- Syndicate booth content – for the White Papers, podcasts, Case Studies, etc. that you placed in your booth, syndicate them with the event organizer and related web and blog sites. This broadens the reach of your content – and allows you to generate more sales leads.
- Syndicate Webcast content – if you had a speaking slot at the virtual event, ask the show host for a copy of the Webcast – then, host it on your corporate web site and syndicate it with the event organizer and related web sites. Any content generated for the event should be re-used – it can generate new sales leads with minimal overhead or cost.
- Syndicate the supplemental Webcast content (in different forms) – convert your Webcast into an MP3 audio podcast and make that available on your web site along with the Webcast. Syndicate the podcast as well, in case your target audience prefers the convenience of a download over the viewing of a streaming presentation. Take the Q&A of the Webcast and transcribe that into a PDF or HTML document – and place this on your web site as well. You get the idea here – spread your wings, without thinning the pocketbook.
Convert Existing Leads
- Find those Top 10 leads – whether you have an automated system or need to do this manually, comb through the wealth of engagement data that a virtual event provides and find those Top 10 leads. These are the folks who Sales must call now. Perhaps they downloaded 10 of your White Papers – or, perhaps they did a text chat with a booth rep and requested that a sales rep call. Either way, they need immediate attention. If you know the sales reps who should handle these leads, don’t be shy about personally walking the leads over to them and providing the details as to why the leads as so hot.
- Get the basics right in your follow-ups – if Inside Sales is following up by phone with some leads, make sure the reps have a script that covers the correct name of the virtual event – and arm them with some important details of the event (e.g. date, topics, speakers, etc.). For email follow-up, be sure to include the virtual event title in the Subject line. Always be sure to reference the context of the event in all of your touchpoints.
- Build customized follow-up paths based on prospect activity – again, whether it’s automated or manual, factor in the prospect’s specific activities within the live event and tailor the follow-up touchpoints based on that activity. Study the 5 White Papers they downloaded and recommend a 6th that brings it all home. Study the chat transcript with your booth rep and send an email follow-up that ties up any loose ends. Believe me, the prospects will appreciate the personal attention and the value you deliver to them.
- Use the virtual event platform to faciliate your follow-up – your show host is keeping the environment open for 3 months – so it would be a shame not to leverage it for all its worth. When you do secure a follow-up appointment – consider complementing your phone call by meeting your prospect back in the virtual event. There, you can do text or webcam chat in an environment s/he is familiar with. And perhaps you place some additional content in the booth for your prospect to review.
- Send small prizes to highly engaged prospects – not everyone could win a prize during the live event – so, find those top 10 leads – or, top 10 most engaged users (in your booth) and send them a memory stick or webcam. As discussed, reference the context of the event in your communications. Perhaps the memory stick contains additional White Papers that may be of interest. Just make sure the touchpoint is personalized – and don’t send the prize just for the sake of sending something.
So there you have it. Don’t forget that your campaign doesn’t end at the conclusion of the live virtual event. That signals the starting point of the important phase – the one in which you’re head to head with the competition. So make sure you score a higher ROI than they do.