All companies working in B2B sales can benefit from hosting events to generate more leads. Both lead and demand generation are made simpler through online event platforms.
There has never been an easier time for a company to host an event, whether it’s a webinar, virtual, or hybrid event.
In our comprehensive guide, we’ll talk more about B2B lead and demand generation and why it’s important, as well as offer our winning strategies to get the most out of your next B2B event.
How Do You Generate B2B Leads?
Generating B2B leads typically involves both of these:
- Lead generation: Collecting the contact information of people who are interested in your products to connect with for potential sales
- Demand generation: Creating targeted online and print content marketing materials, ads, webinars, etc.
But, what’s the difference? While the lead generation collects contact info from leads and tries to sell to them, demand generation acts more holistically and prioritizes direct communication with users, sparking a desire in them to use your product or service.
However, hosting an event for your company’s products and services is a sure-fire way to both demand interest and collect leads.
And with today’s virtual and hybrid event platforms, it’s never been easier to put on an online event or product demonstration (deminar) that anybody with an internet connection and computer can attend.
Looking for guidance around demand generation? Check out The B2B Marketers Cliff Notes to B2B Demand Generation
Events and Leads: 4 Reasons Why It Works
Networking and lead acquisition are the primary reasons business events, such as conventions, trade shows, and product demonstrations exist.
Hosting an event also gives your company control over how you introduce your new products and services, and allows you to collect high-quality leads from prospective customers.
Below are a few reasons why hosting B2B events is great for generating leads.
#1) Events Provide an IRL (In Real Life) Experience to Humanize Your Brand
Speaking and presenting to your audience, either online or in-person, will create a stronger emotional connection over just posting a blog or advertisement.
Participating in a presentation is more engaging for your audience than browsing online, especially if your presenter has a great personality and can hold your audience’s attention. Your speaker will also be the face of your brand, helping to humanize your company.
Live presentations and events also allow more room for spontaneity so your audience can ask questions, which can increase their interest and trust in your product.
#2) Helps Qualify the Right Leads (With the Right Virtual or Hybrid Event Platform)
The advantage of hosting a virtual or hybrid event is that all your prospective customer’s actions can be tracked and analyzed.
One simple way to know if a lead is interested or not is to see how many of your sessions they watched, and for how long. Odds are if they sat through many of your event’s sessions, they’re interested in working with you.
The more engaged your lead is, the more likely they are to be interested in receiving more information on your product and eventually converting into a customer.
#3) Encourages Word of Mouth Marketing
It’s easy to measure likes and registrations, but it’s a bit harder to measure customer sentiment, understanding how your customers actually feel about you and your event.
Your paid ad budget and content marketing strategies will get the word out about your event, but to take it even further, you’re going to need to put on an event that will get your audience talking in-person and online.
If you want more people talking about your event, consider hiring a well-known influencer who can spread the word to their existing fanbase.
Find bloggers out there who follow and write about your industry. They’ll appreciate the heads up about your event and will spread the word for you, both on their website and social media accounts.
The more people there are talking about your event, the more leads you can potentially generate.
#4) Provides Endless Opportunities to Attract Attendees
When you host a hybrid or virtual event, you’ve essentially widened your net to attract more attendees and leads to your event. You’re no longer restricted by the venue’s physical size. This also means that you can have a more global audience, to work with businesses that are outside of your geographical location.
Another benefit of hybrid and virtual events is that everything can be recorded. Sessions and live streams can be recorded and edited. Post these on your company’s website, YouTube, and other social media to act as evergreen content that’s constantly promoting your event, long after it has finished.
You can also reuse, repurpose, and recycle recorded content from your event to create new blog posts, and exclusive content, that can generate demand for your next event.
Exploring ways for your company to take on hybrid events? Check out these hybrid event examples to draw some inspiration from.
How to Ensure Your Event Will Bring Results
Events and their content marketing strategies are proven to be of primary importance for B2B lead generation for most companies. 85% of B2B marketers rely on lead generation for bringing in new business — so it’s worth taking the time to properly plan your event’s goals and objectives.
If you want to maximize your chances of success, follow these steps to create a thoughtful and well-designed event and marketing strategy that will result in more leads and revenue for your company.
Line Up the Focus of Your Event With Your Overarching Marketing Strategy
Your event should be designed around your primary goals and objectives that have been determined by your sales and marketing teams.
These goals could be to generate as many leads as possible. Or to target a smaller, more select group of attendees, such as higher-ups at companies that you’d like to work with.
Your approach will then be tailored after your primary goals.
So for instance, you may wish to put on a large-scale event, complete with many vendors, sponsors, and guest speakers, if you wish to generate a large number of leads.
But maybe hosting a small-to-mid-size deminar or webinar might be the better approach if you’re only interested in targeting a few specific people.
Once you know the type of event you want to hold, you can begin crafting a theme and a focus that will reinforce your messaging and target the people you want to attract.
Curious how a deminar can drive revenue for your business? Use this Deminar Formula to double your sales conversations and 3x your win rate.
Connect With Your Sales Team to Specify Your Audience and Align on Goals
Have your marketing and sales teams align to work on creating the invitation list and buyer personas, so you know exactly who you’re targeting for your event and why.
This can include looking through past event registrations and conversions, to make sure the people you’re inviting are more likely to convert. If you found your last event’s attendees didn’t convert, then you’ll know going forward to readjust your targeting.
Your sales and marketing teams have complementary knowledge of the product and its audience. When both departments partner up, it will improve your content marketing plan, because you’ll know who you’re targeting, and your sales will improve because you have attracted the right kind of people to your event.
Read more about connecting your sales and marketing teams: Sales and Marketing Alignment: How To Bring Them Together In Your Virtual Event Strategy.
Provide VALUE. It’s That Simple
To provide value for your audience, you have to think about their needs and pain points, and how you can help them solve their problems.
Businesspeople are generally very busy and don’t have enough time in the day to complete their tasks. If you’re going to ask people to give up a couple of hours of their time, you’ll need to provide them with valuable information and an experience that will be worth their while.
Getting high-level executives to attend your event may be hard, but if you can invite influential speakers and panelists, they’ll be more willing to attend because you’ve provided them with a valuable networking opportunity.
By working with your sales and marketing teams beforehand, you can create a product demonstration that will address your attendee’s pain points, providing them with a valuable solution to their problems.
Make the Follow-Up Just As Important As the Event Itself
You’ve put a lot of consideration into targeting your audience and planning your event. To get the big payoff and really succeed at B2B lead generation, you’ll need to put in more work after your event has finished.
Create a plan of action to follow after your event has finished. Start by sending thank-you emails immediately after the event ends.
Depending on the size of your event, these emails can be more generic, or personalized depending on who you’re targeting. They should include:
- Links to more blogs about your company
- Links to a highlight video
- Polls for more feedback and insights
You can also begin an email drip campaign or SMS campaign to start sending your attendees newsletters and regular blog updates to keep them in your loop.
Your sales and marketing teams can analyze your attendee’s data to start lead scoring and see which people have engaged most with your event. From there, the sales team can take over.
It often takes around 6-8 marketing touches to close a lead, so have follow-ups in place to begin a lead nurturing right away.
10 B2B Demand and Lead Generation Strategies to Implement for Your Next Event
When planning your next event, follow these 10 strategies to enhance your B2B demand and lead generation potential.
Strategy #1) Maximize the Event Registration Process (Without Making It Complicated)
Your event registration creates the first impression of what to expect at your event and is the entryway for gaining traction. It’s your company’s greatest tool for securing and selling tickets for your event, so extra thought and care should go into the registration process.
For one, make sure that your registration page is easily accessible for mobile phones. If your registration page looks good on desktop, but not on mobile, you’ve got a problem.
Also, there’s no need for long forms. Keep it simple, short, and easy to fill out. Put only the most essential information on the page so you don’t overwhelm your potential attendees.
Make sure your event registration page matches the branding and styling of your event’s website so there’s no incongruence between the two. You don’t want people asking themselves, “Is this the right spot to register? It looks nothing like what I saw online.”
If you’re implementing a multi-channel marketing plan, it can be helpful to put a “How did you hear about this event?” question in the form. That way you can determine which channel, whether it’s email, Facebook, or LinkedIn, brought them to the registration page.
Strategy #2) Host a Deminar to Show the Ins and Outs of Your Product
The demonstration webinar, or deminar, is a cost-effective way for businesses to demonstrate new products to a large online audience.
Hosting a deminar is a better way to engage your audience and generate B2B leads than a pre-recorded video demonstration that is posted to YouTube.
Deminars allow your spokesperson and company to show its product and answer your audience’s questions in real-time.
Depending on your deminer’s goals, make sure to have a call-to-action in place once your presentation has finished. This can include sending a link to your audience for them to learn more about your product, or sending follow-up emails to their inbox.
You can also use your deminar as an opportunity to promote your upcoming event and encourage registrations or offer exclusive offers, such as discounted event tickets or pre-ordering opportunities for your products.
Looking for more advice on hosting a webinar or deminar? Read: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Webinar ROI + Key Metrics to Evaluate.
Strategy #3) Create a Goldmine of Content To Attract Attendees Prior to the Event
Most companies don’t just host one event, but an ongoing series of events. Some companies can host an event a month, while others stick to hosting one large event annually.
When you host a series of ongoing events, record your previous events and sessions to promote your upcoming events.
You can turn popular sessions from your previous event into a blog post, YouTube video, or exclusive downloadable content that can boost your website’s SEO and bring more visitors to your next event.
Showing past video footage of your event on our registration page can encourage more signups, as it gives your audience a better idea of what to expect.
You can also analyze your previous event’s engagement to glean insights into which sessions or presentations were the most popular, so you can produce a more engaging event the next time around.
Check out How To Create and Transform Webinars Into an Always-on Demand Generation Strategy to turn your events into a never-ending stream of leads.
Strategy #4) Develop Case Studies and Share Them During the Event
Having a trustworthy image and good reputation may not be enough to convince all leads to work with you. This is why it’s important to share case studies during your event.
These case studies provide “social proof” or “real-world validation” that’s important in winning over your prospective customers.
Case studies provide hard evidence and data to show your leads that you have achieved measurable success in their industry and that you can repeat that success with your new customers.
Be careful not to make the case study all about your company though. Your case study should focus on the benefits you provided the company you helped, and how new companies can also benefit from your products and services.
Case studies can also be used as lead magnets to attract web visitors to read your blog or attend your deminars. More on this in Strategy #6.
Strategy #5) Increase Brand Recognition and Trust by Including a Prominent Customer in a Session
Another form of social proof that’s necessary for persuading your customers is sharing reviews from real people during your event.
The more prominent the customer — whether they are well-known or come from a larger company — the more convincing their review will be in the eyes of your attendees.
91% of people aged 18-34 trust online reviews and treat them as personal recommendations, even if they don’t know the people giving the reviews.
Strategy #6) Incentivize Event Sign-Ups with Free Resource and Template Downloads
Create “lead magnets” to drive up registration and collect more leads for your next event.
Instead of just asking for your lead to register for your event, offer something free and valuable that you’ll give your lead in exchange for their contact information.
This could be a free ebook, cheatsheet, downloadable template, or workbook. This way there is an immediate incentive and payoff for registering for your event.
The downloadable content that you give them will also be branded with your company’s logo and can act as a further reminder of your company every time they refer back to it.
Strategy #7) Use a B2B Event Marketing Platform That Will Track Your Event and Provide Valuable Insights
You can’t track what you don’t measure. Every event needs to set up its KPIs and goals ahead of the event. This may include generating leads, converting sales, or generating impressions with your audience.
But if you wish to measure those KPIs to determine your event’s success, you’ll need an event marketing platform that can measure all of your users’ data.
Many virtual and hybrid event platforms come equipped with a built-in analytics tool. These analytics let you see which sessions were the most popular, so you can create more similar sessions going forward. They also tell you which sessions were least popular, so you can avoid those at your next event.
If you noticed there was a huge wave of applause after a certain session or speaker, that’s important to keep note of too, so you know who to invite back for your next event.
Using this data, you can begin to refine your marketing approach after your event has finished. This data will tell you which parts of your event resonated most with your audience. With this information, you can selectively find the key areas of your event that can be recycled into more content marketing pieces for your company.
Read more about important event KPIs you should be measuring: 12 Event Metrics to Measure Your Success.
Strategy #8) Giveaway Branded Swag or Content to Your Visitors
Everybody likes receiving free stuff at an event. It’s part of the fun of attending, especially if that stuff is actually useful.
For virtual events, you consider sending a virtual goodie bag. This could mean shipping attendees a box of swag in the mail or sending them a downloadable link with branded cheat sheets, templates, or ebooks they can refer to.
The beauty of branded content is that it can serve as a constant reminder of your company’s event, even years after it has finished.
While it can be harder to track the effect branded swag has on future registrations, it’s a simple way to leave your mark with companies who attended.
Strategy #9) Put Calls-to-Action Everywhere In Your Content
Ever notice how every popular YouTube influencer says “be sure to like, comment, and subscribe to my channel” during every video? This simple call-to-action is a large reason why channels become so popular. Increased engagement boosts the video’s results in YouTube’s algorithm, making it reach more people.
Likewise, you should also ask your audience to follow your call to action. This may mean putting a CTA at the bottom of your blog’s content, and encouraging people to register for your next event. Or putting an event registration CTA in your newsletter that gets sent to existing customers.
Once your event has finished, your CTA will be different. Now you can ask your attendee to subscribe to your newsletter or to watch the highlight video on your website.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for what you want. A simple nudge or reminder to follow a CTA has a huge upside in persuading your audience to take the next steps to engage with your company.
Strategy #10) Use Retargeting Ads to Boost Registrations
Looking for a way to boost registration signups for your event? Use retargeting ads.
Generally, it might look something like this: your attendee sees an ad for your event, either on Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn. They click on the ad and get taken to your registration page, but exit the page before they finish registering. So how do you remind them to register for your event? By using retargeting ads.
Retargeting ads work by placing a cookie in your visitor’s browser, so that if they visit your landing or registration page, but leave without registering, an ad for your event will show up on another website they’re viewing, such as their Facebook or LinkedIn page.
Because it can take a few points of contact to get your attendee to register, retargeting ads are a brilliant solution for boosting your event’s registration.
According to MailChimp, 97% of a website’s first visitors leave without buying or registering for anything. This is why retargeting ads are so incredibly useful. Because your visitor has been familiarized with your event already, they are more likely to click on your event’s ad when they see it again.
Exceed Your Sales Goals by Hosting Events
SpotMe is the ultimate B2B marketing platform that gives event hosts all the tools and production to build amazing customer relationships.
SpotMe lets event hosts easily build and design virtual events, hybrid events, and webinars that are easily accessible on mobile and desktop browsers. This means that no matter where your audience is, they can easily attend your next event.
Impress your attendees every step of the way, starting with our fully brandable registration pages that encourage event signups and boost your lead generation.
Our intuitive interface allows attendees to create their user profiles and view a feed, similar to social media platforms, creating an easier way to network with other attendees and get the most out of the event.
Looking for a platform that works well with your tech stack? SpotMe works with Zapier to integrate with thousands of applications, such as popular CRM and email marketing platforms.
Ready to try SpotMe for B2B lead generation? Contact us today to start your free trial and receive a custom product demonstration.
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