Whether hosting an event or attending one, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with qualified leads.
The challenge comes in following up with those people once the event concludes. How do you start? What do you say? When should you do it? Before checking out any tips, remember: those who take time to speak with others at an event are looking to connect.
Perhaps their goal is to expand his or her professional network, possibly for employment opportunities.
Or maybe they are looking for a company that can provide them with a service or product. No matter the reason, events provide opportunities for professionals to connect.
With this in mind, take advantage of this lead conversion opportunity with these 7 tips for following up with leads after an event.
Social Media Exchanges
During the event, focus on connecting with individuals on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn while they are right in front of you. Be careful not to make this the first thing a visitor hears because that risks sounding self-serving. Instead, get to know them through conversation and then offer the opportunity to connect. Don’t be afraid to follow them back, whether on their business account or a personal account (connected to a business account).
That kind of interaction indicates that the attendee is valued. Expand on that by mentioning them specifically in a post the day after the event. If it’s a conference, post something they might benefit from checking out while you’re there.
Create a Hashtag
What was once exclusively a Twitter symbol has become a must-have for every social media platform. The hashtag gives everyone the power to be found, so craft one specifically for the event. Be sure to inform every guest about it and encourage event-goers to include it in their social media posts as much as possible. After the event is over, search for the hashtag and there will be a list of everyone who used it and their corresponding comments.
Give them a shout-out, a thank-you Tweet or photo of them interacting with you. The people who posted something with your hashtag willingly gave the event social proof, so responding to them helps validate their efforts.
Leverage Email Lists
Email is still one of the best platforms for marketing, and professionals are attached to their email just as much as social media. Something as simple as a thank you email can make a world of difference to someone hoping to connect. If your company hosts the event, require an email upon registration so that a list of attendees is immediately available.
If possible, tailor individual messages to people with whom you had a particularly memorable conversation with. Events have a nasty habit of draining everyone involved, so it’s easy (for both hosts and guests) to forget some interactions the next day. There’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to write down a reminder of what was discussed with whom – it makes the partner in dialogue feel as though their ideas really resonated with someone else. Revisit that topic in a follow-up email to remind both parties of what happened and why contact was sought out.
This should be an essential piece of any event. Surveys find strengths and weaknesses of an event in order to ultimately improve their quality in the future. Send out a survey (or have one on-hand for guests to fill out while the event is still fresh) to gain a better sense of the outsider’s perspective. Ask them what they liked, disliked and what they would have liked to see.
Ensure that you provide an opportunity to remain anonymous or leave contact information. Those who are really impressed will want to leave contact information and could turn out to be highly qualified leads. At the very least, without any contact information left behind, there remain suggestions for improvement and validation for what worked.
Take a Picture
People love pictures. Ask to take a picture for Twitter or Facebook to be posted immediately. The people in those photos will forever live on your social network page, so it’s important to capitalize on the guests that are enthusiastic about connecting in the first place. After requesting a social media exchange, ask to take a photo to make the relationship official. After all, establishing relationships is one of the major goals in converting strangers into leads. Candid pictures are helpful, too. They provide the opportunity to connect with those who may not have had the chance to interact directly because they can share the picture and tag themselves in it.
Write a Post-Event Blog
Crafting a short recap of the event accomplishes two goals.
First, it serves as a refresher for anyone who was there and may have forgotten a few details. Rather than simply showing up at an event and leaving with a slew of intangible information crammed in their heads, guests can share this brief recap with others.
Second, post-event blogs also give those who did not attend the opportunity to check out what they missed. Be sure to list the key speakers and topics, along with some descriptive breakdowns of important ideas. It should prevent those people from feeling left out and encourage them to attend the next event.
Pair a video with a blog post or post it on its own.
Visuals are so vital to relaying the true feeling of an event, and videos offer the chance to see what it was like to actually be there. Videos can both provide context and serve as a reminder for those after the event concludes. If possible, include conversations or interviews with guests on their thoughts and tag them when posting the video. Chances are high that someone included in the video will share it with their network, exposing the company to an entirely new group of people.
Events are a major part of any marketing campaign, and the actions you take after the event are just as important as the event itself. After all, the idea behind hosting the event is to engage with new and existing leads. Following up directly with those who attended is a great way to boost lead generation and increase brand identity.
Do you have any tried-and-true post-event tactics for staying connected?
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