It is not news that obtaining leads in hybrid events is a challenge as many traditional lead generation techniques have become unnecessary. In a traditional in-person event, sponsors can set up booths and make them attractive and accessible. On the other hand, virtual booths may not be as easily eye-catching as physical booths. Thus, as the virtual component is becoming an increasingly popular expectation for attendees, sponsors face the need to re-imagine how to bring and generate engagement.
To start, sponsors need to identify the objectives and goals of being at the event in the first place. Having clear objectives and goals for sponsoring the event allows you to come up with relevant and valuable ways to drive leads. For instance, two common goals are either generating brand awareness another is increasing audience engagement. Identifying allows planning activities accordingly.
At the same time, it is equally important to consider what attendees expect to gain from your event. Once the attendee's needs and expectations are identified, the Event Management Platform can advise on what features would be most suitable for the occasion.
Having said that, let go over strategies that may guide you into generating purposeful leads.
Tip #1: Leverage on Emerging Technologies
Technology will continue to advance rapidly. Thus, sponsors can leverage emerging technologies to craft engaging experiences. New and innovative content will attract attendees, and consequently, improve engagement.
Tip #2: Position yourself as a Thought Leader
Meaning, someone or an organization who is considered a go-to source for inspiration. To position yourself as a thought leader (Forbes, 2020), your products and services must adequately provide solutions to your customer's pain points. Keep in mind the limited opportunities some may face while attempting to engage with attendees in hybrid events. Thus, choose your positioning wisely and select the features that can best provide that experience to your audience better than other competitors. In the process, you will build authority and trust.
Tip #3: Set up Virtual Briefings on your Products
Virtual briefings are sessions where organizations invite attendees to find out more about their products and services. To attract more participants to join these sessions, gifts and discounts can be provided. This is an effective way to create leads and buzz (Forbes, 2020) as participants are likely to be drawn by the complimentary gifts and attend your briefing. Also, it's an opportunity to validate the current perceptions you have of your audience.
Tip #4: Connect a Physical Component to your Events
Meaning, introducing, if possible, a physical product or service into your event. Connecting a physical component to your events is a unique and creative method to generate leads (Forbes, 2020). For instance, at networking events participants may not experience physical networking yet event kits can be provided as conversation starters or to pose games, etc. The former aids attendees to immerse themselves into the experience regardless of whether it's virtual. Besides, it can be a creative and fun way to differentiate yourself from other competitors.
Tip #5: Effective Networking Opportunities
Especially in a hybrid event, effective networking is crucial. Networking allows attendees to build meaningful connections that bring value to them and their organization. Set up networking sessions where you can offer product demos to your attendees with time for a Q&A at the end.
Tip #6: Plan for In-person Engagement
Hybrid events indicate having also a physical event. The in-person experience has to be coherent with the virtual experience. It is important to have a plan for in-person engagement to make the most out of your presence (Anisin, 2019). This can be in the form of promotional materials and prizes during polls and Q&As etc. If you have a booth space, we suggest making sure it is visually appealing with high-quality gifts.
Tip #7: Define how your audience will engage
First start by understanding your aims and goals to define how you want participants to interact with your brand (Best, 2021). For instance:
Encouraging participants to join the next event you sponsor
Encourage participants to visit your booth, download information about your organization, and book a meeting to discuss more on the products and services provided
Incentivize participants to book your organization by gifting
Audiences are more likely to engage in the way you want if you craft the experience according to your goals. Thus, building those valuable leads.
Tip #8: Engage beyond your Booth
After generating a solid number of leads, what is next? Many organizations make the mistake of blasting a general email and waiting for replies. However, the strength of face-to-face marketing is being able to engage at a more personal level with your audience (Anisin, 2019). Use the platform to book a meeting to know your audience at a more personalized level. By doing so, you will be able to make the most out of your sponsorship. At Deal Room, sponsors are able to book meetings with attendees before, during, and after the event.
Tip #9: Provide detailed Analytics
As events utilize a digital platform, organizations may use this to their advantage and collect useful data to better serve their audience (Chaudhury, 2021). The data may involve numbers regarding attendance, audience engagement and whom they build connections with. Organizations can use the information to improve customer experiences (Allie Magyar, 2021) and, if applicable, rectify problems as the event progresses. The data generated can drive business value by creating better experiences or following up with participants, aiding in driving leads.
To conclude, sponsoring events that have a virtual component (virtual and hybrid) has the benefit of accessing a larger audience and more solid data. However, always take note of the objectives and aims of sponsoring the event to create relevant and valuable opportunities to drive leads. In this era, it is important to be consumer-oriented. If attendees gain value and insights with your brand, it will automatically generate leads for you.
The virtual and hybrid world offers limitless possibilities for lead generation. Now is the time to experiment, develop and take chances.
Let us know if you need our help for your next event, we are here to help!
Allie Magyar, H. (2021). How to drive business value at hybrid events. Demand Gen Report. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.demandgenreport.com/features/demanding-views/how-to-drive-business-value-at-hybrid-events/.
Anisin, A. A. (2019, November 25). Council post: How to get more out of event sponsorship. Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/11/25/how-to-get-more-out-of-event-sponsorship/?sh=750d7fe4bc51.
Best, J. (2021, September 14). Council post: How to prepare your team for sponsoring a virtual event. Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/09/10/how-to-prepare-your-team-for-sponsoring-a-virtual-event/?sh=3860b85e402e.
Chaudhury, D. (2021, August 6). Council post: How hybrid events capture the benefits of virtual and in-person events. Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/08/06/how-hybrid-events-capture-the-benefits-of-virtual-and-in-person-events/?sh=3ce0c8b3e877.
Expert Panel® (2020, September 24). Council post: 16 creative ways to generate business leads virtually. Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2020/09/28/16-creative-ways-to-generate-business-leads-virtually/?sh=4b40e7154bfc.
Schwartz, J. S. (2020, August 16). How to create exhibitor & sponsor value in virtual or hybrid events. Marketing Insider Group. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://marketinginsidergroup.com/event-marketing/create-exhibitor-sponsor-value-in-virtual-or-hybrid-events/.
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