It’s no secret that the world has gone digital. We shop, order food, and even work online. And now, the future is here, and we can host remote events. If you run a business, virtual events can be invaluable.
But what kind of companies would benefit from running a virtual event?
It could be a brand looking to showcase products to secure new trade customers. Or it could be a large organization that wants to connect a team at an international conference. It could even be an agency running a job fair or a public relations firm promoting new releases from clients.
No matter what type of event you’re hosting, the secret to success is making new connections.
The question is, how do you follow up with leads from a virtual event? Read on to find out.
1. Turn attendees into leads by making the virtual event worthwhile
These days, business is fast-paced, and your attendees will only have a limited attention span. If your event is dull or uninformative, any potential leads may quickly disappear.
On the other hand, your leads may even track you down for more information if your event is engaging. This makes the task of following up much easier.
StuDocu recommends keeping sessions short and sweet to create engaging virtual events, limiting each session to 15 or 20-minute blocks. “Use short, five-minute interviews to break up the monotony of droning hour-long keynotes. Add interactive questions and answers from the audience to improve engagement and deliver on authenticity.”
Consider securing special guest speakers, such as a local personality or a leader in your company. You want guests to talk about your event and share their experiences with others. This could provide you with leads that weren’t even there on the day.
Make sure you take the time to plan the event properly. Disorganized events can cost time and money, and you could lose your one chance to wow attendees and turn them into leads.
Following up on your leads from the event would be part of the final closing process.
2. Give your attendees a value-add
To encourage participation and attendance, you may want to give your invited guests an incentive. For example, if you run a stationery brand, you could offer attendees a free sample pack as a thank you.
The catch is that you only send them the stationery once the event has finished. Not only does it tempt them to attend, but it also opens the door for you to chat about business afterward.
Creating buzz before your virtual event and building relationships early can help your post-event networking efforts.
Find ways for your attendees to connect with you and other attendees afterward. For example, you can send feedback emails or have a dedicated event Facebook page where your guests can share feedback and view replays of their favorite sessions. Or to create even more engagement with attendees, you obtain their feedback using Instagram poll questions.
3. Use the right software and tick all the boxes
Choosing the right platforms will help you communicate with leads both during and after the event.
Webinar software can be used to hold virtual question-and-answer sessions. When you connect individuals in the moment, following up with leads afterward will feel natural.
The webinar tools you choose will depend on the type of event you are running and the features you need. This guide to the best webinar software compares some of those different solutions side-by-side.
Once the webinar is finished, you can follow up with your guests by sending them additional resources or a copy of the video.
4. Connect your attendees to the right people
If you’re hosting a large event, you’ll want to connect your leads to the right people. You can do this by hosting different sessions with the opportunity for questions and comments.
If it’s a job fair, the goal is to connect employers and candidates. You could follow up by asking job seekers to upload a resume that you can send to a specific employer.
As the go-between, you can then check in with both parties to determine whether they found what they were looking for.
For those running B2B events, think about services the attending businesses may need. For example, they may want to outsource time-consuming roles such as HR and accounting.
You can also invite industry experts to offer advice, tips, and resources for success.
When you follow up with leads, you can remind them of what they learned and who they spoke to. For smaller events, you can send a pack in the mail with business cards from participating PEOs.
5. Send personalized emails
So, you’ve planned your event and made sure you’re giving your attendees a well-planned value-added experience. If you have access to tracking and statistics, you can view logins, attendance, and potentially chat transcripts and downloads.
This information will be useful to understand what worked and what didn’t. It’ll also help you create personalized follow-ups.
We know that generic emails don’t work. At best, a prospect will read it and delete it. At worst, your email will end up spending eternity trapped in a spam filter.
Reply suggests you identify and meet the needs of your leads as part of the sales development process. It said, “rather than trying to use email blasts with zero targeting, help your SDRs (sales development representatives) use what they’ve learned about your ideal customers to send relevant messages that are personalized to them and their needs.”
If you can, try to personally address all communication and make mention of a session they attended or a conversation you may have had.
6. Approach them at the right time
Don’t let too much time pass before contacting your leads. Even highly targeted emails and phone calls will be a waste if the event isn’t fresh in their minds. They will have moved onto other things.
The perfect time to follow up with your leads is within the first 24 hours. You can have your responses ready to go and take advantage of the buzz your event created.
Depending on how many visitors attended, you may be able to sort your leads into different categories. For example, a hot lead may get an immediate follow-up phone call, while a warm lead may get a personalized email the next day.
When sending emails, be sure to include a call to action (CTA). What can they do next, or where can they find more information?
You may want to use integrations such as a “buy now” button or a survey for your CTA. Be prepared to give a quote or estimate if your lead circles back with interest.
Following up with your leads after a virtual event
Virtual events and physical events are similar, but the advantage of going digital is that you get access to stats, instant sign-ups, and data tracking.
You can use this information to target leads and give them a personalized follow-up message.
Of course, your leads will want to know you have something to offer. You should plan your events carefully, use the right software, and give them a value-add. Don’t forget to include interactive webinars and help them connect to the right industry professionals.
When you have a smooth, informative event, following up with leads will be a breeze. They may even approach you themselves.