If there’s one topic every B2B enterprise owner or marketing manager is interested in, it’s lead generation. In this post I’m going to do something pretty odd for someone who runs a content writing business – I’m going to explain why, for B2B lead generation, content often isn’t king. Event marketing is.
Content and social media will still be part of the lead generation equation for most B2Bs, but having given this topic a lot of thought this week, I’ve come to the conclusion that many B2Bs (myself included) have become overly focussed on online lead gen, and might be better served by making event marketing the key plank in their strategy. A recent personal observation really clinched this for me.
I’ve been thinking lately of putting together my own workshops, so I went along to one I knew had been run multiple times to see what I could learn from the presentation and approach. It was by no means the liveliest workshop I’ve ever been to, but I have no doubt it works a treat. Free personal consultations were offered at the very end, and it seemed that about 50% of attendees were ready and waiting to take up the offer. Yes, they were taking the next step in the ‘buyer journey’ – in droves.
Of course, not all of those enthusiastic attendees will progress from the free consultation to a paid service, but I’m guessing there’s a pretty decent conversion rate and an excellent ROI.
If 20 people attend a free personal consultation, and the conversion rate is only 25%, that’s still 5 new customers – and we’re talking about ongoing monthly services, so the annual value could be substantial. And those who don’t proceed to the consultation or to a paid service will be on the company’s mail out list to receive more information and more offers, just in case they’re ready to move forward later.
If I could gain 5 new clients from a short workshop, I’d be one happy business owner.
My reluctance to take to the podium is fading by the minute.
Here’s some digital marketing irony for you
Have you been to a free or low cost how-to digital marketing or social media workshop lately? They’re in plentiful supply. If you have, you might have discovered the workshop by seeing it advertised or mentioned online, and if you’d had no previous contact with the business, then when you booked into that workshop you became a ‘contact’ or a potential lead. You probably didn’t feel a thing as you tumbled over the event horizon and into the sales funnel.
Once at the workshop, you may have become a ‘qualified lead’ by accepting a free consultation…and slid further down the funnel. Or perhaps you took a swan dive to the bottom and signed up as a customer right away.
And what was it you went there for? Oh yeah…to learn how to generate your leads ONLINE. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just saying.
So while we all do our relative best when it comes to content publishing and blogging, social media marketing and social selling, the leads do trickle in, in accordance with how much time and/or money we’re willing to spend. But if we’re not running workshops or other events that generate leads, we could be missing out on the lushest slice of the lead generation pie.
Content and digital marketing backs up event marketing
Don’t get me wrong – you’ll still need content writers, and digital marketing will be a powerful tool to back up your efforts. You’ll want to generate case studies and/or other content to support your workshop. Content, social media and PPC advertising will help you create awareness of your workshop and fill up the spots. And after the event, content, social media and email marketing will help you to keep leads in your audience and nurture them by providing the more detailed information they might be seeking after the event.
The problem with events and workshops
There’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there?
Putting together a B2B lead generating workshop is a monumental task for the average business owner. We have to think about the audience we want to attract, what topics will best attract them, how we’ll structure a presentation to ensure audience engagement, what materials we’ll need, and so much more. Then there are those of us who would need to brush up on our public speaking skills, or get over our reluctance to do it at all. And naturally, there are likely to be costs involved in preparing materials and venue hire, even if you do most of the hard work developing the workshop structure and material yourself.
Stepping into event marketing
I’m keener than ever to explore event marketing as a lead generation tool. But as I can’t bear to not do something as well as I can, my next step is going to be to pick the brains of some event and lead generation experts.
If you’re of a like mind to step into event marketing to boost your leads and revenue, stay tuned and keep an eye out for next week’s post – Eyob Yesus from Memphis Events (Sydney) has offered to share his take on using events to generate leads, and his tips on how to do it well. And if you’re a step ahead of me and already preparing to speak at your first event, you might like to read our interview with speaker Rod Matthews, for his personal tips on how to engage an audience.