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The Only Guide You Need To Generate Leads at Events

A comprehensive step-by-step breakdown of lead generation at events. From strategies, to best practices, and pot-event follow-ups—this guide covers it all!

Shreelekha Singh

Last Updated:  June 26, 2024

Strategies for event lead generation

4. Use interactive content to capture lead data

Interactive content offers 52.6% more buyer/prospect engagement than static assets. Better yet, they go hand-in-hand with your social media event promotion strategy.

You can create interactive content assets to spread the word about your events on social media, emails, ads, and other channels. Here’s how to start:

  • Creating an online quiz that requests contact information at the end
  • Boosting product awareness with branded mini-games/surveys  
  • Offering exclusive access to free tools (digital calculators/AI content planners, etc.) for registered members only
  • Posting interactive videos (branching narratives/clickable hotspots) to engage prospects and push your other material (the ones that require sign-up)
  • Hosting live polls/surveys with customized contact fields to gather lead-specific information

For example, you can create a virtual welcome kit for all registrants. Add relevant resources and exclusive benefits to this kit. Then, highlight it as one of the key benefits of registering to nudge people to sign up for the event.

5. Sponsor events to get exclusive benefits

Sponsorships are an excellent solution if you’re unsure how to generate event leads.

You can build a strong association with the theme and vision of such events. That, in turn, creates positive word of mouth, boosts brand visibility, and positions you as a valuable contributor to the event’s overall success.

However, that doesn’t mean you should sponsor the first event on your radar. Instead, choosing something that aligns with your brand identity, vision, and values is best. 

Once you find an event that fits these criteria, closely analyze its theme to see if it’ll appeal to your target audience. That’ll also give you a handle on how to devise a sponsorship strategy.

When you have a broad overview of the costs involved (venue/catering/production), you can negotiate a transparent contract with fair terms for both parties. Since sponsorships are costly, you must focus on the ROI it will generate!

Here are a few terms that you can discuss with the organizers: 

  • A dedicated booth in a prime location at the event to showcase your product/service and network with relevant prospects
  • A slot in the event to demonstrate your product or join an expert panel where you can interact with the audience
  • The contact information of the attendees at the event who might be interested in your product

Note: It might be tough to track the leads you generate as a sponsor since the main goal is to boost brand awareness. You might notice an uptick in traffic on your website or more queries coming into your sales channels as an outcome of this activity. 

Now that you know how to capture prospects as a participant, let’s move on to the trickier area: event lead generation as an organizer. Browse through the next bit to learn what that entails.

When you’re hosting an event

Organizers and participants have entirely different approaches to generating leads at events. While participants focus on maximizing visibility, organizers must balance bringing event attendees together while pitching their product/brand to potential prospects.

1. Define your ideal guest personas

As an event organizer, you can ensure that most (if not all) of your attendees fit your ideal guest persona. Use this opportunity to invite participants who receive your pitches and are more likely to respond to follow-up efforts.

Here’s how you can build your ideal guest personas:

  • Gather existing customer data to analyze audience demographics, preferences, etc. (cue: your sales and marketing teams can help)
  • Identify common pain points across your current clients to anticipate prospect needs
  • Review the prospect’s potential motivators (industry position/market perception, etc.)
  • Create a detailed buyer’s journey and contextualize your preferred touchpoints

Once you’ve gathered the necessary insights, start conceptualizing and organizing pitch content based on the lead’s persona.

7 factors that help you build a customer persona

2. Conduct research to finalize event themes

You want your event to be attractive to industry leaders. Their attendance will draw in other B2B players, widening your prospect pool as much as possible. That’s why you must be careful when selecting your event theme and keynote guests.

One tip is to analyze your audience’s challenges and interests. This will give you ideas for topics for panel discussions, Q&A sessions, etc. 

You can run a user survey to identify the hot topics people are interested in or questions they need answered. 

For example, let’s say you’re hosting a content marketing conference. In that case, you can ask people to rate their interest in different topics, like search generative experience (SGE), Google updates, scaled AI content, and more.

Then, figure out your target group’s preferred channels for accessing information. This will tell you how to structure your session formats. For instance, a fun mixer with five-minute debates would be great if you draw leads from a younger demographic. 

For keynote speakers, pick people relevant to your industry and, most importantly, that your audience loves. Finally, based on the event flow, determine a call to action. 

Step by step guide to plan a successful offline event for lead generation

3. Build a marketing strategy to create buzz

As an organizer, a well-designed marketing strategy should be your priority when figuring out how to generate leads at events. 

Check out these tips to get started with pre-event marketing:

  • Drive audience engagement/social sharing with hashtag contests and giveaways
  • Use email newsletters to promote the event (countdown timers/save the date)
  • Host pre-event webinars to showcase content, introduce keynote speakers, etc.
  • Leverage social media to build pre-event hype with video teasers/previews
  • Partner with influencers/content creators to develop and publish promotional material
  • Highlight event interest through user-generated content (montage of tweets, posts)

Oracle’s social media team promoted its annual CloudWorld event with this post (see below). It incentivized people with a $100 discount to subscribe for updates.

An example of Oracle's marketing strategy to invite leads to an event

4. Host a dedicated networking session for attendees

The majority of B2B professionals want organizers to host dedicated networking sessions.

It helps to keep things interesting here. After all, the more engaged your prospects are, the better their chances of responding to your pitch.

A few fun ideas to get you started are: 

  • Speed networking 
  • Vision/mood board building 
  • Round table debates for predetermined groups
  • Blind/audio-only discussions as ice-breakers

All that aside, you leverage this opportunity to position yourself in front of a vast pool of industry figures. Use snappy introductions to familiarize yourself with influential industry figures. Share your digital business card with them, exchange emails, and set dinner reservations—endless possibilities exist.

5. Engage with event participants on social channels 

Social media is the best way to get the word out before an event. Events, contests, award shows—it doesn’t matter what they are. The moment you post something online, people will see it.

So, if you’re still figuring out how to generate leads at events, remember to involve your social media team.

  • You can start with a hashtag contest or a giveaway. Use buzzwords in the announcement post, preferably something hinting at the event itself 
  • Montage reels of the BTS footage (setting up the booth, etc.) can also intrigue people
  • Once the event is in full flow, start live streaming
  • Show your audience bits from ongoing panel discussions, expert interviews, or Q&A sessions 
  • Bonus points if you get a well-known figure (content creators/influencers) involved here 
  • You could even host a live poll and incentivize participation through rewards (free ebooks for the first 50 respondents, etc.)

CD Projekt Red, a Polish game developer, is doing the same for the 2024 GDC.

An example of social media engagement with leads for the Game Developers Conference

6. Use live event activities to collect lead information

Live activities and interactions are among the surest solutions when discussing how to generate leads at events.

This is similar to what you’d do as a participant. The only difference is that, as an organizer, you have greater control over curating your prospects’ experiences.

Some best practices to create engagement with live activities would be to:

  • Align specific prospect groups with events/interactions that match their preferences
  • Provide hands-on product demos/tests and encourage them to engage with your team
  • Create a back-and-forth exchange to invite feedback (lets you capture lead data)
  • Use badge scanners to offer personalized content/surveys/resources and link digital business cards to share your details
  • Use fun activities (photo booths, interactive games/tech) to source information

The idea here is to make each interaction count. For example, if you’re hosting a real estate event, you could host a seminar that discusses conversion tactics for realtors. Then, have attendees sign a pre-registration form to capture contact information.

All that said, your work doesn’t end here. You must also segment your data, build dedicated guidelines for following up with qualified prospects, and more. Read the next section to learn all about it.

4 Post-event activities to level up your lead generation efforts

A critical aspect of lead generation, at events or otherwise, is marking and nurturing high-value prospects through the funnel. Without that, all your work to get to this phase holds no real value.

Below, we’ve compiled four tips to simplify this process.

1. Segment the collected data & add it to your CRM

The first logical step when discussing generating leads at events is to add all the collected data to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) setup. 

And you must have automated software to streamline this process. That would also help you in other areas. For example, you could directly export CRM data from your digital business card through API integrations.

With Uniqode, you can directly link your account with Salesforce through your callback URL. Or, you can use your API key and organization ID to connect with Zapier and access 700+ CRMs, including HubSpot, Zoho, Pipedrive, and more.

Zapier integration to add event leads to your CRM (Customer relationship management) platform

While you’re at it, customize the data fields based on internal sales/marketing processes. It also helps to execute a thorough list cleaning to eliminate prospects with invalid contact information.

Beyond that, establish dedicated lead assignment rules to allocate the best salesperson for each case. 

2. Score & grade each lead to smoothen the post-event nurturing workflow

High-performing post-event workflows always start with lead scoring and grading. 

Scoring your lead is easy enough. You only have to track their interaction with your brand over time. In several instances, this may have begun even before the event. For example, a prospect could have visited your site or scanned your product description pages.

Grading is about how well a lead matches your ideal customer persona. This data comes from your interactions with them during your event. Now, you only want to reach out to a lead if they either have a high grade or a high score.

Graph to segment leads based on lead grading and lead scoring

Besides that, always: 

  • Segment leads based on level of interest/event engagement/product fit
  • Establish automated campaign triggers to cater to large prospect pools
  • Set moderation guidelines to personalize marketing content based on the lead profile

It’s also a good idea to kickstart the post-event nurturing phase by sharing relevant content that aligns with the event theme.

3. Set dedicated follow-up reminders without spamming prospects

Follow-up reminders are not a daunting task. The only mistake most people make is that they do it immediately after the event.

You have to give your leads some breathing room. 

Start with a simple “thank you” email to show your appreciation. You could even publish a post-event highlight page to remind prospects of the experience. Then, you can:

  • Deploy a post-event survey asking for feedback
  • Have a salesperson follow up with qualified leads (use the survey as an excuse)
  • Start sharing other relevant content to keep them engaged in the process
  • Set scheduled calls each time one ends

In short, don’t bombard leads with calls and emails from the get-go. Ease into the follow-up process, build from there, and always be consistent.

4. Measure event ROI with the relevant metrics

Measuring event ROI is simple enough for tangible metrics like venue costs or revenue generated by each attendee. However, things aren’t so simple in the context of lead generation. 

But you could look into a few event metrics, including:

  • New vs. returning attendees
  • The number of leads generated vs. leads retained in the pipeline (post-event)
  • Changes in email open and response rates (specifically for event participants)
  • Deal progression rate of leads generated at the event
  • Response and engagement levels with sales outreach methods (post-event)

You can review this data to find what worked well and what didn’t. Use these insights to plan your lead-gen approach for the next event.

⚡Pro tip: If you’re using a digital business card, track how many people viewed it, when, from where, with which device, and more on the Uniqode dashboard.

Ramp up your lead generation pipeline with events

That’s a wrap on our best tips to generate leads at events. They also double as instructions to streamline event management and maximize audience engagement.

Stick to them, and they’ll simplify the follow-up process while netting you leads who are interested in your offerings. As for initiating and maintaining contact with these prospects, you can always choose Uniqode’s digital business cards

Offering seamless access to lead data through secure QR Codes, our digital business cards also have two-way contact sharing so others can reach out to you just as easily. Book a demo today and learn more about what we offer.

Book a demo with Uniqode

Author Details
Shreelekha is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS brands. She specializes in creating product-led content backed by hands-on research and expert insights. On days when she’s not at her desk, you’ll find her watching sitcoms, football, and dog videos.

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