We’re all familiar with the conversion funnel. Before buying your product or service, a lead will enter the awareness stage, get to know your brand, and extract its initial value from this interaction. Next, if the lead moves down through the funnel, he or she will enter the consideration stage, meaning he or she is very interested in what you have to offer. Finally, when a lead is at the bottom of the funnel, he or she will be very close to making a decision and closing the deal by purchasing your product. How will event marketing help you improve the conversion funnel? Let’s find out.
The main difference between brand events and other events is the end goal you have in mind. While different organizations, chambers of commerce, universities, or institutions may run events to strengthen their community, debate different topics, or foster networking, corporations run brand events to increase their sales.
Thus, event marketing comes as a complementary element for strengthening the conversion funnel or moving the lead from the awareness stage through the consideration stage to the decision moment.
Brand events are the perfect opportunity to show prospects your brand is reliable and relevant. If we look at the funnel stages individually, here’s how events will help you improve the conversion rates in no time:
The awareness stage
Trust is crucial for retaining leads and transforming them into paying customers (which, in most cases, is your main goal when running brand events). By building trust with your attendees, you’re getting them to pay attention to your messages and actually engage with your brand.
Trust is the core element of any fruitful and long-lasting relationship, and in business, this is what puts you ahead of your competitors. If your attendees will trust your brand (meaning your products or services), people who’ve never heard about you before will also trust you.
Simon Sinek, famous author and entrepreneur, offers an explanation:
“What do you trust more, a claim made in a piece of advertising or a recommendation from a friend? Whom do you trust more, the waiter who tells you, ‘Everything on the menu is great,’ or the waiter who tells you to avoid the chicken casserole? Are these questions too easy? Then how about this one: why should anyone trust you? Personal recommendations go a long way. We trust the judgement of others. It’s part of the fabric of strong cultures.”
If you plan events that will influence, inspire, and impact people to believe in your brand, they’ll turn around and do the same thing to their peers by talking about your company.
You’ll not only get leads or customers, but you’ll also enjoy the ripple effect of trust, which is spreading the word and (potentially) building an entire community around your brand.
The consideration stage
There’s no shortage of resources on how to set up an attractive brand experience. From involving the attendees’ senses to planning extraordinary shows, you might go to great lengths just to get your attendees to experience some sort of brand awe.
Yet how many of these “mise-en-scènes” are actually providing true value to your attendees? Or more important: Is your event about your brand or your guests?
Showing how your product or service works will not add value to your audience. Providing answers and solutions to your attendees’ most burning problems and issues, on the other hand, will make them understand and trust your brand.
Nobody wants to be sold products or services, especially during events thinly masked as “brand experiences.” People are seeking real solutions, and if you can provide them with quick answers to their problems, you’ll be seen as a trustworthy company.
When planning events for those who are in the consideration stage, you’ll always want to think about packing in as much significance as possible.
For example, you can call important industry leaders to share their latest insights, offer meaningful networking opportunities, and work on solving your guests’ challenges in situ, meaning during the event.
Providing value and being at the service of your audience gets people to move successfully through the consideration stage up to the decision point.
The decision stage
Have you ever asked yourself what’s happening in a person’s mind when they decide to purchase your product? Do they experience a type of “aha” moment? Or do they just go with the best rational option? Brand experience is the secret.
The entire formula of event marketing is to get people experience the vision, the commitment, and the quality standards you have as a company.
As Salvatore J. Chiarelli, executive vice president and head of Conferences, Events, and Societies for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), explains during an interview,
“Great experiences build your reputation. That recognition of quality and anticipation is part of the brand building.”
Designing events for those who are at the decision stage doesn’t mean bombarding all the venue spaces with big logos and a striking call to action.
On the contrary, it’s all about providing authentic experiences that revolve around quality interactions with your team and understanding the high expertise your company has when it comes to solving specific types of problems in ways that are aligned with the leads’ values (such as sustainability, responsibility, accountability, etc.).
This type of event will help you connect with your prospects and make the decision stage only a mere conventionality before closing the deal.
Depending on where your attendees are in the funnel stage, you’ll have to focus on different planning aspects and make sure the events are aligned with the people’s intentions. Don’t try to skip stages—accompany your leads through the entire funnel, connect with them and get them to trust your brand.