Sometimes the best events to use in generating leads for your social media management agency are the ones that don’t yet exist. This is when it’s time to get creative.
Building an event from the ground up isn’t always easy — especially when you’re also running an agency full-time. But there are ways to mitigate the work with enough planning, preparation, and reasonable expectations.
Here’s an overview of the factors you’ll need to consider:
- Coming up with a concept
- Landing on a budget
- Deciding how and where to host an event
- Partnership opportunities
- Post-event follow-ups
Come Up With a Business Event Concept
Creating a lead-generating event for your social media management business starts with an idea. You have to pin down your concept before bringing all of the other moving pieces together.
What’s your angle? What do you have to offer a group of people that they can’t already find?
In the world of social media, tangible instruction is your friend. In other words, it’s better to create an event with a niche focus than speak in generalities.
When it comes to getting leads via thought leadership, your value comes from not just showing someone “how to Tweet” but how to use social media channels in ways that are highly relevant to them.
Here are some details that’ll likely influence the direction your event concept takes:
- The type of event (e.g., workshop, panel, educational presentation, webinar, or some kind of hybrid)
- The length of your event
- Your target audience
- The frequency of your event (e.g., a one-off thing or something that’s recurring)
All of the above will help your event take shape and influence how you approach everything else that follows.
Land on an Event Budget
Everything comes with a price tag. And good business event ideas are no exception.
When you land on a killer business event concept, it’ll be easy to jump into motion. But before you create a landing page and launch those promos, think carefully through the logistics.
More specifically, think carefully through your budget.
For example, if this is your first self-hosted event, start small and scale over time as you learn more about what draws your audience in.
You should go into event one expecting nothing in return but feedback.
Use an event budget workbook to plan for and track your expenses accordingly. Keeping this kind of high-level throughout the process will make it easier to identify opportunities for cutting costs as you go.
Finally, consider your event budget against potential ROI. If you have no idea what that might be, all the more reason to start small and get some measurements in place.
Decide How and Where You’ll Host A Business Event
There are two main routes you can take for hosting a business event that helps generate leads for your social media management agency.
#1: Host a Local Event, In-Person
If you’re interested in creating a space for people to network and gain hands-on experience, an in-person event for local lead generation might be the way to go.
Think along the lines of a monthly breakfast or lunch and learn for small business owners to mingle and engage with expert presentations.
In these instances, you’ll need to account for the physical space, set-up needs (e.g., chairs, tables, and presentation tech), and any refreshments you might further incentivize your guests with.
#2: Host an Online Business Event
An online event may be an easier, lower risk first step into the world of self-hosted gatherings. This could involve something like a webinar or an online panel open to questions and interaction.
For virtual events, you’ll inevitably need webinar hosting software. Additionally, it’ll be worthwhile to consider investing in the following:
- Quality lighting
- A webcam
- A microphone
- Some way to record (or screen capture) your event, if that feature isn’t included with your chosen webinar software
Local Lead Generation: Partner With Local Businesses and/or Experts
Whether you decide to host online or in-person, partnering with local businesses and experts for local lead generation is a great way to mitigate potential costs and effort. It can also increase the value add for interested attendees.
I’ve found a lot of success in getting my name out there from the partnerships I’ve made over the years. For example, my work alongside Better Together in 2019 has translated to lovely organic shout-outs on their website, which help with B2B lead generation.
Here’s another example of a partnership-based business event I’ve got in the works.
Relationship-building is key and you’re likely to be that much more successful in your endeavors when you’re willing to lift up fellow industry leaders.
This is because, outside of cost and setup, you’re also tapping into multiple networks for promotion when co-hosting an event.
Promote and Encourage RSVPs
As the pieces of the puzzle come together, you’ll need to work well in advance to promote attendance at your event. Give yourself at least two months ahead of an event’s date to spread the word.
Once your event page is up and running, start promoting it regularly through your digital marketing channels (e.g., email and social). This is something that can be effective through both your personal and agency brands.
If you have the budget to put some advertising spend behind your promotions, consider doing so on social. Use lookalike retargeting audiences and geo-based targeting to help narrow in on potential attendees.
How to Promote an Event Online
To ensure that you have enough attendees to move through a funnel, here’s a summary of ideas for how to promote an event online:
- Share the event on your social channels.
- Ask event partners and co-organizers to share the event with their networks.
- Send multiple email reminders to list subscribers.
- Put some ad spend behind the event on the most relevant networks.
- Share the event in relevant user communities (e.g. Quora, Slack, Facebook Groups, etc.).
- Cross-post the event on Eventbrite and Meetup.
- Create bonus resources (e.g. ebooks, checklists, etc.) to encourage people to opt-in for event updates.
- Encourage attendees to share about the event with ready-made swipe copy and incentives for referrals.
B2B Lead Generation Strategies: Engage Attendees With a Post-Event Follow-Up
One major benefit of hosting an event comes from the post-event follow-up. You want to keep those who attended engaged with your brand and eager to learn more.
For online events, consider following up shortly after the event with a recording. This is something you’ll want to send people, regardless of whether or not they showed up day-of. You can use this as the first of a series of emails for gauging interest in your services.
For in-person events, consider following up shortly after the event with a copy of your presentation deck. You can even put a more personal spin on it by following up with the deck via LinkedIn or a Facebook Messenger bot.
In either scenario, it never hurts to further incentivize attendees to take further action with an exclusive discount or offer. This could be something like a free one-hour social media consultation or 10% off your base monthly service price.
Final Thoughts: B2B Lead Generation: Hosting a Business Event for Agency Leads
You don’t have to go it alone when creating a business event that generates leads for your social media management agency. But you do have to go in with a plan.
Be strategic with your B2B lead generation approach upfront, gather feedback, and most importantly — don’t be afraid to try and fail. It’s the only way you can improve upon your end-product over time.
Having the best-in-class social media management tool at work for your clients makes it easier for you to work for yourself. Start your free 30-day trial of Social Report today!
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.