According to Marlize Laubscher, Inbound Marketing at Spitfire, the inbound marketing and sales goal is to attract people to your company, engage with them, and delight them to become promoters and bring others to engage with your brand.
Events are meant to do the same thing: inform your customers of new offerings or learnings, and engage with them to satisfy their company’s needs so that they will become promoters for your business. An inbound event is an ultimate tool you need for your company.
What are inbound events?
Inbound events are taking the inbound methodology and applying it to your business’s events. Inbound events allow for network opportunities and the development of corporate relationships, whether between businesses and customers or with people within your industry.
Inbound events go beyond traditional events. You can track any event you’ve hosted to show the return on investment (ROI) and creates the chance to close a deal. For Inbound events to be successful, you also need to work closely with your sales teams to keep the flywheel spinning effectively and help the business grow.
The HubSpot Flywheel gives guidance to all the steps of what you should do when planning an inbound event.
Four steps in the inbound events methodology:
1. The first step is to identify strangers that you would like to attract to your website and social media to get to know your brand. The goal is for the visitors to register for the event you are hosting.
2. Now that they have registered, they have turned into leads. Your next step is to engage with the leads to inform them in preparation for the event. Your goal is to have your event attendees trust your brand and your messaging – you would like to be perceived as a thought leader to your leads in order to open a deal conversation pre, at or post-event.
3. Your next step is to set up a prospect list. Using your sales metrics, you need to pre-qualify the list of registered prospects. Qualifying them into either a sales-qualified lead (SQL) or marketing-qualified lead (MQL) is important as it will allow the right sales and marketing person to focus on nurturing the right prospects at the right time. You can use the HubSpot tool to automate notifications as well as prospect nurturing.
Once your salespeople and your prospects have connected at the event, you have to be sure you have clear metrics to measure the interaction by in order to see who the opportunities are and who the people are to disqualify as leads.
It is essential to have a clear post-event strategy and help move the deal forward with an automated process such as sales sequences. Keep in mind that you don’t only have a post-event strategy for the opportunities; this is the sales focused approach. For other attendees (those you disqualified post-event as not yet being sales-ready) you would need to have a clear post-event strategy to ensure you stay top of mind and a thought leader in the industry.
All attendees can become your promoters and assist you with delight – they may refer colleagues and friends to you. Using a post-event strategy makes sure that they will be nurtured and kept in the loop for other events. This allows you to see all the interactions they have with your brand, and, at some stage you may be able to reopen the sales conversation.
4. The last step is to close the deal. Remember that just because the deal is sealed doesn’t mean the buyer’s journey is over. You need to enrol the contact in your delight strategy for them to become promoters of your business and reference others who they think would benefit from the value your company brings.
Tools for the flywheel
1. Attracting Prospects
You don’t want an excess of traffic to your site, you want traffic that converts to leads. Those are the people you want to focus on, therefore your online strategy needs to be focused and optimised regularly to continually appeal to the right buyer personas.
HubSpot allows us to do this effectively through blog and website content, and the content strategy tool that supports your SEO strategy as well as your social media content and presence. HubSpot also allows for integrated reporting on each of these, which will allow you to pull data and make a decision on optimising.
2. Engaging with prospects
You need to have clear opportunities on your website to convert visitors into leads to allow for further engagement. The win in terms of engagement is that most of this can be automated. Use conversational marketing tools like lead flows, bots, live chats, and calls to actions to help give their journey the movement that will get them to submit their details.
You would need to use landing pages, forms and emails to make this a streamlined process and capture the details you need. Make sure your sales team is using the CRM as efficiently as possible. Create a prospect list and assign them to the salespeople identified to engage further.
3. Delighting prospects and customers
Make use of automation and smart content to deliver a personalised experience to the customers in your CRM to allow the opportunity for referrals. Make use of content distribution over email automation, NPS surveys and more.
Using the inbound event methodology will lead to growth and opportunities for your business, and better ROI from your current event strategy.