4 Stages of the Live Engagement Funnel
If you’re in the events business, you’ll know their power lies in face-to-face meetings. It’s about humans interacting with each other, live, in person, in the flesh. This was highlighted for the sixth year in a row by the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: marketers confirmed that in-person events were the most effective tactics for B2B marketing.
But if the in-person experience is key, why do we leave so much of that up to chance?
So often we launch an event and set our attendees loose to move through it on their own. But we need to measure how effectively we are matching the right people, content and experiences as the event unfolds to maximize the attendee experience. How do we do this?
Discovering The Hidden Funnel
You’ve heard of the marketing funnel and the sales funnel, the models that describe how a potential customer first becomes aware of your brand, then becomes engaged, and eventually (hopefully) transforms into a customer. Some people are even flipping their funnels entirely. Well, savvy event marketers have discovered a hidden funnel of their own to benchmark attendee engagement and tie that back to their business goals.
It’s called the Live Engagement Funnel, and it will help you monitor the success of your event as it unfolds. Use this funnel to see how engaged your attendees are with your event and devise in-the-moment incentives to engage them deeper.
Here are the four key steps to the Live Engagement Funnel:
Every one of your event registrants begins in this first stage, as a passive viewer who is quietly moving through your event app.
Let’s say a lead named Martha comes to your event. She opens the app on her phone and is scrolling through the feed, the agenda, and speaker bios. Perhaps she taps into a session details page related to a specific product line—does this mean that Martha is specifically interested in that product? Not necessarily; it’s a very light signal at this point. What we need to do is now guide her into the second phase of the funnel, where she begins to take action to really understand her intent.
This phase begins when Martha starts to dig deeper into the app. Perhaps she bookmarks a session to add it to her agenda. Maybe she dives into a specific content track and continues to bookmark more sessions within that same topic. This is now a much clearer signal of her interest in that content theme or topic.
She may also tap her way into a topic channel—where she presses a small green button to indicate she’d like to join the discussion and receive updates. This is an even stronger signal of her interest in this particular content theme or topic.
In order to guide attendees into this active phase, it’s essential you think of the app as a content channel and start to direct people to the right places. All the content in the world matters little if nobody is looking at it. You can have bookmark buttons all over the place but if nobody comes to the content, nobody taps the bookmark buttons.
You’ve got to tell people like Martha what to do.
To do this, use promoted posts to pin messages to the top of your Activity Feed—driving people to areas within the app that allow them to interact with your event content on a deeper level. You can also build special Topic Channels within the app for everyone that shares a specific interest.
Not only are you helping like-minded attendees meet, you’re also gathering important data on who is interested in what. As viewers interact with your event content, they move into this active phase of the Live Engagement Funnel and you can now start to create lists of people who are interested in specific topics, themes, or even product lines.
Now that you have an active audience, you can start to really use the channel to move people from an active to engaged state and guide them further down your Live Engagement Funnel. Engaged means that Martha is now communicating; she’s talking and connecting with people on your event app. She may be doing this through three types of messages: text, group, and session messages.
Say Martha posts a status update and receives a thought-provoking comment from Jenny, who works in a related industry. Martha can send Jenny a direct message, saying she’d love to meet at some point during the event to discuss more in person. She may also do the same with groups of people she meets through session and topic channels.
The third type of message is session-specific: during a panel discussion, everyone in the audience can comment on the discussion in real-time via the app.
The point here is that you’re using the app to allow people to collaborate and communicate.
Events are all about people meeting and making live connections, and you’re using the app to help them do this in perfectly synchronized ways, so that rather than waiting on luck or kismet to meet the right person, you can connect people much more easily and efficiently.
The final stage of the Live Engagement Marketing funnel is the energized phase, and this is all about live meetings—where attendees now connect face-to-face.
The in-person meeting is the holy grail of an event; that’s why people show up in the first place. So if somebody has a brilliant idea, or a great challenge ahead of them, and they come to your event specifically to figure out what to do, they need to be connected with the right people.
The Live Engagement Event App allows attendees to schedule direct meetings with others at the event—whether a fellow attendee or a staff member. By facilitating these in-person meetings, you help an attendee become deeply engaged with your brand. And that engagement is likely to continue after the event.
Applying the Live Engagement Funnel Post-Event
Now that you’ve discovered the hidden funnel, you can use it as a roadmap to turn a passive attendee like Martha into an energized brand ambassador.
Guide your attendees down the funnel by thinking of the event app as a new marketing channel, and you can gather information on where they are and what they’re interested in.
The funnel helps you even after the event is over because your marketing team can use this data to instigate next steps that are perfectly designed to the exact space where the attendees were at when they left the event—helping them in a way that perfectly matches what they’re looking for.
Thanks to the Live Engagement Funnel, you’ll have more happy attendees who got what they came for from your event—a quality, in-person experience. More importantly? You have the ability to measure the kind of business-boosting, face-to-face engagement only live events can create.