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Event Marketing + Marketing Automation: Best Practices from GBTA

Last week we had a very special guest for our Pardot webinar series: Ed Barrett – VP of Membership and Marketing at GBTA, a leader in travel management and long-time Pardot customer. In this half-hour webinar, Barrett (accompanied by Pardot’s own Sangram Vajre) explained how marketing automation has helped GBTA increase event registration by 20%—and he definitely left the audience wanting more. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways automation helped GBTA capture, nurture, target, and ultimately convert leads into event attendees—and be sure to check out the full recording for more best practices!

Capture Leads with an “Email Collector”

You probably already know that you can build landing pages with marketing automation, to help you drive event registration and track success. What you may not have considered: including more than one call to action. But GBTA found that, by including a call to action for email updates in addition to the call to action to register, they greatly increased their number of leads captured—and that many of these leads ended up eventually converting to event attendees. It makes sense: many visitors to your landing page may not be ready to commit to attending an event, but by signing up to receive email updates, they can learn more about the event and keep it on their radar, then decide whether or not to register later on.

For more on landing page CTAs, go to 12:44 in our webinar recording.

Nurture Leads with Tailored Nurturing Campaigns

There are numerous use cases for nurturing campaigns, and events are no exception. GBTA developed separate nurturing campaigns depending on their goals—so for instance, a nurturing campaign encouraging recipients to register for an event would look very different from campaigns encouraging membership. Since GBTA also holds events all over the world, they also took cultural norms for each reason into consideration, to provide the most tailored and positive experience possible. Another idea for using lead nurturing capabilities at marketing events: consider developing follow-up drip campaigns that relate to what an attendee expressed interest in. For more on this, check out our case study, “How to Drive Lead Generation from Events: The Pardot Way.”

For more on how GBTA uses lead nurturing, go to 14:44 in our webinar recording.

Target Leads Based on Lead Score

In an effort to better understand their conversion rates, GBTA took a group of event registrants and broke it down by lead score—the top 33%, middle 33%, and lowest 33%. Their findings? The top third of lead scores were by far the most represented in their event registrations. It stands to reason: leads that regularly engage with your content and increase their lead score are more likely to ultimately convert and attend events. But by recognizing this, and as a result, focusing their efforts on this top 33% of leads with the highest scores, they were able to significantly increase their number of conversions.

For more on targeting top leads and driving conversions, go to 16:23 in our webinar recording.

What are some additional ways to use marketing automation to drive event success? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!