Generate online event leads with these top steps and tips

Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated November 30 2022
Event leads
Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated November 30 2022

Event leads create new sales opportunities, strengthen brand awareness, and facilitate in-person meetings with potential clients–however, as Covid-19 and the rise of online events redefined the world of event marketing, marketers and anyone else in the world of physical or online industry events need to adjust. This article will keep you up to speed with the current state of the event lead generation process, focused specifically on online event leads and best practices.





What is event lead generation?

Event lead generation is a process by which your business identifies and cultivates potential customers for your services through a specific event.


It will vary by type of event, but usually, event lead generation is done this way:

  • Researchers will create a list of leads and a list of sales development representatives for conducting outreach to highlight your presence at an event.
  • At the event, you can discuss business opportunities and offer further appointments with strong prospects.


In this case, we’ll focus mostly on online event leads, however much of the advice can cross over into hybrid and in-person events. When done well, event lead generation will serve as common ground to grow your leads, generate brand awareness, and create a sense of community!


A lead in general can be seen as someone interested in what you’re selling–so obviously it’s in the interest of your business to find and cultivate leads and get them to the point where they’re ready to buy.


From a business standpoint, the entire purpose of various industry events is to build your leads and to make connections that will result in sales. Your company might decide to attend or even sponsor, various events to gain leads.



Event leads generation best practices in 2023

First off, be aware of industry trends. We’re all aware that there was a decline in in-person events, but it seems to only have been a brief holding pattern, and they’re once again on the rise. However virtual events also had their boom and emerged as a viable event strategy–now that virtual events have been widely adopted, they aren’t going away. So, 2023’s events could either be virtual, in person, or hybrid, depending on the needs of the company and their target audience.


Most marketers don’t believe that in-person events will be going away any time soon either–but by the same token, it’s been estimated that most event marketers are planning to invest significantly in virtual events going forward. So, event lead generation should remain part of your marketing strategy, however, it’s important to understand how to generate leads from both virtual and in-person events.


Where virtual events are concerned:

Online events can be the best for generating leads because you’ll be capturing contact information no matter what. One best practice would be to create a pre-event registration–the kind of data you’ll get will depend on the event app, but there should be something of value. Here are some tips for generating event leads connected to online events, if you are a host or sponsor:


Registration: When registering, attendees should provide their full name and address. Additional details can also be requested, especially if you’re customizing the event, or want to create spaces that encourage interaction between guests.


Event Recording: There are many benefits to recording your sessions. You can provide them on demand after the event, use footage as promotional material, and most importantly, pore over it later for details.


Event Organization: To have the most productive experience with a virtual event, use an event tech for managing details like A/V and logistics. This frees you (and other hosts and moderators) to talk to guests and attendees personally–particularly to vet for leads.


Interaction: Likewise, if your event is going to be fairly well attended it will be hard to talk to everyone individually. If possible, you can split the attendees into groups and facilitate hangouts or networking spaces so guests can talk to one another. This is great for engagement, and also makes it more efficient for you to run down leads.


event leads


Event lead generation steps and ideas

Event lead generation is a bit of a process. You want to prioritize your pre-event outreach, although do not neglect continuing outreach during the event, and, as well as talk about further below, follow-ups can turn into almost as significant of a campaign as the run-up was.


It’s key to zero in on your best prospects using a few different criteria, such as:


Fit: Demographic and whether the potential lead is individually a fit with an ideal profile.


Intent: Behavioral signals from data or engagement by a prospective buyer interest, such as time spent on your website or sharing your content.


Opportunity: Action-based signals from a larger company or organization indicating favorable conditions for purchasing your product. This could include leadership or methodology changes or receiving new funding.



Your overall process will require thorough preparation, through a few different phases.

Pre-event steps for lead generation

Planning: Not unlike the actual event, it’s recommended to give an outreach campaign some lead time. Start planning at least two months before the online event, giving you enough time to carefully go through steps such as assigning a team, choosing outreach channels, and outlining outreach strategy and goals to find a direction for your campaign.

– Identify your “ideal customer profile” (ICP)

– Identify who is going to the event


Content preparation: Content should be crafted carefully to make the best impression on your potential buyer. It could take the form of landing pages, blogs, social media posts, or emails. Physical events could employ concrete objects such as pamphlets or handouts. Be sure to pick a strong theme, decide what information and material to present, and craft your content messages carefully to land with the right prospects. If possible, use more than one channel for outreach.


Outreach: It’s game time! Start your outreach two weeks before the event. although, you might want to give even more lead time if it’s an important enough event. Before you start the outreach, make sure you have a research plan in place, you want to be able to identify leads that embody your ICP.


Get successful event leads during the event

Continue your outreach during the event and remember to remain flexible as schedules can shift quickly.


Networking during an event is one of the key factors to generating and pursuing leads, however, for online events, it will be your top option in addition to gathering data. You can talk to attendees individually or as a group during virtual events, but make sure to use a high-quality virtual event platform so you can customize the event to harvest as many leads as possible. You can create lists of questions or topics to identify leads, and when discussing them sort your leads further based on responses and engagement.


Follow-ups as a way for getting more event leads

The biggest part of generating event leads, especially for online events, is your follow-ups. Make sure you follow up with everyone including not only attendees you may have met at the event, prospects who made appointments, but also virtually everyone who came to or expressed interest in the event. Usually, an email follow-up is most appropriate.



More tips for event leads generation

Hybrid events are a unique new form with the challenge of presenting a consistent experience for both virtual and in-person attendees. You will still be able to use many of the same tactics as a virtual event, however! All guests will still need to register, for instance, so you can build higher-quality subscriber lists. Additionally, you can split some event labor if you are hosting or sponsoring: there can be two groups to separately manage virtual and in-person aspects. Additionally, gathering engagement data will further help you zero in on your attendees’ interests.


Launching a full follow-up campaign is another fantastic way of getting ROI on an event. It’s entirely possible that when looking for sales leads at an industry event, you’ll come across more attendees who are contributors not “decision makers” and will not be able to adopt your product outright for their company. If you give your prospects some space, organize and spreadsheet all information and details, and then follow up with offers of product demos, you’ll be well on the road to being connected to a decision-maker. Work through the list of prospects you’ve gathered from the event and reach out to them using unique subject lines. It can be almost as significant of an endeavor as your initial planning and outreach!




Keep in mind these two key takeaways:


While events were one of the most strongly affected industry segments during the pandemic, the event industry has nonetheless recovered quickly. Events have been able to expand to online formats without completely displacing or undermining the importance of in-person events. This paves the way for a positive outlook for the industry overall.


Additionally, events have not reduced in importance as far as opportunities for lead generation and networking. Maximizing your time and generation of event lead capture remains a solid strategy for increasing your business. We hope with the advice and strategies outlined here that you can scale up your campaigns for event leads so that you meet and exceed all your goals!