There’s something about being a part of an event versus just watching it unfold.
The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feel of it all. Like the layers of sensation you experience in-person are greater than the sum of their parts.
Everything combines and mixes and creates memories, emotions, ideas that you can build on and grow from.
Now compare that to watching a webinar in your sweats while wolfing down a bag of Сheetos. Which experience do you think will be more memorable?
See, live events have a kind of power to them that can sweep you up entirely. And it’s why so many businesses use them to bring in new leads and help sell their products.
The only problem is marketing live events can be tough and time-consuming.
But as with any industry, a sales funnel can work wonders for cutting down on marketing efforts. And in some cases, it can practically automate the entire process from start to finish!
Today I’ll show you 5 tips for building your very own local events sales funnel. On top of that, I’ll also point out 2 time-tested local events sales funnel templates that we use right here at AutoGrow. And you can download them right now, for free.
Sounds like a good deal, huh?
Well alrighty then, let’s get started.
Why Does Your Local Event Need a Sales Funnel?
Simply put, it’s a huge time saver.
Listen, putting on a local event is hard. You know this.
It takes tons of time to nail down a venue, hammer out a schedule, secure speakers or entertainment, negotiate catering and equipment prices… the list goes on and on and on.
It isn’t any wonder that event planning occupations are expected to grow by at least 7% (faster than most professions) from 2018 to 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But all that work does tend to pay off because a live local event can bring massive benefits to your business or organization.
The biggest benefit is that live events often create leads. And in fact, most live events are held specifically to reach that goal.
Live events are chock full of benefits. But they do take a whole lot of time to put together. And like any other business owner, you’ll undoubtedly feel pulled in a million different directions trying to keep yours from falling apart.
But with a sales funnel, you can start automating some tasks so you can focus on other aspects of your event.
A sales funnel is designed to help take at least one type of burden off your shoulders: attracting and nurturing leads.
With a sales funnel, your prospects are informed about your event, nurtured through the sales process, and have all their questions answered before signing up. And it’s practically all done automatically.
Sure, you can be involved in the process by hopping on a phone call or responding to direct messages. But you don’t have to be.
And with all that extra time, you can focus instead on making your event a resounding success.
The only question is, how do you create a sales funnel for your local event?
Content Marketing vs. Targeted: What Kind of Sales Funnel Should You Use?
If you’ve ever googled “sales funnel” even once, you’ve probably seen a picture like this…
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Or maybe you saw one where in each stage, there was a list of different content types. Blogs in “Awareness,” whitepapers in “Interest,” case studies in “Desire.” That kind of thing.
Source: Digital Marketer
Does all this sound familiar?
Well, this is what’s called a “content marketing funnel.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with this approach to sales funnels. And in fact, a whole lot of businesses follow that idea.
But content marketing is complex. It’s expensive. And a well-made content marketing strategy takes loads of time to plan out, and about 20X more time to execute.
In fact, some analysts say a strong content marketing strategy takes anywhere from 6 to 9 months to start seeing results!
And if you’re hosting a local event, you just don’t have that kind of time, do you?
Well, luckily, there’s the more targeted approach to sales funnels—the kind that we at AutoGrow have worked hard to perfect with our Done-For-You funnel service.
Rather than letting people simply find your content through organic SEO (as with content marketing), a targeted funnel relies on paid advertising to get people into the first steps of your funnel.
As a result, you can start seeing results immediately after launching your ads rather than waiting for your content marketing strategy to take hold. And that means you can capitalize on a quicker ROI.
Now, a targeted sales funnel requires a bit of an initial investment since you’re covering the cost of ads up front.
But as you can see, it’s much easier to see the value behind it earlier on compared to content marketing.
So, the results are clear: local events need a targeted sales funnel (like the kind we do here at AutoGrow) rather than a content marketing funnel because the results are immediate.
The Basics: What Makes a Successful Sales Funnel?
Now that you know a targeted sales funnel is the way to go, what kinds of elements does your sales funnel need in order to be successful?
Well, we’ve found that every high-converting funnel has 3 core elements: Fuel, Foundation, and Follow-Up.
- Fuel: This is the source of your leads. As we’ve seen, targeted sales funnels are typically fueled by paid advertisements. But the question is, where are you listing those advertisements? Google is a popular choice for many but social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest or Instagram are quickly becoming better options thanks to their powerful targeting abilities. There are plenty of other sources of funnel fuel to choose from too.
- Fuel Types
- Facebook Ads
- Google Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- Existing Email List
- Fuel Types
- Foundation: This is where the conversion magic happens. The Foundation stages of your funnel are where your leads get hooked into the benefits of your live event, have all their questions answered, and ultimately register for your event. It’s also where you need to focus the bulk of your marketing efforts since this is the “spine” of your funnel. You need clear CTAs, focused yet relatable copy, and eye-popping design. And you also have to have all the right elements to keep your prospects moving towards that registration page.
- Foundation Elements
- Lead Magnet
- Lead Magnet Landing Page
- Congratulations Page
- Sales Page
- Checkout Page
- Thank You Page
- Foundation Elements
- Follow-Up: This part of your funnel is all about bringing prospects back in after they’ve left your funnel. You see, not everyone is going to be buy-ready immediately after going through your funnel. And in fact, the majority of prospects are going to take quite a bit more time to decide if your event is right for them. That’s why you need to follow up with them, again and again, to help them realize the benefits of attending and to keep your event at the top of their mind.
- Follow-Up Elements
- Retargeting Ads
- Email Nurturing Campaigns
- Follow-Up Elements
2 Winning Local Events Templates from AutoGrow
Alright, now that we’ve got the basics down about what makes a successful sales funnel, it’s time to get to what you’ve all been waiting for…
The FREE proven templates from AutoGrow!
Below you’ll find 2 of AutoGrow’s very own local events templates that we’ve used to help businesses attract customers to attend their events.
As you’ll see, the 2 templates are actually quite a bit similar in terms of design. That being said, though, there are a few differences between them.
So have a look, pick out your fave, and feel free to use it for inspiration, make it a jumping-off point for your own funnel, or even downright copy it.
Heck, it worked for us. It can work for you too.
Free Local Events Funnel Template #1: “Old Reliable”
As the name suggests, this sales funnel template is our main go-to template for local events.
It’s got everything you need to hook in leads and keep them moving through your funnel until checkout.
Check it out below.
Now, what makes this funnel unique? One of the biggest differences from the other template (and from other sales funnels in general) is that it has two different paths your prospects will take to get to checkout.
See boxes 3A and 3B, each coming from the lead generation page?
Each of those paths come from different CTAs on the main lead gen page.
Ideally, your leads will move through your funnel without requiring a human touch-point (i.e., a consultation call or sales call). That way, you can reap the benefits of having an automated sales cycle and you can just focus on making sure your event runs smoothly.
But as we all know, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
And every now and then, your leads will want to actually talk to someone before making a commitment. This goes double for high-ticket items or events since the higher the costs, the more they’ll need to be nurtured before making a decision.
That’s where option two comes in!
This funnel template leaves room for those leads that need a little extra nurturing before jumping on board. And since the call request form is built right into the lead gen page with a 2-step opt-in box, you can help reduce funnel friction even more and get those leads the answers they need to buy-in.
According to AutoGrow’’s founder, Matt Ackerson, this funnel template should be the one you start with. This is because it’s lower risk, proven to work, and easier to implement. And after you do start seeing results with it, only then should you move on to A/B testing funnel template #2.
Free Local Events Funnel Template #2: “The Retargeter”
Free local events sales funnel template #2 is all about maximizing retargeting efforts.
It has most of the same elements as the previous template (minus the two different paths to checkout) but it incorporates quite a few retargeting elements to pull leads back into your funnel once they’ve dropped out.
Let’s take a closer look at these retargeting elements. As you can see, there are quite a few places in the funnel that use retargeting ads to bring leads back in.
And that’s great! Retargeting ads are super effective, especially when used correctly on Facebook.
But there’s an even more creative form of retargeting going on here…
Check out box A5. That’s an exit pop-up from the lead gen page that instead of simply saying, “Hey! Don’t leave the page!”, this pop-up actually offers prospects even more value with an ebook or free guide.
After that, prospects that drop off the page are sent a 3-email follow-up where they are presented with a series of case studies showing the benefits of the local event. The goal here, of course, is to convince them that they need to go to this event.
Makes sense, right?
Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, the follow-up emails I get. But what about the ebook or guide? Why include that at all?”
Good question! Most guides like these are used as a lead magnet so you can capture email addresses. But since you’ve already gotten those from the opt-in from box A1, you don’t need those anymore.
Instead, this guide is meant to help position you as an authority in your field and to build trust—an especially important part of marketing local events that we’ll talk more about later.
And once your prospects see just how knowledgeable you are about the industry thanks to your free guide, they’ll be much more likely to hop back into your funnel and register for your local event.
Local Events Sales Funnels: 5 Points to Keep in Mind While Building Yours
Now that you’ve got your 2 AutoGrow local events sales funnel templates in hand (or on your desktop rather), it’s time to start building yours.
It can take some time and effort, sure. But when it’s done and when it’s done right, it can save you a boatload of time and resources when it comes to attracting leads and selling seats to your local event.
But before you get started, there are a few things you should probably know before building out your sales funnel elements.
So be sure to follow the tips below to ensure your funnel has a killer conversion rate soon after launching.
Tip #1: You DON’T Actually Need a Lead Magnet
The interesting thing about local event sales funnels is that they don’t actually need a lead magnet to capture people’s contact information.
Instead, all you have to do is have a landing page where people opt in to get more details.
All you need is a clear and engaging headline, a brief introduction, an email submission form, and some explainer bullet points. That’s it!
Check out our opt-in page we built for one of our clients below.
In an interview with Matt, he also mentioned that you can use pricing information as the reason to opt in too. People are typically very motivated to learn more about local events and even a page as simple as this is enough to capture prospect details.
Tip #2: Save Your High-Ticket Upsell for the Event
Marketo found that 32% of live local events are held as a means of upselling customers on more high-ticket items.
And it shouldn’t be surprising either. The desire to buy at these events can be infectious. The excitement, the close contact, the direct interaction that builds trust—it can all add up to a powerful inclination to buy.
- 98% of users feel more driven to buy after attending a live event (EventTrack).
- Following a live experience, 38% of attendees visit the host company’s website, while nearly 1 in 3 will purchase its products or services afterwards (Event Marketer).
So while upselling can be a huge part of a successful sales funnel (when done right of course), it’s best for live events to hold off on the upsell until the actual in-person event.
Tip #3: Tap into the Power of Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are a fantastic marketing source for live events.
According to EventMB, nearly 3 out of 4 event planners listed social media as the most effective tool for event marketing. Other contenders were email marketing (66%), their website (60%), and event registration site (26%).
In fact, as you can see from the 2 free sales funnel templates in this article, Facebook and LinkedIn are the only funnel fuel sources that we recommend using.
Targeting is without a doubt one of the biggest reasons for that. Social media platforms like Facebook are hands down the best at targeting the right audience to see your advertisements. And when you see all the different targeting options you have, you’ll understand why…
Source: Neil Patel
Facebook is also more economical than other sources too. Plus, its algorithm helps you automatically target audiences you never even considered going after, letting you bring in even more attendees.
So no matter what your local event is about, start out marketing it through social media first.
Tip #4: Use Early Bird Rates & Coupons to Skyrocket Registrations
While your local event sales funnel doesn’t necessarily have to have a lead magnet, it’s always a good idea to entice your prospects in some way in order to get them into your funnel.
And that’s where early bird rates and coupons come into play.
Early bird rates and coupons are a great way to attract leads and also solidify registration intent in people who are already interested in attending.
In fact, EventMB found that early-bird rates are actually cited by event planners as the most effective tactic for selling tickets and increasing registration. And 1 in 4 event planners reported that a discount code is the most effective.
We at AutoGrow recommend putting your discounts and early bird rates out there as your lead magnet. That way prospects will be extra enticed to opt-in for more information on the event.
Tip #5: Keep Your Emails Honest & To-the-Point
Last but not least, tone down the salesmanship and be direct with your audience.
No one likes to be sold to. And it’s even worse when that selling comes in the form of sneaky tactics. You know, impossible to find “No Thanks” buttons, practically invisible fine print, misleading email subject lines—that kind of thing.
And in fact, direct and honest email subject lines actually had some of the highest open rates.
A subject line analysis of over 40 million emails by Mailchimp found that the highest open rates (between 60% and 87%) were for lines that included the company name and a simple phrase or two (“Newsletter,” “Invitation from…” and “Upcoming Events at…”).
So don’t try to trick your prospects into getting sucked into your funnel. Show them the value. Be clear and up-front about it. And sell your event the right way—with honesty.
So there you have it!
Hopefully this article has helped you better understand what it takes to build a high-converting and successful sales funnel for your local event.
We learned that a sales funnel can save you tons of time marketing your event. We learned that you probably need a targeted funnel rather than a content marketing one.
We also gave you 2 of AutoGrow’s best local events templates that you can actually use to build yours.
And finally, we looked at 5 tips to help make sure your local event sales funnel brings in attendees by the boatload.
- You DON’T Actually Need a Lead Magnet
- Save Your High-Ticket Upsell for the Event
- Tap into the Power of Social Media
- Use Early-Bird Rates & Coupons to Skyrocket Registrations
- Keep Your Emails Honest & To-the-Point
So now the only thing left to do is to build your funnel!
It’s likely going to take a bit of time and hard work. But believe me, the benefits of having a well-made local event sales funnel will help it pay for itself.
And if you don’t have the time, you can always get AutoGrow to do it for you. We’d love to make your local event a massive success.
Do you have any other tips for local events sales funnels? Which of the 2 free templates did you find the most helpful?
Let me know in the comments below.
And as always…
Keep funnelin’, stay focused.
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