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Lead-Gen for Premium Experiences: 9 ways to fill your sales pipeline with VIPs

Once upon a time, lead generation was reserved for B2B marketers. But increasingly we’re seeing lead gen campaigns create big wins for marketers who are selling premium experiences such as luxury suites at sporting events, or VIP packages at destination music festivals. Under the hood, the strategy makes a lot of sense: Rather than attempting to sell a complex and expensive product directly from an ad, these campaigns instead build a pipeline of qualified leads for your sales team to close. And more importantly, we’re seeing these campaigns work at scale—generating multiple leads or thousands of tickets sold, for what are often a team’s or a promoter’s most profitable tier. 

However, not all lead gen campaigns are created equally. Building the right campaign for your product requires an understanding of your audience, your experience, and your objectives. Here are 9 tips for launching a winning lead gen campaign to sell a premium experience:

1. Use the best ad format for the job, by taking advantage of lead-form ads. These allow marketers to capture leads directly within the ad without asking users to leave the platform to fill out lengthy forms on external sites.

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2. Be natural by aligning your ad content with the way people use each social media platform. At Gupta Media, we lean heavily on LinkedIn for many of our premium experience campaigns. When users are on LinkedIn, they’re often looking for business opportunities. As performance marketers, our ad creative needs to position the offer in a way that spotlights the business benefits that it unlocks. Can you dazzle clients by bringing them to your event? Can you close a deal in the Owner’s Club suite at your venue?

3. Narrow your audience. When it comes to premium experiences, not everybody can be a VIP. Don’t waste your ad dollars by casting a wide net that reaches people who don’t have the means to buy what you’re selling. Scope your targeting parameters to people who are interested in your offer AND can afford to buy it. Well-segmented custom audiences and third-party data segments can help find those buyers. Increasingly, in both sports and festival marketing, we’re paying a lot more attention to hyper-localization. Just one recent example among many: Working with a major sports client, we geotargeted users within three different tiers of zip codes, prioritized by historical likelihood to purchase.

4. Reach people how they want to be reached. Don’t just capture email addresses: capture phone numbers too. According to Statista, 42% of received text messages are actually opened and read, as compared with email commercial messages, which are opened and read 32% of the time. The more ways we can contact someone, the more likely they are to listen to what we have to say and take action.

5. Draw people in with a compelling offer. Most people don’t give their contact information away for free. Whether you’re incentivizing lead submissions with an exciting contest or with exclusive content, it’s important to offer more than merely the chance to be sold to. Bonus points for driving urgency with deadline messaging. In one recent campaign, we worked with one of the largest music festivals in the US in the lead-up to their on-sale date. Before tickets went on-sale, we persuaded fans to share their contact info—with the promise of getting exclusive early access to tickets. Not only did fans share their info, but the festival saw an increased percentage of fans who followed through on a ticket purchase during the pre-sale.

6. There’s no time like the present. Respond to leads quickly, before people have time to forget they were interested in learning more about your offer. Leads coming in too quickly for your sales team to handle? We’ve been there. Your advertising should be nimble enough that you can adjust the volume of your lead gen campaigns to match the capacity of your sales team.

7. Don’t ask for too much. The more information you ask people to give you, the less likely they are to give you anything. Keep your lead form to essential information only.

8. Sell the experience, not the value. VIP buyers are less price sensitive than the general public. They want to know how your offer can improve their lives and give them status. Price is not the primary concern for them. We worked with a major sports client to collect contact info for a lead gen campaign to target prospective season-ticket buyers. The hook: An invitation to an exclusive free event at the team’s home venue, including an appearance by a star player. Think of it as the equivalent of a real-estate open house — only for the home team. 

9. Use experiential video content, whenever possible. What better way to sell the experience than by giving people the ability to envision themselves there. Video can help bring that to life.

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