Event marketing involves promoting your company at conferences, trade shows and other live events that are appropriate to your industry and cause. They can help you build awareness, relationships and trust with your prospects.
Why Is Event Marketing Important?
Live events are valuable because they give you in-person access to your target audience. You have the opportunity to make a positive impression on dozens or even hundreds of prospects in a short timeframe. When backed by an effective strategy, event marketing can be a powerful tool for helping you generate qualified leads and, in effect, may help you close more deals.
Problems with the Status Quo
Live event marketing can be one of the largest items in a marketing budget. The price of conference sponsorship, speaking fees, travel expenses, booths and supporting collateral can quickly add up. Yet we see so many companies spending on this activity with no real strategy and very poor return on investment.
A More Strategic Approach To Conferences
Marketers need to be more strategic about events. Invest only in those conferences where you can access your specific target niches and buyer personas. Develop an event strategy that targets specific buyer personas whom you know will be attending, and weave an integrated marketing strategy to target them before, during, and after the event.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
Don’t assume that a large event with a huge delegate base is your best choice. Companies often have more success with smaller, more targeted events where it’s easier to seek out and connect with target prospects and clients.
Integrate Events With Your Content Strategy
Plan in advance how you’re going to leverage the event as part of your content marketing. Here are a few ways you can create great content from the event:
- Live blogging – Transcribe what speakers are saying, or paraphrase and post immediately after a session. Be aware of the conference rules on quoting. Many financial services conferences invoke the Chatham House Rules, meaning you can quote, but you can’t attribute the quotes to a particular person or firm. (But this doesn’t mean you can plagiarize.)
- Social media – Share interesting quotes from speakers as the sessions are in progress. Use the event hashtag to add your voice to others tweeting on the same subject.
- Photos – Snap photos of slides, speakers or even selfies of you and important influencers and publish them on your blog and social channels.
- Video – Reach out to key thought leaders in advance and schedule time to do brief video interviews. Pick a quiet place to do these to minimize noise. Post the videos on your blog (make sure you get sign-offs from your subjects).
- Top take-aways – Write up top take-aways and publish them on your blog and on industry forums like TabbFORUM.
It’s important to have a plan in place, and to prepare as much in advance as possible. For example, ask team members who are attending sessions to take notes. Also encourage them to amplify your messages by sharing with their social networks.
Prepare Offers for Follow-up
Before the event, prepare a plan for how you’ll follow up, and share that with everyone on your team. Then everyone can pitch this follow up to the people they meet, increasing overall engagement with your content and brand over the long term. Here are some tips for simple ways to engage with people after the event.
- Schedule a webinar on a related topic for a week after the event and promote it at your booth, when meeting people, and in your live blogging and social outreach.
- Invite subscriptions to your blog or email newsletter by promising to send them take-aways and blog posts about the event.
- Curate relevant social media content and provide it in a follow-up email.
- Invite people to check out your buffalo content or other relevant offers on your website.
Remember that it’s incredibly important to tie your content marketing strategy into your event plan. You can do this by leveraging a buffalo content strategy that helps you continually deliver relevant marketing assets to your audience in the months and weeks leading up to and following a major conference. This way, attendees will already be familiar with your brand prior to the event, helping to create foundation for discussion.
To learn how PropelGrowth can help you develop an effective event marketing program that helps you generate qualified leads, contact us here.