In the digital era, you might be forgiven for thinking that face-to-face event marketing is destined to go the way of the dodo. But it seems that the B2B industry still thrives on human interaction, and face-to-face events are still one of the best ways to generate leads.
The key to seeing success from your event marketing efforts is to combine them with an integrated digital marketing strategy. Helpfully, an article over on Business2Community recently offered some great tips - most of which equally apply whether you’re running the event itself or you're an exhibitor or sponsor.
1. Pre-event engagement
Harness your existing online activity to engage prospects before the event takes place. Integrate the event into your email marketing, using campaigns that will get people excited. You should also blog about it well ahead of time on your website to raise awareness and hopefully get it up those Google search pages; just remember to keep the tone light-hearted and engaging - for example, you could give top-tips for attending the event, or background profiles on keynote speakers.
A great example of something fun, yet incredibly useful, comes from VM World, an event I’m currently involved with: their 'Convince Your Manager’ template helps potential delegates make the ROI case to their boss that booking them on a flight to sunny Barcelona is a no-brainer!
2. During the event
Social media provides a great platform for you to shout about your event while it's taking place, while also engaging people who were unable to attend. You'll need to combine as many channels as possible for full effectiveness - ideally including Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Perhaps it's time to give Periscope a whirl to see if that attracts the right type of audience, while positioning you and your brand at the vanguard of video streaming.
In fact video in general is a great way to boost engagement levels and give people who aren't there the most powerful taste of what they're missing. These should be bite-sized snippets of video, including interviews with staff, quick Q&As with delegates or even just a glimpse of the venue to what people’s appetite for next year’s event.
3. Post-event engagement
The content you collect at the event is still just as valuable once it's all over. Use it to publish key insights from the event and position yourself as experts in your field, and to remind people to make sure they attend next time! Try to streamline your findings so that videos become compilations, and statistics become easily digestible infographics.
In summary, far from killing off event marketing, digital technologies need to be leveraged to improve event performance and maximise your ROI.