In a digitally-focused world, there are countless online platforms to build your brand, through social media, webinars, content, blogs, advertising and so on. While online engagement is great (don’t get me wrong), events are arguably the most effective marketing channel given the power of live experiences, interactivity and building connections in person. Event marketing is powerful.
The challenge for marketers is creating a solid strategy with positive business outcomes that allows them to stand out from competitors at the event. Thankfully, we’ve got the ultimate cheat guide!
We know the main focus of B2B marketing events includes support for lead generation, sales acceleration, and brand awareness. But how can we take this to the next level?
You need to stand out for attendees to remember you. It’s a growing jungle out there, with plenty to eat, but also plenty that wants to eat YOU. Whether it’s B2B events or trading pokemon cards in the playground, the winner will take it all. You need to know how to differentiate, how to be competitive, and how to be the winner winner chicken dinner.
A major advantage is having an eye-catching stand and campaign at the event. The stand’s location can have a major impact on social media in our image-obsessed world. You will be surrounded by your competitors, literally. This means you need to physically stand out to the attendees.
So, get creative with videos, interactive games, activities.. anything to capture their attention. Get them curious about your brand and work with people’s emotions. Personalisation is important – make your attendees feel cared for and you should see higher satisfaction rates (aka, more leads). The best way is to create this connection early on, through personalised event invitations, communications and onsite experiences – for example, different giveaways for different audiences, personalised marketing materials, signed copies of books, anything to make them feel special.
Lead generation strategies are KEY.
The typical KPI’s for B2B events include attendee engagement and satisfaction, sales pipelines, and lead generation. So, it’s no surprise that in Bizzabo’s recent trends report, 95% of senior marketers say that in-person events provide them with valuable opportunities to build connections in an increasingly digital world. We know that highly satisfied attendees from events are most likely to become future customers. The tricky part is, how do we keep our lovely attendees satisfied and happy? A big reason why events are so successful is the creation of a community – this is a key concept in lead generation strategy. By making attendees feel comfortable, we can build trust and a strong connection.
Attract, convert, close, delight. We’ve heard it all before. Here are some top tips to ensure those attendees take a chance on you:
Firstly, you want to make sure their first point of contact with the brand leaves them with a positive impression. You need to wow them. This means getting your most energetic, charismatic salespeople to be at your stand.
Secondly, make sure there’s a clear path to take once leads have been converted (online sign-up for demos, arrange meetings, etc.) You haven’t put in all this effort just to lose them at the final stage.
Lastly, have demonstrations of your product ready to show to any leads. If they have queries or doubts, you need to be able to answer them easily and show them how to use your product or service.
Event attendees want more than just the average, dry B2B marketing that dominates the industry. Get them involved at your stand, the more interactive the better. (See the story at the end of the article to view Turtl’s five interactive stations at their recent event.)
For example, we can learn a lot from C2 Montreal who specialise in shared experiences. In order to encourage people to network at their event, C2 Montreal has adopted tactics such as using free question cards as icebreakers, riding a Ferris wheel with a stranger, wearing VR goggles to engage in a virtual reality meeting, and pairs of exercise bikes on raised platforms. Burn some calories during the meeting? Sounds good to me. Safe to say they make event networking much more interesting!
A useful starting point is to effectively combine offline and online methods. Interactivity doesn’t just mean digital. People can be pretty brutal about print advertising in this tech-orientated world. However, this can still be used in a creative way at your event stand. Just check out these clever interactive print advertisements for some #inspo.
You need to be creating some amazing social media content to promote the event. Fun, eye-catching, and informative posts will go a long way, and this needs to start early (not the week before).
Social media directors recommend having a campaign rolling long before the tickets for the event are even released. Around 3 months before is when you should start planning, and you should begin posting 6-8 weeks before the event date. By the time the week of the event rolls around, there should already be some awareness and hype built up about your presence.
The most triumphant businesses are spending 1.7 times the average marketing budget on live events, which is proving very successful ROI rates. This highlights that, if done correctly, marketing events are worth the investment, as they can significantly impact your company’s success.
Don’t follow the cooked spaghetti approach (throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks). Do plenty of research and have a well-planned and specific strategy. At the end of the day, you can only track data that you are set up to track. From the moment you decide to host or attend an event, create a strategy and set out SMART goals.
Act fast – immediately after the event is the prime time to measure your data and show off your ROI efforts. By calculating accurate ROI, you’ll not only understand what works and why, but you’ll also be able to plan better for future events with more confidence, and less guestimating.
Read the Story below to discover how Turtl generated buzz at B2B Ignite event at the Business Design Center, London.
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