Conferences and trade shows have turned into a multi-sensory showcase for brands with exhibitors relentlessly trying to outshine their competitors and stand out from the crowd. Many marketers have even admitted that one of their main frustrations for events is having their booth “overshadowed” by competitors and other companies on the trade show floor.
To overcome this, marketers have realized that events shouldn’t be separate from other marketing strategies but rather incorporated with types of marketing strategies. By integrating pre-event and post-event content campaigns into your event marketing strategy, you’ll be able to extend the life of the event.
Pre-event content drives in-person engagement
If you’re exhibiting on the showroom floor, you need to have a plan to generate awareness and to get prospects to stop by your booth or meeting room. Incorporate social media as part of your pre-event content campaigns with branded hashtags, event participation and promotional posts. Use pre-event email campaigns and -- If enough time is available in your planning process -- direct mailings to targeted prospects and accounts can help drive traffic to your booth or facilitate pre-scheduled meetings on-site. A clever direct mailing campaign such as a game, contest or puzzle piece that the recipient must come to your booth to play not only helps you connect with targeted prospects but also generates excitement.
Content to enrich the event experience
Even if your organization doesn’t have a panel, keynote or other speaking opportunity at an event, it doesn’t mean you can’t play a part in the conversation surrounding those sessions. Exhibitors should leverage social media to post frequent updates and insights from the event using the conference’s official hashtag and relevant content. By sharing content in real-time, attendees will know you’re present at the event and will likely amplify that content into their own feeds. You’ll be able to reach other attendees -- both onsite and those that couldn’t attend -- who are tracking the conference hashtag.
Extend the conversation with post-event content
Conferences are over in a flash, but the connections you’ve made with prospects are only just beginning. It’s important to have a post-event marketing strategy to extend your campaign beyond those few days together and solidify and build on the relationships you’ve just formed. In fact, 45% of B2B buyers find event materials, including presentations, booth collateral and keynotes to be the second most important source of content consumed during the buying process.
Create content that is relevant to both the event, your organization and the level of interest of the leads captured at the event and incorporate that content into the post-event sales follow-up and nurturing campaigns. Develop original content such as blog post summaries about the best event sessions or whitepapers that address the state of the industry and its relevance to your products or services. You’ll not only be able to personalize sales follow-up based on interactions that occurred at your booth or meeting room but ensure it won’t be the end of the conversation.
Make the most of your events with integrated content campaigns
Exhibitors can’t expect to meet with every attendee face-to-face at a conference or even have the vast majority of them make an effort to stop by their booth. Therefore it’s important to think holistically about how to best engage event attendees in an integrated, cohesive campaign.
By integrating content to your event strategy, you can drive awareness, be a part of the conversation and extend your organization's presence at conferences and trade shows far beyond after the event concludes.