The conventional wisdom is that it’s good for businesses to have a presence at industry events in order to commingle with peers, stay abreast of new technologies, promote brand awareness, and generate leads.
However, the landscape is also evolving, and these changes are putting the onus on B2B companies to maximize their event presence and raise their game. Case in point: according to Frost & Sullivan, the B2B e-commerce market is growing and will reach $6.7 trillion by 2020.
The reality is that businesses are buying more than selling online. This is driven in part by the rise of more cloud platforms offering Software as a Service. B2Bs are integrating their e-commerce processes into public online marketplaces in order to be more visible and reach more potential buyers.
But now that customers have greater access to online channels and more varied services, it is more crucial than ever for B2Bs to interact with these buyers, educate them about their products and services, and how they interact with other systems. And the most effective way to do this is via live events.
Below we look at some strategies that take these new realities into account and which will ensure that you maximize the reach of your next B2B live event.
Diversify your event presence
Maintain a presence at annual trade shows, conferences, seminars, thought leadership and networking events, product launches, ceremonies and galas, VIP events, job fairs, etc. Of course, allocating time to attend such events can be a challenge for any business; not to mention the often high registration fees.
The solution is to be discerning about which events you invest in. Search out those that align with your marketing goals. Look for conferences with engaging speakers, useful educational workshops, and that offer vital networking opportunities.
Try to find multi-disciplinary marketing conferences, as these are often more dynamic and bring together marketers from various B2B industries under one big tent.
Create an event website
Your event website is promoting a single event, so hew to web design best practices and keep your site simple and user-friendly. Grab attention with a promotional video on the homepage and overlay that with a branded logo and a simple event-registration CTA. Regarding style, opt for minimal colors and simple fonts.
For inspiration, check out some slick and effective website templates. On top of keeping it simple, you can boost search engine optimization (SEO) by adding regular and original blog content. If you can add vlog content as well, even better.
You can further improve your website’s search rankings by including keywords wherever applicable and using them in internal links. External links are useful as well.
Consider also adding a countdown to the event on your homepage. Psychologically, a ticking clock tells people there is minimal time to act. Thus they’ll feel like they’ll be missing out on something unless they do. It’s a simple and effective way to create promotional buzz.
Promote the event on social media
Best practices along these lines include using hashtags wherever and whenever possible. Leverage your stakeholders (speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, etc.) and get them promoting the event on their social channels.
Turn your registered attendees into promoters by offering prizes and giveaways to those who share the event on social media. Just as crucially, create online communities across various social platforms of those interested in your event.
Utilize event management software and apps
Keep your event organization centralized with helpful software and event apps. This includes such things as event-website builders, contact management systems, email marketing solutions, website builders, engagement apps, and tracking and analytics software.
Speaking of analytics, once the event is off and running you’ll want to measure its success from the planning to the follow-up stage. To do this look at key performance indicators. KPIs you’ll want to focus on include:
• Total number of registrations• Social media mentions• Total check-ins• Attendee engagement• Attendee satisfaction• Gross revenue• Cost-to-revenue ratio• Customers acquired
Analyzing this data will tell you down to a science which of your efforts are working and which need to be improved.
Stream on video
If you want your live event to reach a target audience beyond those who physically attend said the live event, stream video of it. Consider that Facebook Live has over two billion monthly visitors. According to Statista, utilizing this social media platform is going to give you a boost in awareness in the feeds of your followers.
Focus on the follow-up
Half the success of a successful trade show is in the follow-up. Look for any opportunities to give out swag and gifts. Create lists from all the emails you acquired at the event and pull them into your marketing automation software.
Perform outreach and send short but sweet follow-up emails 1–3 days after the event. Nurture those leads and consider social retargeting ads for anyleads that don’t eventually convert.
There’s one more key to defining your goals and reaching your desired success. It’s the SMART method. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time-Bound.
In other words, be specific about your goals, ensure they are measurable and can be quantified, make sure they are achievable, designed for results, and time-bound with firm deadlines.
Stay tuned with us on our blog to read about some great event & industry insights ahead!