6 Ideas to get more creative with Event Marketing
Having a brand presence at industry conferences and trade shows is a common component of any event marketing strategy.
My guess is, your timeline leading up to an event looks something like this:
- Determine what you will showcase at your booth.
- Get materials designed/printed to have on hand at the booth.
- Figure out which company announcements you will make during the event, and what the public relations strategy is to support those announcements.
- Send out a drip email campaign targeting people who are likely to attend so you can promote what’s happening at your booth.
- Plan out content to share on your social media channels leading up to and during the event (including space for real-time posting from the event).
- Schedule analyst briefings (if appropriate).
- Set up meetings and interviews with key reporters to get critical face time and share important company updates.
- If company execs are speaking, work on their presentations/talking points to ensure they’re prepped for their speaker sessions.
All the tactics listed above are important elements of preparing for event success, but what if you took things a step further? What else could you do to make your company stand out among others in attendance (many of which are likely competitors)?
My team and I have been supporting a global client at several events throughout the past few months, so taking a few lessons learned from those experiences, here are six ways to amp up your event marketing strategy:
- Find the social media channels associated with the events and start interacting.Follow the Twitter handle and event hashtag, start retweeting content from the handle, tweet using the hashtag and respond to others using the hashtag to start forging relationships prior to the event. There may also be LinkedIn groups and Facebook pages related to the event. Join those, and find opportunities to post relevant content (please don’t just post content related to your brand and spam the group) and respond to others’ posts. If you’re smart about it, this could be a great opportunity to set up coffee/lunch meetings with new people at the event. You never know where those opportunities may lead from a new business perspective. Remember to approach these meetings with the mindset of simply wanting to build relationships — not sell.
- Partner with an influencer who has strong connections within the industry. Our client has been working with the same influencer for several events and engaging her in our marketing efforts. What’s great about this strategy is the influencer has received recognition (not just via the social media world, but also from notable media, like Forbes) as someone who knows a great deal about the topics and industries in which our client is involved. Having an influencer who has a strong connection to the same industries your company serves makes the partnership more natural. This particular influencer has helped our client with the following:
- Live tweeting from the event with the event hashtag and the company hashtag.
- Posting photos from the tradeshow booth.
- Participating on panels the company has coordinated at the event.
- Drawing in her social connections to join Twitter chats the company has hosted, both pre- and post-event.
- Host a Twitter chat to drum up additional conversation on important topics related to the event and your company. Extract subtopics related to the events you’re at, and use those to create Twitter chats. The influencer we partnered with was instrumental for this tactic. We used the brand channel to promote the chats several days in advance, and our influencer partner tapped into her social networks to invite people to participate. It was great seeing her followers join the chat, as well as a client of our client, who happened to pick up on the conversation organically.
- Host a panel at the event on a hot topic that’s on every attendee’s mind. It’s important to choose the right topic — one that is relevant to the overall theme of the event and will draw interest from attendees from various industries and backgrounds. As an example, our client recently hosted a “women in tech” panel at an event. The panel included two women execs from our client’s company, a few women from clients the company works with and the influencer with whom we partnered to support the event. We promoted the event on Twitter several days leading up to the panel with our event-related company hashtag. There was a ton of live tweeting and photo posting during the event. This is a win on several levels because it was great visibility/branding for our client, strengthened relationships with existing clients and drew in interest/participation online from people attending the event.
- Use video to draw attention from people at the event and those following along online. Hopefully by now, you’ve realized how critical it is to use video as part of your marketing/PR efforts. If you have execs speaking at the event, you could create 30-second teaser videos where they share a snippet of what they’re going to be discussing to help encourage people to attend their sessions. Share those videos using the event hashtag on Twitter and in event-related LinkedIn groups. Our client recently teamed with two of their clients at an event, and we did two Periscope broadcasts from the show floor talking with the clients about topics/trends in the industry and getting their insights on how technology will play a role in these industries moving forward. We included the event hashtag in the video title, and the link to the live stream went out on our brand Twitter channel when the broadcast started, which drew in people following the hashtag.
- Add creative/fun elements at your booth to encourage attendees to visit. You have to do more than showcase products/demos and hand out marketing materials to get people to care about stopping by your booth. One tactic our client is doing at an upcoming event is partnering with one of their clients to host a selfie competition. Attendees have to visit the booth, take a selfie with a sign, tweet it out with a specific handle and hashtag included in the tweet, and they will be entered to win one of two cool tech gadgets. The sign includes branding for both companies hosting the selfie competition. This is a fun and simple way to draw people to the booth. Who doesn’t love a good giveaway and excuse to take a selfie?
Article Written By: Nikki Little0