When it comes to B2B, one of the most important touchpoints for reaching customers is event marketing. Whether your event is an industry conference, client appreciation event or an intimate CEO roundtable, it is a tremendous opportunity for you to drive positive brand value. Don’t waste it.
In some cases, trade conferences provide the perfect opportunity to reach nearly all your audience, all at once. Beyond the regular schmoozing that goes on at conferences, many savvy marketers create their own events outside the conference as a way to attract new customers away from the crowded conference environment. But with so many extracurricular event options, your challenge is both attracting your audience and making your event memorable once they get there.
The first step is to get them in the room. Remember, these are busy people with lots of options. Your invitation design goes a long way to communicating what kind of event yours will be. Don’t expect caviar-level executives to be wowed by cocktail wiener-level design. Your invitation should be approached the same way you would create an advertising campaign. A solid concept, great design and compelling copy should all work together to communicate your brand and sell the event.
This means thinking beyond the eblast. While email marketing is a fantastic way to reach thousands of people, when it comes to events you often have a list of only a hundred or so targets you really want to attend. These are the decision makers who can make a huge difference in your business. To reach these people, it’s worth spending extra on your invitation to include things like special printing or even a gift.
Your invitation doesn’t stop at the invite. Just like how an advertising campaign hinges on frequency as well as creative, you sometimes need to deliver your message multiple times to your audience before it connects. For your event, this means you need to look for opportunities to promote your event. For example, things like signage, conference sponsorships, room drops, gift bag swag and speaker endorsements can help convince your audience that of all the swanky after-hours events to attend, yours is the swankiest.
Own the room. Literally. Too often we attend events with very little branding beyond a couple of easel signs. Afterwards, even if we had a good time, we struggle to remember who held it or what the purpose was. Your event should be well branded, with creative signage and design throughout. People should be absorbing your brand throughout the event without even realizing it. This doesn’t mean you should just slap your logo everywhere. It means considering how things like theme, color, fixtures, room layout, food, entertainment and giveaways are integrated into the event. Every decision is an opportunity to communicate your brand.
Party time is work time. Even the most well-designed event spaces will fall flat if your people are not owning the room. Your team needs to be engaged throughout the event and play the host, while at the same time making the crucial networking connections that are the whole reason you’re holding an event in the first place.
Your event doesn’t finish at the end of the night. One of the biggest mistakes we see is the lack of follow up afterwards. Your event isn’t the end of your efforts; it’s supposed to be the beginning of a new client relationship. You need to follow up quickly while you are fresh in their mind to further engage them and get them into your marketing funnel. This is how you create ROI from your event, which is the entire point.