B2B companies are clearly onboard when it comes to marketing events. In fact, according to Forrester research B2B marketing teams spend an average of 18% of their marketing budget on events.
That’s a conservative estimate, as other sourses have stated as high as 25%. In any case, that’s a sizeable investment. It goes without saying getting a satisfactory return is very important.
The following strategies will help insure that B2B marketers get the most out of their events.
Be Selective About Event Attendance
Research events thoroughly before you commit to attending them. Not every event is the right one for your business. Considering the costs of creating and setting up a booth, airfare, vendor fees, marketing slicks, hotels, and other fees, attending an event that doesn’t fit can result in a significant loss of money and time. It’s important to be certain that attendees fit your target marketing demographic.
Fortunately, most events and trade shows include information about past years’ attendance, the demographic of attendees, and other useful information. Keep in mind that they are also invested in ensuring that exhibitors are satisfied. Still, do your own research. Look for reviews from people who have attended as consumers as well as vendors. Set up a Google alert for the event, to keep up with press surrounding it.
Create Success Metrics
Once you’ve selected the event you believe will be most worthwhile, it’s time to set concrete goals, and ways to measure those. Basically, what needs to happen in order for you to see the event as a success.
- Are you interested in generating leads?
- Is the primary goal direct sales?
- Are you most focused on networking, relationship building, and awareness?
Once you’ve set your goals, you can create success metrics. For example, if you’re looking to generate leads, you could set a goal that you get contact information form at least half of the people who visit your booth, and that you set a firm sales meeting with at least ten percent. If you’ve attended the event in the past, you can use data from that to help set your metrics.
Build The Best Event Team
The best event team members are those who can help ensure that your goals are met. Selecting team members means taking into consideration a combination of talent, personality, and experience. Choose team members who are outgoing, and knowledgeable about your product. Be aware of your target audience when making these selections. The lead designer from your R&D department may have great product knowledge and an amazing personality, but can they effectively communicate the benefits of your product to a layperson?
Determine Which Attendees to Invite
Don’t rely on the people putting on the event to curate attendees for you? Do some of the legwork in the months leading up to the event, so that you are guaranteed that there will be attendees who are in the market for your product or services.
Start with your current list of clients and prospective clients. Use marketing emails to broadcast your attendance at the event. Use Facebook ads to target potential attendees based on demographic information such as location, age, gender, and employer.
Make Attendance Easy
Do your part to make it easy for your prospects and existing customers to attend the event. Consider creating a landing page for the event. Include location information, directions, and a link to the event’s registration page. You can also speak with event organizers, and ask if there is a means for you to allow people to register directly through your website. If so, compare event registration software to ensure that you get the best value for your dollar.
Present Meaningful Merchandise And Design a Welcoming Booth
The look and feel of your booth is important. It should be welcoming and comfortable. It should also be functional. Think about your goals as you design your booth. If you’re simply handing out promotional materials, a standard table will probably work quite well for you. On the other hand, if you’re going to be doing product demos, or interacting with prospects for more than a couple of minutes, you might want to add small tables and chairs or stools.
Giveaways are an event tradition. The problem is, there’s a limit to the number of key chains and coin purses people need. Select giveaway products that are a good fit with your brand. If you can find products that can be used during the event, that’s even better. For example, attendees with dying cell phone batteries are sure going to appreciate a power bank. Consider consumables as well. Contact a local banker and ask them if they would be willing to bake up and individually wrap cookies with your company logo on them. Water bottles with your company name and information are almost always a hit.
Seek Out an Opportunity to Speak
If the event you’re attending offers opportunities to give presentations, lead discussion groups, or to present talks, seize that opportunity. You’ll reach a much larger audience, and will be able to present much more information about your company and products than you will by simply waiting for attendees to come by your booth. This is also a great opportunity to establish thought leadership.
Personalize Your Follow-up
Generic, thanks for attending emails aren’t enough. Use the information that you’ve gathered to personalize any follow-up contact. Of course, in order to do this, you’ll need to engage during the event, and take notes about the people you make contact with. It’s much more meaningful to reach out to someone when you can inquire about a specific project or other matter you discussed with them.
Freelance writer and digital marketing buff. Five years in online marketing. One year as a World Teach Volunteer. I love testing custom acquisition growth hacks and always on the look out for new startups.