This just in: Content marketing for trade shows, events, and conferences is now essential.
Before, after, and especially during.
Over the past few years, “Content Marketing” for B2B events has transitioned all the way from catchy buzzword to being the proven approach to building laser target audiences all year-round, driving sales, and getting buyers and sellers to interact at scale during your event.
It also a means of providing value afterward (which technically means before all over again, right?). Here are eight content marketing strategies you can do right now for your event.
Before Your Event: Create Engaged Audiences
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “80% of content marketers are focused on building audiences — and 92% of the top performers — representing an 18% year-over-year increase.” (CMI survey). This is the key to your “before” strategy.
1 – Create new and/or repackage existing content focused squarely on your audience.
2 – Build warm target audiences consisting of visitors to your site content (i.e. remarketing) and via paid content distribution on Facebook and Instagram (i.e. Facebook’s “custom audiences”).
Propelify conference used a high-profile giveaway to engage audiences prior to their main event.
This means leveraging the rich content you already have (gifs, video, e-books, blog posts, contests, etc.) into ready-made audiences you can target later.
3 – Deliver Facebook conversion ads (“buy tickets,” “register now,” “inquire to exhibit,” etc.) to these warm “custom” audiences.
Agenda show using video content to build audiences in advance via their Instagram business profiles:
4 – Promote your key speakers and exhibitors to your pre-registered andprospective attendees.
This is where you can use your media budget to close sales before the show: by offering paid PPC campaigns (before and during) as part of their exhibiting package.
5 – Calculate and optimize your CPA (Cost-Per-Acquisition) + CPL (Cost-Per-Lead). Are these numbers lower than when you started?
During: The Secret Sauce
Connect your attendees to each other.
Using content and tactical paid marketing while at your event can unlock HUGE untapped opportunities – and is an oft-neglected part of marketing an event.
You’ve spent months promoting the show, hitting your sales and attendee pre-registration goals — the event is nigh. Now the goal is to ensure your participants maximize their ROI and make $$$ while they’re there (and for you to hit your KPIs).
On-site social video and real-time ad campaign by @818agency:
6 – Each and every day of the show, create and deliver on-site, real-time blog content, social video, emails, and paid PPC campaigns that match up your buyers and sellers in real-time and in real life (IRL).
This is a golden opportunity to leverage Facebook email custom audiences, Instagram custom audiences, and website remarketing.
7 – Use your media spend to drive traffic to key vendors and speaker talks.
This is also where sponsored content comes in: Create a paid media plan for your A-tier exhibitors that includes promoting them during the show to their customers.
ASD Market Week social video connecting two-buyer venues in real-time:
When done right, attendees find the right vendors more quickly, sponsored speaker talks are standing room only, and exhibitors re-up for your next event before this one is even over.
After Is the New Before
8 – Build more audiences right after the show by delivering key editorial event “takeaways” to all of your participants. This way, they’ll walk away armed with information and new customers.
This also means using Facebook’s event engagement custom audiences tool and more content to create perfect audiences in-between shows.
In Closing: One More Buzzword
Trade shows, events, and conferences are uniquely positioned to be the best at “omni-commerce” (the buzziest of buzzwords). In other words, they can provide the most cost-effective and efficient ways for their attendees to connect with each other online and off — and at scale.
Content marketing does just that.